Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mid-summer Fun

We've reached and surpassed the middle of summer, but enough has been going on to keep me busy. I've had an opportunity to rekindle my passion for gaming this week, stocking up on enough games to last me at least this year if not longer on the Steam Summer Sale. I got to take a nice vacation with my wife to the Twin Cities. I also got to be a part of Edcamphome, at least for a short time.

School related, I'm beginning to realize that the new year is coming all too soon.  In no particular order, here is the list of things I still need to complete:

  • Two presentations for the annual SITA conference in Green Bay (1 on Web 2.0 presentation tools, 1 on My Big Campus)
  • Finishing designing and planning an Exploring Programming Class for 8th Grade
  • Updating my Careers and Computer Apps classes
  • Planning an Exploring Business and Marketing class for next year
  • Learn some programming and Google Sketchup
I'm really excited for the possibilities this year will bring. Some amazing things could happen if I keep my focus and plan these out well. However, I also have realized how important it is to take some time for myself and enjoy the things I like that don't have to deal with school. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If I Want to Challenge The Status Quo, it Starts With Me

Open up to last Friday morning. and you'll find me in the midst of enjoying a typical summer break day. Sure, I have plans to do a bit of work, perhaps continue my coding lessons, but mostly it will be a lazy day. I enjoy the fact that days are fairly predictable and that I, despite being in the midst of summer, can hang out on my laptop for most of the day. It is safe to say I like things the way they are. Then, the picture came:

A cute little kitty had been found by my mother in law, and it was strongly hinted that we should drive three hours to take a look at this cat. For some reason, I fought this pretty hard. I didn't want anything to change, especially with a new cat that I knew would bring on increased expenses and some growing pains. I love cats but I was completely happy with the one we had. In fact, I even gave my wife an ultimatum:  either the cat or later a dog, that's it.

Safe to say my mind was trying to convince myself that we wouldn't take the cat, even though I should have known full well it'd be ours. During the drive, I was thinking. Why was I so opposed to this? It really isn't THAT big of a deal. It is a cat - they are so maintenance free they could probably take care of each other if we were gone. So what was my hold up? My world wasn't going to change much but still I fought it. Just the idea that some fraction of my day would be dictated by something other than my own needs was threatening to me.

All of this inevitably led me to think about school. As someone who is a big proponent of integrating tech, trying new teaching methods, and generally breaking down the "status quo", I was afraid of a small change in the status quo in my own life. What is the status quo?  According to dictionary.com, status quo is Latin for "state in which", or basically, the way things are right now.

I'm sure there is a time and a place to stick to the status quo, like our friends in "High School Musical" tell us...
But education isn't the place. In an era of increased pressure on standardized testing, that is the last thing we want to become in our classrooms. But how am I supposed to seriously advocate people to mix things up when I'm so uncomfortable when situations change in my own life?  This question really made me look deep inside. If I really want to be a leader, a vanguard, a visionary, I have to walk the talk. A new pet for me could really be like including more tech for certain teachers, or trying project based learning for others. This situation with the kitty made me mindful of just what goes through the mind of someone who doesn't want to change. As advocates of change, it is important we take this needs into consideration as we move forward.

Ultimately, I got over myself. I realized how cute the kitty was when I saw her. It didn't hurt that she loves me to pieces (sometimes literally...dang those tiny claws!). Really, it is a cat. They aren't that much trouble. My goal then is to make sure teachers understand that using tech, despite some growing pains, won't hurt you if done correctly.  These teachers who are reluctant do need time, support, and the benefit of the doubt moving forward. I need my own process to come to terms with this new cat. We need to respect this process for all educators when it comes to pushing new things. Who knows, they might find themselves very attached!