Tag Archives: travel

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?

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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

 

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The Calm Before the Storm

will return slowly sign

Upon returning from my vacation, I started to feel the anxiety building. I began to worry that a frantic storm of long hours of “catch-up” work were ahead. I started to fear that I had just experienced the “calm before the storm” by taking a vacation right before prep-work (orientations, meetings, etc) for the new school year was to officially begin (quickly followed by the first day of school!).

And then I stopped worrying. I started to think instead, about what I had learned while away and disconnected from technology and my work. I remembered the days of patiently watching waves, simply enjoying the sound of them cascading onto the beach. I thought of how lucky I felt to experience the care and compassion of family members who I rarely see. Then, I reflected on the power of patience and compassion, with and for ourselves and our fellow educators (and students). I realized that just because I had created a forced-calm by walking away from my devices and connecting with family and friends for a week, that did not mean that the calm had to immediately disappear. I could actually ease into things and be compassionate with myself by allowing time to readjust to a non-vacation schedule, time to get “back in the groove” of digital connectivity, and more time to reflect on what I had learned while away (and what I want for the upcoming school year).

I was surprised by how freeing this mindfulness of the need for compassion, patience, and multiple forms of connectivity (e.g., digital, personal, familial) felt. Which made me begin to think more about the applications of these traits and ideas for the classroom and the field of education. Have we placed enough emphasis on these “basic traits” when working with our students and colleagues? I know that to some, “compassion” and “patience” may feel like character traits that don’t have to be addressed after the early years but in our increasingly connected world, I wonder if we should highlight them more, regardless of age.

I think it could be beneficial for educators to remind one another to be patient and compassionate with themselves, especially as pressure builds with the start of a new school year. This feels particularly timely given that it’s Connected Educator’s Month. In addition to focusing on ways we can connect globally for collaboration and learning, we should focus on ways we can use our networks to support one another in being mindful of how much pressure we are putting on ourselves to set up the perfect classroom, prepare the “right” lessons, and create the ideal classroom community. I would love to see educators brainstorming ideas to help themselves and their students be patient and compassionate in their learning and communications, even if that means sometimes taking time to disconnect so they can reflect and relax.

How are you feeling about the start of the new school year? Have you connected with a supportive network of educators who can remind you to be patient and compassionate? Any tips you can share?