After years of kicking and screaming, here it is – my first official blog post. I have pondered creating a professional blog for a while, going back and forth, deciding over and over that I won’t do it because I don’t have time, knowledge, ability, ideas, etc. You name the excuse, I’ve made it. What changed you ask? It must have taken something pretty EPIC for me to attempt this blogging endeavor.
#flashback A little over a year ago I was in my 8th year teaching in a fifth grade classroom and loving my students, but I craved more. I had a graduate degree in Instructional Technology with no clear vision of what to do with it. The walls started closing in on me, so when I found out in November that a media coordinator position was open in a nearby elementary school in my county I immediately applied. I would finish my MLS in May, so it seemed perfect! I got the job, and packed up my classroom at Christmas break. Walking into the media center as my new “classroom” was overwhelming; I barely got through the first semester without pulling my hair out. I wasn’t even trying to stay above water anymore; I was trying to see how long I could hold my breath while searching desperately for an oxygen tank or an air pocket underwater or anything (let’s face it, we’ve all had those moments). Determined to start over and make my first full year in the media center a success, I went to my county’s Teaching & Learning Conference (a technology conference) where a director from my central office introduced me to Twitter as a Professional Learning Network and my whole professional career changed. (Follow me on Twitter: @iluveducating). I have connected and reconnected with so many people who have altered my outlook. Suddenly it felt as if the world opened up and the opportunities seemed endless. #endflashback
Through Twitter, I have learned about and have attended my first edcamp (and signed up for four more in the next 3 months), implemented makerspaces in the media center, am part of an amazing group of educators in the North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network through the Friday Institute at NC State University, and will present two sessions at NCTIES in March.
(That’s me with the purple shirt, white jacket, and faux pearls – teacher salary.)
So the same director (@lucasgillispie) who introduced me to Twitter as a PLN created EPIC Teaching Academy: A Professional Development opportunity in 3D GameLab by GoGo Labs that is Engaging, Playful, Innovative, and Connected. Forty-four people in my county are piloting this program, and I am one of them. In this software, we are in charge of our own PD with the flexibility to choose our own paths. We can learn about Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogging. We can watch TEDtalks on educational reform, gaming in education, and the past, present, and future of technology. We get rewarded for reaching various goals through badges, achievements, and awards, which brings me full-circle to kicking and screaming with refusal to start a blog. Apparently, I’m an Achiever according to a BrainHex gaming personality indicator and all I needed was to see blogging as part of a quest to complete to make me search for various blog hosting sites, choose one, customize, and write my own blog, create my own starting point. I have no idea what will become of my little piece of the internet, and how well I will do at updating and adding new ideas, but here goes nothing.