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Friday, August 7, 2015

How I've Spent my Summer Vacation 2015

Hello, my Edtech Elixirs readers!  Has it been over a month since I last blogged?  Blasphemy.  In my new position, I have been officially "back at work" since July 6, so I had a shortened summer.  But I'm not complaining.  I've had lots of opportunities and experiences these past four weeks; I'll briefly share some highlights below.

First, some personnel news!  Our Digital Learning Coaches have been hired.  Yasmine Fleming will start the year working closely with Collins High School, and Lindsay Ricke will begin with Shelby County High School.  I'm very excited to work with such talented teacher leaders.

I was flattered to be asked to join the organizing committee for running EdCampKy, and presented/attended the July 9 event at the brand new Hardin County Early College and Career Center. It had the largest attendance numbers yet, and I won my first Demo Slam by narrowly beating Donnie Piercey by one vote.  My friends, we are living in historic times!  I can't wait for the next EdCamp on October 24 at Thomas Nelson High School.  Tickets are free, but be sure to get yours before they are gone!  (I love the animated GIF below of our committee: Donnie, Mike Paul, Wes Bradley, Heather Warrell, James Allen and Brooke Whitlow.)

Near the end of July, I went with some Shelby administrators to Mooresville, North Carolina to visit their Mooresville Greater School District (MGSD) and participate in their three day conference called Summer Connection.  The district has been lauded for its multi-year 1:1 program, but at least as equally impressive is its strong belief in cultivating a culture of "Every Child, Every Day."   It was an unbelievable opportunity, and while there our team spent many a late night debriefing what we learned and planning ahead for our own Chromebook 1:1 deployment to high school students in the fall.

Last but not least -- led by the hard work and planning of Shelby's Staff Developer Lora Shields -- our district had its first Personalized Learning PD on August 3.  We are working hard to model for our adult learners what we want to have for our students -- personalization of their education.  Enthusiasm was evident and smiles were abundant for both presenters and attendees.  I presented on Google Apps for Education, and I marveled how GAFE has changed our district in the two months since we rolled it out.  Registration and evaluations were done by Google Forms and the schedule was a Google Doc with descriptions linked to Google Slides. A year from now, I can't wait to reflect on how GAFE will impact student learning in Shelby!

And those Shelby students will be returning to school this coming Wednesday.   To all educators both inside and outside our district, my best hopes and well wishes is for you to start your 2015-2016 classroom adventure with enthusiasm, energy, and grace.  Help your students articulate their dreams and turn them into aspirations. Nourish yourself in the months ahead as you give your all to make a difference in so many people's lives -- students, parents, and each other!

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