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
Desiree Alexander aka Educator Alexander is excited about her first blog, Honestly Desiree! Learn more about her at www.educatoralexander.com/about.