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Friday, August 1, 2014

Hello and Welcome!

Welcome, and thank you for checking out my blog!  I have been involved in education since 2005, but never seriously tried to blog before.  My "About Me" profile sums up my educational background succinctly, but I will add that becoming the first District Technology Integration Coach of Shelby County is definitely the motivation to begin blogging now. Therefore, I am committed to making meaningful and ongoing posts, but most importantly, making my blog a useful resource for others.

One of the hardest things you have to do when creating a blog is naming it.  So I ruminated and brainstormed for quite a while before coming up with Edtech Elixirs.  It represents several things:

  • My love of Joseph Campbell.  I am fascinated with many ideas of Campbell's, and one of his most famous is his belief of the "monomyth" -- a pattern that cuts across cultures thousands of miles and years apart, the Hero's Journey that many mythical characters have been through, and a wonderful metaphor for our own journey through life.  The goal of the Hero's Journey is some kind of "saving experience" or "gift," often called the Elixir.  While it may not actually be a magic potion in the story, the key point is that it has transformative qualities that changes the hero.  So here, I'm making a metaphorical comparison to the heroic journey of a teacher in a classroom, looking for a transformative experience in the form of our present day magic -- technology!  Through my blog posts, I hope to address: What are edtech tools that can transform my teaching and enable me to do things in ways I could not do before?  What are ways that technology can make my classroom more engaging and effective? And last but certainly not least, how will technology positively impact the learning of my students?
  • There is no one magic tool.  I used the plural "elixirs" very intentionally.  Firstly, I obviously hope to introduce and discuss many different apps, devices, and Web 2.0 sites throughout my future blog posts.  Secondly, elixirs can sometimes be elusive, and we must be wary of any device, site, app, etc. that overpromises a "one size fits all" solution.  There are (and should be) many different ways to incorporate technology in your classroom, and in fact, technology is but one tool you should use to further the learning of students. Indeed, speaking of tools, always remember...
  • Technology is only a tool.  There is a deeper truth about the Hero's Journey.  While the hero may think the Elixir (Excalibur, the Holy Grail, Odysseus's return to Ithaca) is the true purpose of the trip, it is not.  As often said to the point of cliche, the journey itself is more important.  The discoveries you make, the change you become (or the "becoming" of the students you empower around you!) during your educational journey is much more enduring than the fact that you used, say, TodaysMeet in a lesson. Teachers should focus on certain tools to enact certain effects -- intentionality is always key in successful teaching -- but never lose sight of the greater academic goals and the "why?" of your unit and lesson.  Using edtech only for edtech's sake will not win points or facilitate critical thinking.  You are not a "techer" but a teacher.
As I wrap up my introductory blog post, let me say specifically to the Shelby County educators whose rank I have now joined -- I'm humbled to become part of your district, excited to be part of your edtech journey, and thankful in advance for how much your suggestions and expertise will enrich my journey as well.


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