Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Telling My Story -- A TED-Style Talk

It's been so long since I've blogged.  I really have been intending to write.  I have notes jotted all over the place with thoughts and ideas for my blog, but they keep getting put on the back burner.

Recently, my coaching team had the opportunity to sit together and share TED-style talks.  We could either share part of a talk that someone else has given and our thoughts around that, or we could create our own talk.  I chose to create my own talk about something very near and dear to my heart -- telling your story.

I'm posting the video of my talk here today not only to share my thoughts with you, but also as a reminder to myself to get back into my writing.  Telling my story has already had a powerful impact on my life and it's something I need to continue doing.

I hope you enjoy my little talk.  It's a rough first try, but it's something that I'm proud of.  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

National Infertility Awareness Week -- How Tech Transformed Me

It's National Infertility Awareness Week, and while this might not seem related to a blog about transforming instruction with technology, I'd like to share how infertility and social media transformed my life.

I was a social media user before infertility.  I blogged about my dogs and books I'd read.  I tweeted about Harry Potter.  I had a community of people I regularly interacted with.  It was great, but at that time social media was a hobby for me.  Entertainment.  A way to practice my writing and spend some time interacting with others.  Fun.

When infertility came along, however, social media became a lifeline.

Despite the fact that 1 in 8 couples or 7.3 million American women experience infertility, I didn't know anyone who was dealing with it.  Most of my friends didn't have kids, weren't trying to conceive, or were newly pregnant without a struggle.  I didn't have anyone to talk to who could answer my questions or just emphasize with the awful emotional roller coaster I was on.

I started blogging about our struggles because I needed to talk about it.  I needed to put my feelings out there.  I needed a way to process what we were going through.  So I put it out there -- the surgeries, the needles, the hormones, the horrible emotions -- I shared it all.

The more I put myself out there and shared our story, the more connections I made with people who were facing similar struggles.  I was welcomed into the infertility community and found answers, understanding, and friendship.  And the friends who weren't struggling with responded with more love and support than I could have imagined.

Sharing my story truly changed my life.  It helped me connect with the people I needed in my life at that moment -- my people.  Sharing my story gave me the space to work through the anger, the tears, the fear, and the joy.  It taught me to advocate for myself.  Sharing my story taught me to be a better support for my friends, regardless of their struggles.  It gave me the opportunity to educate others on the realities of infertility.

Not only did my social media use help me find the community I needed, it taught me about the real power of social media.  I was able to use social media to share, question, learn, teach, reach out, laugh, cry, and advocate.  I walked away from my experience with infertility not only as the mom to my beautiful daughters, but with a strong belief that we all deserve the chance to tell our stories, to educate the world, to find our people.  I want this for our students, and I want this for our teachers.

Tell your story.  Listen to others' stories.  Reach out.  Connect.  Find your people.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five Tech Things on a Friday v.12

It's Friday, and that means I'm sharing some of my favorite tech tools, news, and videos.  This week, I'm sharing five of my favorite apps you can use in Google Chrome.  Have you been to the Chrome Web Store?  There are so many wonderful free apps and browser's a little overwhelming!  To help you get started, here are five of my favorite apps:
  • Movenote for Education allows you to present your documents with video.  What a great way to present an upcoming project by allowing students and parents to see and hear you explain the project while following along with the directions.  Students could also record themselves presenting a project or explaining a math problem.  Movenote integrates with Google Drive, allowing you to easily create presentations using documents from your Drive.  Presentations are then saved in Drive for you to access and share.
  • Tired of PowerPoint?  Getting sick from too many Prezis?  Check out Powtoon Edu!  Powtoon allows you to easily create animated videos and presentations which can be quickly shared to YouTube, Facebook, or downloaded to your computer.  Here's a peek at what Powtoon looks like:

  • I've heard several teachers say that they miss having Kidspiration and Inspiration.  Well, now you can have Lucidchart for Education!  Lucidchart allows you to create flow charts, venn diagrams, mind maps and more...and it allows you to do it collaboratively!
  • If you're a fan of Publisher, I think LucidPress Layout and Design will quickly become your new favorite publishing tool.  LucidPress allows you to create beautiful content for print, digital, or mobile platforms.  Check it out: 

