Tag Archives: Goals

New Goals for a New School Year!

The start of school has been extremely busy this year! Before we get too far into September, I wanted to record some of my goals for the 2013-2014 school year.

After finally finishing my room setup, I realized that I actually have visual representations of all six of my goals displayed around my room. The first, on-going goal I have is to continue creating and facilitating global learning opportunities for my students.

global ed

Last year, I was able to set up a few different Skype exchanges with New Zealand, Alaska, and Minnesota as well as some collaborations through projects around social studies and science explorations. I hope to expand those projects this year and introduce more tools to students that they can use for global collaboration. I really want to help establish the idea that technology can be used as a tool for meaningful learning and exchange across the globe.

Related to that goal, I hope to use my Google Glass (won via the #IfIHadGlass competition) to connect my students with other students around the world. I recently launched The Global Google Glass Project, inviting teachers to sign their classes up to participate in a variety of projects that would take advantage of the first-person perspective of Glass. Additionally, I want to push myself to use Glass consistently throughout the year as a tool for documentation to capture moments of student learning and discovery each day. You can check out more of my exploration with Glass on my Tumblr.

google glass bulletin board

Of course, if I’m asking my students to use the Internet to connect and collaborate with others around the world, I need to be talking with them about digital citizenship. I used parts of the Commonsense Media curriculum last year but this year I want to spend a lot more time discussing topics like: staying safe online, how to search the web effectively, and understanding the Creative Commons. To help with this, I’ll be using the Commonsense Media elementary school digital citizenship poster, who we have named Danielle the Digital Citizen, to personify the qualities of a good digital citizen and make these ideas more relatable for my young students.

digital citizenship bulletin board

In addition to being digital citizens, I’m hoping my students will become Makers, who Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager define as “confident, competent, curious citizens in a new world of possibility.” I’m starting an afterschool Maker Club for my Kindergarten – 2nd Grade students to provide them with more opportunities to be exposed to tools, projects, and ideas that encourage creating, tinkering, and making. I’m excited to have this time to introduce materials like Makedo and Little Bits and also let students guide me in designing new projects and researching new tools. Outside of the club, when possible, I hope to also integrate making into the classroom when it connects to the curriculum or the technology projects we’re engaged in this year.

Maker Bulletin Board

I’m also striving to increase my knowledge of iPad deployment, integration, management, and training this year, as we introduce twelve iPads in our Pre-K class and one in each of our kindergarten classes. I had a few iPads to share last year across all of the classes I work with but I think having them in these classes full-time will create a different experience. I want to continue exploring quality app review sites and rubrics and learning more about how to adapt the SAMR model as a framework for iPad integration in early childhood. My goal is to help the iPads become a seamless addition to each classroom as a tool for creation, collaboration, and communicating new ideas or reflecting on things that were just learned.

Maker Bulletin Board

Finally, although this is probably a guaranteed outcome if I work towards the five goals above, I want to make professional growth an ongoing goal this year. Last year I participated in a few MOOCs for the first time and attended or presented at some new conferences. I want to make sure that in all of the busyness of the school year and my new projects, that I still carve out time to develop professionally and stay current with new tools and approaches to tech integration.

I think one of the most valuable things you can do as an educator is participate in groups or activities that inspire and push you to grow and continue learning and doing/making. With that in mind, I hope to attend at least one new conference this year, submit some presentation proposals, read at least one new book in my field, and participate in some online communities and/or MOOCs around my goals.

I think that’s enough for one school year! Now, it’s time to get busy with the actual implementation piece.

inspiration to grow

What are your goals for this school year?

Do you have any tips or resources to help me meet mine?

Thinking Forward Into 2013

Now that the new year is underway and I’ve had a chance to reflect on 2012, I wanted to pause and do some thinking forward about 2013. Where will I go? What will I learn? What are my goals (big and little) and how can I achieve them?

IMG_6536

Where will I go, both literally and metaphorically?

  • I hope to go to at least one new conference that I have never attended before to stretch myself professionally and expand my knowledge and exposure of what others are thinking and doing around technology integration in early childhood and for global collaboration
  • I would love to travel overseas again sometime in 2013 because I have and probably will always carry the travel bug. Whether it’s returning to a favorite spot, like Italia, or venturing into new territory  (maybe Asia?), I’m up for the adventure!
  • I’m also looking forward to the pause and peace of summer and I hope it will involve a trip to Cape Cod, where I always find so much serenity
  • Metaphorically, I am planning to continue exploring new lands of tech curricula and to go where I haven’t gone before in terms of studying and designing projects that will integrate technology into the classroom in a meaningful way

What will I learn?

