Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why I'm Google-ly eyes for education these days

O.k. to start, I feel like a failure. Again. I challenged myself to focus and commit to one thing and I failed that challenge...miserably--by attempting to blog everyday for 30 days. Enough of the pity party. I'm still blogging, just a little more realistically.

Why am I going Google-ly eyes for education? Well, one, because of Google. Thanks +GAFE for ALL of the updates to Google daily. With this being my first year outside of the classroom (so to speak), I thought it would be a struggle to connect with educators and students alike. Then came Google Apps for Education. My school district open the doors to all and encouraged iTechs like myself to expose others to all GAFE has to offer. My newest method of connected educators in Google+. I have had an account (like most of us) for a couple of years now, and distinctively remember my brother telling me he was banning Facebook to be strictly G+. I didn't quite understand that notion then but today, in the world of academia, I see the ENTIRE picture.

Google+ allows me to reach the staff on my campus, my entire community of iTechs, the thousands of educators in my district, not to mention the rest of the world. I love how we connect in various communities. It was pure genius to call the groups 'communities' because you truly feel a part of a community collaborating with others. I share everything here! We share information on every known topic, flyers for upcoming professional developments, a ha moments, Google Docs, Slides, Sheets,(you get the pic), and most importantly we are sharing knowledge.

I hear many say, "I'm not that 'tech savy'" (whatever that means), but when you share what you have learned with someone else using an online application you are in the now with technology. My definition of technology: anything you can take and make better than when you found it. This school year, I'm sharing technology with everyone I meet.

Recently my colleagues and I hosted a technology conference in our district entitled TCCA. I invited my co-workers to attend (which 15 educators came).

They came to the conference to learn something new but I had to add rigor, so I gave them a challenge. They stepped up to the challenge and even surpassed my expectations. So many of them took selfies, tweeted, posted on G+ and even blogged about their experiences. I realized watching them explore technology that I'm still educating children...just through them! That day...and every day...I'm educating others on how to become a connected educator!

As I continue to prepare myself to become a GCE (Google Certified Educator), I understand more and more my role in education these days....and it's exciting!

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Blogging Challenge: Day 5

Have you ever reflected on your professional Space? Today's blogging challenge does just that! Today, I challenge you to take a glance around your classroom, office, or professional space and describe what YOU see....I did.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

This blogger's challenge: Day 4

This will be really interesting....Why does Shaina Victoria Glass teach?

O.M.G. Why do I teach? Why? Simple. The kids!

Yes, that was simple enough and I'm done, right? Not quite. Everyone says that don't they? Not sure what everyone else says but truthfully, I do it for the children.To make THINGS different.

Let's see. Unlike many passionate teachers, I didn't go to college to get a degree in education. My degree and passion is Art. Seriously. I love expressing my creative side. I love when others share their creativeness as well. I tear up when my 5 year old paints with water colors. Don't know why, I just do. It's me. So how did I become a teacher...The answer: through art.

I was working at the Baltimore Museum of Art on an internship where we brought Art into inner city schools and watch students learn everything from Math to History from Visual Arts. Regardless of if they created the product or if they were observing, describing or even writing about someone else's product, students were hooked and so was I.

I knew then I would teach. I imagined it being an educator within the Museum of Fine Arts but instead in came in the form of a small inner city school in Acres Homes, Texas (country in the middle of Houston for those unfamiliar). It was almost as big of a challenge as this blog challenge. Lol.

The kids. The kids' parents. The environment in which they belong. Their culture. Their own challenges, gaps, deficiencies. It was a lot. But I loved every minute of it! Yes, many would call me crazy. I gave my all every, single, day. And in the 9 years I was in the classroom, so did my students. They knew I expected it. And most of them tried to give nothing less. No joke. And I still expect them to.. I just completed 5 letters of recommendations from students I have taught. As I write this, I am thinking of ways to stay a "connected educator" to all of those who have transformed my life: my students. Funny. I was their teacher but I constantly was the student. I was just like them. I was seeking more educational opportunities and sucking up the information like a sponge so I could share it with them! I teach because I love to see students strive for their best. I love when they wonder, imagine, infer, create, problem solve, conclude and justify!

They might not like it, but I will continue to share with them..teach them..connect with them....I'm hooked. I'm still a teacher. Just a little different. And, truthfully, I wouldn't have it any other way.

This Blogger's Challenge: Day 2-3 (Weekend)....

