And the URI Digital Literacy SI Began Last Night…#digiURI

It was a long day, a good day.  Off at 9:30, I had more than enough time to comfortably arrive by 2 and leave my car at Jonathan’s and ride up with Lisa, Carla and Saide.  It was a leisurely ride with pit stops along the way and time a large chunk to finish a sweet gamer novel ( not my usual) called Player Number One.  I’m wondering if it appeals to kid gamers.  It was a bit too gamer detailed but I did enjoy the ride.

I was early  but once we got into Saide’s car we were racing to get to Providence, leaving behind the peace of my road trip.  It was great to be back with this international group.  Just a few weeks earlier we were eating dinner together at the start of ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia and I was wondering how I’d function rubbing elbows with 15,000 or more tech ed lovers.  Now that was a wild ride!  After 15,000 participants, I was so ready to pare down the numbers.  100 feels just right.

We raced to arrive for a pre-conference welcome for presenters/participants.  Carla and I were late for the meeting, missing all the introductions.  I sat there listening to so good advice about set up etc and I was having one of those out-of-body experiences.  On brand new turf I was wondering just what I was doing here.  Wondering when I’d get a chance to see my room and unpack and breathe.  And that happened quickly right after our introductions and a bit more of the meeting.  Jonathan pointed the way and Lisa and Saide walked along sharing the weight of my bags.  Always heavy 🙂

A room, a big room, with the basics with just enough time to use the bathroom and brush my teeth and we were on our way back for the welcome reception. I remembered that leisurely road trip and wished I could be back there at the cafe sipping and reading.  But it would be okay.  I would get through these first moments of  discomfort with the unknown in a noisy, dark room filled with appetizers and strangers. Slowly the group of 100 would begin to feel and look familiar.

The evening program was beginning.  We found seats.  I had one next to Carla, and Renee Hobbs kicked off the Institute.  I wondered when I would begin to relax. Not yet.

Digital literacy?  What is it?

We were pushed to participate in interesting ways, finding a definition for ourselves and then sharing with the whole group, mic in hand.  It’s hard to keep away from a mic 🙂  and easy to introduce myself as an advocate for teachers as they move uncomfortably into the digital age, especially now.  We moved around the room getting to know to strangers…. it was getting easier, especially when an outgoing woman from India found me and talked about herself.  We were to find a partner to work with on a project.  I abruptly offered to partner with her without looking further.  She might think I’m too forward.  I didn’t care and for sure, she can reject my offer.  It was great to meet her especially when she has a room just down the hall.  I was hoping to get to know my neighbors.

It was dark in the restaurant but outside it was only 7:15 and I needed real food.  I walked back with a Korean woman who was willing to walk in search of food. Sadly everything was closed except for a cafe with a limited menu of bread, cookies and coffee.  Just what I didn’t want to eat, but except for the cookies. I dug right in.  It was comfortable to meet my first fellow participant and listen to her very unusual life story.  8:15 AM downstairs and a walk back to the school for breakfast.  Will do!

Back in the room, I unpacked, made the bed, called Tuvia and connected to the internet for a few hours.   I slept with episodes of the West Wing and I’m up early just about ready for a shower and a coffee.

I’m ready for something exciting…

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