Saturday, July 5, 2008

Badge Fever -- Fable Love

I am going to depart from my usual blog-about-my-class-projects style today...

I feel truly fortunate to have met and hung out with super-illustrator, Peter H. Reynolds, Peggy Healy Stearns, and the FableVision crew at NECC. As opposed to most people in the world, I met the company (FableVision) before I met Peter. Both blow me away! Above are my name badges from the last two NECC's with Peter Reynolds' artwork.

In a strange set of circumstances, my trip to NECC was a completion of a full circle. Readers know that I am a huge fan of FableVision, Stationery Studio, Peter Reynolds, and Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns. You might wonder what the company and these people did to earn such affection.

A few years ago, I was at the Iowa Technology and Education Connection Conference in Des Moines. I went to a session from Alpha Smart that was led by a very energetic woman by the name of Arlene. I was impressed by the AlphaSmart, but BLOWN AWAY by the program she used to demonstrate the ease of copying the text you had entered on the AlphaSmart to the computer. She showed a program called, "Stationery Studio." Just from looking it at it, I could tell that someone had spent a lot of time working with educators and had thoughtfully developed a great tool. One tool, the black & white button, made me want it all the more. By clicking one button, you remove the color for printing. You are no longer forced to look at poor gray-scale imitations of art.

I stalked Arlene at ITEC. I went to her booth....I followed her around. I had to find out how to get the program. I ended up calling FableVision and getting a copy. I went home and showed the software to the elementary where I work and they bought it. Wow!

Later, I learned about more of their products. Eventually, I was asked to be an Ambassador which was a new group that would review and promote software programs. I suggested that they come to the Iowa Conference and that happened!!! Peter Reynolds was the keynote and Bill Norris came and set up a booth. I was so excited. I read everything on the FableVision website and everything on Peter Reynolds' website. My first thought on reading the website is that no one could be THAT sincere. I was SO wrong. After the Iowa conference and two NECC trips, I can tell you that everyone at FableVision follows the company mission. Everyone loves kids and wants educators to be successful.

Now, for the full circle..... I was privileged to be asked to be a guest presenter in Peggy Healy Stearns' NECC session. Peggy Healy Stearns designed Stationery Studio and is one of my heroes! After the presentation, I had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people from Tom Snyder Productions. One of those people was Arlene--- from the Iowa conference where I first found Stationery Studio! I could hardly contain myself. I had just hung out with FableVision friends, presented with my hero, Peggy Healy Stearns, and I was meeting the person who helped set it all in motion!

The North Star, a Peter Reynolds story about journeys and following stars really had extra strong meaning for me! My journey as a teacher/professional/person has been impacted by meeting all of these amazing people.

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