  • My final app to share this week is  I love to watch TED talks, but I struggled with how to jot down notes or remember key moments that I wanted to return to. allows me to take notes alongside YouTube and Coursera videos.  What I love most is that my notes are synchronized with the video.  If I click on a note, I can automatically jump to that point in the video.  This would be a great tool for students to use to take note on video assignments or if you are flipping the classroom!  
What are some of your favorite Google Apps?  How are you using them in your classroom?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Five Tech Things on a Friday v.11

Happy Friday everyone!  Welcome to this week's edition of Five Tech Things on a Friday.  In reality, this is more like four tech things and a (cat) video I happen to like.
  • I enjoyed this thoughtful post on 14 Things That Are Obsolete in 21st Century Schools.  The list includes a variety of topics such as Isolated Classrooms, Unhealthy Lunches, and Computer Labs.  Do you agree with this post?  What do you consider to be obsolete in 21st century schools?
  • While I was at the ICE conference a few weeks ago, I learned about WeVideo, and I have been having a great time playing around with it.  WeVideo is basically like iMovie, but you use it in your browser.  There is even a Chrome App for WeVideo.  Check out this awesome video editing tool!
  • Have you googled yourself lately?  What did you find?  Good things...not so good things...nothing at all?  These days have no digital footprint can be just as detrimental as having a bad digital footprint.  What do you want people to find when they search for you?  Check out this great resource from George Couros on why and how to build your digital footprint.  George also highlights his own digital footprint on his website.
  • Finally, it's Friday...the sun is shining...and we can all use a good inspirational cat video from time to time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

We Used to Ban Books, Now It's iPads

Over the weekend, an article kept popping up in my Facebook feed.  I'm hesitant to even link to it just because it made me cringe each time I saw it, but for reference: 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.


I'm not saying that we shouldn't be concerned about things like radiation and overuse of technology, but there is more than one side to this story.  In fact, there are numerous factors to consider when we think about how much time children should spend with devices.  That being said, there is a world of difference between meaningful and responsible technology use and over use.  As with most things, there are plusses and minuses to children using devices.

Should we also ban paper books because reading for too many hours a day can lead to obesity and paper cuts?  Let's go back in time.  Twenty-five years ago, scrawny eight-year-old me lived with her nose in a book.  She read during recess.  She read in the car.  She even hid inside on warm summer days to read.  She spent hours and hours every day reading.  Should someone have taken books away from her because she was so intently focused on one thing?  Why didn't anyone worry about obesity?  What if she stumbled onto inappropriate content?  Now, one might argue that reading is a much more worthwhile activity than spending time on a handheld device, but I would argue that the opposite can also be true.  I've spent plenty of time reading nonsense.  I've also spent plenty of time using my handheld device to read, research, connect with others, and publish my work.

Am I comparing apples to oranges here?  A little bit...but I also feel that banning handheld devices for children under 12 is as extreme a view as banning pencils because they might cause carpal tunnel.
Instead of completely banning the use of handheld devices until the age of 12, why don't we educate children and adults on how to use these powerful tools in meaningful and responsible ways.  Use of handheld devices is not synonymous with overuse.  It's important to remember that not all "screen time" is created equal.

I think it's pretty clear that a bouncy seat that holds an iPad over your baby's head has great potential for misuse.  Though, the special education teacher in me can also see a lot of ways this could be used as adaptive equipment.  For the sake of this post, however, I'll go ahead and admit that this also makes me cringe.

But what about this:

Twins Skyping with their grandparents.  How exactly does bringing families together cause obesity or hyperactivity?

Here students with developmental delays are using the iPad to retell a favorite story.  This was an extremely powerful experience for children who struggle to use language.  Imagine receiving this as a parent.

This video was created using a handheld device.  Imagine how wonderful it is for students who are deaf or hard of hearing to have access to stories with sign language.

