I love presenting! It is a true passion for me! I can be tired and sick, but as soon as it is time for me to present, I am on! However, as the years are going by, I am learning more and more about what makes a successful session. My latest "aha" is about including teacher voice in my professional development sessions. It is said that we teach the way we like to be taught. And I am the person who likes to learn from the presenter, be hands on while learning and then leave to play. So that is how I presented! I tried to make sure my participants had a device so they could click along with me or some type of hands-on, note taking capability and I lectured while they came along for the ride. That was my sweet spot...lecturing with a hands-on component.
Then, while working an EdTechTeam Summit, I starting flipping through Sylvia Duckworth's Sketchnotes for Educators book. The sketchnote about professional development really spoke to me.
I started to think about the professional development sessions I attend where they give you time to discuss with others. While I still do not particularly like those types of sessions, I noticed teachers coming alive during the times they were allowed to learn from each other. Recently, I began adding collaboration time in my sessions. I call it speed dating. I allow teachers time to discuss concerns and questions with each other. Sometimes, I hear the topic being discussed in the speed dating groups starting to veer away from the topic I am teaching, but even when that happens, I hear the most rich conversations about practical teaching strategies. On evaluations, I am told time and time again that the best part of the training is the time they can evaluate what they just learned with the teachers around them.
It has been really eye-opening for me. I now know how important it is for teachers to have a voice and have the time to share that voice with other educators. The struggle for me now is how to do this in sessions that are an hour or less. It is hard for me to let go of teaching information to give teachers this time to collaborate, but I know how important it is. So that is where I am at the moment. How do I teach the content I want and still give them time to collaborate in a small amount of time? I honestly think the answer is I don't. I let go of some content to allow them to evaluate the content I do teach them. While I know that in my head, I now have to put it into practice! We shall see how it goes!!!!
Becoming a Google Innovator is a great accomplishment and was life-changing for me. I want to help other experience this so...
Here are 10 honest, opinionated tips to help you become a Google Innovator!
1. Make sure your Level 2 certificate can be seen (the sharing settings). Also, make sure to put the links to your social media instead of your social media handles (@educatoralex). In other words, FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY!!!! Read everything in the directions and follow them!
2. Speaking of social media...if you do not already have a Google+ and Twitter account, create both now! Start posting to them (new content and sharing others content). That way, you will have content on your accounts before you fill out the application. You may also be pleasantly surprised that you start to learn and interact with other educators and begin to build your PLN.
3. Look around...what do you have that you have created that you are proud of? If you do not have anything, make something. It could be a blog, a website, or a tool for educators/students to use...just make sure that YOU created it.
4. Make sure that the video shows your personality (if you are boring, steal someone else’s personality for the video). Do a skit with other people, have fun, show why you are unique and show your googliness. Please do not just talk to the camera...also stay away from PowToon--even though I love and teach PowToon-- and videos where you show pictures as you speak...nothing is wrong with doing this...just so many people do these! You want to STAND OUT! Your video does not have to be Hollywood quality by any means...just show your personality...make me care about this...it should look like you spent more than 10 minutes on this video!
5. The Innovator application has changed! Please make sure to read it carefully! It's no longer you discussing what you want to accomplish to change education, but it's more concentrated on what the problem is in education that you would like to solve. So concentrate on the problem and not the solution just yet. So if you have applied before, you need to rethink your answers and your video. Concentrate on the problem, why is it a problem, why does it need to be solved, and why is it such a big issue that you should concentrate on it.
6. Don't try to impress Google with Google! They know you love Google! Choose a problem that is a passion for you instead of one that can be solved with Google products.
7. Don't name-drop! It is not impressive. If you want to, get those people to do a nomination form for you instead.
8. If you don't get in, try again! Many Innovators applied MULTIPLE times before getting in.
9. If you know any Innovators, get them to look at your application and your video to give you honest feedback about what they think you should change (make sure that they understand that the application process has changed less toward a solution and more towards the problem).
10. You want the problem you choose to be something that you are passionate about finding a solution to. That passion needs to show in everything you write and the video you produce. You don’t have much space or time, so make every word and every frame count! If the problem is not a universal problem, make sure you are explaining it well.
