Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The End and the Beginning

Today is an exciting day coupled with sadness. Today is a day filled with nervous energy but also nervous fear. Today is a day that marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Today is my first day of a new job, Coordinator of STEM K-12 for the Rockwood School District. My thoughts today are really all over the place. I have had several weeks to contemplate this, analyze it, begin working to succeed at it, and to think back on what I had been and what I was now becoming.

For 8 years, I was an Instructional Technology Specialist and this job defined me. During that time, I presented at conferences, helped way more teachers than I ever thought possible, worked with awesomely enthusiastic students, and really felt like I made a difference. In the last two years, I was blessed with many opportunities...none bigger than attending the Google Teacher Academy. This opened up even more opportunities and I feel it was one of the reasons I was accepted to present at ISTE 2015. Presenting at ISTE was a bucket list moment for my career...the third try was the charm. My presentation could not have been better! I had a full room, an engaged audience who participated fully, and at several points of the day, I received compliments from participants as I walked around at the conference. It was a success and I was on top of the world.

Demo of Google Cardboard at my ISTE presentation
My success at this job defined me. Over the years I received numerous awards, received positive feedback from teachers, administrators...even a group of 6th graders defined me as "cool"...the ultimate compliment from a 6th grader. In the online spaces, I have built a reputation on my work and this is something I am really proud of and hope to continue. Within my local community, I have been sought out by a number of districts and schools to provide PD. My success has defined me. I am not being boastful, I don't think I am the end all be all of edtech, but I do acknowledge that success has been there.

This success is what makes me sad and nervous. I am leaving this behind. One of my most successful moments as an Instructional Technology Specialist is most likely my last. Leaving on this note puts doubts in your head about whether I made the right decision, whether I will be able to be as successful, and whether I will be able to redefine myself. That process starts today!
Added a new laptop sticker to reflect my new identity
I have a new identity now...and I think it will be a split identity. My past is something that is not being deleted. It is still part of me but now my identity has shifted. I now need to start building my STEM identity and that is exciting. We have many exciting things planned this year and there will be many challenges ahead. This is going to be a year of change and I anticipate that I will work harder than ever. So why am I doing this? It is all about the possibilities and the impact we can have on students. Just like technology, the world of STEM is constantly evolving with new possibilities and challenges. It is my hope that all I have learned over the past 16 years in education will help me serve the district as their STEM Coordinator.

For now, I can mourn the passing of one job and embrace the excitement of the new one. I have to admit...writing this was selfish and has helped me process everything. Hopefully, you can glean some thoughts that can help you.

I look forward to blogging about the successes of the future.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sunday, February 8, 2015

EdcampSTL...the Maker Camp

EdcampSTL was a big success and a great day of learning for the over 500 people that were there. Being an "orange hoodie" volunteer was again a great experience as we tried to make this experience the best possible for all participants. Was it but was it great....I would say yes. For me, the maker theme was my big takeaway. Three experiences during my day made making the biggest takeaway.

Experience #1 - The Kendeo Presentation - I had the pleasure of facilitating this session. Although we were not talking about physically making anything, the creative process was the central theme. I really loved how we were exposed to the roadblocks to our own creativity. After leaving this session, I began to think about the ideas I come up with and whether I truly act on them enough. I am going to make it my goal to ask for an "unbelievable" request and to completely act on my ideas. By doing this, I can use my creativity to "make" something unbelievable.

Experience #2 - The Making in the Classroom Session - Patrick and Rob (@midschoolsci and @rrambach) were truly impressive in sharing how the incorporate making in their 8th grade science classrooms. All of the ideas shared are easily replicated and that is what I loved most about this. I can take these ideas and share them with the teachers that I work with so they can hopefully bring making to their students. I also loved how they are blazing a trail at their school with coding. At that point of the presentation, they mentioned that only certain classes were participating but the success had parents asking why their children were not doing this in their class. Sometimes we need to be innovative and let there be a little outside pressure for other teachers to get on board. That is how change happens. The other thing I took away from this session was that you don't need all the fancy equipment to get students making. Cardboard, scissors, hot glue gun, etc. can be all that is needed for students to have a great maker experience. We all like the fancy toys...3-D printer...but we don't need it to make. That is big!

Check out their presentation here:

Experience #3 - The GCCA Makerspace - I absolutely loved the Makerspace! Having been there once before, it was great to see how it has changed and evolved. I came at the end of the day which was much less crowded. Because of that, I was able to chat with the representative from Pixel  Press and see all the cool things they are doing with game design. As a lifetime gamer, I was thrilled to see how easy it can be for students to create their own games using Pixel Press. I plan on exploring this much further. Just being in the makerspace brought me inspiration for how I can help make this more of a reality for the schools I support. It is just an unbelievable space!

I left EdcampSTL with a renewed sense of my own creativity and a mission to use it more than I currently do. If we all tapped into our creative genius, just imagine what we could accomplish!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Blog Posting (weekly)

  • tags: research

    • Good stuff ;) - post by Shaheer Khan
    • maybe the best page in the net - post by Julian Hoffbauer
    • this is really awesome for school - post by hotpoultry
    • This is good research stuff. - post by fuchasiagirl
    • Wikipedia generally has an article on everything, the English encyclopedia having the most.
      Anyone is allowed to edit Wikipedia articles, except for certain articles where there have been constant revert wars. Recently, some corporations have been altering Wikipedia articles en masse, specifically the CIA.

      - post by jaxsonk
    • the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. - post by Alan Poon
    • dosnt that make it better then any other encyclopedia? the whole world is gathering info instead of a room of smart people. - post by Austin Sanders
    • loll dis be da goooooooood stuff!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) - post by Kari Larson
    • Wikipedia is such a good website to learn about someone, something, or a place. - post by Cameron M
    • hey class how do i create a new bookmark? - post by steven suits
    • Most professors take points off a paper if you use Wikipedia as a source. This is because anyone can make up and put up any information, making it not as reliable. - post by Sara Barron

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.