Optimism has not diminished. I'm still excited and up to the challenge, yet, life with a 5 year old takes priority. I find, even as life happens, I'm living this challenge in so many ways. Over the lasts 72 hours I have been reflecting on my career as an educator. I've reflected on where I was when I began teaching and how all the opportunities I have been fortunate to experience--have molded me into the educator I am today.
So, enough mushie stuff, right? All of these periods of reflection leads me right back to this challenge. (Days 2-4 to be precise)

Day 2 Challenge. What form of technology would I like to try out this year? That's interesting. Don't laugh. Even an iTech has areas of improvement. OK. Here goes. I want to try out an iPad. Yes. I said it. An iPad. Weirdly enough. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

OK. So Shaina, why did you say a technology tool that millions of people use on a daily basis? Well, ladies and gentlemen, Mrs. Glass is an Android Chic and proud of it! I have everything Android or Chrome or Google based...and LOVE it. However, I now own an iPod Touch, and was provided with an iPad and iPhone and I don't utilize them at all. Sad. I know. My daughter has a tablet and Kindle Fire and this weekend was the first time she saw an iPad and can you believe it, she LOVES it. I must say, it's the apps. So, with this, and for my child's sake, I'm going to finally break down and figure out what all the commotion is about Apple Products. I can't make any promises but I'll give it the old college try. Wish me LUCK!

Day 3 Challenge: One observation area that I would like to improve on...

Not sure if you all know this, but last school year was my last year in the classroom. It was tough (and still is) but, Friday, June 6, 2014, was my last day as a teacher. With this, came my final teacher observation. It was bitter sweet but I always go over my results to look for what areas I still need to work on. For me, that lucky area is ORGANIZATION. For those of you that got the opportunity to visit my classroom knew that this was not a priority. The kids were. Their work was EVERYWHERE! Projects! Projects! Projects galore. My room started as my own painter's canvas and it was a work in progress until the very last day of school! It was constantly updated--striving for perfection.
----Did you hear the word organization is that description anywhere? Let me answer that: NOPE! Which is frightening, now that I'm an iTech. This job is all logistics and maintaining priorities...Y'all pray for me. I am a work in progress, so is my desk, my office,and I'll stop there. Reason: Google is my BFF! We are close. Two peas in a pod. Google has heard my cry and is assisting in organization what's in my mind to paper...so to speak. I'm organizing my thoughts with DRIVE...and they are categorized in folders.As I communicate others, Google sorts, prioritizes and keeps track of all of my emails. And so that I don't forget, ANYTHING!, Google holds me together with Calendar and Tasks! So, let's just see if I can keep improving or my weakest strand....I'm still a work in progress!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

This Blogger's Challenge...Day 1

So. It begins. Again. I am a beginner and not just on blogging. Let me explain. I begin LOTS of things but I find it extremely difficult to complete what I begin. My last blog post was well over a month ago and my goal was to blog at least once a week this school year of my life as a new instructional technology specialist. Well, truthfully, life as an iTech is BUSY--which is why blogging took a back seat. 

Well, I'm back and with the help of  +TeachThought and +Krista Tyler, I am taking on the challenge to blog for the month of October. This challenge should teach me a few things and inform many others in regards to exploring reflective teaching as well as sharing with others as a Connected Educator.

October is Connected Educator month! So, in honor of this month I will do my best to share and reflect.

DAY 1: What better way to start than by reflecting on my goals for this school year. 

The ironic thing is the first thing I thought about was #TYIW (This year I will...). +Adam Bellow  shared with me and a few thousand educators at ISTE this summer that we should take a moment to "reflect" and post what is the one thing (aka: our goal) we would like to accomplish or aspire to accomplish in the next 365. For this upcoming year, I stopped, closed my eyes....and here's mine:

When I took this selfie in the audience, I remember thinking, "what do I want to achieve this school year?" My answer: BETA. BETA to me is trying out something that's not quite done--so to speak. It's good, great even, but it could fail. I understand, many people don't "do failure" or hate to fail. But, look at it THIS WAY: if it's Beta, you can try it out. Well, as an iTech...I live in BETA...Everything changes, all the time. Technology evolves. We all must try it and not be afraid to fail. If we do, try, try again.

So, even though I'm a beginner, I'm going to try this Blogging thing one.more.time. 
I'm not giving up...why?
Because, Life in BETA is worth giving it a shot! And that makes BETA AWEsome!

So, I'm curious, What's your #TYIW? Share it with me. We can grow as #connectededucators!

Day 1: connected educators, what is that? The "connected learner" is YOU! To become a connected educator, you must FIRST become a connected learner.. Let's remember, educators are learners first and we must continue to develop networks and collaborate...so, connect with me!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The realization that LEADERship may not be so bad after all...

