LAST semester of #UKSTL – I’m a Master

Ahhh…I feel like I can breath! Between finishing up my action research, 2 other UKSTL classes and presenting at 4 conferences (plus 2 leisure vacations)…it’s been a hectic spring!

I’m proud to say that I now have my M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on School Technology Leadership. It’s a mouthful. But after 5 semesters of work, I’m okay with that! In fact I have my Masters +15 with my COETAIL graduate certificate 😉

Here are some fun participation numbers: 37 middle of the night classes. 13 evening classes. 1 oral exam. Connected from 7 countries. I can’t speak highly enough of the UKSTL program (and professors) and the willingness to be flexible in order to accommodate my situation. The program was 100% online however I have classmates that I would greet with a hug.

Being able to say “I did it” feels so damn good. The last two years have been stressful to say the least. But I have grown in many ways and can’t wait to see what this decade holds for me. I stand by my decision to choose a research university with a real campus. #worthit

EDL 669: Leadership for Creative Problem Solving

This was only the second hybrid UKSTL course I had taken (some students were in class while some of us were online). I have to say that I prefer the 100% online; however thanks to Mike, I felt as in class as I could! He rigged up the room at UK quite nicely so those of us online felt much more a part of the class.

This class was facilitated by Tricia Browne-Ferrigno. It was her first hybrid class and she worked continuously to make it worthwhile for all of us. “The purpose of this course is to expand students’ understanding of creativity as a transformative process, essential component of decision making, and core competence of leadership.” I quite enjoyed reading Creative Leadership: Skills That Drive Change (required) and Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World (chosen by me). The themes of this class pushed me and helped me grow as both a person and future leader.

My four major assignments are below:

Contracted group project – review of 3 books

And the culminating assignment of the class (and really the entire program)…

EDL 665: School Tech Leadership for Digital Citizenship

In 665 we focused on ISTE Admin Standard 5 (the last of the standards) and educational law with Justin Bathon. Justin was passionate about this course and it showed. This was a topic I had a lot to learn about (and still do). It was a great introduction to educational law and gave me lots to ponder. Being outside the US makes this class slightly less relevant, however I think international school staff should be cognizant of educational law and how it might apply to us.

During 3 of our live classes, we held debates in which teams rotated representing the school, the student and being judges. I find it interesting to note that the students won in all three cases.

Student Digital Speech
RFID Badges
BYOD Implications

My final project was a policy brief that might be applicable to my school. I found this difficult to wrap my head around as an international educator but I chose to examine our acceptable use policy in regards to digital equity.

#UKSTL Semester 4

I know that my fourth semester of UKSTL finished in December. Except it kind of didn’t. I took an Incomplete in ELS 621 in order to finish my action research.

ELS 621: Leading Action Research II

After the summer with Jayson, I worked with Marti Quintero on the implementation of my action research in the fall. This was my first experience both with action research and working with different professors on the same project. Although frustrating at times, I found it beneficial to have multiple people looking at my project from different perspectives. Our tech integration Critical Friends Group met 7 times during the school year with an 8th meeting tentatively scheduled for May. When I wrote my research proposal in the summer I didn’t realize that I would need to finish my research in the fall semester. Instead of cramming it in or reporting on only part of my research, I chose to take an incomplete to do it right. I’ll write more in depth about my research in an upcoming post 🙂

EDL 664: Tech Leadership for School Improvement

When I found out that Scott McLeod was teaching this class, I was pretty pumped. Meeting him at NESA SEC in Bangkok in 2013 is what prompted me to join the UKSTL family. And he’s the founding director of CASTLE. What a great opportunity!

It ended up okay. I appreciated the idea behind the class – inquiry based, self driven. The goal was to build the class together around ISTE Admin Standard 4. Except it didn’t turn out quite as mind-blowing as I was hoping for. I started the class with high hopes and lots of questions. The class was set up on a blog where we all contributed what we were learning. And then we split up into investigation groups. I joined the performance assessment group. Our end product was a website about authentic assessment geared towards teachers, admin, professors & policymakers. I chose to focus on assessment in the International Baccalaureate. Another investigation group created a website about technology integration.

authentic assessment

I would have like to be challenged and supported more. I would have liked to feel more a part of something. I would have liked to have multiple investigations. But the class also forced me to find my own motivation. And gave me a chance to connect with a couple new classmates. I did appreciate Scott’s letter to our class at the end and the chance to give him our honest feedback. I also appreciated that he was a risk-taker. It didn’t work this time but maybe it will next time. I hope the experience and reflections will inform future classes.

