Hopefully, this post is the first of many in the coming year. After all, that is going to be one of my goals for 2014–write every day.
2013 was a year of change and growth, learning and stretching. After taking the 2012-2013 school year off to complete my dissertation, which was completed in December of 2012, I found myself ready to take on another challenge. I was extremely fortunate to be able to participate in Education Technology & Media MOOC. #etmooc was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life, and it continues to be so. Under the direction of the amazing Alec Couros, not only was the content timely and the many expert presenters incredibly engaging, the opportunities to participate synchronously and/or asynchronously was key for me. Archived presentations along with the backchannel chat made it feel as if I was actually participating in real time, I was also able to go back and check out the archive, even if I participated LIVE. The Twitter chats and archived Twitter chats also provided opportunities to feel part of the experience. In addition, some of the suggested activities took more time than others or I chose to explore more of the activities. The flexibility and encouragement to share my learning with others opened my eyes to what connected learning can be. I know it is not for everyone, but this type of learning is certainly for me. I was obviously not alone because I met many other educators who obviously felt the same way. In fact, to celebrate the 1-year Anniversary of #etmooc, a GHO and Twitter chat have been planned, and I plan on attending both.
After #etmooc ended at the end of March, I threw myself into trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life as an educator with 19 years of experience and a newly minted PhD. I filled out numerous applications focusing on university and district level positions. I also explored writing conference proposals and journal articles where I could share my research. I was honored to have my proposals accepted at several conferences.
#etmooc also led to another opportunity, Open Online Experience, #ooe13, which was the brain child of Brendan Murphy. Brendan wanted to share his #etmooc experience with his staff, and with the help of other #etmoocers decided to offer a year-long experience to his district, which is open to anyone. Unfortunately, I have been woefully neglectful of this community every since I started my new job. This is another goal of mine, staying connected to the #ooe13 community and helping facilitate whenever possible.
In August, I was alerted to a position at a PreK-8 school that was in desperate need of a Technology Coordinator, as the previous person abruptly quit. I had worked with the principal at another school many years before and had enjoyed the experience. After much deliberation, I decided to take the position. My new position offered me opportunities for growth, but it has also cut into my writing time. One of the challenges included learning how to manage servers. We have contracted with a company to help me with this, and I am grateful for their assistance. I am still doing more tech support than I would like, but I hope some of this will change as we move toward using GAFE, which will be fully implemented by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Overall, I am enjoying my new position and feel I have many ‘wins’ under my belt. Four teachers have class blogs, several have wikis, we are getting iPads in the 2nd grade, several teachers have participated in online projects, and many middle school students continue to embrace coding thanks to The Hour of Code 2013. Still there is much to do to bring my new school up-to-speed, so to speak, regarding technology integration. Starting in January, I will be hosting ‘Breakfast Club’ once a week before school. It is my goal to alternate the topics of these 20-minute PD sessions between nuts and bolts learning, social media, and PLN development. I am hoping for suggestions from the teachers and lots of sharing.
So, here are my goals for 2014:
1. Write every day. Even if I don’t publish my writing, I want to write every day.
2. Share my research by submitting to academic journals.
3. Keep my eyes open for opportunities to connect, share, collaborate and create. Pay special attention to the #ooe13 community by participating and/or helping out whenever possible or needed.
4. Continue searching for a university position.
5. Exercise both passion and compassion. Being passionate about my work is a plus only when I also remember that not everyone feels the same way or has the same interests, level of perseverance, etc.
6. Exercise gratitude for the pleasant, as well as, the unpleasant in my life. It’s easy to be grateful for the pleasant (family, friends, PLN), but it is through the unpleasant (challenges) that I grow the most.
What are your goals for 2014?