A Purpose, Passion and Maker-Driven Life

Today I walked into my mom’s house to an excited Braeden sharing his animatronic dinosaur costume design…inspired by YouTube videos from a group of puppet makers from China,  Jurassic Park and the realistic Dinosaur themed show that he saw at the Dallas Zoo about a year ago.  He wanted to know if I knew people that could help him. He wanted students with experience in soldering, auto-mechanics and engineering.  He even promised that if they helped, he would let them be in his video…because that’s what you do when you learn from YouTube…you thrive on sharing the wealth too. I …

2

Thank You Mr. Guidry, Band Director #ThankATeacher

Well before the official “instrument tryout” day, my mom sent my dad to look for my first flute. It was a used $50 pawn shop find, my ticket to beginner band class. During tryouts, my mom was told that I could not play the flute. They said that I had a tear drop upper lip, making clear sound virtually impossible. It didn’t matter as my mom stood her ground and insisted that regardless of what they said, I was playing the flute…so I did. My start as a flautist was terrible as I was literally the worst or 2nd worst, …

Blogging, Challenges of POC in Edtech and #EdtechBOC 

Earlier this week, I shared a post centered on lack of diversity of online Edtech spaces and in the days since, many conversations were had amongst my POC in Edtech peers about our own experiences and contributions.  Theses kinds of conversations, the difficult ones meant for private POC spaces,  are necessary in order to push and support growth amongst each other. When I started to look for Edtech blogs written by techs of color, it was alarming to learn how many weren’t writing and sharing our  work. There were some, but not many.  It made the argument about our missing …

2

Confessions of a Digital Leader: Learning New Technology, A Necessary Evil

Daily, many of us in these roles expect teachers to be open to learning new technology…new ways of doing things. I’ll admit that it’s sometimes frustrating when learning something new becomes so much of a hassle that it’s completely unreal.  At the same token, I also have to admit that our version of “this is important” differs greatly from that of the users that we serve and knowing that part is half the battle.  I’ve been reminded since June by my staff that I “speak tech” a mile a minute and that often the tools seem to overlap, creating a …

Confessions of A Digital Leader: 6 Things I Learned While Implementing Digital Learning

1. Google Apps Aren’t Really “Free”  Through the course of our implementation and relaunch of Google Apps, I’ve definitely learned that the word “free” is such a myth. When we decided to move forward with creating our student Google Apps accounts, I started to hear all about monitoring of teacher and student accounts. I learned that kids will type terrible things and change ink to white in order to make pages appear blank. Adults and kids may sometimes even share personal identifiable data via Google Drive Kids and/or adults may write/post threatening content. Pretty much every horrible, terrible, very bad …

3

The Day After, SemicolonEDU 

Three years ago, I sat in a suicide awareness and prevention session given by our high school counsellors.  It was my first time attending a session such as this and also the first time that I’ve been around anyone openly talking about suicide. The first words of the session… “Last year we had three completions…” …the most painful statement that I’ve heard in a long time. I couldn’t help but to think of myself, my “near completion”…and the day after. Nick Provenzano and Joe Mazza challenged the greater education community to help bring attention to mental health awareness by sharing their …

Digitally Leading and Learning

There’s a general rule of thumb when thinking about teaching and learning when it comes to technology. The tools are never the focus and always come secondary to learning goals. I believe this to my core but I have to say that this is a difficult thought to maintain when student device access is close to zero…other than a BYOD. When you know how critical access to technology is…the absence of tools for learning can definitely cloud “rule of thumb” thinking. In my new role as the Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning for Lufkin ISD, it is my responsibility to …

3

When Brand Advocacy Gets in the Way

Yesterday I was one of two creative leap speakers at the edulounge sponsored by Classflow (Promethean). The event itself appealed to me because it was a day to celebrate educators…our stories and contributions. It appealed to me before I even knew that Promethean sponsored it and yet I still participated. How would sharing our story…Braeden’s story…hurt? See, I am a SMART exemplary educator, which I have been for years. SMART & Promethean are direct competitors in terms of IWB and software. I still stand by SMART notebook as the standard in terms of interactive software….period. The thing is…I didn’t even …

1

Conversations with My Son of Typical…While Black

When the Zimmerman verdict came down, there were days of questions and discussions with my son. He was shocked and horrified that a young man, who looked like him, could be gunned down and his murderer walk free. When the Dunn verdict came, his reaction was vastly different. My son flicked off the tv, shrugged his shoulders and walked away muttering a word that I often use in unbelievably expected situations…”typical”. When pressed further, my son said… “Jordan was black and in Florida. Did you honestly expect different?” That conversation soon shifted to the Stand Your Ground laws and more …

For Those Moments When We Lack Patience

I’m going to guess that I am not alone in saying that there are definite moments when I feel overwhelmed. Between the speed and complexity of all aspects of life, there are moments when you just need to stop, wait and breathe. We all have those days. Today was mine. As I sat at my desk after the office cleared, I had some time to reflect on what exactly is clogging my thoughts. The only word that I could even muster was…PATIENCE. We are such an instantaneous bunch. We want everything to happen like yesterday! That’s not a bad thing …