You know the feeling you had on your first day of school? Meeting your teachers when you were a student...Meeting your students as the teacher... I honestly thought those days were over for me. Officially giving up the title of classroom teacher gets me choked up every time I think about it and I told my students adios over two months ago.
    Last night, however, my tummy started to flutter, my nerves started to build and I literally got excited over the notion that it was my first day of school, with teachers. I can't explain it. Odd, we are equals (the teachers and I) but I have an excitement and an infection that I still want to make contagious: the spirit of educating students in new ways EVERYDAY.

  So, I visualized my day. What I would say. What I would wear. My actions. How I would show them that I am here and truly committed in supporting them and their students. Wow! I gotta say I am still trying to understand these feelings and actions. I am a specialist of technology and I get to do this everyday.
   I'm not glorifying it in no shape or fashion. I know that their will be gloomy days. I know I will fail sometimes. But I accept it. I own it and I will overcome those obstacles so I can continue to be the infection for another day.

   I look back on the days I met teachers from all around the country who were like-minded individuals. We met in New Jersey. We met Phil Mickelson. We built friendships, became life-long learners and inspirations for each other from that very experience. I still remember hearing this statement, "When you go back to your district and your campus--be the inspiration. Be the infection to change the mindset of educators around you. Be the leader I know you are." This was said to me directly by the director of NSTA at time. I responded, kind of  bazaar (I know)--with, "me?..leadership is NOT for me. I'm good in my classroom, with my kiddos." She told me before I left the Science Center, "you will soon see people gravitate to you as a leader."

   Today, as I parked my car, grabbed my backpack and told my mom I loved her (yes my momma) I thought of the very moment I never thought I would see: me in a leadership role, infecting others with a different mindset. When I shared my vision with the staff of 100 or so new and veteran educators at my new home away from home, I felt my flame ignite inside again. I was seriously nervous about sharing my dreams, goals and aspirations with this crew but they embraced me and the ideas I shared with open arms.
I was nervous about my administration seeing my vision and understanding or should I saying adapting to my ABOVE and BEYOND mindset of technology integration but they have been extremely supportive and helpful every step of the way. I feel like I was able to lay out the foundation to reassure my colleagues that I will have their back throughout this journey and show them some amazing ways to seamlessly integrate technology into their classroom and within their curriculum.

So, on my first day of school part 2 (with staff), I made it to work safely, introduced myself, explained my role as an instructional technology specialist, and gave a small glimpse of  how I will help educators at my new home. Now, after running around the campus, tracking runaway technology tools, putting out a networking emergencies, placing work orders, taking visual inventory, logging new teachers into email accounts, having a virtual meeting via Google hangouts, getting invited to lunch, attending my first LEADERship meeting and checking homework (I gave to the staff BEFORE the first day of school)....now I exhale and say.. I made it and it was truly AWESOME!

now on to the Actual first day---with the students!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Teacher-TechER Role

It's been forty-eight hours since I officially became an instructional technology specialist on paper. Life as I have known it for the last decade is changing. Or...so I thought. Ya know, teaching children has it's benefits. One large advantage is they are children. You can't change that and being a science teacher, I understand their is always one variable that won't change.

Teaching adults isn't the same. The benefit I'm keeping in front of me is that exposing educators to what the world of digital technology has to offer allows them to prepare their students as well as expand their classrooms BEYOND the four walls. This was my goal while I was a classroom teacher and I hope some of my students will never forget that experience.

Today, as an educator and Tech integrationist (I like the term as I just made that up) I am realizing more and more that buy-in from the educators I worked side-by-side with just 48 hours ago isn't the same as it once was. The words coming out of my mouth explaining that "when I was a teacher" isn't as warm and fuzzy as "today in class I did..."  My role as this tech coach, specialist, integrationist is going begin with rebuilding relationships and gaining trust (from everyone, including administration). I went to graduate school to learn how to seamlessly blend digital technology into my classroom curriculum and my enthusiasm for such is what I truthfully pray will "INFECT" others and cause them to catch the bug that has begun this roller coaster ride of: Mrs. Glass, the Instructional Technology Specialist.

I'm going to use this blog to express my thoughts, hopes, dreams and inspirations for this first year in this new school, role and position. 

How do I feel today? I see the glass as half full. I see the bright side of life and I'm feeling excited to share everything that has been shared with me.

Until the next time I share (which I know will be tomorrow) :)