What Makes an Educator?

Connectiveness.  Collaboration.  Community.

It’s interesting because one might think that the moment school is out for summer, teachers shun anything that has to do with work or education.  But you’d be wrong.  This is the time when educators come alive…we don’t have to worry about faculty meetings, after school tutoring, papers to grade, lessons to plan…we finally have the freedom to do whatever WE want to help keep us charged and amped up about being part of the best profession in the world.

This week, I found myself added to a group on Twitter comprised of tech leaders in the OC.  We were lamenting on the fact that we needed to create some type of cohesiveness among the educators in OC…if anything just to touch base but I think more importantly to build stronger connections between districts.  I know that there is a lot of good stuff going on around the county…and we have some remarkably creative and talented teachers who are touching the lives of countless students.  We know that working in isolation is not going to cut it anymore.  The digital society that we live in is interconnected.  We feed off of each other’s triumphs and learn from each other’s trials.  And what better way to build a stronger sense of community than to create a group that commits to getting together on a regular basis?

People were throwing around ideas like game night, getting together for sports events, even using someone’s garage as an informal fort, er meeting place…I’m also thinking that the upcoming EdCamps will be more fun since we’ll already know each other (even if we haven’t met F2F, yet).  And then watch out CUE…#ocXed will be in.the.house.

Needless to say, I’m stoked.  I love our hashtag and our t-shirt design (see above). If you’re an educator in beautiful Orange County, California…join us!  We don’t bite.  Well, not all of us anyway.  😉

Online PD. Heck Yeah!

This post is a bit late, but that’s what happens when the end of the year is fast approaching and there’s still so much still to cover from the pacing chart.  So I apologize for the delayed post.

I totally concur with the tweet from @mrhousepian.  We were taking one giant leap for #GGUSD…both feet in…wheels up…whatever you want to call it.  And I loved every minute of it.

Here’s the backstory…

One of the TOSAs in our district (@teacherlucero) and I have talked quite frequently about online PD and what that might look like.  He was able to convince our director to give it a shot.  So instead of our Blended Learning group meeting F2F for our last session in June, he scheduled two GHOs and had us sign up via a GoogleForm.

I chose to attend the first online PD.  I was joined by five other colleagues, in addition to @teacherlucero.  As soon as we logged in, we “signed in” using our GAFE accounts via a Google Form as proof that we were in attendance (our district is big on accountability).  The GHO started at 4PM with the intent that we might end up spending the first 20 or so minutes getting everyone online, setting up their lower thirds, playing around with the various Google effects, etc.  We took the entire 30 minutes to play around.  =D

We were patching in from all over…some of us were at home in our office, at the kitchen table, or even outside.  Several teachers joined us from their classroom/office.  I will start off by saying that it was nice to be at home, sitting in my comfy chair…talking tech and reflecting on our year.

At 4:30 @teacherlucero started recording our session.  He had prearranged questions for us to discuss.  The most engaging one being the technology tool that made the biggest impact on our teaching this year.  Everyone shared a different tool…and we started keeping a list of tech tools and websites in the chat window for future reference.  The intent was that this session would be recorded, edited, and posted for other teachers to view if they liked.  Where the view is currently being hosted, I don’t know…probably on @teacherlucero’s YouTube channel.

Will other teachers view our GHO?  Not sure.  But if they do, I’m sure that they’ll find it beneficial.  We all shared our favorite technology tool and how we used it with our students.  We talked about troubleshooting, lessons learned, best practices.  Everyone chimed in on the discussion.  We left links to websites and apps for future reference.  This type of curating of information is not something that happens in a F2F PD.  I mean, I know that people take notes during workshops, but it’s not collaborative and people who are not in attendance do not know what actually happened.

But with our GHO, it was recorded and there’s notes included.  So the impact of this PD has the potential to go beyond just the seven of us.  It’s basically saved for posterity.  😉

I was excited to participate in our first online PD for our district.  What makes this GHO different than others is that because it was recorded and because we signed in, we’ll receive the stipend that is normally only reserved for teachers who physically attend a PD.

Is this the new way to conduct PD?  I think so.  I can totally see this type of PD working in a similar way to EdCamps or an unconference.  We’re all so busy right after school…and most of the time I find myself rushing to the PD.  But when it’s scheduled at 4PM (or even later)…I have time to breathe.  I can relax a bit, eat a snack…and then engage in what I find most exciting…talking tech with like-minded educators.

I hope that our Director likes what she sees and hears about our sessions.  If we can move forward with this type of PD, I think it has the potential to have a larger impact beyond just the teachers in attendance.  Huge leap.  I’m ready for more.

#goodstuff #futureready