No More…

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I was recently interviewing with new organization and I was asked to share about some of my proudest accomplishments. While I did speak about the typical classroom and professional successes, I also made a point to mention that I am proud of the connections that I have made and the people who I surround myself with in education. Truth is, I felt voiceless, under-appreciated, and even marginalized for many years in my role. If not for the connections that I made via social media and local meetups such as Edcamps, I don’t know if I would have made it. The people who I met uplifted and inspired me on a daily basis. Some of the people who were responsible for this uplifting and inspiring did not even know because I was very often the little lurker in the room…listening in and nodding my head or pumping my fists, but keeping silent.

Looking back on the past year, I realize that I have been very selfish. Silence is selfish. I sometimes joke with my boyfriend that he is withdrawing from my emotional bank account and not making any deposits. So I would also have to say that I have been dipping into my friends edu-bank accounts and not make anywhere near enough deposits. I ask myself why have I been doing this? I have things to say, I know I have done great things with my students and teachers, things that I am proud of, things that are worth sharing.

A lot of reflection has led me to this conclusion. I truly believe the space that I was in, both mentally and physically, made me feel as though I was less than. But of course I was not less than. I know this because my ideas, that were often ignored, were the best ideas ever when others would suggest the same thing. It got so bad, that I even told my ideas to other teachers so they could suggest it. Believing, knowing, that if it came from someone else it would be viewed in a different light. It got so bad, that I even thought about straightening my naturally curly hair that I love. Believing that if I just had strait hair and a different look, then people would listen. Whoa.

So yeah, I have been silent for a while. But I owe it to myself, and to the community of educators that I connect with and adore, to share my stories. Share not only my success but also my failures. There have been many. But the better story is how I picked myself up, often with the help of my PLN, and did it again or kept going. The commitment that I am making is to not be silent…and to keep rockin my beautiful kinky curls! Yaass!

 

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24 hours of FAb with #ECG2016

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The tremendous benefit and pleasure of growing and sharing with educators around the world cannot be understated. In less than 24 hours I have learned more about different applications for STEM, STEAM, Makerspaces, APPs for EDU, than many people can learn in a year. It is so refreshing to be in a space where you feel like the people sharing that space with you want to make you better. That is the power of connections. Today I literally learned in my PJ’s while cooking and washing clothes. Oh, and I also managed to take notes that I can share with the teachers who I work with. Granted, they are not the best notes because I was skipping around a bit, but what’s awesome is that I can go back to the ECG website and re-watch many of the events that took place and reinforce my learning.

I have been connected for a while but I am still amazing with how seamlessly people from all over the world are able to connect, collaborate, and conversate on these awesome 21st C platforms. Twitter, Voxer, Periscope, Google Hangouts, Appear In. It’s incredible. With the amount of learning that I have been able to do in this short amount of time, I have to ask myself…How can educators deny their students the opportunity to learn through this amazing technology? Better yet, how can we ensure that this technology is available to all so that no student has to be denied the opportunity to learn from connecting!

Events like EdCamp Global make it possible for everyone to learn something new and make invaluable connections along the way. Even small town gals like me who may not have the funding to travel to conferences can stay in the loop. So when I nod my head at my computer because I am learning something new, or when I share out what I know into my walkie-talkie app it is because the people I connected with are making me better and I will do all I can to return the favor!

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#Notatiste Karaoke & Why it Rocks!!

International Society for Technology in Education also known as ISTE. Every year, serious educators flock to this event to discuss serious things that are going on in the world of Edtech. I was not at ISTE this year, #notatiste. Now normally, missing out on a conference is a bummer. Not this conference! Us #notatiste folks got to partake in the ISTE fun. One of those fun events Karaoke. While the peeps at ISTE were belting it out on a real Karaoke stage, us #notatiste folks were belting it out on Voxer. We even had duets!

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What is #notatiste Karaoke? Simply put…A group of educators belting out some serious tunes on the app Voxer.

Requirements? A phone or computer, a little bravery and a good sense of humor.

