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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Safaris, Trash and Adventure: GeoTech 2010

Don't be fooled by the conference title!  It's not just about geography and technology.  GeoTech is an opportunity to expand your horizons.  It doesn't matter what you teach, because you WILL find something for you!  I'm a thinker, something that was a problem in the 4th grade...accused of daydreaming, but as an educator has served me well.  The keynote speakers consistently inspire you to venture beyond your borders and think. Blessed with two keynotes this year, Chad Pregracke and Ben Osborne didn't disappoint!  

I had no idea who these men were before I met them at GeoTech.  They were absolutely personable and instisted on having lunch with us, chatting in the evenings and experiencing the conference together.  How many teachers get to meet these kinds of folks and have a nice chat?  They were interested in our work as educators and wanted to know how they could help further our causes.  Ben's photographs are stunning!  Don't overlook the Friday evening presentation at the Science's worth the time and money, always!  Ben shared his experiences in Africa with the wild dogs and lions but even more intriguing were the behind-the-scenes videos of their adventures in filming.  Undeniably, lions are impressive beasts.  But how much more incredible that they were looking for them IN THE DARK!  The moment in the video when it's all quiet, pitch black and windless; the folks in each vehicle are whispering across the radios, "We don't see any lions," while "No lions over here either," is answered with the deep, eerie rumble of the lions' distinctive growl.  It still sends chills up my spine!  What amazing stories could my students begin to tell after viewing this experience!  Having created lessons for my students related to Mark Twain and the Mississippi River, Chad's story intrigued me.  He grew up on the river and set out to change it, make it trash-free.  His tenacity and ambition to try it and see what happens is contagious!  After hearing his story, I question how many causes are in my own backyard, simple causes that could make a big difference.  You don't have to go to Africa or live on the Mississippi River to realize that adventure and purpose should be part of our lives...our classrooms!  What adventure awaits you?

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