My 3.5 year old daughters used our iPad this weekend with the Tell About It app.  They loved making connections with the pictures they saw, I loved having tangible evidence of this developmental stage, and we all loved being able to share this experience with friends and family by posting it to Facebook.  Now, I'm using their work to construct an argument on my blog.

We can and should start teaching children about how to use these powerful tools early in their lives.  They can learn to use these tools to connect, collaborate, and share with the world rather than just playing mindless games.  By the age of 12, children should be able to use handheld devices appropriately in a variety of ways.  They should understand how to use them safely and effectively.  But, where will our children be if we completely ban the use of these tools until they are 12?  We don't keep books away from babies because some books contain content that is inappropriate for them.  Instead, we teach them to read starting at the level they come to us.  The same should be true for technology.  We can't lock up our devices until our children are twelve.  Instead, we need to meet our children where they are and teach them exactly how to use (and how not to use) these amazing tools.

If you are looking for resources and research on use the use of technology with young children, I highly recommend these resources:

Screen Time: How Electronic Media -- From Baby Videos to Educational Software -- Affects Your Child by Lisa Guernsey

Common Sense Media

Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media

TEC Center at the Erikson Institute

While I was writing this post, my 3.5 year old daughter asked me what I was working on.  I told her, "I'm writing a blog post to share because someone said that kids shouldn't use iPads." Without missing a beat she responded, "But little kids can use an iPad if their families help them."  Out of the mouths of babes...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Reflections from ICE -- We Have to Tell Our Own Stories

I was lucky to be able to spent some time at the Illinois Computing Educators conference last week, and, of course, I came away with a brain full of great ideas, tips, tricks, and things to try.  I will definitely share all of that here soon, but first I really want to reflect on my major takeaway from ICE: I have a responsibility to help my schools tell their stories.

I work as a district coach with ten schools that are in federal restructuring.  It's hard work -- for teachers, for administrators, for all of us.  No matter how you try to dress it up, federal restructuring is often seen as synonymous with failing.  No one wants to hear that their hard work resulted in failure, but here we are.  This is the message that is being shared about our schools because we aren't telling our own story.
When I interviewed for this position, one of the things I was hoping to bring to the table was the ability to help schools tell their own stories.  Instead of being represented by test scores in the newspaper, I wanted our schools to represent themselves.  I wanted our schools to reach out to our community and the world.  I wanted our schools to share who they truly are.

I dropped the ball.

Despite my strong belief in the power of stories, of sharing, and of relationships, building a digital footprint with my schools got put on the back burner.  I'm new to this position, and this position is new to the district.  Things were changing daily.  I got lost in the minutiae of learning the ever-changing ins and outs of my job.  I got bogged down in meetings. I was waiting for guidelines to be finalized.  I lost sight of this critical piece of my work.  This isn't to say that I haven't done good work this year.  I've done plenty that I'm proud of.  It's just that ICE was a real wake up call for me.  I lost sight of something really powerful, and I needed to be reminded.
Steve Dembo talked about this idea of ambient intimacy.  If we share who we are through social media --  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, what have you -- we send out a series of light touches to the world.  Through these light touches the world gets to know us, and we get to know the world.  Our schools deserve to be seen as more than just poor test scores, but the only way to do that is to use our own voices.
The world we live in amazes me.  We are more connected than ever before.  As educators, we are no longer isolated from each other -- in fact, educator isolation has now become a choice.  We have to choose to share our stories, to learn from each other, and to make those global connections.  I have a responsibility to my schools to help them find ways to share their stories.
I truly believe that telling our stories is worth it.  I've experienced the power of sharing my story in my personal life -- it brought me connections to others dealing with infertility, moms of twins, book lovers, and connected me with people all over the world who are now some of my closest friends.  I've also experienced the power of sharing in my professional life.  I get to learn from other educators all around the world each and every day.  I get to share my ideas, learn new tricks, and talk about teaching and learning.  I've seen how powerful social media can be in my own life.  I've watched it work for other schools.  It's time to help my schools find their voice.  I can't wait to get started!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February 2014 Reads

I didn't read quite as many books in February (8) as I did in January (12), but it was still a good reading month!  Here's what was in my reading stack in February:

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson -- 4 Stars.  I always enjoy Laurie Halse Anderson, and this book was no disappointment.  This book tells the story of Haley and her veteran father who suffers from severe PTSD.  Like most of Anderson's books, this was hauntingly realistic.