Mostly this class made me think about the implications for K-12 education. It made me wonder – how effective (and possible) is open inquiry? Would it have been more possible in a face-to-face class? Can an entire course be dedicated to completely open inquiry, based simply on a standard? This is the discussion I’d like to have now and my biggest takeaway from the course.

A summer of #UKSTL

This summer was the first time in a long time that I had classes during the summer. It was tough! But I found a way to stay motivated (even while relaxing on a lake in Northern Michigan with family and enjoying local brews).

ELS 620: Leading Action Research

This was my second class with Jayson Richardson. I’ve found him to be the most challenging professor I’ve had in the UKSTL program so far. And I started this class a month late. Luckily Jayson is also the most responsive and open-minded prof I’ve had. He pushes me to my limit but I always seem to learn the most. Funny how that works.

This class was my introduction to action research. Once I understood that action research is all about coming up with what you can affect, it went pretty smoothly. I had the pleasure of writing my first annotated bibliography, my second lit review, a scholar-practitioner platform and my culminating action research proposal. I also engaged in great discussions with the other members of my class. I really enjoy learning and growing with the people in my program.

Once again the lit review was demanding but completely worth it. I kinda maybe actually sorta like to write lit reviews…I end up learning a ton and being able to process all the research in a way that I applicable to me.

Probably the most difficult piece of the course for me was the scholar-practitioner platform. I lost count of how many times I had to rework and tweek this document.

One of the most difficult aspects of the course for me was deciding on which aspect I could actually change in my position. I don’t have consistent and direct contact with students so I couldn’t focus on anything with student learning. The one thing I do have a relative amount of control over is the technology PD at my school. After participating in a Critical Friends Group last year I thought it would be interesting to facilitate a CFG with a focus on tech integration. My lit review proved helpful in refining my ideas for my proposal. I was quite adamant about having a small group of willing & eager teachers to work with, not just anyone or everyone. Below are my elevator speech and my entire proposal. My research officially starts this week so I’m eager to see how it goes.


EDL 663: Leadership for School Program Improvement

In 663 we focused on ISTE Admin Standard 3 and professional development with Justin Bathon. Justin is extremely passionate about quality professional development so this was the perfect course for him to teach. I really enjoy discussing PD with him. Our two big projects for the semester were a Personal Professional Development Plan and a Staff Professional Development Plan. These forced me to take the time to intentionally plan out how I would develop myself and staff this year.


Semester 2 of #UKSTL

WAY back in May I finished up my second semester of my MEd in School Technology Leadership with the University of Kentucky. As soon as the UK semester was over, I started a 4-week category 2 International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) Design training. I’ve become pretty good at keeping myself BUSY!

ELS 616: Leadership for School as Inclusive Community

This class sounded awesome and I was pretty excited. The parent population at our school isn’t super involved and I was really looking forward to learning how to involve both parents and the community in a deeper way. Unfortunately the class was a little disappointing. Blackboard (or how it’s setup at UK) was a disappointment after using Canvas. And the professor may have taken on a little too much. However she was extremely willing to work with us and adapt the final assignment to fit our needs.

Our first assignment was a snapshot of our school. It was interesting for me to dive a little deeper into the statistics at our school. And realize that it’s much harder to find out stats about private international schools than it is public schools in the States. I also had fun creating this with Prezi – I tried to use Prezi for it’s strengths and not simply shove a regular presentation into Prezi format. [It won’t embed :(]

Our second assignment was about the stakeholders at AIS. This was a great reminder that a successful technology initiative includes a shared vision that includes all stakeholders.

My final project morphed into a 1:1 parent engagement action plan. I was able to tailor this to my school and my needs and I really enjoyed coming up with a plan for how I would have implemented our 1:1 program if I had been in charge (at least the parent engagement piece of it).

EDL 662: Digital Age Learning and Technology Leadership

A great title…that also ended up being a great class. The focus was on ISTE Standard 2 for Administrators. I had Dr. John Nash in the fall for Quantitative Methods but it was easy to tell that this class better matched his passions. As always there was a lot of great discussion on Canvas.

One of our first assignments was an autoethnography. I’d never done one before and it ended up being a beneficial experience forcing me to really think about WHY I am who I am.

I also created two 60-second PD lessons (in the form of podcasts) about two of the terms from the educational technology standards glossary. My original goal was to use TouchCast for the social media one but it didn’t work out with the devices I had available to me.