So there they are...my 10 honest, opinionated tips! If I can ever help you with your application, definitely reach out and let me know.
Guest Blog for EdChange Global May 13, 2018
Guest Blog for Hoonuit May 22, 2018
Guest Blog for EdCamp March 28, 2018
Guest Blog for Hoonuit February 8, 2018
Guest Blog for EdTech Team February 10, 2017
It was so much fun presenting at the Texas Library Association Conference.
Librarians, Teaching Librarians, Library Media Specialists, Media Specialists, or whatever title is used are some of the most passionate, hard working people I have ever met. And some of the most taken advantage of and disrespected. As a former school librarian, I know firsthand the work that goes into being a librarian. Becoming a librarian taught me so much about leadership, about dealing with multiple different stakeholders, and about programming and planning events.
However, even though they are such hard workers, I heard over and over again about the mistreatment they get and how many of their positions were being cut. I don't understand education sometimes. You have an expert in literacy, in literature, in technology, and in programming on your campus and you dismiss their value and worth at every turn. Now, I know I have someone saying...that doesn't sound like my school librarian. Well, there are people not good at their job in every profession. And I have definitely seen some librarians that needed to be replaced pronto because they gave all of us a bad name. But I have seen SO many more excellent, caring professionals that just get a raw deal.
So many that supervise them don't really understand what a librarian is supposed to do. Well, let me tell you. A librarian is there to support instruction, to support the curriculum, to teach digital citizenship, to teach research, to foster a love of literacy and reading, to create programs and so much more!
If I ask you who knew about Hoonuit, I am not sure how many people would raise their hands. That may be because it used to be called Atomic Learning...now it is Hoonuit by Atomic Learning. I, who am sometimes late to the train, found out about Hoonuit a little while ago and I love it!
So, I must let you know about my experience if you are thinking of using Hoonuit!
First, I love learning. I do several types of presentations, but you cannot be effective at presenting if you are not continuously learning. Second, because of my busy schedule, I really need to learn at my own pace in my own time. So, I was looking for a way to do that besides the ways I was already using. Someone suggested Hoonuit to me. I was pleasantly surprised that they had so many different topics, including technology topics I have been wanting to learn for years, but could never get to a class (I am looking at you Adobe Suite). I was still skeptical about it though…I wanted to see if the teacher’s voice annoyed me, were the videos boring, did they teach at a snail’s pace, was the content relevant and up-to-date and so forth. I wanted to test a class to see if I agreed with the content and liked the style. So, I chose something I knew I already knew: classroom management.
And, again, I was pleasantly surprised! I liked that the content was broken up in five minute or less (many of them less) videos. That was helpful when I needed to stop it…I could come back directly to where I left off. I also liked that the speaker’s voice was very clear and easy to follow (professional). The images were stock images or bullet points of what the speaker was saying. The bullet points really helped me over stock images because I am partly a visual learner. The only thing that I did not like was that the videos did not keep playing if I wanted them to continuously play the whole playlist. I had to manually start each video (1st world problems, I know).
And as for as the content, the teacher/presenter was spot on! I even learned some classroom management examples that can work for lower grade levels (which is never my strength). I am so pleased that this is a product that I can add to my own personal learning plan (and suggest to others)! It is great to have something that I can use on my own time that is professional and no-nonsense (get straight to the point with me).
And I do like that they have added other steps if you want to get a certificate for the course. If you want the certificate, there is the Do-It, Share-It, Prove-It model. This is where you do a small project with your new skills and share that project. That is good because others can see it and give you feedback on it (I plan to use this A LOT with the Adobe Suite I am about to start learning).
So…if you could not tell, I am very satisfied with Hoonuit! I believe in the product so much that I decided to get certified in it. I love learning about things that are just no-nonsense! Educators don’t always have time for the cutesy things…sometimes we just need to learn what we want to learn and start using it. Hoonuit allows that for me!
Desiree Alexander aka Educator Alexander is excited about her first blog, Honestly Desiree! Learn more about her at www.educatoralexander.com/about.