Personal Narrative: The Trails

The Tale of two Techy Trails (and the power of YET)

It’s been a while since my last blog post because I have begun some new Techy Trails which I would love to share with you.

Techy Trail 1: New school, new grade level, new role

For the 2017-2018, school year I began teaching at a local elementary school who asked me to come to innovate school wide programs and initiatives for #edtech and #STEM. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to focus on connecting with new teachers who were so eager to #failforward and try new things (not to mention its 3 miles from home) all the while getting to promote my two biggest passions! Right?!? Dead ringer! This is the journey I’ve been waiting for… except it included teaching a new grade level. Now, I know this happens frequently, but I had been a bit spoiled and taught my feisty fifth graders for nine years, so change in curriculum and age sounded a bit daunting. However, I knew I could handle it and jumped right in. My new team is amazing, the children are eager to learn, and the staff is so warm and supportive. All of this positivity of course begins with the administration, who are always an ear shot away, always willing to jump into the thick of it, and always willing to say “Go ahead and give your idea a try”!

Fourth grade is very similar to fifth grade as far as curriculum, but it has taken me some time to adjust- I’m not going to lie, and I’m ok with that! As long as my students feel safe and know they have the most determined teacher, who is willing to do whatever it takes to allow the children time to bond, build relationships and respect for one another, and see the value in each other’s diversity, I feel as though I have been successful. I am so proud of our effort and progress as we challenge ourselves to become better each and every day!

Caption: My new classroom (aka: our home away from home)

My new role as Tech and STEM lead has been quite an adventure in and of itself. Our school has become an Area 3 STEM Hub, which means that a few local elementary schools, along with its feeder middle and high schools are supported by the district and the Tampa Bay STEM Network to put programs in place to support students interests in Computer Science and STEM as they transition from primary to intermediate.

I have had the opportunity meet with Tampa Bay STEM Network on multiple occasions to build the Area 3 cohort relationships, as well as build a foundation for how our district will implement the Florida Computer Science standards into the current curriculum. The Digital Literacy Task Force is currently meeting and planning all facets of beginning the district wide initiative which will be proposed to our Superintendent in May 2018. I am able to take these ideals back to my school and through professional development, open door policies, and social media share and prepare my colleagues for the Computer Science changes that are heading our way!

Caption: Both photos are of the most recent Digital Literacy Task Force meetings which included educators, district personnel, and community partners!

I feel like I have not made as big of an impact as I wanted to YET… but I know each trail takes its own time. I want this to be sustainable, even after I’ve moved on!

Techy Trail 2: USF Master’s of Instructional Technology and Design

That’s right! Thanks to all of the wonderful feedback, interview questions, and patient network as I mulled over the pros and cons of heading down the trail of earning my Master’s. I am now one of five semesters down and can not believe how fulfilling the struggle has become. I am now a firm believer in “You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know”!

I know that other areas of my life are being sacrificed a bit right now because I can’t be involved in 100 things at once and be successful in all, therefore I have had to cut back my blog time, Twitter chat time, and Netflix time in order to be more productive. However, I won’t sever myself complete, let’s be real, I love my network too much! šŸ˜

Caption: Both photos display some of the amazing people ,who I get to call my friends, that I’ve met through my PLN.

This Master’s program has already proven beneficial in my roles as a 4th grade math and science teacher, as well as a Teacher Advisor for PowerMyLearning where I had the opportunity to review a new feature of PowerMyLearning in an alpha test. Based on my feedback the design team was able to make some adjustments- how cool is it that little ol’ me lead to some improvements in their features?!? What’s better yet, was that I loved the whole process!

Caption: Had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the CA PowerMyLearning crew at #ISTE17 this summer in TX!

I feel as though I have finally found the trail that I should follow to build my future in the field of education, and although I am not there YET…. I am very excited and motivated by the possibilities of working for an EdTech company one day creating new ways to improve student learning!

< strong>Happy Trails to you!<<<
l free to reach out and share your Techy Trails with me! Until next time..

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