Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How Did I Get Here? One Student's Journey

Davis Carlson
Rundle College Jr./Sr. High School
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

“How did I get here?” That was the question I was asked to write about for this blog post. A 16 year old who travels around the country teaching other teachers. A student who is looked at as an educator and respected as someone with valuable information to share. “How did I get here?” Well it is quite a story, but albeit not a very long one.

Go back four years to 2012 and this is when I entered grade 7. As a young introverted teen who had a laptop and some mad technical skills, I began my career in junior high school like any other year. But this is the year that I met someone who set me on a new path. A path of technology mixed with education. I met our schools Technology Integrator, Mrs. Armstrong. She began to show me something called Google Apps For Education and this was a tool that opened my eyes to a wide range of new ideas. Collaborative work between students and teachers, sharing of ideas to anyone and everyone. I got on the Google hype train because of her.

Davis Carlson presenting Edmonton 2016

The next year was the first year Rundle College was the host for a GAFE Summit. Mrs. Armstrong asked me if I would like to volunteer/attend this event and I was ecstatic to be able to see what this community was like and what I could learn. But then I was hit with a question that would change my future, “Would you like to present a session?” To be honest, I was terrified about going up in front of teachers and administrators. I thought, who was I to be teaching teachers. So when the weekend of the Summit in August came around and I took a deep breath, looked around the room and took a step into the world of Educational Technology. With a mentor by my side and an amazing Featured Speaker team I had started to find something that I loved doing. After that first event I had a new burst of confidence and decided that speaking at Summits like this could be an awesome path for me.

Fast Forward to 2015, and I presented another session at 2nd Calgary Summit. Then I proceeded to spend my time volunteering at other GAFE Summits around Western Canada. I presented two sessions in Kamloops, a Student Summit in Sturgeon, and finally two more in Calgary and Edmonton. As I continued to generate new ideas to show teachers technology for the classroom from a student's perspective, I presented more and got much more comfortable with public speaking and became less closed off.

This eventually led to last weekend, in which I was invited in by EdTechTeam to be a Featured Speaker at the Fort Vermilion Student and Staff Summits. My greatest achievement so far. So how did I get here? Well it took a lot of late nights and panicked mornings before I stepped in front of 30 teachers, but in the end I have made some amazing connections, gotten awesome feedback and learned so much from the people I worked with.

Moral of this story: Students have amazing talents and information to share. I did not expect myself to have insight into helping teachers, but I discovered that in myself. There are a lot of other students that have ideas for the classroom and education in general. Teachers- give students opportunities to teach, and you will soon see what a valuable resource we are.

Interested in bringing a Student Summit to you? Check it out here. Want to check out student-created lesson plans in the Google Apps Guidebook?

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