connected educator

Positive Post Friday: 10/21/16

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for another Positive Post Friday! I didn’t post one last week because things got hectic at work, as it seems to be usual for a Friday.

Fridays mark the end of the work week. Fridays mark the start of the weekend. Fridays should end the week on a positive note. Therefore, I’m going to share 5 positive things that happened this week:

  1. I got to watch a student present his Genius Hour project that he had created. I had assisted him with learning the basics of game design, and he used that to design his own game and wrote up a game pitch template.
  2. Tuesday I was excited to attend a training to learn about Promethean boards and Classflow. It was a daylong training and I feel ready to help assist others in incorporating the technology into their classrooms.
  3. This week I was able to hold second sessions for a few of my Connected Educators crew. They are really starting to get the hang of things and enjoying learning about utilizing Twitter and blogs.
  4. Today I worked with the economics and marketing teacher at the high school to begin implementing our social media project. The superintendent has asked that the class find a way to solve the issue of the lack of student voices in our social media accounts. The students got started today and they did really well. They are currently working to research brands/companies and how they use social media to market themselves.
  5. This one isn’t school related, but on Sunday, my fiance and I had our save the date photos taken. We got some wonderful shots, and can’t wait to see how they turn out in the end. She and I had a few prop signs we’d brought with us as well.

Your turn: Share your Positive Post Friday.

Until next Friday! Have a great weekend!

 

#IMMOOC- Relationships: Connected Yet Disconnected

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“It is easy to lock yourself in an office, connect with people on Twitter, and appear from your room with some great idea or new thing.”

– pg 90 of The Innovator’s Mindset

As I worked on completing my reading for this week, this particular sentence jumped out at me. No, I’ve not finished my reading just yet, but I suddenly had a realization that this is me right now. As the realization dawned on me, I became very disappointed with myself. I had been doing something akin to this so far this year, and just hadn’t realized it yet. This is not the me I want to be, nor is it the me I should be. Thinking about it, it seems so obvious now. Why did I not see it before?

We sometimes find ourselves settled into our routines and not realizing the impact on others. In fact, one of my goals this year is to build relationships with the teachers around me. I do this in some ways- I attend the same meetings, I give professional development… but it’s not enough. Those are not good ways to build relationships of trust with staff members at either of my schools. I am failing my staff by not taking the time to get to know them or learn about what goes on in their classrooms. How can I help them as the technology specialist if I don’t know their specific needs?

Sure, I love being on Twitter and researching to find new ideas, but I’m not learning how to connect those ideas to the teachers that I serve. As a technology leader, why should they try my new ideas if they don’t trust me or know me all that well?

I can think back to my days in the classroom as a teacher. I remember our technology specialists well. The school I worked at was a smaller school, and usually not often visited by the technology person. I would often go weeks without seeing them. When they did appear, it was to pop in and see if I had any issues. If I didn’t, off they went. I know part of the problem is that in that particular district, the technology specialist was expected to fix things and integrate technology. Though the job description was only about integrating technology, fixing things was thrown in, and often all teachers ever expected.

Would I have interacted differently with these technology specialists had I had a relationship and a sense of trust developed with them? Probably so, but I can’t really say. What ifs are tricky things to contemplate, after all. When I took on the role of technology specialist myself, I worked to develop relationships with staff. I would talk to them about things not related to my job, and it worked in my favor.

It hasn’t taken me long to forget all of that within my move. I’m in a bigger school district, but that doesn’t mean I should be slacking on this. I need to make a change. I see the problem now, and I want to work on correcting it. I may be that person mentioned in the quote above, but I don’t want to be that person. I have failed myself and my teachers so far, but I am going to change that. It’s time to fix it.

If I’m going to fix things, I need a plan. It’s very easy to spend time during my day wandering around to teachers’ classrooms during their planning. The middle school is easier because each grade level has a separate planning period. The high school will be harder, but I will make it work. I know each teachers’ planning period, just not their rooms. Once I get ahold of that information, I’ll be golden. Starting next week, I plan to visit teachers on planning throughout the day. I will drop in and see how their year is going, and begin to get to know them better. I won’t spend too much time, just about 5 minutes and head on my way. I’ll begin to build those levels of trust with my staff and hope that I can bring about some changes in how I do things.

I may have failed, but that’s okay. I can’t always be successful. I can take my failure and turn it around. I’m going to turn this around, and I’m going to be a different person.

Positive Post Friday: 8/26/16

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for another Positive Post Friday!

Fridays mark the end of the work week. Fridays mark the start of the weekend. Fridays should end the week on a positive note. Therefore, I’m going to share 5 positive things that happened this week:

  1. 1. I did training for the Project Library this week and while I didn’t have many to show up (teachers didn’t need trained again if they had been trained before), the ones I did have got my creative juices going! We talked about ways that their classrooms could utilize the library, and how I could make that happen for them.
  2. I presented to principals at the meeting on Thursday about why we should build our brand and tell our story. The response seemed pretty positive so far, and I will present the entire thing during a meeting in September to all administration.
  3. This week I finally revamped my blog so that I can utilize both tumblr and WordPress. The latter is mostly so I can easily share posts with colleagues at work, as tumblr is blocked in most districts. It also opens up my audience more. Both will have the same posts, so there’s no big difference, except in layout.
  4. I began developing more of my ideas for the types of PD I want to offer staff this year. So far I am preparing to offer training on Kahoot, Seesaw, QR Codes, and becoming a Connected Educator.
  5. This isn’t really school related, but my favorite band announced tour dates, and have one a week before my birthday that I can easily go to. What better way to celebrate turning 30?

