This evening I was able to participate in and experiment with Brad Shreffler for his Planning Period Podcast. Brad is an educator from Florida whom I met during an EdTech Coach’s meeting at ISTE. We shared the common interest of podcasting and determined that we would like to have each other on our shows. So we scheduled a time to record. Then Brad messaged me that he would like to use the recording as an opportunity to livestream his show on Voice Ed Canada. Of course, I jumped at the chance to be his guinea pig.
But as the time drew nearer, I started to get nervous about the show. I mean I record podcast episodes all the time, but I am constantly stopping, rewinding, rerecording, and editing before I even consider releasing the episode. In fact, I have a couple episodes that I have gotten ready but didn’t release because I ended up redoing them. So I worried that I would pause too much, say um a lot, or just not know what to say at all.
The episode ended up going really well, and I actually forgot that we were live most of the time we were talking. The best part of the entire episode, for me at least, was when we we thought the sound had cut out. While Brad scrambled to get it fixed I tried my best to fill the air with something to keep the episode going. Then my dad sent me a text message letting me know that he could still hear us. It meant a lot to know that 1. the episode was still going and 2. my parents were able to stay up and listen to it.
Of course I can think back to a couple of spots where, if I had the ability, I might go back and rerecord a few different answers and I would probably be a little more succinct. Otherwise, I believe it went well. Actually, I feel pretty good about the live stream and I might now be more apt to try more of it with my own work.
So thank you Brad for giving me the chance to be your guinea pig. I appreciate the opportunity and I can’t wait to record again with you!
If you missed the live stream of the Planning Period Podcast, the episode will be released sometime this fall. Don't worry, I will share out on Twitter!
e I just finished a live stream through Periscope for #PassTheScopeEdu. This is a Twitter hashtag that is used by a growing group of educators who love to share what they are learning through Periscope and Twitter. They take one day each month to give educators a chance to share their thoughts on a specific educational topic and they did a great job of live streaming ISTE 17! Today #PassTheScopeEdu is focusing on educational #HotTopics. If you miss today's streams, you can always look under those hashtags and view the videos when you have a chance.
The topic I chose to discuss was Personalized Learning and Data. I will say that I was nervous, I talked faster than I intended, and I did not go as deeply as I had intended to go. While I am used to recording myself (mostly through my podcast) and sharing with others, live streaming is a whole different ball game. Usually I record and do some editing before release. I mean I had some notes and I had thought a long time about what I was going to say and how I wanted to say it, but it's still not the same as being able to record and make changes prior to release.
So here is the short blog version of what I scoped about this morning:
Personalized learning is one of those new education buzz words that I continue to hear about at conferences, Twitter chats, and pretty much anywhere that teachers get together to discuss student learning. While it is a great word that describes what we strive to do, I feel that like other educational buzz words that we use we often forget what we are really trying to do. We are really trying to just do what is best for our students. Teachers work tirelessly to do everything that they can to ensure their students are learning and making connections to their learning. Call it differentiation, call it personalization, or any other term, but it is just good teaching.
I wanted to draw a line connecting personalization and the idea behind it to using data to drive instruction when I saw a tweet that said data driven classrooms were not personalization. I disagree. The word "data" has a negative connotation because we think of testing with bias multiple choice standardized tests. While this is a form of data, it is not all that data is. Data is any information that you gather, in this case, about your students. Data can be an observation of a student, a conversation, a rubric score, a journal that a student wrote, a video a student made, etc.
If we rethink what data is, we can see that a data driven classroom can be a personalized classroom. Because I consider all of the data that I gather in any number of ways, I can take all of those data points into account as I facilitate learning opportunities that are personalized to my students' needs and interests. The two concepts can and should work together.
After a lot of conversation with my husband and a great deal of thinking about my personal and professional goals, I decided to go back to school one more time. So at the end of August I will start my work toward a doctoral degree in educational technology. I am excited about the program I have chosen and the learning opportunities I will have as I work with a cohort of other educators who share the same goal as me. I am nervous about all of the other pieces that come with this.
I am nervous about the fact that I will have so much homework and research to complete on top of the other responsibilities that I have as a mother, technology coach, and all the other little things I have gotten myself into (like podcasting). I am nervous about the dissertation that I will eventually be required to write. And nervous about trying this again after a failed attempt only a few years ago.
When my husband was in the military he had to deploy for a year. I had finished my master's degree and figured that if he wasn't going to be around for a year I would have the perfect chance to start a doctoral degree. I would have the time to work and get a routine down by the time he came home when I would need his support the most as I started into dissertation work.
That plan did not work. I did not think that I would be so stressed from not having him there. That on top of the stress of the degree program and a full time job did not work well. I was on track for the first class, but a small bump in the second course and the lack of communication from my professors in addition to being alone in a state I had just moved to was just not working. So when my husband's two week leave to be home came around I had a decision to make. I could work through that time, or I could drop the class that I was struggling in and spend two weeks with him before he had to leave for the remainder of his deployment. I chose the latter.
Reflecting on that time I know now that I was 1. at the wrong school, 2. in the wrong program of study, and 3. not in a place where I was appropriately supported to handle the hurdles that came my way. So what has changed? Why do I think I can do this now when I failed to do it the first time around. Well first, I am in a cohort at a school that I feel fits me better. I have already met some of the professors and they seem genuinely interested in how well I do and are approachable. Second, I am in a program that I am really interested in and have a clear vision of where I want this degree to take me. Finally, I have the support I need.
So now I am prepping. I am working to back log podcast episodes and have everything as ready as I can for school to start. This time I feel ready and I feel like I know what I need to have to be ready. Of course those stumbling blocks will still be there, but I have the support I need and the will to push through this time. But for anyone who listens to my podcast, please forgive me if I ever have to slow down how often I drop an episode.
I honestly struggle with blogging. I want to write more and I want to share more, but it takes effort and time which I do not always have. Most of the time I have some really good ideas in my head for blogging, but by the time I get out of the car and to a computer the idea is gone. Then I stare at the blank computer screen trying really hard to recall what words were running through my head while I was sitting on the interstate.
I know that sitting down and blogging is an important reflective practice and I know that sharing is something educators should do as often as they can, but man, sitting down and writing out my thoughts and experiences can be hard.
Problem 1: I want to keep things in real time but time is not on my side. I have, as most educators do, a busy schedule. Three kids, a full time job, and a number of other side activities keep me working from the time I get up until it is time to sleep. I usually eat one or even two meals either standing up or in front of a computer.
Problem 2: I worry about what I post. I am constantly thinking things like:
So I am finally sitting down to blog after a week and a half of vacation with family and beaches, I figured I would just do what I used to tell my students to do, "If you don't know what to write about, write about the fact that you don't know what to write about."
Now, back to that to do list!