  • Programming Languages
    • I would like to continue learning more about different programing languages in the coming year. Recently, I have been working through Super Scratch Programming Adventure! to examine ways I might be able to use Scratch with my older students. I have also been looking at CodeHS/Code Academy and apps like Move the Turtle and Cato’s Hike to see if they could be used in the classroom. There still seems to be a gap in available materials and languages suitable for very young children but hopefully programs like Scratch Jr. and CHERP will be available soon! 
  • iPad apps
    • These are on my list of learning materials because as we move towards a deeper integration of mobile technologies, I want to be familiar and comfortable with tools that can facilitate meaningful and developmentally appropriate learning experiences for my students. I plan to continue using Simple K12 Webinars, my PLN and my own explorations of various apps to make this happen.
  • Ways to integrate the Maker movement and robotics
    • I would love to have both of these as part of the technology work my students are engaged in. I believe that tools like MaKey MaKey and LittleBits provide an opportunity to introduce technology as a tool for creation and collaboration in a way that is tangible and exciting for young children.
  • Foreign Languages
    • I hope to continue practicing and expanding my Italian during the upcoming year, as well as building my Spanish skills, primarily through apps like Duolingo and MindSnacks.

Some Big and Little Goals:

  • Continue to be a constant learner
    • I want my learning to include materials and topics I find intriguing but also challenging so I can have a better understanding of how my students feel when they are trying to learn new concepts
    • For example, I hope to explore some new classes in 2013, such as barre and maybe a math-focused MOOC
  • Share more! 
    • I would like to focus on sharing more of my own knowledge and experiences this year, through my PLN, via my blogs and also by running conference sessions
    • To start, I plan to attend #EdCampIS, followed by the Villanova Tech Expo and hopefully another new conference in the summer
    • I will be looking for opportunities to share my learning around tech as a tool for global learning, as well as tech integration ideas for early childhood – if anyone has recommendations for venues or conferences, please let me know! 
  • Create a tech project database:
    • Over the next year, I want to work on creating a project database for my teachers and other educators who are looking for ideas on how to use technology as a tool to enhance their class projects and curricula
    • I hope to make it easier for new tech users to plan and engage in tech integration work by having some concrete examples and tools available
  • Expand my school tech website:
    • I hope to expand my tech website for the students, teachers, and parents at my school to include additional resources  and tech recommendations that are easy to access and navigate. Over time, as I explore more mobile apps, I also intend to add more specifics about how they can be used in the classroom with young children since that is a gap I have seen in what’s currently available online.
  • Make Global Connections
    • An ongoing goal I have is to continue making more global connections so that I can start and facilitate more global collaborative projects among educators and students at my school and around the world.
    • By using ePals, iEARN, the Global Classroom Project and Twitter connections, I hope to make this goal a reality.

Goals

 

#ISTE12 – A Sonic Boom in the #EdTech World

On my last day in San Diego, two jets performing a demonstration created a sonic boom (“A loud explosive noise caused by the shock wave from an aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound”) causing many to wonder if there had been a small earthquake. As I boarded my plane, I realized it was a nice representation of the reverberation I have been feeling since I experienced the shock wave of attending my first ISTE conference.

An ISTE conference can briefly be summarized as a large, loud explosion of learning, networking, and curating. I took in high volumes of information and was exposed to new tech tools, PLN members, and ideas each day. I don’t think I have ever been to a five day conference (#SocialEdCon + #ISTE12) before and I have to say, it is an intensive experience. The amount of information I’m taking in has decreased since the conference ended but my thoughts and questions have not. I’m still trying to process and place everything I heard and to think creatively about how I can integrate it into my working knowledge of technology in education, particularly with young children and in global collaborative projects.

I was too exhausted each night to try and curate the #ISTE12 Twitter stream (although it was actually smaller than I had anticipated) but I did try to capture as many tools, resources, and key points as I could via my favorites (and subsequently Evernote, thanks to IFTTT). I’m still reviewing all of the tech tools I captured and hope to curate them in a more organized fashion via Pinterest or Symbaloo soon.

Aside from specific tools, I also learned or was reminded of a number of conference tips while at ISTE12. There was SO MUCH going on at this conference and at first I was concerned about how I would navigate everything from sessions, to playgrounds, to lounges! But after I took time to slow down a bit and review all of the various opportunities and activities, I realized that each one fulfilled unique goals. Here are some of my tips for navigating the different offerings:

Tip 1: If you really want to attend a specific session, make sure to get there at least 20 minutes early! I showed up to a couple of sessions only 5-15 minutes early and found them closed due to the room being at full capacity. I realized that if I really wanted a seat, I needed to get there far in advance.