Your turn: Share your Positive Post Friday.

Until next Friday! Have a great weekend!

Positive Post Friday: 8/19/16

It’s Friday and that means it’s time for another Positive Post Friday!

Fridays mark the end of the work week. Fridays mark the start of the weekend. Fridays should end the week on a positive note. Therefore, I’m going to share 5 positive things that happened this week:

  1. I learned from a Twitter colleague, @aforgrave, that I could get a free teacher account on learntomod.com for my game design club students. This will be a huge help with teaching modding.
  2. I received my Piper kit in the mail and got it put together by Wednesday evening. I’m looking forward to completing the missions and learning what I can do with it.
  3. I have a meeting today with the superintendent, technology, and some other people from the central office about social media and building our school’s brand. I’ve prepared my document, and have been told the superintendent should be fond of my idea. Fingers crossed!
  4. I have been planning my professional development sessions, and have my first session next week on the project library at the high school. It will probably be a small crowd because teachers only need to attend if a) they plan to use it and b) they’ve never been trained on it before.
  5. This last one isn’t really school related, but this is the last weekend I should have to go back to my hometown for awhile. I have just a little bit more to do with the old apartment and then I’m done. I really dislike the long drive back and forth!

Your turn: Share your Positive Post Friday.

Until next Friday! Have a great weekend!

Connected Educator Goals

This year, my goals as a connected educator are to focus on building my brand, making new connections, and introducing others to the power of Twitter. I feel that I am more capable of doing these this year because I’ve been able to see what a difference being a connected educator could do for me. Now I want to show others what a difference it can make for them as well.

Last year, my main focus was simply on becoming better at being connected, whether that was with Twitter or blogging. Twitter was the easier of the two, as I was known to let my blog slack off into oblivion. With Twitter, I had a set time I would participate in edchats, though I wouldn’t always post much else at first. Once I got into a routine, I did much better. Slowly I made more contacts through the #wvedchat group, and then I later added the #minecraftedu one (formerly known as #minecrafted). As the school year moved forward, I was having a much easier time keeping track, and even learned to help moderate a few #wvedchat sessions. Edchats seem overwhelming at first, but they aren’t if you’ve got the right people to help you get settled in!

Blogging was a whole other story. In general, I have blogged during many different times in my life. I used to keep a LiveJournal that I posted to and updated. I believe I got it around 2003, and I kept up with it for over ten years until I decided I didn’t want to update anymore. Education-wise, I kept one in grad school for a little bit, as we had to for a class, but then I let that one go. It still exists, but it’s not a very good effort. My current blog, Ready, Set, Go Tech!, was started on Tumblr in March of 2015. I updated it somewhat regularly until September of that year. I then let it fall to the wayside.

It wasn’t until January that I decided I needed to keep up with my blog. I had been exposed to quite a few different articles, as well as colleagues about telling one’s personal story because no one else would. It was during that time that my position as a technology integration specialist was cut due to the budget, so for me it became even more crucial to tell my side of things. I began using my blog more effectively. I not only told my job hunt story, but also shared Twitter transcripts, edtech information and resources, as well as my own opinion on topics occurring in the educational world.

Fast forward to the present, and now I try my hardest to keep to a posting schedule for my blog. I want it to be updated regularly so that it others are able to read new content at least once a week. I know others may post less, but for me, this encourages me to think and write about what matters most to me. I made Thursday the day that I would post a new update. Tuesday evenings became the time to post my Twitter transcripts, but only because both of the edchats I participate in occur that evening. I post randomly at other times, but I am very consistent with my set days.

Being connected as an educator, both on Twitter and as a blogger, allows me to constantly reflect on my work at any time. I am able to talk to educators weekly about issues or technology or any other educational topic. I am able to reflect on the things I have done during the weeks and months of work, as well as what I’ve accomplished outside of school. I can go back to any of my posts for inspiration or reference.

My story is woven into all of my social media work as an educator. No one else would tell my story but me. Sure, I had some articles in the newspaper about my work, but those only tell one part of what I do. Articles are a once in a blue moon thing; when I take control of telling my story, it’s constant. Suddenly, there’s all kinds of documentation about who I am and what I do as an educator. That’s the way it should be for everyone.

Thus, I feel it’s part of my duty this year to make one of my goals focused on showing others what being connected can do for them. The best way to do that is to keep doing what I have been doing, and to share my own progress with them. I’ve been working on taking my conference presentation and developing it into a professional development session for the district. I’m going to see about getting educators on board. Thankfully, I developed it in Google Classroom, which means educators don’t have to come to a physical PD session if they are unavailable.

As for myself, I plan to keep up with my Twitter and blog connections. I plan to explore at least one new edchat this year and hopefully add it to my repertoire. I plan to make sure I am keeping to my blogging schedule. Finally, I’ll keep sharing my story. After all, who else will?