It is finally here! DENSI2014! The event I have been waiting for since last years Summer Institute! This is a gathering of like minded (aka: fun, supportive, outgoing, fantastic, intelligent, and inspirational) leaders in education. This is a week long conference developed by Discovery Education. In order to be accepted one must first be a DEN STAR teacher, then apply online, produce a video, and cross your fingers until they are black and blue and wait to get accepted. Only around 125 educators are selected from the US each year (including some form Canada and this year even the UK!). I was blessed again this year to be allowed to attend the DEN Summer Institute in Nashville, Tennessee.
The celebration begins:
After a 9 hour drive, I arrived with my wife and a fellow Michigan teacher on board in Nashville at Vanderbilt University.
As expected, we were all greeted in the DEN family way: hugs, welcomes, and "missed you/great to see you" from previous DENSI alumni, and friendly greetings from rookie DENSI attendees. I am not sure if anything can really prepare you for a DENSI welcome. From strangers hugging, to the valuable networking, to the greeting of people that feels like seeing lifelong friends. It is truly amazing.
After getting our rooms (yep, just like collage as we stay in the dorms to get the community feel) we were off to the opening dinner. A BBQ delight!
The opening session is filled with welcomes and things to expect. The keynote speaker this year was nothing short of inspirational. Greg Siers brought us to tears with his heart felt memories of childhood and the impact we all have on the kids we teach. He reminded us why we went into education, and the reach we have long after those kids leave our sight. Thank you for reminding us all who we are, and what we are: educators.
After all we said and the last person left the meeting, I headed up to my dorm and read the Twitter feed (#DENSI2014) to catch up, checked the DENSI Edmodo and Facebook pages, typed up this post, and now, try to rest up for what tomorrow will bring.
Day 1 has come to and end, but what a wonderful way to start! I give the DEN Finger to everyone lucky to be here, and all those who were unable to attend and will no doubt be living thorough the #NotAtDENSI2014 feed.
Check out all my pics on my Flickr Slideshow Below!
Created with flickr slideshow.