You have a passion for education. You have a passion for using technology in your classroom or district. To be more effective and efficient with the students you serve. To grow and use the skills, knowledge, and understanding you have to give students the best opportunities possible. You are the ed tech leaders not only in your classroom but in your district. You are the one others come to for advice, tips, help and support. You have a responsibility to your students and others in the district and community. So many hats, so little time! How do you manage all of this? Let me propose a framework of C.A.R.E.
C – Community
Help build community through communication and collaboration. Be intentional about setting aside time at staff meetings and providing opportunities for building community outside the school day. Find hashtags in Twitter to support your curricular area and/or areas of professional passion. (Google search “educational hashtags“.) Seek out Google Plus communities or build one of your own. Like ISTE, ASCD, or Edutopia on Facebook. Share with your classroom, colleagues, and others in your community. As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Start building and using your communities today!
A – Assessment
We all enter into education and especially technology at differing levels. Assessing where you are and focusing on goals for your professional growth is key. There are many roads to travel and trails to blaze in the ed tech world. Don’t be overwhelmed by the many paths you may take – just pick one area to focus on and go! There are many tools to help you and others in your district self assess and set priorities for growth. ISTE has NETS for students, teachers, administrators, and coaches. Atomic Learning has free and paid resources you can use. Krista Moroder has the EdTechChallenge.com that you could use as a framework to help you focus. Find out what is important to you in your classroom and/or district and assess your level of skill for future growth.
R – Resources
You have run across hundreds if not thousands of resources to help you and your students be more efficient and effective with technology. Building your resource library can seem daunting but there are many tools to help your organize your digital resources. First, find out what your district supports. Are you using an LMS such as Moodle or Schoology? Does your district use Google Apps for Education or eBackpack? Next, lean on your ESU and find out what they have to support your resource library. Safari Montage is a great media library at your disposal. And then, if you must, create your own site of resources for yourself and your students using WordPress, Google Sites, or Wikispaces. More and more educators are also turning to social media to create Facebook or Google Plus pages and communities. Start collecting and organizing your digital resources – you won’t regret spending the time to be more effective and efficient.
E – Education
Keep growing yourself and learning new things! Education and technology are changing at break-neck speeds and the only way to stay on top of it is to participate in professional development opportunities. PD is changing and there are so many new opportunities to fit your busy life. There are still the traditional inservices that your district or ESU’s provide. NETA is also great resource and is growing to reach more and more educators by providing not only the spring conference but the fall conference as well as membership benefits throughout the year. You’ll also find websites, webinars, online courses, MOOCS and more. The key is to find out where you are and align PD opportunities with what works best in your life.
I couldn’t be in a better place. I love the ed tech field for all it’s challenges and even more, the educational leaders who are passionate about providing our students with the best learning environments so they may flourish when they spread their wings and make their mark on the world.
You make it happen! #YouMatter