Wayfinding Academy – Why it has me excited..

So maybe its a midlife crisis, maybe its being an associate professor who at 42 is still paying her student loans, maybe it is the 21st Century masters and what I have been reading… . but I am worried about higher education and especially about some of our highest achieving students who get great grades but don’t really have a plan for what they want to do in life.

I am worried that there are lots of students who don’t know what they want to do and are going into extreme debt to leave college with a degree and still without a direction.

One Sunday morning as I drank my coffee to come to life I saw a story on CBS this morning  about Oregon Public House and one of the charities it was funding Wayfinding Academy.  A not for profit college that focuses on helping students find their way, their goal and mission and life before amazing a ton of credits and a ton of debt.

Here is the original story that Inspired me to get involved:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-nonprofit-pub-thats-good-for-what-ales-you/

I am pretty questioning about charities, and I am pretty sure to check them out myself – so in April I went to Wayfinding weekend – I will share more of my experiences in future posts –

But here are some of the questions I am asking:
How can we help more students be successful in college?

How can we help them explore who they are and how they can affect the world without them going bankrupt in student loans?

How can we help students identify their goals so that college catapults them to success rather than lets them wait out 4 years until they start asking those questions?

I have decided to support Wayfinding Academy though my charitable giving and you can get involved to.   We are starting a Crowdsourcing campaign after Memorial Day to provide students with a great start to college.   Join me and make me do something silly for something I believe in.   So you can support me in their mission:  https://www.razoo.com/story/Rgjd5f

What it means to be an ADE

It is summer 2017 now and I am getting ready to attend Apple Distinguished Educator Academy as an Alum and I am excited to see my friends, colleagues and participate in one of the most vibrant learning communities I have ever had the joy to a part of..

I can a be a little slow on the uptake in new situations, and joining the Apple Distinguished Educators community can be an overwhelming experience.  But I wanted to share my take on the community, what means to be part of a community, and my fear for our community.

My take on ADE

I was not excited about becoming part of the ADE program at first. I was doing a new 1 to 1 iPad Program and I wanted to collaborate with others and I found it frustrating that I had to apply to do that, even going to my first institute, I still did not get it.   It really only became clear to me once I started to form relationships with people in the community, that it was so special. It was the time between institute where I was able to share my knowledge, skills, towards a shared mission and advocacy that the magic was released.

The ADE community is filled with people who are great at what they do, but they don’t know everything.  The group is comprised of teachers, leaders, and professors all of whom are exceptional in some way in their domains, but not always in specific technologies. Think a puzzle with many colorful pieces which creates an inspiring picture.  So when I went to my first institute (academy) I had a serious case of imposter syndrome, expecting the others to figure out I did not know what i was talking about. But I found, as any creative community,  the members of ADE respect each other for what they know, what they are learning, and what they don’t know..

After the institute is when the power of the network happened.  As a person who coordinates a 1 to 1 iPad program,  I had opportunities to bring in speakers from the group via distance technologies to talk to my faculty and students.  I was able to meet up with ADE’s in Europe and learn what they are exploring and share those experiences with my students.  I was able to brainstorm and bounce ideas off others to advance my own projects and help others with theirs.  I was given opportunities to serve schools who educate some of the highest need students in our country via ConnectEd.  All of these experiences have greatly enhanced my personal life and professional life.  It has brought new ideas into my teaching,  relevancy to my classroom, and friendships with other impassioned people.   But oy..it can be a lot of work..

What it means to be an ADE

Being part of a community of practice (COP) has been studied by many researchers, my favorite is Lave and Wenger. Wenger defines a COP as “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”  BOOM.. there it is, INTERACTING REGULARLY.

Being an Apple Distinguished Educator is about discourse and I know that there are people in the new class, who plan on going to the academy, adding it to their resumes, maybe even start consulting,  and then move on.. but that is not the point of this community.  This community is about discourse, sharing, and working together towards having teachers make meaningful use of technology.    Not all of this is public meetings like academy (in fact, most is not)  – much of this are DM’s and messenger conversations,  talks at conferences, and conversations in the online community.

Now I know that you probably know someone who is an ADE and maybe a consultant from your twitter connections or as a speaker at a conference, and those people are great, but know that they are the exception to the rule.  (and many of those people are amazing, but it is not the goal of the program)  The Majority of Apple Distinguished Educators are amazing teachers, leaders, and advisors, who have not left the classroom, but instead are soaking it all in to be able to reach kids and create meaningful learning through a supportive community.  It is my hope that you come to this experience with a similar approach, and not a consulting or work for Apple goal at the forefront.

My Fear

So that brings to my fear,  this is my first year as an alum to welcome a new class, and I now get the nervousness of being an alum.  There are many people that I met at my Academy in 2015, who I have never had contact with again.  They added it to their resume or added it to their collection of titles and moved on.   It makes me sad because they were selected because they had unique expertise to offer the community.

My challenge to #ADE2017

So I bring to you #ADE2017 the challenge… How will you engage in the community? What unique gifts are you bringing with you and how will you share them?    How will you contribute into the shared mission of this professional network and advance our shared goals and passion?  In the end, aren’t we here for the kids, or our students, or teachers, or to raise the profession and lead us into the next century of innovation.  We can only achieve that by working together.