Creating Innovators:  The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner -- 2 Stars.  I was disappointed in this book.  The author told half a dozen redundant stories about the lives of modern innovators and the people who influenced them.  The conclusions he drew appeared to be largely based on personal opinion rather than research.  Wagner lost me fairly early in the book when he referred to a student as a high school and college dropout, yet the student left his boarding school early to attend Stanford and then left Stanford before completing his Master's degree.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo -- 3 Stars.  This book started off slow for me.  It was fine, but not all that into it.  The second half, however, sucked me in and I'm eager to read the next book in the series.  Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of YA fantasy.

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi -- 3 Stars.  I was really looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy, but it fell kind of flat for me.  The first two books really grabbed me, and this one...well...didn't.  It wasn't bad.  It just wasn't great.  I'd love to hear how others felt after reading this!

Speaker For the Dead by Orson Scott Card -- 4 Stars.  I loved Ender's Game, but I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the sequel.  Turns out, it was great!  I loved seeing Ender as an adult, and the world that Orson Scott Card has created was as fascinating as ever.

The Archived by Victoria Schwab -- 3 Stars.  I think I got this for free from the Kindle store.  The premise is interesting --  when you die your life is archived and kept in a library, sometimes those archives wake up.  Another book that started out slow for me, but in the end I enjoyed it enough to want to see what happens next.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion -- 5 Stars.  This was, by far, my favorite read of the month.  Don is an adult with Asperger's (though he doesn't know it) looking for a wife.  Don's voice was just fantastic.  This was quirky, sweet, and lovely.  I missed Don and Rosie as soon as I closed the book.  Read it!

 The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood -- 4 Stars.  Oh, Margaret Atwood.  Such amazing writing.  Believe it or not, sometimes I like my dystopia a little more grown up.  I loved Oryx and Crake, so I was excited to dive into The Year of the Flood.  It took me a bit to figure out the who, the what, and the when in this book, but overall, it was fantastic.

There you have them, my February reads.  I think my theme for February was "it took me a while to get into this book".  With the exception of Creating Innovators, I was glad that I stuck with each of these titles.

What did you read in February?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Some of My Favorite iPad Apps

The teachers in my buildings have the opportunity to apply for a set of 10 iPads for their classrooms.  I am so excited to get these iPads out into our classrooms.  Since this is a new endeavor for our schools, I thought I'd highlight some of my favorite apps for the classroom.

Evernote -- Evernote is one of my favorite apps both in and out of the classroom.  I use it to take notes at all of my meetings, and I love that I don't have to carry a stack of notes with me anymore.  They are all on my iPad...or on my iPhone...or on my laptop.  I have access to them everywhere!  In the classroom, Evernote is a great place to create student portfolios.  You can set up folders for each of your students, and then can send work directly to your Evernote account.  Once again, you aren't dragging portfolios home with you.  Everything you need is right there in the app!  Evernote can also store links, photos, voice recordings, just about anything!  Oh, and it's FREE!

Educreations -- Educreations is a great interactive whiteboard app, perfect for students to generate their own content.  One of my favorite ways to use this app is to have students record their solution to a math problem and explain how they came to their answer.  Educreations records what the student is writing as well as what the students in saying.  This is a great way to create your own classroom Khan Academy!

TocaBoca Apps -- I absolutely love all of the TocaBoca apps, especially for early childhood and primary grade students.  Toca Band, Toca Hair Salon, Toca Kitchen, Toca Builders...I really do love them all.  The Toca Boca apps are wonderful free play apps.  They allow children to explore and be creative versus a lot of other apps that force children to play the game in a specific way.  We know that play is the work of childhood, and the Toca Boca apps are a great way to play!

