Now, I’m not talking about leaving your comfort zones by sky diving or extreme rock climbing (unless that’s your thing), but rather putting myself out there for the world to critique. I just reread my very first blog post and a little tear formed in my eye as I reflected on my ambitious goals and how I’ve actually been able to accomplish 90% of them in the past 7 months.
Risk 1: #TechTips
To begin my mission to get all teachers excited about the possibilities of using technology to enhance their instruction, I started the year by sharing out weekly all that I knew, and continued to learn. Unfortunately as the year continued, my schedule did not allow me time to maintain the weekly blurbs about cool new tools or applicable pedagogues. My communication did not cease, however. Based on teachers questions, the communication turned in to a more informative piece about connecting devices to wifi, what devices work best, etc. Reflecting on the gradual change in information being delivered makes me happy because we went from exposure, to implementation, and eventually back to exposure. As the second half of the year came, the communication became focused on mini professional developments being offered at our site by our own teachers!
As teachers and students became increasingly curious about why the other classes were being so loud while learning, the word spread of how effective and engaging the educational technology was. I sent out a survey to my colleagues providing options of what I felt comfortable providing a mini PD on (I was proud that the list was over 15 options long). They then responded with what they were interested in learning more about and I calculated the top 3, in which I would deepen my understanding so I could write and deliver an effective PD.
- Utilizing EDSBY to communicate with stakeholders
- Branding yourself with Twitter
- PowerMyLearning in a blended classroom (PowerMyLearning)
- Kahoot and other online assessments ( Quizizz and Socrative)
- BYOD implementation and resources
- Making your day easier with OneNote
Within these PDs I exposed the teachers to navigational tools and possible ways to utilize the tools to enhance the instruction they are already teaching! The remainder of the time was spent with the teachers planning how/when to use the tools, and finally on to implementation!
Risk 3: #JustKeepSwimming
As with any new initiatives, there have been some hiccups along the way and procedures I did not know. Of course technology did not always work properly and I sometimes got kick backs. Although it may have bummed me out in the moment, pulled out my inner Dori! I kept my eyes focused on completing my mission for the year and staying positive (mostly- really, everyone needs a vent session every now and then).
Sure, I messed up, didn’t “do things right”, or misunderstood sometimes- but who doesn’t when they are learning new aspects of any career. I took Edison’s advice and knew I was so close to accomplishing my goals and was not going to let hiccups rain on my parade.
Risk 4: #Bethechange
If you want something to happen you have to make it happen. Before this year I was so worried about the hiccups and “disrupting the peace” because surely the change will come, right?
If you want to make a difference, be different. A huge component of allowing myself to grow and change this year has been my Professional Learning Network. I have had some amazing supporters within my own district such as @bsmrtick, @Michelle4edu, @turner4edu, @richwinem, @Cullen4edu, @Plugin2learn, @MrsCervone_AP, and @JWeaver_HCPS (just to name a few). These amazing like-minded innovators have been my sounding board and support through planning and implementing my goals to improve not only my own instruction, but other teachers as well.
As my confidence grew, and I knew that I was on the right track, I began to use social media more and more. I found Twitter to be my platform of choice, but whatever works for you… use it! Use it to network, share what is working, share what crazy ideas you have, ask for advice, or seek guidance. There has always been at least one person available to offer their input!
One change we made this year were that the school gained more laptop carts! With that came questions from parents, naturally, so we embedded a Digital Literacy portion to our pre-existing Literacy Night. This showcase consisted of three 20 minute session which parents came to see how we were using technology in our classroom. We also provided a comprehensive list of online resources to help their child in all subjects for various ages.
Another change we made this year was organizing a Technology Committee. Together these lovely ladies and I organized PD and events, researched and shared information, and plotted about our next steps for technology integration. You can not make any change alone, so find your tribe!
Risk 5: #OvercomeFears
Being the change involves confidence in your vision, MAKING a change is a leap. I am making changes within my own life that are leaps, but without taking leaps I would never be any closer towards my own personal/professional goals and I WILL NOW allow for them to simply pass me by.
Feel free to let me know you thoughts, experiences, or add me to build your PLN!