Collaboration, Google, Kuwait, Professional Development, Social Media

What have you been doing lately to become a better educator?

Last month, I bookmarked an article to read – Technology Doesn’t Teach, Teachers Teach by Bill Goodwyn. As I was finally reading it this morning, this quote really jumped out at me:

…we urge our colleagues in the education community to increase their efforts to provide not only the resources to our teachers, but also the necessary professional development [not always mandatory]. We must recognize that the teacher-student relationship comes first. Only then will we continue to see improved results in the wired classrooms of tomorrow.

This got me thinking about what I’ve been doing recently in the professional development category. I’ve been giving PD to our staff, but what have I been doing so that I am becoming a better educator? I’ve also been challenged recently as to why a Technology Integration Coach would need PD other than the IB training offered. Here are some of the PD opportunities I have been seeking out and some of my thoughts…

I don’t do much educational reading over the summer. I rarely get on Twitter and don’t touch my Google Reader. Some may criticize this, but for me it’s a much needed break (especially this year). As we’ve gotten back into the swing of the school year, I’ve been fortunate to have the time each day to spend time reading through my blogs and keeping track of what’s happening on Twitter. I’ve found new people to follow and blogs to read. Although I cherish how my PLN has grown during the last 2 years, I also find myself overwhelmed by all of the educational material put out there on a daily basis. What is actually quality? Who is just trolling for views? Even after you pare down all the information, there is still an incredible amount that is worth reading and using – who has the TIME to do that and how do you choose which tool or idea is best? But attempting to answer these questions is why Twitter and blogs have been and continue to be great places for me to go for self-guided PD.

We are now working at an IB school with all three programs (PYP, MYP, DP). Training teachers in IB is (understandably) a top priority. We currently attend weekly meetings to work towards being category 1 ‘certified’ (we won’t actually get a level 1 certificate, but we will be able to attend category 2 and 3 workshops). It has been very interesting to learn about the IB and MYP curriculum. A lot of it is just common sense & good teaching but quite a bit more is so incredibly different from what I did in the States. I’m eager to learn more in order to collaborate with teachers to integrate technology into the entire IB curriculum.

Working in a Google Apps for Education District and using Chromebooks in my classroom inspired my interest in Google Edu. After attending the South Carolina Google Apps for Education Summit in June, I knew I wanted to learn more. Although I would love to attend a Google Teacher Academy, it’s probably not going to happen in the near future. Another goal of mine is to become a Google Certified Trainer. The first step towards achieving Trainer level is to become a GAFE ‘Qualified Individual.’ I’m currently working my way through the modules and I’m half-way there! I still have the longest three modules & exams to complete – Calendar, Docs & Sites. I’ve already picked up so many tips, tricks and ways to incorporate Google into the classroom that I’m excited to keep going. As I continue to learn more…I’ll be sharing the love on Twitter!

One of the ways in which I have grown as a teacher is becoming a ‘sharer.’ I don’t want to just consume on Twitter and blogs. I want to help people through collaboration. I’ve slowly been doing a better job at this – first in my department in SC, then in my district, through my Twitter & blog and more recently by presenting PD to other teachers. While still in South Carolina I was fortunate to have the opportunity to present at a SC AATF workshop, at the SCFLTA conference and at the GAFE Summit. This year, I’m adding presenting to a new staff and presenting at international GAFE Summits to the list. My husband and I were accepted to present at both Bangkok and Mumbai. My presentation is titled “Conjugating Google Apps in the World Language Classroom.” This will be a great opportunity to meet and learn from new colleagues in educational technology from around the world.

But why do all this? Would I still have a job if I didn’t spend hours each day forcing myself to go above and beyond what is expected? Probably. Most people have no idea what I’m doing on a daily basis for my own professional development. Would I feel good about myself if I wasted my time? Probably not. I’m eager to learn in order to help our teachers implement technology meaningfully. Actual technology might not be changing on a daily basis, but HOW people are using it does. I won’t claim to know everything but there sure are a lot of resources out there that can help me (slowly) come closer. I also can’t forget that I am no longer in the classroom; I’m not using technology with my students on a daily basis. My best ideas seemed to come to me in the moment…how can I keep them coming? I don’t want to lose my connection to meaningfully implementing technology in the classroom. The only way to stay current and relevant is to push myself always be ‘better’ than yesterday.


3 thoughts on “What have you been doing lately to become a better educator?”

  1. You are so awesome–a truly inspiring educator. I am incredibly interested in the things you’re doing with Google. I’ve loved incorporating Google Apps into my classroom this year. I’m still working out quirks every now and then, but it’s so wonderful! Can we schedule a chat sometime? I’d love to hear more.


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