After a long break from blogging, I realized that I really missed it. I had found ways to spread the love for tech integration in other mediums that didn’t require the longer explanations and thought process, which is why I haven’t posted in a while. It was a good way to learn new tools, and experiment more with video. I also created a monthly eNewsletter that I would curate and spread thought provoking articles, helpful tips and tricks and inspiring new sites and apps to use in education. However, what I missed the most was my own reflections. I don’t mean to be selfish, but without writing the blog post for each publication I didn’t feel like I was growing as a professional.
It wasn’t until I heard George Couros speak at an event here in Maine, that I realized I really needed to get back to blogging. He mentioned that one of the single most important things we can do as educators is to inspire others, peers as well as students, to reflect regularly about our own learning. The good, the bad, the ugly and the utter nonsense even that at times could eventually become a brain dump for the next great innovation.
We speak of the importance of reflection all the time with our students, but do we take enough time ourselves as professionals to really reflect on our teaching? We stress about the importance of the process and grit to overcome obstacles with our projects and collaborative work. This is what builds true character and creates strong real world skills. These soft skills are more often than not more important to real world application than the completed product students present for their grade. We talk about how standards based grading and portfolio work can really promote life long learners and citizens that believe in a growth mindset, but not all educators do this in their own practice. In fact, these ideologies stress that there will be struggles in the learning, and teaching. The reflective criticism that one can acknowledge from these hurdles they face each day promotes greater learning in education, and is a vital step in the growth process.
We hear about the importance of the 4 C’s all the time; Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration. I realized that by not blogging, I was missing a crucial part in my own learning when publishing my other material for technology integration; Thinking Critically. That part was done for me. I would take a post I had read, or an article from an online journal and add it to the list. Teachers were loving it, but I didn’t have to think about it other than if it fit the theme of the Newsletter, or the topic that was being covered in the video stream. I realized that I needed to force myself to blog again to draft out my ideas and get back to reflecting on what I was promoting and doing for my staff and readers. My hope is that I will inspire you to do the same. We can only learn from each others mistakes, so take the time to blog about your trials, successes and epic failures in the classroom. Only then will we build a Professional Learning Network that we can truly learn from one another!
I’m lucky in York to have a strong core team surrounding me. They are creative, and share the same passion for pushing teachers and students to be their best that I do. My squad works very well collaboratively which has inspired us to create entertaining PD video tutorials. Think Google 101 crossed with Jimmy Fallon. Last year we had lost our Network Admin, Tom Rup, to another company. We were feeling the loss and pushed to get him back. Here is a video that we created explaining how we brought him back to the team.