Our final assignment was to conduct a “point-in-time critical analysis of how technology is being used by students, teachers, and administrators in their school(s) or institution” using Standard 3 (Teaching & Assessing for Learning) of the AdvancEd Quality Standards for School.

What I’ve been up to lately: #UKSTL edition

I realized I haven’t really blogged much at all this semester. While there are a few reasons for that, one of them is that I’ve been putting a lot of time into my M.Ed. So here’s what I’ve been up to lately!

This semester I started my M.Ed in School Technology Leadership from the University of Kentucky. With 12 graduate credits and 7 weeks teaching MYP French (on top of my actual job), it has been one of the most challenging semesters of my career. However I cannot gush enough about how much I have valued everything I’m learning in the UKSTL program. I wanted a legit Masters program and I got one! Enormous amounts of reading, discussion boards, quizzes and homework, live classes with Adobe Connect (half of them in the middle of the night), learning APA, my first literature review…whew!

I took 2 classes for UKSTL: School Technology Leadership (EDL 661) with Jayson Richardson and Quantitative Methods (EDL 771) with John Nash. I’m officially done with 661 and have a few more assignments to finish this for 771 before I head to Sri Lanka for winter break :). Quantitative Methods has given me the vocabulary and skills I need in order to become a data-driven leader. School Technology Leadership has given me a basis for the things I believed about technology in education and really pushed me to research and define my ideas. If the rest of this program (I still have 4 semesters) is as fulfilling as this one has been – let’s go!

A few highlights:

  • I was introduced to the ISTE NETS-A for the first time.
  • Data has become much more important to me.
  • I read Open Leadership by Charlene Li (highly recommend!).
  • I wrote a School Technology Vision at the beginning of EDL 661.
  • I wrote my first literature review.
  • I interviewed a (pretty awesome) school technology leader.
  • I finished up 661 with my Post School Technology Vision….
    • …and a recruiting video.

Videos & Redesign

I’ve been incredibly busy with grad school and teaching French (yupp…that’s right. I’m teaching ‘temporarily’ teaching French again. I’m going into my 5th week starting tomorrow.) A few of my recent assignments were interesting so I thought I’d cross post them here.

For UKSTL EDL 661 with Jayson Richardson, we had to recommend 3 blogs for our classmates. I couldn’t pick only three so I recommended 4 in my first video using Jing. (If you have ideas for how to embed Jing videos in WordPress, let me know!)

For COETAIL course 3, there were 2 pieces to my final project. The first was to create a digital story. I decided to make a first draft of my video in order to become a GAFE Certified Trainer. Feel free to watch my video, read my post and leave me feedback so I can make it better!

Also for COETAIL, I had to revamp an existing presentation. Below is my final product. Check out the original and the handout I created on my COETAIL blog.

I’d love any and all constructive criticism to make these better! Thank you!

Kuwait: Year 2!

I cannot believe it’s already September! We had a great summer: spent quality time with lots of friends & family, traveled for a month in the US, and mostly disconnected. Now we’re back in Kuwait for year 2 (year 5 teaching) and school is already under way!

It was incredibly refreshing to disconnect from my PLN this summer. I didn’t blog, keep up with Twitter or read my RSS feeds. During the last 2.5 weeks back “home,” I’ve been trying to get used to the heat while getting ready to dive in full force this semester. Today starts COETAIL Course 3 and EDL 661 with UKSTL. I’ll be taking 12 graduate credits this semester and have already started to feel a bit overwhelmed. However, I’m incredibly ready to be challenged, fulfilled and rewarded. Looking at the outlines for all 4 courses has made me eager and excited. I can’t wait to start learning and growing professionally!

I plan to continue to reflect professionally and share resources on this blog. However with a total of 21 graduate credits while working full-time this year, I may not be posting regularly (not that I did before either!). I would, however, like to continue to grow my PLN and collaborate with educators around the world.

I’ve tried incredibly hard to come back to school this year with a positive, go-with-the-flow attitude. I’ve decided to make myself stand out in my position (as technology coach) by intentionally showing teachers that I care about how they’re doing and supporting them. The first week with new & returning staff was an amazing week of professional discussion and collaboration organized by the middle & high school principals. It set a great tone for the start of the school year. The entire 6-12 staff participated in several protocols (including Compass Points – I’m a north with tendencies towards east & west). I particularly liked the text-based protocols and the articles chosen. Our HS principal also shared a video with me that is worth slowint down and watching for 20 minutes: Celebrate What’s Right with the World. If only more human beings had this attitude…what a world it could be!

Happy September, happy school year and happy new beginnings!