I try not to talk a lot about how much “work” I have to do. We’re all busy and have a lot on our plates, as well as whatever we have going on outside of our professional work. Our lives are different variations of that- work. I remember how life used to be when I was working towards my master’s degree on top of teaching full time. Life was crazy and it was all a whirlwind! Throughout course 1, I had glimpses of that craziness- not because the coursework and expectations were unmanageable, but because of the combination of all the work that I have had going on since the school year has started. At the end of last school year, I signed up to attend several technology conferences this school year. I had no idea they would all be so close together! On top of that, my mother came to visit and work responsibilities kept getting greater and greater! All of these experiences showed me one thing. Man, am I a scaredy cat!
I learned that I am driven by fear. These past 6 weeks have shown me that almost everything I do is rooted in fear- fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, fear of not doing enough… fear! I consider(ed) myself to be a pretty self-reliant and confident person/educator. I’m beginning to think otherwise. I think I masked my fear with self-reliance/confidence. I had no idea that I would have learned that I’m afraid when partaking in this COETAIL journey. Instead, I thought I was going to be learning different ways that I can authentically embed technology into the curricular areas. Don’t get me wrong, I am of course learning that, but even more, I’m learning about myself as a person, not just an educator. Some might call this reflecting, and every year, it is one of my professional goals- simply because I’m so bad at it.
I really enjoy how the course left readings and research open ended. I definitely appreciated all of the readings on Flipboard and the links provided to us in our syllabus, but I especially like how it was a starting point. From those articles, I scoured the internet for more information- from blogs, to articles, to videos, etc. The course was set up in a way that I was able to read and pursue topics related to me, not Mr. High School Biology teacher, John Doe. I appreciated all of the feedback that I came across. It might not have necessarily been left on my own blog, but I enjoyed reading comment conversations on other blogs. It’s great to see the learning and application in action- rather than just reading about it and knowing it in theory. The insight that blogging enables you to have is incredible! I’ve read blogs from others, literally all over the world, and from educators using different curriculum.
I would like to continue to work on and read about all the educators and the ways they are authentically embedding technology into the curriculum. I’ve already read (and seen) so much, but I want more! Eventually, I would like to be one of the people contributing to others who want the same. I’d also like to be diligent in keeping up with and growing my PLN. I’m finding that this takes a lot of work- like I need to make time in my day to stay on top of it. I don’t understand how people who follow thousands of people and have thousands of people following them do it! I can barely manage all 20 of my followers and all 30 of the people who I follow. I know, with time and practice, I’ll get there!
As stated previously, I hope to engage more with my PLN. I’ve been encouraged to use Hootesuite to help with the management side of things. I’ve started to encourage the people that I work with to develop their own PLNs (which is SHOCKING, to say the least! I would have never imagined in a million years that I’d be an advocate). Technology is always changing, and the only way to keep up with it is to be an active member of a community. We are so fortunate to have a solid tech department, who offer weekly professional development opportunities. They have started opening this up so that staff can offer professional development on strategies and ideas they have learned or are using in the classroom. I will be offering a presentation on digital approaches to formative assessment that was originally given by Andrew McCarthy at Learning2 in Bangkok– talking about being afraid! I hope I do the session justice.
In order to keep up with all of the knowledge gained, I foresee having to force myself to USE the technology until it becomes second nature. Knowing myself, the more I use and share with others, the more I will be comfortable with this way of thinking and teaching for it to be second nature. Collaboration is huge and I definitely am a believer in the value of working with others. We all have different strengths that vary from educator to educator, and the only way to learn, take, and give from others is to WORK and USE with others.