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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Digital Learning Coordinator announcement

Hello, my faithful Edtech Elixirs readers!  Hope you are enjoying your summer. Today I have a short entry for an announcement. While I originally planned to wait until next month to share the following information, it recently was published in the news . . . The Sentinel-News, that is.  (Click here for the article.) So, because it's now public record, I can talk about it in my blog.

As of July 1, I will officially be promoted to the new position of Digital Learning Coordinator.  Along with participating in district initiatives and projects, I will manage and train our (now two!) Digital Learning Coaches (the renamed position formerly known as "Technology Integration Coach").   The article incorrectly states that I will be reporting to our new Network Engineer, but I will actually be under John Leeper, the former principal of Collins High School and our new Director of Innovation.

I am honored to be given an increased opportunity to demonstrate leadership in the district, and I'm thrilled to continue working in a school system as dynamic and forward-thinking as Shelby County Public Schools!

Friday, June 5, 2015

End of 2014-2015 School Year

Students are now out of the building, and Shelby County teachers are spending the final week of their school year with some professional development.  (For example, at Wright Elementary, I have helped present on Google Apps for Education and the teachers are now learning about the writing program of Lucy Calkins from instructional coach Donna Siegel.)  With the days counting down, it naturally puts me in a reflective mood as I look back on my journey from last summer to today.

When I was hired as Shelby County's first District Technology Integration Coach, I relished the exciting but daunting challenge of leading our county into a digital conversion of classrooms.  I have been blessed with wonderful teachers and staff who have been kind hosts in my embedded tour around the district, and have been very open to the growth mindset required for my digital learning PD.  (Indeed, some were well on their way to digital supremacy before I got here!)

In the middle of the school year, I reflected on my impact in a quantitative way, and it seems useful to do so again to consider where I am in my journey.

Edtech Elixirs now has well over 10,000 views since its inception in August 2014.  (This includes visits to the main default page as well as clicks on specific entries.)   I had hoped to average a blog entry a week, but with 73 posts prior to this one, I actually have doubled that output. From the blog analytics, the most popular entries for this school year are:

1.  The Power of Positive Social Media #StartsWithUs (10/16/14, 822 views, +1)
2.  Rose/Bud/Thorn and Design Thinking (4/29/15, 452 views, +3)
6.  Game-Based Learning and Classcraft (1/12/15, 214 views, +1)
7.  The First Steps of 3D Printing (11/8/14, 186 views, +1)
8.  Garlic Necklace, Not a Silver Bullet (5/14/15, 175 views, +3)

Special mention (entry with most Google +1’s):

Flubaroo, Doctopus and Goobric (5/27/15, 125 views, +7) 

Speaking of Google+ . . . while I had not used that particular social media until this year, my Watsonedtech Google account now has 46 Followers and nearly 13,000 views of my Profile Page.

Our #ShelbyTUITshoutout hashtag has celebrated the accomplishments of 45 individual teachers from 11 different Shelby schools.

To put it mildly, I have been busy with Twitter.  While it took me 26 months to reach 1000 tweets sent, I had cleared 2000 tweets in the subsequent 9 months as of December 2014.  Five months later, I now have over 3,300 tweets. I began in August 2014 with 300 Followers, hit 500 by mid-December, and now have nearly 800.  (Within one year of starting Shelby last summer, I may triple my Followers!)  I have also had the privilege of leading #KyEdChat several times and have benefitted greatly from sharing with and learning from my Twitter PLN.

You have kept my YouTube channel hopping!  I now have almost 6000 views from this year, with two videos as standouts: Adjusting your Lenovo Yoga Microphone (1709 views) and How to use Plickers (Part One) (2364 views).

Last but not least, I have lead a lot of professional development hours on the ground.  In this school year alone, I have presented 75 large group PD's to over 500 Shelby staff members (totaling over 175 hours of instructional time), in addition to presenting at other sites and settings outside of our district.  I have observed, consulted or co-taught in person with nearly 100 Shelby staff members from 11 different schools (not counting the significant email virtual help to others).  Exhausting?  Somewhat.  Rewarding?  Absolutely.  Helpful to Shelby County personnel?  I certainly hope!

And so, as the school year ends, I look to the future.   As our digital conversion of classrooms continue next year in Shelby, we have a lot more work to do, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to continue my path alongside such a dedicated and growth-minded group.  I have also PD to present  (IFL in Lexington next week, a KDE Digital Symposium in Bowling Green) as well as PD to attend (looking forward to learning more about PBL from a Buck Institute trainer!) in the weeks to come.   But I also plan to rest and prepare for the challenges of 2015-2016, so forgive me if the blog output slows until August!

In closing: For all of the educators in Shelby County, or Kentucky, or beyond, enjoy your summer.  Thank you for being my readers, learning partners, and friends.