Tip 2: When choosing sessions, remember it’s not just about the title. Check out the presenter too! The topic of a session may be important but an engaging, talented presenter can be equally key when trying to decide what to attend. S/he can prompt you to think critically and consider new ideas that you might not have considered if you only attended sessions on topics you’re already comfortable with. Plus, a presenter will probably keep your attention longer if the discussion is engaging you than if s/he is only reading from PowerPoint slides.

Tip 3: Remember to set goals! Before attending the conference, figure out what your goal is in going to the conference. Are you there to network? To learn about a new teaching approach or set of tools? Is it a combination? Revisit your goals during the conference and update them in response to the people you’re meeting, the sessions you attend, and your overall sense of what you want to gain from the conference to find out what fits you best and what will meet your professional needs.

Tip 4: It’s not just about attending, it’s also about interacting. As overwhelmed as you might be when trying to sort through your conference agenda make sure to schedule time to meet and talk face to face with presenters and other colleagues who are at the conference. Technology allows us to connect and build relationships from afar but when we’re together we should take advantage of that and the learning/sharing that can occur in-person.

Tip 5: Block out time EACH DAY for reflection. I realized too late in the conference that what I should have done each night was choose a specific time the next day that I would protect for reflection and processing  (don’t even tempt yourself by looking at session titles during that time block!) because with so much going on, it was easy to keep pushing off time to think until I was too tired each night to do it. Next time, I’ll schedule “Reflection Sessions” in my conference planner.

As ideas from the conference continue to percolate, I’m left with some remaining questions …

Global education seems to have embraced technology as a meaningful tool for collaboration and communication across cultures, ages, and countries. It’s a field that seems to understand that the focus of technology use needs to be on learning, integration, and relationships.

  • Why is technology used so successfully for intentional exchange and educative experiences in global education?
  • Is it because technology is the only tool that can so easily and cheaply breakdown language and geographic barriers?
  • Is it because the goal of global collaborative projects is about the relationships from the beginning whereas tech use in other settings is often about technology use/instruction?
  • How can we help technology be seen (and used!) as a tool for meaningful exchange, dialogue, and collaboration, starting in early childhood and continuing through higher education?

Finally, I’m still reflecting and questioning the bubble that exists for those using technology in education and the even smaller bubble of those using social media in education for learning and networking. Is it permeable enough? How do we move in and out of it and expand beyond that bubble to have a more inclusive, dynamic, and global PLN across disciplines?

More thoughts (and questions!) to come …

How do you find a good professional mentor?

Some rights reserved by Peter Guthrie

Tonight, my post is really more of a question: How do you find a good professional mentor?

The importance of mentors for one’s professional growth and guidance has been emphasized to me repeatedly over the years but recently the reminders have been even more prevalent. With the ending of my master’s program and the beginning of the next phase in my career, I have been attending a number of professional networking events, including a recent conference at American University. Like the other events I have attended, the Women in Business Conference reiterated the value of having a mentor but when I sat down at the “mentoring” table during lunch, there were no clear answers about how to find a mentor. I heard warnings about the political and professional complications that can arise from having a mentor in your workplace (e.g., a boss or colleague) and I heard the age old advice of reaching out to everyone you possibly can to connect with potential future mentors. I also heard comments about the added-value of mentors for women and young professionals. I’m curious to learn if there is research behind those ideas but I’m even more curious to discover why mentoring can be such a “hot topic” at networking events yet rarely have any clear actions steps associated with it. I have discovered that finding a mentor is not as easy as simply contacting as many people as you can or crossing your fingers and hoping that one will magically appear (I’ve tried).

Given the crossroads I am currently at professionally (i.e., selecting a career path to build upon my new master’s degree, one that ideally combines some or all of my interests in early childhood education, global education, and educational technology) it seems like the perfect time to search for a professional mentor. It would be amazing to have guidance about various professional paths, such as working as an independent consultant versus a full-time employee, or to to learn more about the best ways to find a career that will allow me to continue to grow professionally. I’m interested to hear another person’s professional perspective about each of the career fields I am exploring and the ideal way to set myself up to achieve my professional goals.

So with all of those questions in mind, I ultimately come back to the first question, how do you find a good professional mentor? I’d love to hear others’ ideas and experiences with answering this question!