goals

ITRT Goals

Since I’m in a new state and district this year, I wanted to set some goals for myself and see if I can achieve them this year. I’m an ITRT this year, aka an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher. It’s really the same job as when I was a TIS (Technology Integration Specialist), just a different title. We were asked to create goals in new teacher orientation in July, and I later sat down and made my list a little longer. In the end, I ended up with 6 different goals.

  1. Increase the use of the project library at FCHS- The project library is a wonderful room that many schools do not have. This room is a collaborative space and is set up with three different sections. The front section is a round sort of couch with a table, where connectors are placed to plug in. Users at this table can immediately have their table connect to the Promethean board in the room. Behind this section is a high cafe table with stools where students can sit and view the front or work on their own stuff. In the back of the room are two more sections, each with a table and large screen TV. The setup is the same as the front. 

    It was asked that I train teachers on using this room, and work to provide them with support and ideas for how to best utilize it as well. I know it will easily work for ELA teachers, and I need to find ways to get others to use the room. I am going to work on talking with teachers every now and then to see if I can spark any ideas.

  2. Get more educators “connected”- This goal is one I always have in the back of my mind. I want to show more educators what the power of Twitter and blogging can do for their teaching. I think it will be easier to get them to use Twitter than to blog, but that’s okay. Twitter can be a very powerful tool for connections and ideas, and I have plenty I can share with staff. My district already wants to utilize social media more, and the superintendent is aware of what I can do, and has asked me to speak with the other administrators and technology team.
    I have already begun developing a self-guided course for staff development. I plan to send out an email to see if I can find any interested educators, and then work one on one with them during school hours to help them learn to utilize Twitter. I have a feeling that the self-guided course will be beneficial as a reference guide when I cannot be there to add support. It’s only a beginner course, but I am hoping to be able to develop a more advanced user course in the future.
  3. Increase staff use of technology in classrooms at FMS/FCHS- This is a goal for me in my position no matter where I am. I do know that staff utilize the technology more in this district than my old one overall, and they have so far been more willing to ask for resources/help on different tools and resources.
    I am working to develop staff development that will assist me in this, and if I can get all of my training materials into Google Classrooms, then I will have self-guided classes as well, which will also double as references for staff. I plan to make sure staff know I can co-plan, co-teach, and co-reflect with them so that they have the support necessary. I feel this goal might take me a little bit to get started as I am still working to settle into the routine and getting to know my staff.
  4. Use Google Classroom to create online staff development resources- I have already mentioned parts of this goal above, but I need to go into more detail. I come from a Microsoft state, and am now in a Google district. The switch has been interesting and not as bad as I thought it might be. I’ve been introduced to Google Classroom, and though it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that I’d like for it to have, it’s a decent tool to use with both staff and students.
    When I began learning to use Google Classroom, I started working on setting up my own coursework. Since I don’t have my own class of students, I made my classroom meant for teachers, and focused my design on professional development. I started with Twitter, but soon switched to Kahoot, since teachers wanted PD on interactive tools for the classroom. I successfully finished the Kahoot one, and was so pleased with it that I am working to develop other classrooms for tools as well.
  5. Build relationships with ALL staff- As a new staff member in a brand new district, it is absolutely vital to work on this goal. I need to build good relationships with staff so that they will be able to trust me as their ITRT. I have found that this has worked well for me in the past, but that it can take some time. The first school year is often rougher because I am still developing relationships. I found in my last district that the second year was easier once I had established relationships in place. Once I have a good relationship with a staff member in place, then it becomes easier for me to be able to make technology suggestions to teachers. They are usually more willing to listen and consider what I have to say because there is a level of trust there. I know it is going to be hard to make sure I have a good relationship with all staff, but I’m really going to try my best with this one.
  6. Work on Google certification- This goal is a must for me now that I am in a Google district. I have always wanted to do it before, but have never had enough time, and since I wasn’t in a Google district, it wasn’t too high on my priority list. Now that I am, I want to make sure I know all there is to know. My teachers expect me to know a good bit, and thankfully I am a fast learner when it comes to technology.

    There are two levels of regular certification, and I intend to take both before the year is out. I am planning on having the first level finished by Christmas, and the second before the school year is over. Each level has coursework that can be taken, and then an exam to sit for online. The exams cost, but thankfully they aren’t expensive.

Six goals seems plenty to me for the 2016-2017 school year. I am hoping that I remember I set goals by the time the end of the year rolls around. Then I’ll come back and address which I met, and which I feel I failed to meet. Wish me luck!

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?