Can we really sing? Ummm, that’s subjective. But I will say we had a couple of people in there who could really throw down with the vocals.

Is good singing a requirement? Heck No! In fact, good singers really got picked on in our group. In a fun way.

How did we meet? Through the Notatiste Google group started by Jen Roberts and the Edumatch voxer group. Tracy Brady was the daring one who actually started the karaoke voxer group this year. I believe educator Craig Yen was the mastermind behind last years group. Which, by the way, was awesome as well!

Why you should join in 2017? Because we just have fun. We laugh and we talk smack. Working in such a serious and at times stressful environment, it was good to come together for a break and just laugh at ourselves. It’s fun when people can come together and just have a good time. No pedagogical talk necessary.

Can I lurk? Yes, lurkers welcome! Lurk and laugh with us. If you feel the spirit, feel free to jump in.

My one favorite moment. This is a tough one, but Dan Kreiness singing, “Baby Got Back” has to take the cake. Oh My Goodness! It was hilarious and so unexpected. I still laugh when I think about it.

My takeaways? Educators are fun people with the best sense of humors! Connected educators are the most welcoming, warm people ever! It’s cool to live on the East Coast and be able to sing a duet with someone in the Midwest while other educators from all over the nation listen and laugh with us. I would love to even do a version of this with the teachers at my school. What a great community building activity.

Final Word…I believe that I will stay connected with these educators for years to come because that is how powerful a good laugh is.

Oh and In case you are wondering, here was my playlist:

Kanye/Rihanna duet (⅘ seconds) with Jacqueline Rose

Blues Travelers –  Hook

Pitbull/Keisha – It’s Going Down

Check out the other posts on #notatiste Karaoke reflections from the literal Edu-rockstars

Cynthia Day

Tracy Brady

Dene Gainey

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Tools that Work – Seesaw!

As a technology integration specialist, I am constantly on the lookout for digital tools that can be incorporated across the curriculum. With the market saturated with edtech tools, there is much that catches my eye…but not too many that have staying power. Yes, I will tinker with just about any new digital tool, but it’s often forgotten about in a matter of weeks, days! It’s true. I am over the shiny new, give me lastability! 

Things I think about when evaluating a new tool before I share it with teachers.  How will teachers use this? How often can teachers use this, is it worth their time? Can it be used across the curriculum? How much time does it take to set up? What is the workflow? Does it solve a problem or enhance something to the point where it is worth using?  Is it late-adopter user-friendly? Will even a reluctant learner use it? Exhausting!

Well with the Seesaw App, the answer is YES! I was first interesting with this tool to solve the problem of iPad camera management. Teachers would have loads of video and pics saved to their camera rolls, and they would just sit there. Well with Seesaw, teachers can now easily tag those pictures/videos to a student and add comments and even organize them into folders. They can then be pulled up by student name to share during conferences. Great for 1 iPad classrooms!

Seesaw is also a smart, easy way for students to show  what they know by capturing their work and saving to their own little portfolios…Independently!

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I love that Seesaw has multiple features for student interaction such as photo capture, draw, and record. The interface is simple and straightforward for the little ones and the big ones!  You don’t have to rack your brain to think about how you are going to use Seesaw because you really can use integrate it with what you already do. Kids can take a picture of their pencil and paper work, and record themselves reflecting on their work or explaining their thought process. Snap a picture of a reading passage and read for fluency and articulation. One great activity is phonemic scavenger hunt. Spread out some letters and the kiddos move around taking pictures of the letters they find and naming something that starts with the letter. This could easily be enhanced by having students then use the word in a sentence.

Yeah, it just works. Oh, and if you follow the enthusiastic educators on #seesawchat, you know this one has some staying power!

I made a couple things to help with our Seesaw Integration. Feel free to use!

seesaw animals – Helpful handout with icons for the Seesaw animals. I cut them out and put them next to students names.

Seesaw Icons, Letters, & Numbers – Visuals for helping students navigate the app. (I hold them up so kids can see or I tape them to the board so they know which feature to use) I also included letters and numbers for scavenger hunts.

 

 

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