Mr Nottingham Goes to Washington

A few months ago I entered the Discovery Education UK competition to win a weeks CPD at their annual Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute (DENSI). 

Out of all who applied 5 others and myself were selected and on the 11th July we fly to Washington DC to begin our DENSI adventure. What follows are my Pre-DENSI thoughts and musings on what promises to be a most extraordinary week of professional development.

With less than a week to go before my journey begins the excitement is starting to creep in about just what I will experience once I arrive at DENSI. I am obviously excited about going to the states, having been lucky enough to visit Washington DC before. However it is the thought of connecting with over 130 other educators from across the US, Canada and the UK that has me most excited. 
I have been treated to a preview of the exciting and diverse array of attendees thanks to the power of the internet and have connected to several of the attendees through Edmodo and Twitter. Already connecting with the other attendees means that when the week is over hopefully these networks will continue and a truly international cohort of passionate and enthusiastic educators will be able to continue sharing and growing together.
In the past I have attended events that have brought together teachers from all over the UK, and have been inspired by their passion and shared knowledge. I am hoping that by sharing with educators from across North America I will be further inspired by the stories and experiences they have to share. Taking into account that the UK would fit into several US states. There is bound to be a wide range of educators with a variety of experiences. They will all have different takes on education but will undoubtedly have one thing in common. They want the best for their students. It is this passion that will forge friendships and fuel discussions over the week and will hopefully inspire all who attend.
It is not just a week of sharing that I’m looking forward to. It will be interesting to discuss the challenges that everyone faces. Especially those that are common amongst the teachers from the varying countries. I imagine continued pressure from “higher up” to be one of these. Be that Local Authority or Governmental pressures in the UK, and pressure from county, state and federal level in the US. How teachers, leaders and schools handle these increasing demands will no doubt be up for discussion. 
Karl Fisch is repeatedly quoted ‘we are currently preparing pupils for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t yet been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.‘ How do teachers address this as we continue to work with generations of pupils that will come to view the works of Arthur C Clarke as historical fiction?
I’m also feeling excited, and privileged, by the opportunity to share my own experiences. I have been asked to contribute to one of the many workshop sessions over the week. giving a UK perspective on the computing curriculum. This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m really looking forward to discussions with other attendees on the importance of the computing curriculum in modern education.
I will be trying something a little different whilst at DENSI in regards to documenting my experiences. I will try to produce a short video diary for each of the days whilst I am there. Watch this space for my DENSI Diary!

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