As many of my fellow colleagues are heading back to work after a relaxing Spring Break, I am just getting started! And how do you think I started it off? That's right, work-related! But, in my defense, it was a much needed laugh break. This Blog Is Why: if you have not had the chance to hear principal Gerry (pronounced "Gary", but southern) Brooks speak, make plans to be at his next event.
Here is one of my favorite clips, just in case you have not seen his work (no judgment):
Even though we may know him as the fun-loving guy who makes us laugh with his southern accent and funny videos, he delivered some powerful gems. What I enjoyed about his presentation was the REAL-ness. He shared his journey as an administrator and a YouTube sensation (my words, not his). As educators, we all face similar struggles. Principal Brooks sheds some light on how he has handled situations and adds in a little humor through video messages. There were several times I had tears rolling down my face and I just could not help but laugh out loud (no, really).
His message is great for principals and/or staff who may need a little culture and climate boost. It's like standing before a mirror and realizing, "Yes, I do that." Or "You know, I could do that better." It's not about pointing fingers or placing blame, but understanding our role in building the culture/climate of our work space. So as not to ruin the experience for you, I am going to share a few general points.
Keynote Speaker Highlights:
1) As a former administrator, one of my mantras was "Have Fun" because we are in a tough business and if we don't take time to laugh, the stress becomes unbearable.
2) There are some things that are within our control to change. If so, change it if you don't like it. And the things we cannot change, we should not allow those to consume our days.
3) Finally, do you reflect on personality types in your building/work space? What makes you tick? Do you pay attention to the likes/dislikes of those around you? One of the ways that I like to start off a semester with my college students is by completing some type of fun personality quiz similar to the Myers-Briggs inventory. I also like to share my results. I completed the real (paid) version in college and again as an administrator. My results were exactly the same despite a span of about 15 years. What that tells me is that this is just who I am: good, bad, or indifferent. I think it's important to know how others like to work and/or interact with others. Let's take the guess work out and really get to know those that we spend a great deal of time with in our work lives.
Here's one that I like to use: Personality Test
One final video for the road...Happy Spring Break!!
Always learning. As an educator, this is not only a motto but a way of life. How can you ever stop learning in this world of educating tomorrow's future leaders? You can't. This Blog Is Why I am seeking your advice about a cool new educational, technology tool that I recently picked up.
This past summer, I participated in the GenCyber teacher camp and became just a little bit more techie. I am intrigued by the world of computer science and all that it has to offer. Our students today are so lucky that they get to grow up in a time where, if they play it right, they can CREATE their own job/career path. How amazing is that? As an educator, I feel lucky that I am able to bring experiences to students/schools that will prepare the next generation for jobs/careers that do not even exist yet. It starts with a knowledge of computer science, coding, robotics, and other related topics. Our summer camp experience didn't end this summer and I am grateful for the extended opportunities we have had throughout this school year. At our most recent session, we explored several tools that can be used in classrooms for students at all levels (elementary and up). The one that I am trying this week, is Bloxels. With Bloxels, students (or teachers) can create their own video games. One feature that I liked was the ability to add content through the storyboard. Students can play the video game and practice skills or review material along the way. Now, I am new to using Bloxels and this is not a sales pitch. Take a look at my Flipgrid (code: ca6b46) and I hope to get some new, creative ideas for how to use Bloxels in the classroom.
Learn More About Bloxels
My Bloxels Flipgrid
Share a Flipgrid
Have you joined the Microsoft Movement yet? If not, I invite you to read on. And even if you have, there may something that you have missed. As a current Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE), I enjoyed a fulfilling experience at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). This was all thanks to Microsoft and I was not disappointed. For months, I have been looking forward to my first flight experience and my first time presenting at this national conference. This Blog Is Why I encourage educators to follow your dreams and connect with those who will support you in making your dreams come true.
My most memorable experience was volunteering at the Microsoft booth and introducing other educators to the Microsoft Innovative Educator program. As an added bonus, they each received a t-shirt for earning the badge during the conference.
You can follow that same path. Here's how:
Step 1: Join the Microsoft Educator Community. Community Sign-up Here
In this community you have access to free resources that will assist you with integrating technology in the classroom. There are self-paced courses for your personal professional development. If you want to schedule a Skype session, this is the place to be. Find authors, guest speakers, classrooms around the world, and virtual field trip opportunities at your fingertips.
Step 2: Become an MIE (Microsoft Innovative Educator). Certified MIE Journey
Now that you have the resources to become an expert at technology integration, why not get certified? Earn 1,000 points through the Educator community by taking courses, participating in Skype events and/or sharing through your social media platforms. How easy is that? Once you earn your badge, show it off and encourage others to do the same.
Step 3: What's Next? Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
Keep earning badges/certifications. Find your niche. What is your favorite Microsoft tool or product? Learn about it. Present to your colleagues or at conferences. You can set your own path. For me, the next step was the MIEE program (link above). The nomination window is set for April 15, 2018-July 15, 2018. If you have earned your MIE badge, the final step in the application process will be creating a 2-minute video. Don't be nervous and have fun!
As an MIEE, I hope you take advantage of the MIE Travel Program. Last year, I submitted a proposal to present at FETC and I was excited when it was accepted. But, the icing on the cake was being accepted to the MIE Travel Program. They handle your registration (if needed), travel and lodging. Talk about stress free! Thank you Microsoft for an awesome experience. There are some amazing people on the team from sales to marketing and programs and I am proud to be a part of it. (Special shout out to Robyn Hrivnatz. She's the BEST!)
FETC 2018: Your Digital Footprint
Interview with @EduTechGuys:
Happy New Year! Welcome to my first blog post of 2018. This month has been packed with preparations for the upcoming Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). This will be my first year attending and I am excited about all of the cool, new things I will learn. As an added bonus, I also get a chance to present (which means I am extremely nervous). This Blog Is Why I encourage you to stay tuned and hear all about my FIRSTS at FETC!
This trip would most likely not be possible without the support of the Microsoft MIE Travel Program. I look forward to sharing my MIE experience in person with conference attendees. Don't forget to stop by Booth #435 (Microsoft booth) so that you can become a part of this awesome experience AND get a free t-shirt. Who doesn't love a freebie?! Thanks to @MicrosoftEDU, I will be taking my first flight EVER! That is going to be an adventure itself. Once my feet touch the ground again, here is where you can find me:
Wednesday, January 24th
*11:30AM-Interview with @edutechguys; EduTechGuys at FETC
*4:00PM-5:00PM-Poster Session "Your Digital Footprint: Tell Your Story with Blogging and Sway"
*5:30PM-Microsoft Booth Talk "Become a Microsoft Innovative Educator"
Thursday, January 25th
*12:30PM-2:30PM-Microsoft kiosk (Come see how to get your Certified MIE t-shirts)
Blogger/Educator/Grant Writer/ Future Ready Presenter/Aspiring Administrator