Digital Footprint…What kind of mark are you leaving?

In my first year as a TOSA I have worked with a lot of teachers one-on-one. I have taught small group sessions and even presented to 30+ teachers at a time. What I haven’t done a lot of is work directly with students. Until last week. Last week I had the opportunity to teach three periods at one of the high schools. The students in these computer classes were about to start a unit on Online Safety and Digital Citizenship. Their teachers asked me if I would like to come to give a presentation/lesson. Bicycle for twoI agreed, although at the time, I had no idea WHAT exactly I would teach. Teaching students is like riding a bike, right? I’ll remember how to do it as soon as I hop back on. That’s what I was hoping anyway.

When I was still in the classroom, some of my best lessons popped into my head the morning I was planning to teach them. Luckily, this lesson didn’t wait that long to develop, but it did wake me up at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning nearly fully formed. I lay there in bed planning out the details; flexing and stretching teaching muscles that I hadn’t used in a year.

I felt confident in the plan I came up with, but man was I nervous the morning of the lesson. I had been a high school teacher for 14 years. By the end, it took a lot to make me feel nervous. But that morning, I had jitters as if I was a new teacher all over again. I could only laugh at myself. I knew once I got started I would be fine, but the waiting was terrible!

digital footprintMy lesson centered around the idea of digital footprints. I first asked the classes if they knew what the term meant. I was surprised at how few had even heard the term before. But that was good, that was what I was there for. I had the students develop a working definition of what they thought the word might mean. BHSdf2Some of them focused on the literal, and imagined it was a record or program that tracked the websites you went to on the computer. Others got very close to the meaning when they surmised that it was like a record of all the things you post and do on the Internet.

I didn’t want to just tell the students the definition. I wanted them to discover what it meant by showing them some examples of people who I believe have strong digital footprints. I split the class into three groups and set them off to see what they could discover about Justine Sacco, Walter Palmer and Paul Marshallsea. (Go ahead, take a minute to Google them. They all have interesting stories). We used Padlet to collect their findings. (A quick shout out to TOSAChat: Through some of these amazing educators I found out I could make my own background in Padlet. I created a graphic organizer to use as the background for the work the students would be creating.)


After time spent researching, the classes shared their findings, and together we began to forge an understanding about digital footprints.  The students started discussing how their digital footprint could impact their own lives. One student stated, “I heard colleges look at this stuff.” This was a perfect segue into the next part of the lesson. See, I don’t think it is enough to just warn kids about what NOT to post on the Internet. It is entirely possible, like in the case of Paul Marshallsea, for your digital footprint to have a negative impact on your life without ever posting anything yourself. What I want to encourage students is to be the composer of their own story. By creating an active, positive space on the Internet, they will have the opportunity to put their best foot forward. This idea is something I have learned through the MSU MAET program. All of my work for my online classes had to be posted on a blog. The professors encourage us to create a digital space for ourselves where we can tell our own story.

BHSdfI tried to pass this message on to the students last week. Yes, it is important to think before you post. And several students made comments about the language they use on their Twitter account. They agreed that they should be more conscious of what types of things they say and do on the Internet. However, they also came up with ideas for how they could work to create a more positive digital footprint for themselves.BHSdf3 At the very least, they are now thinking about their digital footprint and how it may impact their futures. To me, that is a step in the right direction.

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Conferences, Connections and Community

This post is a little late, but having just finished my first year in my new position as an Instructional Technology, TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment), I would be remiss if I didn’t post a reflection. I transitioned into this job in the middle of the school year last year. That first semester was a whirlwind, which included some very quick learning of the technology tools in our district and getting out to school sites to train and work withMIE training teachers. The fall semester of this year, my second on the job, can be summed up in a word: CONFERENCES. I had the great opportunity to attend several conferences and trainings for free. It was a time of information gathering and intense learning that has put me in a very great place as I start my second year on the job.