Puppet Pals -- Puppet Pals is an awesome storytelling tool!  Students use characters, backgrounds, and themes to narrate a story.  This is a great app for students who want to retell a story, share a book they loved, or bring a story they've written to life.  Here's a video of my preschoolers doing a group retelling of Pete the Cat last year: 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to iPad apps and what you can do in your classroom. I've put together some pinterest boards with even more apps that I've been adding to every day:

Creation Apps
Early Childhood Apps
Elementary Apps
Apps in Spanish
Apps for Teachers
iPad Classroom Resources

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five Tech Things on a Friday v.10

Does anyone else feel like this year is flying by?  I spent most of January busy with Lesson Study, reading, or hiding from the crazy cold and snow.  I need to get back into the blogging habit!  Here are my Five Tech Things on a Friday for this week...
  • One of the things I love most about instructional technology is that there are so many wonderful tools to support teachers in their professional development.  Personally, I love being able to carry my PD around in my pocket, access it when I have time, and know that I can find exactly what I need. Check out EdReach's Top Apps for Professional Development to get started.
  • I stumbled across this list of 30 iPad Apps for Music Teachers while I was on twitter the other day.  There are some wonderful app here, not only for music teachers, but for classroom teachers as well.  Personally, I'm a big fan of Soundrop -- a free app that uses lines to create music.
  • February 5th was Digital Learning Day, and Edutopia put together a ton of instructional technology resources for teachers.  One of my favorite resources was the Technology Integration Research Review.  There is so much out there on instructional technology that it can be overwhelming trying to find quality research and content.  I think this resource pulls much of the research together nicely.
  • Another great resource from Edutopia is the Social Media in Education Resource Roundup.  I think social media can be an extremely powerful tool for teachers and students, but there are a lot of things to consider before diving in.  Check out these resources, and let me know if you are thinking about starting social media use in your classroom.  I'd love to chat!
  • Finally, here's a video from the Tech2Learn series with elementary students using technology to create tutorials, share personal narratives, and even share poetry:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 2014 Reads

My reading year is off to a great much so that I'm thinking I need to rethink my reading goal.  So far this year I've read 12 books.  My goal is set as 60 currently.  So, one month in and I'm 20% done with my reading goal.  I think I underestimated myself a little!

It kind of blows my mind that I've already read 12 books this year while working full time and raising my girls.  To be fair, I did have an additional four days off of work this month due to the disgustingly cold temperatures.  Still, that's a lot of reading!  I frequently get asked how I have so much time to read.  We Still Read wrote a great post this week addressing exactly that, so since they already said it, I'll save my time for more reading!  The post also includes these great badges to show off when you find time to read.  I love them all, but this is my favorite:

