Category Archives: professional development

One Last To Do List Item

I’ve been home for a week since the conference ended and am still getting caught up on various work threads as I try to put the year to bed. My goal? Take a holiday break: time to tackle the book pile, watch favorite movies, and look forward to 2018.

But, there is one last item on my 2017 professional to do list: taking the Google Level 1 Educator test. I’ve been working through the online training. I still have a few units to complete and should probably do a review of all of them before taking the test. I have made changes in my google usage, particularly related to email.

One of my goals for 2018 is to be more productive around email. Thanks to the training, I have reinstated the tabbed view of gmail and created some filters to help get emails where they should be. I haven’t ever been able to maintain inbox zero but may experiment with using an Action category. I have started making emails into tasks and that was incredibly helpful as I tracked last minute registration changes for the conference.  And, while this wasn’t covered in the training documents, I set up a few “canned responses” to use.

So…as the work to do list gets less intense, the personal/professional to do list takes priority. I’ve heard from some people in the various GEG communities with tips for taking the test and will collect and share them here.

Certification Update

For many online courses, the weekly deadline is Sunday at 11:59 PM. While it wasn’t quite that late when I got online to start the Google training, it was late-ish. I knew some of the content as I had completed the first section over the summer and figured I didn’t need a lot of time to get back up to speed.

So, like many of my online students, I missed the opportunity to spend the week considering the content and really thinking about the questions. The first unit focuses on general ideas about using technology and helping students develop citizenship skills. I spent a little time brainstorming ideas for integration but did not meet the level of detail in the examples. I love that I can go back and expand on my original ideas.

Well…it turns out I am already behind! I went to check my study plan against the training center and realized that I had planned to do Units 1 and 2 this week. I didn’t complete Unit 2: Expand Your Access to Help and Learning. Guess I better dive in after my meeting tonight.

Then, my goal is to schedule time for Units 3 and 4 earlier this week so I have time to really dig into the content.

I’ve seen a couple folks in the GEGs who are interested in tagging along with me. Not sure how we might work together beyond just moral support: share ideas, tips, questions.

Google Certification Study Schedule Fall 2017

Here is my plan to study for and take the Google Educator Level 1 Exam before the end of the year. I’ll be sharing my progress here and encouraging others to join me in this journey through the Google Educator Groups in Virginia.

I’m working my way through the Google Training Center materials.

Section One:  ENGAGE IN PROFESSIONAL GROWTH AND LEADERSHIP

Week One (11/6/2017): Get Ready to Use Technology in the Classroom, Expand Your Access to Help and Learning

Section Two: INCREASE EFFICIENCY AND SAVE TIME

Week Two (11/13/2017):  Have a Mostly Paperless Classroom, Save Time Communicating

Week Three (11/20/2017): Organize Activities for Yourself and Others, Bring Meetings Online

Week Four (11/27/2017): Bring Student Work Online, Measure, Understand and Share Student Work

Section Three: FACILITATE AND INSPIRE STUDENT LEARNING AND CREATIVITY

Week Five (12/ 6/2017): Teach Students Online Skills, Build Interactive Lessons

Week Six (12/13/2017): Captivate Your Class With Video, Facilitate Group Work

Week Seven (12/20/2017): Promote Digital Citizenship, Final Review

Week Eight (12/27/2017): Take the Test

Finding Time for Quadrant Two in Busy Times

Fall is my busiest time of year and life seems dominated by work. It’s work I enjoy and I get to collaborate with outstanding leaders and educators across the state. But, there are days when I just need to let the work go a bit and spend some time in what Stephen Covey called Quadrant Two: not urgent but important activities that focus on personal and professional development. I started today by cleaning up my desk and shelves. I’ve been sort of shoving stuff there as I come home between events and now that life has settled down for a few weeks, things can go to their proper places.

I have been using my personal time to play the guitar almost every day. I know *how* to play the guitar but needed something better than the old Mel Bay books to move me along to actually playing the guitar in an enjoyable way. I’m using a great app called Yousician that creates lessons for me and tracks my progress. It is challenging enough to keep my interest but not so difficult that I can’t keep up. The practice mode allows me to go slower and work through difficult passages.  I like the way the app focuses primarily on playing but also has a learning track related to music theory. (I’m playing minor blues scales right now.) I enjoy escaping to another room away from the office and just playing for fun…no pressure to achieve other than to please myself although I am motivated by the gold stars!

Professionally, I know what I want to do but I seem to keep putting it off: I want to earn Google Level 1 Educator certification. I have a test code tacked to my bulletin board and had plans to do it this summer. It didn’t happen and I had a revelation the other day that there was never going to be a perfect time to do it. So, I am just going to figure out how to work in study time.  My plan is to complete Google Fundamentals Training with a goal of  taking the exam before the end of the year. Then I can participate in the VSTE training for Level 2 in the spring.

Frankly, I’m a little nervous…I haven’t taken an exam of any kind for a very long time. I’m going to see if others want to join in with me to study. MOOCs might be dead, but I think there is still a place for people learning together and supporting each other professionally.  I’ll post my study schedule later today and then push it out via the Google Plus communities in Virginia. I’m not imagining anything formal but just a group of fellow travelers who help to hold each other accountable.

 

The Shifts Aren’t Always Seismic

We hear so much about transforming education: it conjures a vision of lightning striking and suddenly everything is new. But, I wonder if transformation happens in small often imperceptible ways.

For instance, this article on open education resources is mostly about the concerns of commercial providers. But buried deep in the last paragraphs is a shift in how schools approach both teacher work and professional development:

The department official agreed that adopting open resources can require teachers and other staff to devote much more time to content selection and curation than they otherwise might. “It definitely takes an investment,” he said. But he said a growing number of districts are finding ways to pay teachers for that work. Some of them are redirecting existing money spent on professional development to do so.

Two big points here: paying teachers to do the work AND repurposing professional development funds. I’m hoping the latter means that they are also repurposing professional development, counting the work of review as PD.

Investing this time can lead to a better understanding of the curriculum:

Teachers and administrators said they gained a much stronger understanding of the curriculum, and they were heavily invested in making sure it made sense for their classroom peers and students.

Rethinking teacher pay and professional development could be one of those small changes hidden in larger conversations.