Attending a conference by myself used to be a very isolating experience. I would do my best to appear invisible, soak up all that I could without actually talking to anyone, and get home. One of the lessons I have learned over the last couple of years, is to not let these moments pass by without fully embracing them. Who knew a “hashtag” would help me so much with this process. Twitter and the use of conference hashtags allows an introvert like me a door through which to enter quietly. It allows me to get myself invested and makes it easier to interact with those around me. And that is where the magic of these events really occurs, in the CONNECTIONS, the relationships that can be developed out of that shared experience.

Being a TOSA can feel isolating. Especially being the only Edtech TOSA in a district of 22 schools. Having an Edtech department is still fairly new in our district and we are just Computerspicking up steam. When I was a new teacher I looked to the other Special Educators at my school. I stole as much as I could from them in those first few years. It’s what good teachers do. However, as a department of two, who can I steal from? That is where the development of a virtual network is vital.

CMAXI attended a Microsoft Innovative Educator training over two days in November. The drive to and from the training was long and trafficky. Mind you, on a trafficky day my typical commute takes six minutes instead of four, so driving an hour and a half each way was a little out of my comfort zone. All of the driving that week and two days filled with learning and collaborating had me feeling a little fried. I was looking forward to a weekend of relaxation. However, that Saturday, there was an EdCamp being hosted at Cal State Fullerton.EdCamp Session Board I have been interested in attending an EdCamp since I first learned about them last year. So, despite yet another one hour drive, I decided to take my Saturday to get some learning on.

Attending EdCamp NOC turned out to be a decision that would open doors I didn’t even know existed. Through that Edcamp I met some other TOSAs, notably Ann Kozma and Jody Green, and connecting to them has introduced me to a whole world of other TOSAs. It turns out, I am not the only edtech crazy in the world. I’m not even the only edtech crazy in the area. I followed Ann and Jody on Twitter and saw the hashtag #TOSAchat. As I wrote in another post, that #TOSAChat turned out to be a pretty incredible experience. It also opened my eyes to another opportunity to connect. I had heard of Voxer before, but holy moly, these EdTech peeps know how to make great use of a tool! Joining the Voxer group has been at once, both overwhelming and settling. COMMUNITY, I have a community. These are my people. The voices I hear coming out of Voxer are echoing my beliefs. They are sharing amazing ideas and are inspiring me to continue fighting for the things I believe in.

Community is interesting. When you are truly involved in the community, you often don’t even recognize that you are in it. There are two distinct times that “community” become very obvious. The first is when you are lacking a community. My trip to Ireland last summer was my first inkling that I was in fact part of a bigger community. That sense of belonging, that shared vision and desire to help everyone in the community succeed, were very present in the MAET Overseas experience. However, bringing that back home with you, where you may be the only TOSA in the district or only tech motivated teacher in the building is a little more difficult. Trying to stay committed to growth and innovation without the support of community can be very daunting.

The other time community becomes apparent is when you find yourself smack in the middle of a community to which you do not belong. That shared vision, common language and connection that are so important to the members, become glaringly obvious when you are not a part. The most recent conference I attended was the Literacy Research Association’s 65th “Conference.” Session ChoicesWhile the rest of the conferences I attended were filled with teachers and other TOSAs, this was a community of researchers. I went to many sessions and paper presentations on digital literacy. While I heard some great ideas and gained some insight into what goes into educational research, I was definitely on the outside of the community at this conference. That in itself was a rewarding experience, as it made me stretch and required me to view education, something very familiar, from a different lens.

What last semester and these conferences have proven to me is that there is community out there for everyone. We live in a more connected time than ever before. Whether it is through Twitter, Voxer, Facebook or some other digital tool, I promise you, your people are out there. A whole community of like minded people are ready to support and help you grow. You have to be willing to open the first door, foster the connections and then hold on for the ride!


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Twitter chat anyone?

I participated in my first Twitter Chat the other night.

