My Journey To Connectivity

Telephone

It sometimes can be overwhelming trying to utilize all the technology tools out there. About a year ago I began using Twitter on a regular basis to connect with professional educators all over the world. That has led me to this world of connected educators that I would never have known was out there.

Because of Twitter, I have increased my blog reading and writing. I have learned to become more transparent in my practice and write about it in my blog. I set goals and try to write more (although I often don’t meet those blogging goals as you can see by the sparseness of my blog postings). I do have so much to say, but finding the time to write, revise, edit, and perfect (this perfectionist cannot stand to post without the last step) is difficult.

I’ve learned so much by participating in Twitter chats. It still amazes me that a year ago I didn’t know that such a things existed! I’ve modeled these for the teachers in my building hoping that they will see the personalized professional learning they can gain from the chats. For me a weekend doesn’t start off on the right foot without my SATCHAT….I mean, I was in Puerto Rico, waiting for a ferry to Culebra with limited cell service and managed my SATCHAT…it’s that important! Other weekly highlights for me as an administrator are edtechchat, teach like a pirate (TLAP), teacher/parent chat, 1 to 1 i pad chat, BYOT Chat, Georgia Educator, Iowa Educator (yes, I live in Georgia, but Iowa has some good topics!), and whatisschool. There are countless others; these just happen to work for my schedule and be some of my favorites! In many cases I have developed friendships and professional relationships online first that then became face-to-face friendships at conferences like ISTE and FETC. It’s amazing what technology has become!

Through my growth and learning on Twitter which has lead me to individual educators’ blogs, I then began to curate through Flipboard and organize blogs through Feedly. This has led me to even more educators and blogs thus more connectivity.

My latest is Voxer. I participate in a number of Voxer groups. What’s nice about this is the more personalized nature of it because I can hear people’s voices. With Twitter and Blogs we only read words; with Voxer I can hear which gives an additional layer of personalization to the app. I just think there is something convenient about talking rather than typing.

What is your story? How have you or will you get connected? Does it make us better educators?

 

 

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Who Are We?

Opening Slides

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Who are we? Where do we come from? What makes us who we are? Is it nature or nurture? For me, my family and the traditions that I was brought up with are so much of who I am that it is engrained in everything that I do.

I believe that I should be better today than I was yesterday.

I should have a disregard for the impossible.

My Bubeh and Zayde (great grandparents) came from Russia as young adults. As a child, I used to walk my Bubeh to the restroom because she couldn’t read English. In spite of not having a formal education, she raised four children. When school called, she had learned the formal system; she showed up, and whatever that teacher said was right! And boy oh boy, you didn’t mess with her! All that in spite of not reading. That perseverance came in handy; I remember her telling stories of the Cossacks raiding her village time after time as a child growing up.

My grandmother: she was the kid whisperer. Even though she wasn’t the most social person, she could strike up a conversation with any child whether we were in line at a store or wherever. She had an innate ability to bond immediately with them. When my sister and I both became teachers, she started buying books for each of our classroom libraries because, “They need to learn to read!”

She became a widow way too young and got the equivalent of a minimum wage job to support her four young children; she saw to it that each made it to college graduation. Her youngest, much to her dismay had a dream of being an actor. But she saw to it that he lived out that dream and went to Juliard on a full-ride scholarship to live out that dream -it wasn’t her dream but what her children wanted she saw to!

So how does this connect to my vision of education and to me?

That risk-taking of my grandma and bubeh?

As a first-year teacher I found myself in the inner-city where most of my second-grade students couldn’t read the pre-primer words. Innovation was where it was. The grade level text wasn’t going to cut it. Business as usual wasn’t cutting it for those kids. I knew that like my family before me I was going to have to take a risk and do it differently and get my students through several years of school in one year. Because after all, we all know the research: jail cells in Georgia are built based on the number of third-grade students not reading on grade level…and I wasn’t going to let my babies be part of that statistic! So as a twenty-two year old fresh out of college I broke the mold and I set the course for my career.

I was going to be a risk-taker. I was going to be an innovator.

These are beliefs that I have never stopped.

I have lived my educational career this way. I believe in this growth mindset. This is the legacy that I want to leave. We have to be innovators if we want our students to be.

What if we all committed to learning together? To innovating together? To figuring it out together.

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