Reflecting on my time with SMART at ISTE 2012
By Allen Brooks
Every time I have the opportunity to get out of the classroom and share my story, and my students, with other educators, I am reminded why it was that I went into this profession in the first place — passion. I enjoy teaching and always have. I have a lot of passion for my subject, which is Technology. And then when I look into the eyes of those of you willing to share a bit of your story, I see that same passion. As busy professionals, it is quite easy to become so overwhelmed by all that is going on around us that we simply lose focus. People love to tell teachers that once we close our doors, what happens in our room stays in our room; a little like Las Vegas! It sounds great in principle, but at least for me, even if only once in a while, I need to open my door, step outside of my room and breathe in some fresh air, both literally and figuratively.
Being a presenter for SMART here at ISTE 2012 is that same breath of fresh air for me. I am here with my students, George, Tait, Mitchell, Jake and Andrew and we have the opportunity to share our classroom with others. I am simply here sharing what I do every day in my classroom with my students. To me and my students, this is just how we do things. The biggest difference here is that we get to see everyone else’s positive reaction to what we are doing, along with your smiles, your raised eyebrows and your wonderful questions and feedback that you’ve graciously provided to me and my students.
SMART Technologies has a saying, “Extraordinary made simple.” Perhaps as professionals, we take for granted our hard work, our dedication to our profession and our passion for what we do every day, and we somehow see the things we do as “ordinary.” I would like to thank everyone who took the time to speak with throughout the three days at ISTE, as were it not for you, I would easily forget how simple it is to do that little bit “extra.” Perhaps it is passion that separates ordinary from extraordinary.
Allen Brooks has been a working professional in the field of technology for over 25 years. An entrepreneur at heart, Allen owned and operated a successful international software and hardware development company. Searching for his next challenge, his passion brought him back to school where he earned a teaching credential specializing in technology. Even before having completed his credential, Allen had the opportunity to get deeply involved in setting up and helping develop a technology program at a new middle (secondary) school. There, he found, setup and became addicted to the SMART Board. Shortly thereafter he became a SEE (SMART Exemplary Educator). Just recently his school earned the honor of being a SMART Showcase Elite School. Allen is an avid traveler, loves foreign languages and cultures, rides his Harley Davidson whenever and wherever he can and practices martial arts where he has earned a black belt in TaeKwondo.