Tag Archives: Lino

Another Year Gone By

Wow, another year has gone by and we’re already three days into 2012! With the start of a new year, I wanted to take some time to reflect back on 2011 and things that I learned, accomplished, and hope to carry with me into the new year.

I think one of the most memorable things of 2011 will always be my first trip to Africa. As part of one of my master’s courses at American University, I traveled to Nigeria for two weeks in May to conduct research on the early childhood education available in the small town of Yola. I was amazed at the range of education practices and facilities I saw, ranging from mud buildings with a few tables and crayons to a fully-resourced, air-conditioned facility connected to the American University of Nigeria. The trip was a great reminder that no matter how many books you read or perspectives you hear on a country, there is nothing like walking into a new culture, hearing new languages and quickly trying to adapt to the local customs, food, weather, and everything else that goes with international travel! Some parts will always be easier than others, such as getting down on the dirt floors and playing with the children at the various schools I visited. Whereas trying to stay silent and honor the accepted cultural practice of corporal punishment (i.e., watching a four-year-old be repeatedly hit with a large, thick stick) is much, much harder. Overall, the trip was extremely educative. I learned a great deal about life in Nigeria, the education system there, and the importance of traveling with a flexible, supportive group (and protein bars … for when you can’t take one more day of rice and chicken!).

Aside from my international travels, I had some great developments in my professional life in 2011. I had the opportunity to spend the summer working as a teacher at the Penn Children’s Center and loved getting to work closely with one preschool class. Our adventures included “traveling” from Japan to England, learning about the royal family, creating castles of all shapes and sizes, growing flowers and vegetables in our garden, and enjoying many days of water play!

Earlier this fall, I was able to start working as an Education and Technology Consultant, which has allowed me to learn a lot about webinar management, utilize more of my tech skills, and be more active in the field of early childhood. Consulting has allowed me to work with some great new colleagues, including @FSSimon and @KarenNemethEdM, which has been a real privilege. I’ve also really enjoyed helping to facilitate the Early Childhood Investigations webinars and if you haven’t checked them out, I’d highly recommend them, they’re free

I also grew a lot as a learner and educator in 2011 through my master’s courses. I especially enjoyed Models/Methods in Early Childhood Curriculum; Global & Multicultural Education & Training; Training Design; and Critical Educational Psychology. These courses helped deepen my knowledge of approaches to literacy education in early childhood, critical theory and ways it applies to education and psychology, and how to design a meaningful training. I was able to take a fresh look at the works of Freiere, Vygotsky, Piaget as well as many new theorists and I had the chance to read a number of great texts. I would particularly recommend: Making Literacy RealCritical Multiculturalism: Theory & Praxis, Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach.

Of course a big part of my past year has involved a continued exploration of tech tools. As I wrote about in my first post, I discovered Storify not long ago and I have also been testing out Symbaloo, a great way to compile your favorite sites, as well as exploring new uses for the virtual cork board Lino. I also began using Picnik so I could add a watermark to the photos in my new Etsy shop. After following and reading many other papers, I finally decided to create my own #Tech, #GlobalEd & #EarlyEd  paper.li and after being fairly inactive for a bit, I jumped back into LinkedIn in 2011, creating two new networking groups for my master’s program and finding other professional groups where I could join some great dialogues. Twitter was also a major part of 2011 for me, as I traveled to New Orleans to present on Twitter in liberal arts classrooms at the annual meeting of AERA, connected with more educators around the globe, began participating in more great chats like #kinderchat, and started tweeting for my program @ITEP_AU.

All in all, it was a pretty great year! I’ve loved the discoveries I’ve made, whether they’ve been in the field of international education, early childhood, or technology and the connections I have built will definitely be a big part of this new year. I’m excited to see what 2012 will bring and to start charting new waters, either here or abroad, so that I can continue to learn and grow and to connect educators around the globe.

My Edublog Award Picks for 2011!

The Edublog Awards are back! And this year (#eddies11), I have a chance to join in the nominations since I now have this great new blog! When I realized I could add my own nominations, the first thing I did was check out the The Edublog Awards Blog to learn more about the process and history. As they state on their About page, “The Edublog Awards is a community based incentive started in 2004 in response to community concerns relating to how schools, districts and educational institutions were blocking access of learner and teacher blog sites for educational purposes. The purpose of the Edublog awards is to promote and demonstrate the educational values of these social media.”

I appreciated how clear their instructions were as well as the discussion they invite on their homepage, including a reference to the fact that some people are actually opposed to the  Edublog Awards. Personally, I’m thankful for the opportunity to recognize the people and communities I’m constantly learning from and with and to share with others the resources that I’ve come across by participating in various online networks. I’m excited to see other nominations and add them to my own resource lists and continue the sharing that is so much a part of having a PLN. I would encourage you to post your own nominations (there’s not much time left – the deadline is Friday, Dec. 2nd!) so that we can all learn from the educators and colleagues who you learn from and begin to dialogue with them too.

My own nominations speak to my three main passions, early childhood education, global education, and educational technology. You’ll see a few nominations related to #kinderchat, or as they say, “The Little Chat that Could,” which continues to inspire me with new ideas and resources. If you have time, go check out some of the amazing projects they’re working on both locally and globally using some great tech tools and an amazing demonstration of virtual collaboration. I have also nominated some blogs focusing on technology in education and explorations with #edtech, something that I think should be a focus for all educators as we continue moving into a more technological age. There are tons of neat new tools out there but we should also be careful to examine the pedagogical implications of jumping onboard with any tool without fully exploring it first and determining how and why it should/could fit into a training, class lesson, or other educational setting. Finally, I made two #globaled focused nominated because I believe in connecting educators across the globe and both the Global Classroom Wiki and the Global Education Conference are working to do exactly that!

Maggie’s Edublog Award choices: