Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 One Word: Resolve

Sometimes my career feels like a battle. As an instructional technologist, I don't feel like my role has ever just been trying to help willing teachers integrate technology but also to be an evangelist or even prophet about the future of education and the impact technology can have. About this time every year,  I begin to feel a wee bit weary. I feel fatigued from having to defend educational technology which is always odd to me that this has become part of who I am.

I look back over the past few years and see a theme:
2015's one word was "Let's"
2016's one word was "Beta"
2017's one word was "Brave"
2018's one word was "Perspective"

This year as I tried to decide which one word to choose to help me as a professional, I found myself feeling less joy about what I do because of the weariness of having the same old conversations year, after year, after year. Every year, choosing one word in January gives me a sense of where I have been during this school year and a focus on where I want to be at the end of May.

So this year my one word is RESOLVE. After a year of diligently trying to look at and balance perspectives of others, I am ready to own who I am. I am an instructional technologist who currently is in the role of Director of Instructional Technology and Innovation. This year I am resolved to stand firm in sharing the virtues of educational technology with the educators, students, and parents that I come in contact with day in and day out. For me, this means that I will stand firm in touting the importance of students having the skills that support the ISTE Standards for Students for their futures.

I have been toying with the one word, "Resolve", for a few days now. This morning I felt affirmed in that word as we read the scripture from Mark 6: 1-4 in church:
Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Now, I'm no Jesus but these words resonated deep within me this morning. Jesus's own family and friends in his own hometown didn't believe in him and the things he was sharing. One of the hardest things about my role is that I am often asked to speak at other schools and educational conferences but my fellow educators in the school I've been at for 15 years push back the hardest. My insecurities imagine what they say "Who is she? She was just an elementary computer teacher?" "How could she possibly think she could tell me better ways to teach my class?" "She knows nothing about my subject matter." None of those things have been said to me, mind you. Then my pride gets in the way and I'm convinced I do know best sometimes (hence the chosen word "perspective" last year to make sure I was being balanced.) 
But here I am today choosing "resolve," not to push my ways on others but to stand firm on believing I have an important role at my school to be an evangelist and prophet about the future possibilities of education. My prayer is that just like Jesus in the scriptures we read this morning, I can do it with humility (this was his second time to go to his hometown and try to reach them). I want to have the resolve to bravely share concepts and ideas based on what I have learned might be helpful regarding technology integration.
What will this look like immediately?
  • Explaining the analytics data of digital testing inside Canvas and how it can benefit or students and teachers when creating assessments.
  • Explaining how we are in an era that has never been before: we can now have immediate feedback after a lesson and adjust our teaching to that feedback to best meet our student needs.
  • Harking the benefits of rubric-based assessing so that students can share their learning in ways other than a paper/pencil/digital assessment of questions.
  • Explaining that Canvas is a learning management system that our school can "grow into"  as we consider mastery paths and learning outcomes associated with our questioning of students.