Summertime playtime no-tech time


Signing off…

This summer my goal is to use Facebook less, carry my phone less, turn the radio off in the house and in the car in order to disconnect from work and be present with myself and my family. As I’ve written about before, I think I generally find a pretty good balance with my technology, but recently I’ve felt that when I see my devices, I feel like there is something that I’m supposed to be doing. I am notoriously unable to sit still as it is, but now that I am spending a lot of my day monitoring the little one, I have a constant ticker in the back of my head listing the chores, errands, and projects I should be doing.

What I AM going to do, is

  1. Walk with my dogs early in the morning
  2. Play in the dirt
  3. Swim, Bike
  4. Travel to see family
  5. Spend time at OMSI and splash pads
  6. Watch Downton Abbey with my husband
  7. Eat coconut ice cream
  8. Relish not being pregnant

I also have a long list of summer reading books, but the three that must be read are:

  1. Brain Rules, by John Medina – I’m offering this to the 8th grade for summer reading
  2. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, By Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager – I’m reading this with SIGIS and our tech and science departments
  3. Sticks and Stones, by Emily Bazelon – Our critical friends group is reading it together and will have a book clubby type meeting in August

And what better way to end the year by looking forward to next! It is deeply satisfying for me to look back through my goals for this year and take stock of what I’ve done and where I want to go. An end and beginning together.

My goals for next year:

1. Gaming and programming

  • SimCity – possibly connecting with another school, involving history and math
  • Scratch – boosting the 6th science project
  • 3DGameLab potentially in 6th library/tech
  • Find a curricular place for MinecraftEdu
  • Start after school club or group to work on game design and/or programming – maybe find a Girl Scout Troop?

2. Digital footprints

  • Continue my own blogging, create a visual resume in Illustrator, and finish my “engaging beyond” page
  • Start working with other teachers on the development of their portfolios and digital footprints linked to the Essential Competencies

3. Continue to seek balance amongst family, work, dorm, other professional commitments, exercise, and personal time.


Final #ISTE13 Post: Connect and Reflect

ISTE hall

ISTE seems a world away now that summer vacation is here and my days are filled with story hour, diapers, ear infections, and naptime (or lack thereof). But I would be remiss not to reflect on yet another great conference on connecting with my current colleagues, fellow SIGISers, and new educators.

This list really isn’t in order of importance:

1. I’ve been using the SuperBetter app for a week now and dig it. I look forward to pressing the “I DID THIS” button and getting the happy ding of the achievements. I’ve even set up some of my own Power-Ups and Quests but I haven’t recruited any allies yet. I’m not sure how I’ll measure the long term changes in my behavior, but I’m enjoying the process for now. I’m hoping to pass this on to our support staff as a potential option for struggling students.

2. From the second keynote: I love Steven Johnson’s remixed quote, “Chance favors the connected mind.” I love the idea of getting out of your silo, connecting with others, drinking coffee, fueling creativity by stepping outside your comfort zone. That said, I have two thoughts:

  1. What about the quiet, mindful, reflective, independent time? I think this is needed in the balance and some people need it more than others. After reading Quiet last summer and identifying myself as an introvert, I guard “me time” as important in my own creativity. Is this another “everything in moderation” type deal?
  2. I’m curious about how the zone of proximal development applies to this idea of connecting with people out of your silo. I would think that the cafes of the 1800s were fairly local and culturally homogenous. When we mix in diverse groups, what happens if we’re too different? Does this break down the connections? Hmmm. I don’t have an answer for this. I’m really looking forward to my first day of Intercultural Competency training this August.

3. If I attend ISTE next year, what would be the best format for me? This year I LOVED the keynotes and poster sessions, but I was disappointed by the sessions I attended. What is the value of me going to this conference, year after year? I was thinking that what I would get the most benefit from is four days of concentrated work on an issue at school or a new project. Could I work on that in Portland? Yes, but I wouldn’t have access to the people that I have at ISTE. So maybe it would be a four-day informal get together (i.e. not paid) where a group gets together, and we learn how to build apps or design professional development portfolios or design a parent education series. This could leverage the power of the ISTE community and give me the space and time to work on a project for my school. ISTE14 is a long way off… but it could be fun!

4. I’m really excited about the summer of making, sponsored by SIGIS and SIGCT. I’m worried most of my “making” will be from 7pm-midnight after the little one goes to sleep, so I hope I can find the energy for it. My goal is to delve deeper into Scratch, take the 3DGameLab course on how to create an iOS App, and print something on the 3D Printer. Okay, I’ll be happy if I do ONE of these!

5. Last, my goals for ISTE13 were:

  1. Be where I am. Done. I feel good about this one.
  2. Gaming. 3DGameLab, SimCity. I feel good about this one too.
  3. Support. Not sure I got enough of this, but it will come out over the summer. I know some people’s brains were so full by the end they couldn’t process. Sounds like a follow up meeting in August would be good.
  4. Reflect. Once this is posted, done!

Now I should really go open that free Surface still sitting in the box…