What did I read while drying my hair this month?  So many great titles that I'm excited to share with you!
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvator -- 5 Stars.  This was a great first read for 2014.  I absolutely loved this book.  I had great Maggie Stiefvator's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy this past summer and liked them fine.  I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did.  A slightly paranormal young adult read with great characters.  Highly recommended!
  • Cyberstorm by Matthew Mather -- 3 Stars.  Adult fiction about what happens when a cyber attack shuts down communications and power just as a giant blizzard hits.  This book was interesting because it really felt like this could happen, and I realized how vulnerable many of us would be without our usual access to communications.
  • The Blight of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler -- 2 Stars.  This is the second book in a trilogy that I borrowed from Amazon Prime.  I enjoyed the first book well enough to try this one, but overall this was kind of 'meh' for me.  The plot was still interesting enough, but the allegory and deeply religious LDS symbolism were so intense that it actually got in the way.  Not sure if I will bother finishing the trilogy.
  • Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt -- 5 Stars.  Oh my heart, I loved this book.  This book tells the story of a young girl grieving the death of her uncle.  The writing was breathtaking and the story heartbreaking.  Definitely check this title out if you haven't already.
  • Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller -- 5 Stars.  This is a nonfiction title about cultivating a culture of reading in your classroom.  Donalyn Miller and Susan Kelly researched the habits of "wild" readers.  A great read if you are a classroom teacher or a parent...or a book lover.  I could listen to Donalyn Miller talk about being a reader all day long!
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvator -- 5 Stars.  This is the second book in the Raven Boys trilogy.  I was trying to put it off since I had loved the first so much and the third wasn't out yet.  I always like to have a highly anticipated read in my back pocket, but I just couldn't wait.  You shouldn't wait either.
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell -- 3 Stars.  Having devoured Eleanor & Park and Fangirl last year, I knew this would be an enjoyable read for me.  Not my favorite by Rowell, but still a sweet, funny love story.
  • The Distant Hours by Kate Morton -- 4 Stars.  This was my first Kate Morton, and I really enjoyed it.  This book reminded me of books like The Thirteenth Tale or The Little Stranger.  It's the perfect kind of book to read on a rainy day with endless cups of tea.
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvator -- 5 Stars.  Hi, my name is Erin, and I'm suddenly addicted to Maggie Stiefvator.  Honestly, her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy just didn't grab me the way that the books I've read this month have.  I completely and utterly adored The Scorpio Races.  Easily my favorite book of the month, and I think it will be a contender for my favorite book this year.  I always loved horse stories as a kid, and this was the perfect combination of horse story, mythology, and magic.  Ignore your t0-read pile and just read this instead.
  • The Curse Girl by Kate Avery Ellison -- 3 Stars.  Fun, fast Beauty and the Beast retelling.
  • Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie -- 4 Stars.  If I'm being honest, I actually started this book last November and it has taken me this long to finish it.  It's an excellent book, but it's dense and full of statistics.  My brain could only handle reading a few pages at a time because there was so much to digest.  This book is a comprehensive look at the things we do that truly impact learning.  If you are a teacher, read this book.
  • The Glister by John Burnside -- 2 Stars.  I'm having a hard time with what to say about this book.  We bought it when Borders was going out of business.  We have a mountain of books from that time since Ted would just bring them home.  This one caught my eye on the shelf the other day.  The cover and synopsis make it seem like a suspense/horror type story.  It is, in a way, but really there was very little plot.  The writing was great and the characters were interesting, but I didn't really get what I expected, so I left a little disappointed.
Looking back, it feels like I was a little heavy-handed with my 5 Star reviews this month, but honestly I got lucky and read a lot of really wonderful books this month.  What have you been reading this month?  What are you looking forward to reading next month?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Tech Things on a Friday v.9

I can't believe we are halfway through January and I'm just getting to my first Five Tech Things post of 2014.  It has been a busy but energizing start to the year.  I am loving all of the opportunities I've had to connect with teachers and share my passion for integrating technology.  I am so excited to see what this year will bring for the teachers in my schools!

Without further ado, here are my Five Tech Things on a Friday...

  • Since it is a new year, I've been thinking about my technology goals for 2014.  I'd really like to host a google hangout this year.  It's also a goal of mine to hold as many paperless meetings as possible.  What are your tech goals for 2014?  Here are some ideas to get you started!
  • In this day and age, we are constantly hearing about companies using our data for a variety of reasons. I thought this article about Facebook tracking urban migration trends was fascinating!  The data we put out there can really teach us a lot about our world.
  • As we learn to use social media as professionals, and as we teach our students about digital citizenship, I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is just how quickly a post can spread across the globe.  This is the story of how one woman's tweet cost her her job.  She thought she was being funny.  She wasn't.  
  • I am a self-proclaimed app-aholic.  I love to download apps and try them out.  Sometimes I find something fantastic, and other times not so much.  It's hard to wade through the sea of apps available while also keeping in mind that it's not about the technology, it's about what you want students to do with it.  The Analog Teacher's Guide to Bloom's Digital Taxonomy shares two websites that sort apps into skill categories.  This guide also shares a fantastic resource on research in the digital age.
  • I love seeing how far technology has come in my lifetime.  Our world has completely changed over the past few decades, and it seems to be changing more rapidly by the minute.  Check out this news report from 1981 on downloading a newspaper to your computer.
That's all the tech things for this week.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What I Want You to Know About Me as an EdTech Coach