I look forward your comments on this post, your engagement at academy, and maybe we can get a cup of coffee at #ISTE2017.

 

Creating a Culture of Innovation

I have been getting Tech and Learning sent to me for a while now, and I peruse it from time to time. In a recent issue – 37.9 available here:  http://www.techlearning.com/resources/0003/creating-a-culture-of-innovation-an-excerpt-from-tl-leader/70561

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what it takes to create a culture of innovation and so this article attracted my attention.  I think the first thing that I noted was that the article was not saying a culture of technology – but instead innovation.  I feel as though we can often focus on technology as the innovation but instead we need to be focused more on the mindset.

As I read through the article, there were several things I noted about the examples they shared:

  • They allowed the teachers as learners to pick their passion projects and gave them time to pursue them.   This is an example of allow the culture to build with a carrot versus a stick.. Ie..  teachers were rewarded with time, resources, and professional respect to pursue the ideas that they were most passionate about.
  • Teachers were encouraged to form small groups around big ideas that interested them. They supported each other and built community. This kind of community supports a culture of innovation.
  • The leaders were facilitators and did not use top down methods to get change but instead trusted their professional staff and supported them.
  • Leaders engaged professional networks – there is an example of connecting teachers interested in robotics with other teachers using similar tools.  Again, leader as facilitator and connector not top down management.
  • It all came down the fundamental ideas of Diffusion of Innovations.   One of the tactics discussed was to go to the laggards – the latest of adopters and get them on the side of innovation, and seeing them change help move the process along. I might disagree with this a bit,  in that most diffusion research shows early or late adopters can produce this effect more consistently. However, I believe looking at the influential teachers, no matter their acceptance level of change, is worthwhile effort. Every friend you make, is someone who can drive the innovation process forward.

In the end the article stressed that innovation does not happen by itself and it requires leaders who are working towards creating a culture by trusting their team members and being open their ideas.  As servant leaders, they take roles to assist their team in pursuing their interests towards that goal, and the structure they provide creates a safe space for innovation to grow.

 

Remote Work – A Wife’s Perspective or He’s Always Here!

So I had a chance to visit the Super Secret iThemes HQ this week and I remembered that I owed  Cory Miller a Blog Response to his earlier post on working from home.    You can read his original post here http://corymiller.com/work-remote/

So when Cory’s post came across my twitter feed, I read it and laughed.. He spent all this time going over the pros and cons for working at home for an individual but he left off some of the challenges one might think about for family.

So in background I am a honeymooner who married in August 16 and lived with my husband for a year and a half before we married.   Still to this day, we live in the house I bought as a single woman and lived in by myself for 7 years.  

When we started living together,  he worked in OKC and it was  dream.  He was on a modified schedule, he left at 6:20 to get to work by 7..(because if he left at 7 he would get to work at 9)  He would get up, get ready, make coffee, and wake me up on the way out the door. Then I would luxuriate on the couch drinking the coffee he had made for himself and watch Gayle, Nora, and Charlie to get ready and go to work at 8.

Oh those were the days..

I love my husband dearly, but now HE is ALWAYS home!!

I actually think he talks to more people during the day now working remotely, he is constantly on the phone and Hipchat etc..

But when I get home, he does want to talk to me!!!  And sometimes after being a professor, I want to be home alone too..

I miss those days when I could sit on the couch, and do nothing or watch secret shaming tv during the day (you know like Fuller House or Hoarders on Netflix)

Sometimes when he has a local programmer meeting or is out of town, I feel as though I am running like Kate in The Cutting Edge to get to the ice first – and enjoy being in the house by myself.

However, I love my husband, I love that his current employer appreciates him and his love of learning.  I love that he is excited to talk about work and feels part of an organization.

That all said, it took some negotiation..  I asked him to quit planning his programming club meetings for days he knew I was already gone.  I have sent him out of the house once or twice to give me some home time.   He likes getting out and mixing with people, and I like the alone time.  For someone who works remotely, joining user groups and Meetups can be important social interaction and time out of the office/house.

Our routine has changed,  he does not have to get up before 6 to go to work, and I often make the coffee or if we are organized enough we let Mr. Coffee make the pot we set up the night before and he now makes us breakfast..(and making breakfast is his special gift).

Moving forward, we have started looking for a different house that allows him to work from home better.   He can have a work office (and we can claim it on taxes) but still have a “fun” office  at home like I do for my things.  The ideal situation would be a mother in law suite or an upstairs bedroom with separation from the hustle of the main living space.

I have had to adjust to his work schedule too.. I lack work life balance in my job,  and now that he works at home it is more important to have work life balance for him, and that affects me. Working from home, he has to work at it and creating clear boundaries.  We try to have dinner together and set a separation time for work.  Currently, this is my challenge, more than his. I have to learn to take the lead from him if he is successfully navigating work from home.  It is one way that I can support his work success.

In the end, like all good relationships, it takes negotiating.  He is so much happier in this job, and is a pretty good remote worker, as a couple we need to commit to this lifestyle and as he supports me in my professional endeavors, I need to support him too.