Opening InfoEvery Monday night at 8:00 pm PST a group of TOSAs (that’s the acronym for Teacher on Special Assignment, of which I am one) gather together on Twitter to chat about all things TOSA. Being a TOSA is an interesting balance. Teachers no longer view you as a teacher, but you are not an administrator either. Somehow, you must find a way to work with both groups without actually being a part of either one. The #TOSAchat is a great way to connect with other people who find themselves walking that same tight rope.

I first started actively using Twitter as a requirement of theTwitter MAET program at MSU. Previously I viewed Twitter as just one more social media account. I didn’t have much interest in it on a personal level.
What I have come to find out is that Twitter is an absolute gem on a professional level. I believe every educator should take advantage of Twitter for its wealth of resources and potential connections.

For some time now I have been a fairly passive participant in the Professional Learning Network (PLN) I have created for myself. I follow a lot of people in ed tech and gain great resources and ideas from the tweets I see. I check in on an almost daily basis. At first I only posted when I had an assignment to add. However, with some encouragement from Leigh and Michelle (my professors from this summer), I began to contribute more. I particularly enjoyed tweeting while at conferences or trainings. By being an active participant in the back channel conversation I have made some great connections.

However, none of that could compare to the experience of my first Twitter chat! Wow! What a crazy experience. Here is how it went:

7:55 pm-Should I check out this Twitter chat? I opened Twitter on my phone.

7:56 pm-Holy moly, there are actual questions and a GoogleDoc with all sorts of organized information and links.

7:57 pm-I better bust out the computer. TweetDeck is going to be necessary to keep up. (Oh that lovely naive impression that I would somehow be able to keep up.)

Twitter Chat Intro

8:00 pm-Introductions: I knew this part was coming, but a picture too? And my first cell phone? Yikes, what was it?

8:01 pm-Madly Googling images of old cell phones. Found one, I think that was mine. Okay, ready to post my introduction.

8:02 pm-Hi, I’m Debbie, Ed Tech TOSA, Burbank, CA <insert pic of old phone> POST!

8:03 pm-Crap! I forgot to add the hashtag. Delete, delete, delete.

8:05 pm-Hi, I’m Debbie, Ed Tech TOSA, Burbank, CA <insert pic of old phone> #TOSAChat and…POST! Whew…now I am really participating. Let’s do this thing.

8:06 pm-Ok, the first question. Think of something profound to say…..

8:09 pm-Well, I don’t know if it was profound, but A1 is up.

8:09 pm-Oh, what’s that notification? Someone liked one of my posts! That’s so cool.Twitter Chat A1 Post

8:10 pm-Back to the feed. How the heck did I get so far behind already? Must read fast.

8:12 pm-The next question is coming up? Man this is moving fast.

8:14 pm-Cool, another notification. Let me respond.

8:15 pm-Get me back to the feed. We are on question what?

8:21 pm-GoogleHangout? How are these people able to do a GHO and Twitterchat at the same time? They must be superhuman.

8:50 pm-Oh man, now someone is asking me about OneNote. I love OneNote. Gotta give it props.

8:55 pm-How long does this chat last? I bet it ends at 9:00. I hope it ends at 9:00. My eyes are about to fall out of my head.

8:59 pm-And…it’s over. Now I can breath again.

9:10 pm-Someone else says they can never keep up either. Thank goodness. It’s not just me.

Wow! That whirlwind experience was one of the greatest PD experiences I have ever had. I have new followers/connections with other TOSAs who are doing what I am doing. It is one thing to connect with other people in my own district, but through this Twitter chat I am able to connect with educators in other districts. This expands the reach of great ideas I can access. It gives me something to reach and strive for when I see amazing things being accomplished elsewhere. It also allows me an opportunity to share with others some things we are doing in my district.

Even though it was exhausting, I can’t wait until next week.


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Hey Ireland…See you next summer!

It was early on the third day when it first hit me. We were having a discussion about the Willingham reading from the night before. Rachelle had just said something profound and I knew. I had to come back for more of this next summer.

