There is something very exciting about starting the new year. I think it is the opportunity to be reflective about the events of the previous year and to make resolutions to do things differently in the upcoming year. Is there anyone out there who hasn’t made a resolution about dieting? It’s a classic! Teachers make new year’s resolutions too. For them, the new year represents a chance to reflect on old practices and implement new ones. Teaching is an ever changing profession and requires constant reflection and improvements.
I just heard a story about a teacher who, during an interview, declared that he would not need to change a thing because he had many years of experience. He would just use the same notes he had been using for years. Imagine! Today’s teaching is all about change and teachers are in a constant state of learning, just like their students. There are so many pedagogical advances that support students in their learning much more effectively than traditional teaching approaches. Teachers I know work very hard to keep abreast of current approaches and strategies and would never be as ‘comfortable’ as the teacher described above.
For teachers at the college here the new year means it is goal setting time–a time when teachers are busy creating action plans that integrate new practices and areas where they can grow. Blended Learning and Technology are hot topics for this year’s goals. In my perpetual blogging I discovered an interesting list of technology goals that Monica Burns shared on http://www.edutopia.com. I am sharing them here along with some of my own personal goals.
1. Choose a New Tool Each Month: There really is a plethora of tools to choose from and so it is no great feat to try one per month. This month I am experimenting with KustomNote, which just might help me create templates and forms for Evernote. If anyone else is trying it, I would love to hear from you….or sit beside you for a few moments!
2. Join a Twitter Chat: While I do have a twitter account and have an elementary understanding of how hashtags work, I must admit that I have not engaged in a Twitter chat. Well there is no time like the present. I will follow #blendedlearning for now and will even attempt to answer some of the questions posed by the chat’s facilitator. I will let you know how that goes. Feel free to try it with me.
3. Host a Google Hangout: Apparently this will allow you to connect your computer screen with friends any where. Think I will try this out with family in Canada first, and then try to connect with others.
4. Use your Phone: This one should be easy. Who here doesn’t have a handphone? I already use the WordPress iPhone app to manage this blog. I also use the timer to time presentations. Monica Burns suggests several apps, including Sand Timer and Traffic Light. Sounds like these could be useful to me during workshop and training sessions.
5. Check Out Pinterest: Yes! A fantastic resource! As Monica suggests, set yourself a goal of trying two new ideas a month that you’ve found on Pinterest and put them into action. Check out this timeline photo from Edutopia that shows the ‘Pin’ of the year:
6. Try Skype: This one is easy for me given that Skype is my lifeline! My regular skypes with grandchildren are treasured indeed. And I skyped colleagues over the holidays while I was in Canada.
7. Share your Story: Blog. I love blogging. I love reading blogs. It is a great way to share thoughts. I encourage you to start a blog and share your story. I promise to follow it!
Here’s wishing teachers everywhere a Happy New Year and to my Chinese friends and colleagues, Gong Xi Fa Cai!