When people see the word "technology" in your job title, they can make a lot of assumptions.  They might think you have a computer science degree, or that you will automatically know how to fix their computer.  In some cases those assumptions might be true, but as technology continues to grow and change, those assumptions simply aren't true for many of us who work with technology.  So, I thought I'd share a few things that I'd like you to know about me as an instructional technology coach...
  1. I don't have a fancy computer science degree.  I'm a teacher. I know a lot about using technology to transform instruction.  I know very little about computer science or the inner-workings of a computer.  Honestly, I'm not even sure what computer science majors learn in school!  I do know some tricks to get things working again, but that's largely from playing around and consulting with my friend Google.  Everything I've learned about instructional technology, I've learned from reading books and blogs, collaborating with other EdTech enthusiasts, trying things out in my classroom and in my personal life, and generally just playing around.  If I can learn it, so can you!
  2. I don't know how to use your phone.  Unless it's an iPhone, and then I only know how to use it because I'm an iPhone user.  And I still don't know all the tricks.  So I can't help you access your voicemail on your Samsung Galaxy, and I don't know why your Kindle Fire froze up like that.  But, I can help you find out!  I don't know everything about every piece of technology, but I do know ways we can figure out the answer together.
  3. I have very personal reasons for my passion for technology.  I'm actually not a techy person because I'm "young" or because I like gadgets.  I'm a techy person because technology has enhanced my life in so many ways.  I started a personal blog right out of college that continues to this day.  It's waxed and waned over the years, but it's been my way of telling my story.  Through my blog, and through other social media sites like twitter, I have been able to connect with so many people from around the country and the world.  And not just any people, my people.  When I was struggling with infertility, my people were there for me.  When I was awake at 2 a.m. with 2 month old twins, there was always a friend on twitter.  When my dad passed away, I got flowers from people I've never even met.  For me, technology and social media are about relationships, and I will be forever grateful for the amazing friendships that these tools have brought me.  I want to share these tools with our students  I want them to find ways to share their story with the world.  I want them to find their people.
  4. I don't believe technology is always the right tool.  It might be hard to believe when you see me sitting in front of you with my iPhone, iPad, laptop, and Kindle, but I don't think that technology is always the solution.  Sometimes a tool just isn't the right fit.  Sometimes an activity doesn't require technology.  I don't believe in adding tech into a lesson just for the sake of having tech in a lesson.  It has to mean something.  I want to talk with you about when, how, and why to use a technology tool in a particular lesson.
  5. I won't judge you for your paper lists or old flip phone.  Listen, I love my iPhone.  I do.  I can't imagine how I would do the things I need to do without it.  However, that doesn't mean that I think you have to have one too.  My phone works for me.  I don't think it works for everyone though.  The tools we use have to work for us.  I use so many apps it makes my head spin, but I just can't get behind a digital to-do list.  I have to write it down on paper.  That's what works for me.  I want to help you find technology that works for you.  It's my job to share new tools with you, but that doesn't mean I expect you to embrace each and every one.  Let's find what works for you!
  6. It's not about the gadget.  I inherited my love of gadgets from my dad, though I don't think that gene activated until I was an adult.  I have a bag full of gadgets sitting next to me, and I think they are so cool.  When I started using them with my teaching, I was blown away.  Do you know how many amazing things you can do with an iPad in your classroom? It's unbelievable.  You'll probably hear me say that a lot, but I want you to know that as cool as I think a particular gadget is, it's not about the gadget.  It's about teaching and learning.  It's about changing the way we teach and creating learning environments that help our students succeed in this ever-changing world.  iPads are amazing, but they don't transform instruction.  Teachers transform instruction.
Teachers, what is something you want your coaches to know about you?  Fellow coaches, what do you want your teachers to know about you as a coach?