I started the Michigan State University, Masters of Educational Technology program online. And if you ask anyone I came in contact with during that time, they will tell you that I was incredibly impressed. It was probably the first post-secondary learning experience I have had that didn’t feel like jumping through hoops to earn a piece of paper at the end. The assignments were realistic, useable and FUN! I didn’t think it could get much better.

And then I experienced the Overseas component.

My original plan was to do Year 2 overseas and finish the rest online during the subsequent school year. Compounding that decision was the fact that I was scheduled to go on an Alaskan cruise with my family during what would be the first week of the Overseas program next summer. Before I got there, there was really no doubt in my mind that I would not be returning to Ireland to complete my degree.

And then I got there.

Prior to this summer in Ireland I would have told you the biggest life changing experience I have ever had was my first trip abroad, to Italy, in 2010. I had always dreamed of going to Italy and the trip with my cousins did not disappoint. It came at a very important time in my life and affirmed for me that I COULD. That word, “COULD.” I could do anything I set my mind to. My life had a multitude of possibilities and I COULD reach out and grab any that I wanted. It was incredibly empowering.

This summer in Ireland definitely equalled and possibly even surpassed that Italy trip in terms of its impact on my life. It allowed me the greatest professional growth experience I have ever had. Every summer, teachers aim to spend time working to better themselves and their content for the next school year. I am no different in that desire. This summer was the first time I have ever concentrated this amount of time and focused energy into bettering my practice. The program is so well organized and the teachers provide just the right amount of pushing and support, that I was able to achieve things I never imagined possible.

However, not every part of this process was sunshine and roses. The idea of spending four weeks working and living with a group of complete strangers was actually terrifying for me. It was very far outside my comfort zone that I even considered doing it. Five years ago, prior to that Italy trip, I would not have even entertained the idea. But off I went anyway.

And then I met some absolutely incredible people.

MAET Year 2 Cohort Galway 2015

MAET Year 2 Cohort Galway 2015

It was amazing to be surrounded by a group of people who were so passionate, driven and excited about their profession. I was blown away by the talent, openness and work ethic, exhibited by the people in my class and the other two cohorts. The learning

Alicia drove 2 hours to visit when I was in Sonoma.

Alicia drove 2 hours to visit when I was in Sonoma.

I had experienced online was increased exponentially by being immersed in this group of amazing people. The connections that were forged this summer were so strong that already within a week and half of returning home I have met-up with two people

Joy, from Boise, was in San Diego. I had to drive down to say hi!

Joy, from Boise, was in San Diego. I had to drive down to say hi!

from my class. I have known these people for only a month and already they are a very integral part of my life.

Even though it was only the third day when I first knew I needed to return to Ireland, I made a promise to myself to wait until I had finished the summer and been home for a few days to commit to the decision.

And then I experienced graduation.

I hate graduations. They are usually pretty boring. After my own (pretty miserable) college graduation I decided I never had to go to another graduation again. I gave myself permission to skip them all! I have since been to a few, but I was still pretty adamant that I was never going to participate in one myself again. I am a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, but I don’t really have an emotional connection to that school. Michigan State University is a completely different experience. I will, most likely, earn my Masters Degree from MSU without ever setting foot in Michigan. And yet, I feel more connected and more a Spartan than I ever did a Gaucho. This energy and experience was present at the graduation recognition ceremony on the final day in Ireland. I sat in the audience watching people I had just met, four of whom I had spent the summer learning alongside, get recognized by the University for their hard work and achievements. The ones they had already accomplished and the ones they are headed out into the world to achieve.

And then I knew for sure.

Hey, Ireland…see you next summer!

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Pushing limits…making changes!

This has been a summer filled with pushing my limits. However, I believe real growth only happens when one is willing to step outside their comfort zone. I am happy to say, that by pushing the limits real changes have occurred!

The decision to join the Masters of Ed Tech program at MSU came pretty easily. I was looking for an online program, but the overseas component of MSU was what really drew me in. I have developed quite a passion for traveling and this seemed like the perfect answer. Get a Masters and go to Ireland? Absolutely!

