Tag Archives: Senegal

The Best Laid Plans …

Some rights reserved by Luke Andrew Scowen 2009

When my winter break began I told myself I would sit down, reflect, and write a thoughtful post to close out the year. I had the best of intentions to write a nice long post, maybe even two … and then, my winter break came to an end. At first, I felt guilty about relaxing so much and not making the time to post but I slowly began to reconsider those feelings.

I started to reflect again on how nice it can be to take a break from the pressures to write, reflect, and post and how it’s even nicer to allow yourself to take that break. As my winter break progressed and I let myself enjoy the simple pleasures of reading, visiting with family, and walking around the city, I began to feel refreshed and I could feel my energy and excitement around work and learning naturally rejuvenating. I decided that while it would have been nice to post during my break, I could be happy with posting after it as well. So now that my break is over, here’s my attempt at looking back at 2012.

iPad_blog_photo2

The past year has been a year of change, full of endings and new beginnings. To start, after a winter and fall jam-packed with coursework, I finished my masters program in International Training and Education in the spring of 2012. I also had the opportunity to expand my consulting work and in addition to managing websites and facilitating Twitter chats and webinars, I led an online summer book club and traveled to Senegal. During my second trip to Africa, I saw less of the countryside but met many more people (over 300 in fact!), as I managed the social media and online spaces for an international conference. I learned a great deal about child protection systems and had the opportunity to connect with some great new colleagues.

After my African adventures, I moved from D.C. back to Philadelphia and into one of my new favorite spots in the city. I had a chance to explore some more of the local parks and restaurants before heading out to my first NAEYC Professional Development Institute (PDI) as a Lasting Legacy Scholar. It was an educative experience and I appreciated the opportunity to connect with so many other professionals in the field of early childhood education. I was also able to help facilitate the first Tech Play Date and share in technology explorations with other early childhood professionals. The PDI was followed closely by my first ISTE conference, which set the stage for our new Early Learning and Technology Special Interest Group (SIGELT) that just recently launched.

ISTE and the Tech Play Date were the perfect prelude to my new position as a Technology Coordinator at a private school, working with Pre-K through 2nd grade, which I began in late August. Since then, I have been engaged in technology explorations, troubleshooting, and collaborations with the students and teachers at my school. I have introduced a range of new tools and apps and together we have explored their applications in the classroom. For example, to start the school year, some students used Skitch on the iPad to annotate photos showing what they like to do in first grade. I have also worked to facilitate some cross-class collaborations, such as a Voicethread exchange among the kindergarten classes, where each student added an audio recording as an introduction to her or his photo and then left a comment on a photo of a new peer in a different kindergarten class.

Not long after our initial projects were finished, I traveled to Atlanta for my 5th NAEYC annual conference. I had a wonderful time talking technology and networking with new friends and colleagues at Tech on Deck and enjoyed attending sessions with people who I had only “met” before on Twitter! I returned to my school with new inspiration for Reggio-inspired, maker-based technology explorations and since then, I have continued to integrate new tools for student expression and creation into the classroom.

DNLE

As the year came to an end, I looked back on all of the posts I had written, here on this blog as well as the tech tips on my school blog, and I felt renewed excitement about all of the things I have learned and experiences I have had. I tried my first MOOC (Standford DNLE) this year, working with partners in Singapore, South Korean, and Iran for our final project and I had the chance to moderate some #Globalclassroom chats to make even more global connections. I continue to learn constantly from my PLN on Twitter, Google+ Communities, and other social media networks, as well as from new friends and colleagues who I get to see in-person.

After giving one small workshop and with another under-review, I have made efforts to begin sharing more of my knowledge and experience with technology as a tool for global learning.  Meanwhile, the small collaborations and global connections that are just beginning to blossom at our school via Skype and Twitter feel like they are a great foundation for future collaborations and the tech projects that are underway are beginning to feel truly integrated with classroom work and curricula. All in all, I think it has been a year of successful change, a year of growth and transition that I hope will lead to even more learning and discovery. Up next, I want to do some forward thinking about the future and what I want to achieve in 2013!

Taking Time Between Your Timelines – Because #YouMatter

Pocket watch, savonette-type. Italiano: Orolog...

Pocket watch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s that time again, time for one timeline to end and another to begin. We’ve all experienced these transitions, probably over and over throughout life but this time, I want to pause.

I want to take time between the ending of one timeline and the beginning of another to reflect on all that I’ve experienced, accomplished, learned, and shared.

Just a few weeks ago, the timeline of my master’s program came to an end and with it, the even longer timeline of my formal education (for now!). With that ending, came the end of my timeline living in Washington D.C. and the beginning of a new timeline in Philadelphia. In parallel to those timelines, I have been adding experiences and learnings to my professional consulting timeline, which has become the main frame for my work in Philly. And of course within each timeline are smaller timelines, such as Capstone projects or trips to Senegal, and when I stop to think about it, there is truly a lot of change, growth, and learning happening simultaneously in one’s life!

With that in mind, stopping to think and to reflect is exactly what I want to do. It’s so easy for one timeline to fade into the next. For me, transitioning from college to work to graduate school was almost seamless. There was not time (I thought) to pause and celebrate what I had done, consider the change I had created through various campus projects or to record hopes and goals for moving forward during the actual transitions. I often take time throughout my timelines to plan in advance, reflect on my experiences, and think deeply about larger professional goals, which has helped me bring together my various experiences and studies in early childhood, global education, and educational technology in a meaningful way. Yet rarely have I allowed, in addition to that planning and goal-setting, a bit of time for myself between transitions. Now, with the end of another academic timeline and the beginning of new professional experiences, I want to make the time to consider where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going next. I want to carve out time that in the past I have allowed to be so easily eaten up by other priorities (because doesn’t it seem like there’s always another task to finish, bill to pay, or idea to explore?).

Especially in our connected society, I succumb to the pressure to constantly check my email, chat with my Twitter PLN, finish that lingering project and then start a new one because it’s sitting there on my to-do list or popping up in my browser and I don’t want to fall behind. But what if we all take time to put that aside for a little bit and just think about why we matter, about what we’ve done and where we’re going next? As Angela Maiers says, You Matter, and by “mattering”, she suggests you should remember (taken directly from her blog):

  1. YOU ARE ENOUGH
  2. YOU HAVE INFLUENCE
  3. YOU ARE A GENIUS
  4. YOU HAVE A CONTRIBUTION TO MAKE
  5. YOU HAVE A GIFT THAT OTHERS NEED
  6. YOU ARE THE CHANGE
  7. YOUR ACTIONS DEFINE YOU IMPACT
  8. YOU MATTER!

These eight ideas are a lot to process, so that’s why I hope to take the next week or so to actively reflect on each one as I mark the ending of one timeline and the beginning of another. I hope others can take time to pause and notice their own timelines, big and small, because like me, you matter and together we can all encourage one another to remember that and to recognize the value of reflection in times of change.