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My first KEYNOTE with EdTechTeam

This year's Calgary Google Summit was, once again, a high energy, fun-filled, learning-packed two days.  Led by EdTechTeam's +Michelle Armstrong, the team of speakers and keynotes she put together pulled off a very successful Summit.  I love being able to be a part of these summits, and this one was no exception, as I was the host, and it was at my school - Rundle College.  In addition to that, +Michelle  gave me an opportunity to do the closing keynote.

I have been a featured speaker for the EdTechTeam previously, so I wasn't nervous about presenting at this summit.  My two sessions went well, as I presented about my experience doing #20Time in my classroom, and I also did a session on +JoeZoo.  What I was anxious about was doing my first keynote.

I began thinking about a keynote several months ago - I would start to make notes on my phone about ideas that popped into my head.  When Michelle confirmed that I would be able to be the closing keynote, it became real.  I first thought about if I could actually pull it off.  I would be following two fantastic keynote speakers - +Monica Isabel Martinez and +Michael Wacker - so it was a tall order!  I got down to work developing an idea.  I ended up changing my mind.  I started to develop another idea which was ultimately trashed too.  I went through so many iterations of my keynote, but it was when I sat down and truly got honest with myself that my keynote became apparent.

I would take my computer this summer and lay in our hammock on our front verandah and create my slide deck.  Once it was in a complete rough draft, I had a long Hangout with Michelle and we discussed things at length.  After that Hangout I went back to my hammock (my happy place) and changed so much of what I had.  I was finally able to see my keynote and what I was going to say.  It was so clear to me - a personal journey of mine over the last few years needed to be the inspiration.  My title The Courage to Fail  was born, and my keynote finally came together.

After completing my slide deck and editing down the videos I chose to compliment my message, it was time to rehearse.  Michelle's best advice - BE YOURSELF and DON'T GO BY YOUR NOTES.  This is so tough to do because you are dealing with nerves once you are on that stage.  My only option was to take much of the time I had on day 2 when I wasn't presenting to rehearse.  I rehearsed on the stage, in a classroom, and then again on the stage.

The time to keynote was soon upon me, and I looked at +Monica and said, "A wave of nausea just came over me - uh-oh!"  Michelle's introduction of me was so sweet and generous, and I was already in tears before I even started.  When I got on stage and got my presentation ready, I took a big breath, grabbed the mic and before I knew it I was pretty comfortable.  It was about 4 or 5 slides before the end when I thought to myself on stage, "Holy crap - this has come together so incredibly!"  It was true - I didn't use my notes once.  I couldn't believe it.  Everything just came out and I honestly think I was as authentic and articulate as I wanted to be.  If authenticity is measured in tears - then I was DEFINITELY authentic!

When it was done, Michelle was crying, I was crying and hugs were abound by friends.  Completing my first keynote was completing a big "scary" for me.  Now I need to figure out what my next big scary is!

I am so grateful to all my supportive friends.  Between Michelle, Michael and Monica and the entire team who was here, my students who were at the Summit, friends from Rundle, my PLN supporters, and my family - a girl couldn't ask for a more supportive network.

It was truly such a fantastic experience, and I was never more happy to have mustered the courage to do it.


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