Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Individualized PD: My Failed Success

There have been several blog posts, tweets and references at conferences about the importance of individualized PD for Technology Integration.  This is something I thought a lot about last year and even more over the summer.  These thoughts prompted me to a summer offering of Tech On Demand.  Although I believed this was a great idea and felt I would have several take me up on this opportunity, I didn't.  This brought me back to the drawing board as far as expanding opportunities for more individualized PD.  I didn't have any new ideas, just thoughts, passion and a drive to provide learning opportunities for all.

So... weeks have passed since my Tech On Demand "defeat".  I decided to "own" this defeat and continue.  Thinking about some tips I gained from my own summer trainings I decided that I would continue to focus on the following:

1. Building relationships
2. Being available
3. Offering support

I knew these things were KEY as our school transitioned from  1:1 iPads to 1:1 Chromebooks. Another year began and like any other, it was busy. Trainings took place, I offered support, and tried to make a point to be available as much as possible. What I had realized was that scheduling individualized (open) PD opportunities wasn't a lot different than any other "planned" session. Many still didn't know what they didn't know.

This photo represents week TWO of school with Chromebooks and an "impromptu" personalized PD session after school this week.  At one point I had seven people in my office seeking help and suggestions.  It was not planned. It was on their own "need to know" schedule.  The best part... They were helping each other more than I was helping.  I was at the center of facilitating personalized PD.  The conversations, enthusiasm and excitement were awesome!  My professional goals to build relationships, be available, and offer support were coming together.

As educator, we all have those "favorite" days in education. It may have been a memorable event, lesson, student, or class. August 18th, 2014 is an "official" favorite day in my technology integration journey.

Here's to a year of conversations, sharing and enthusiasm for technology integration.

Monday, August 4, 2014

ISTE as a Newbie

ISTE as a Newbie

Tech Coaching

ISTE 2014 in Atlanta was a memorable and reflective experience for me.  As an “ISTE Newbie” I had mixed emotions as to what I should expect.  I was prepared to be overwhelmed and that was definitely my initial feeling upon arrival. This feeling did not change; however,  the networking, learning and enthusiasm that radiated throughout the conference trumped any overwhelming feelings that lingered.

Networking was a huge part of ISTE for me.  Attendees were constantly connecting via Twitter, PLN Lounges and the ISTE Network game.  These connections not only opened up learning opportunities during my time in Atlanta, but provided lasting opportunities for learning and collaborating from this point forward.  I felt that I gained a new idea or tool in every line I stood in.  Whether I was waiting for my morning Starbucks, for the rain to subside or just waiting in line for a session, I had engaging conversations with complete strangers that were always full of ideas, tools and things I couldn’t wait to share.

It took me some time to sort out my notes and all that I  “took away” from ISTE.  I felt like a sponge in an ocean.  I would absorb a bunch of new ideas or tools in a session, squeeze them out on Google Document and then soak up more greatness from sessions, playgrounds, poster sessions, vendors and attendees, all while continuing to squeeze the greatness onto my Google Document. My sponge was quickly filling up and curating the greatness seemed overwhelming at times.  In my recent read, “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess, I was reminded the importance of curating my ideas.  My sponge was filling up with links, apps, extensions and ideas that I must sort and share.  As a technology integrationist/coach, I took away several Google, web, and app tools to use and share with teachers.  I love learning new tools that give that “ohhhhhhh” response.  

Beyond helpful tools, sites and apps, I felt drawn to sessions focused on tech coaching.  It was great to listen and gain ideas from other districts as Technology Integrationist/Coaching positions continue to grow and develop.  Relationship, Relevance and Reflection, or the Three R’s of tech coaching, really seemed to summarize the mission behind this growing position.  As technology advances and those in education are forced to stay on top of the technology trends, tech coaches are vital.  I truly feel that it is the Relationships, Relevance and Reflection that guide the success and validity to this position. As we work together to stay on top of the latest and greatest with technology and engaging children, we must work as an education team as well.  Building Relationships, finding Relevance to technology tools and ideas and truly Reflecting on the process is key.  As the summer comes to an end and I start “squeezing” my sponge of knowledge, I look forward to sharing and growing with others in the changing world of education.  

Until next ISTE…