Interesting then, that as the trip approached, the very thing I had been most excited about became the thing that terrified me most. The thought that I was voluntarily going to spend 4 weeks with a group of people that I had never met was incredibly unsettling. Add to that the unknown of living someplace new for a month, and I was a hot mess!

The video below is a resource that I wish I would have had before I came here. “Living MAET in Galway” is a glimpse into the day to day of my experience here. Happily, the unknown became the familiar very quickly. Both the city and the people have touched my heart and my life in ways unexplainable.

With day to day living under control my attention turned to the classroom. I guess that is why we are here after all. The focus of our Year Two cohort was research and leadership. Prior to this summer I would have told you that I was good at ONE of those two things. Trying to guess which one? Click on the image below to read about my “Research Realization.”

Click here to check out my comic

Click here to check out my comic

Finally, the mark of a really good professional learning experience is to have something concrete to take away at the end of the day. On the very first day of class we used the MSU rules of branding to design our own SpartansWill posters. The idea was to include what we hoped to accomplish by then end of the four weeks.
Spartan Image-McHorney.001Now, as I approach the last day of the four weeks I can look back on that first day with pride. I wanted to come away with something that could help the district become better at technology integration. I wanted to inspire the teachers I work with to be willing to take risks and try new things. For my Research to Practice project I designed a new professional development experience. I hope to take that back to my school district and be a part of some exciting change. I created a website that

This Spartan Did

This Spartan Did

can be used as part of a professional learning experience. My time here in Ireland did in fact allow me to grow something that can make change!

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Inside the Interview Process

Applying for a new job is a very isolating experience. You turn in your resumé then wait for a yes or no answer. If you are lucky enough to get an interview, you again put forth your best effort, but then really only ever get a yes or a no in regards to your performance.

Why should I hire you?

Why should I hire you?

If you get the job, you most likely don’t dwell too long on your performance on the resumé and interview. However, if you don’t get the job you are often left with an unsatisfied curiosity about what you need to do better next time.

This week in MAET Overseas we had an opportunity to draw back the curtain on the interview process. Three of our brave classmates volunteered to be interviewed in front of us all. Talk about pressure!

Some great thoughts and discussions came out of this. One of the things that struck me was how you would handle it if the person you are replacing is on the interview panel? When I heard that comment made during the interview I found myself wondering why the person would be leaving. Getting to process these thoughts while watching the mock interview was very valuable, because had it happened to me in an actual interview, it would have distracted me and completely tripped me up. Now I know that if this happens in the future I should look to that person as someone who has insight into the job. I will ask him/her to tell me about a project they are very proud of, letting them know I would like to continue the positive work they have started.

Dr. Cary Roseth, visiting from MSU, brought up a very intriguing point. He mentioned that the interview process itself is very inauthentic. Most people consider that the person going in to interview is going to be nervous and somewhat ill at ease. However, Dr. Roseth pointed out that it’s not just the interviewee, but the interviewers who need to be set at ease as well. He suggested that the interviewee could do themselves a big favor if they work to make the interview panel more comfortable as well, (C. Roseth, personal communication, July 17, 2015). I had never thought of it from this angle before. I know it is something I will take with me into any future interviews.

As I watched and thought about this process a question arose for me. If the interview process is so inauthentic, why do we still give it so much power in the hiring process? As I prepared for my last interview I found myself feeling that the 20 minute exchange I was going to have would hardly be enough time to really showcase the things I believed I could bring to the position. I know many schools are now asking candidates to come back for a second interview, which includes them teaching a demo lesson, sometimes even with students from the school. That would seem to garner a lot more genuine idea of how someone will perform once they get into the classroom. However, it would also take a lot more time.

While it may not be the best system, it is what we are stuck with for now. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to watch and discuss these mock interviews. It will be very helpful the next time I am in on the interview process, no matter which side of the table I happen to be on.


Unknown. (2014) Clinical Interview [clipart]. Retrieved from

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Hoping to make a difference in the world

One of the reason I swore I would never get a Masters is that I have had entirely too many educational experiences in which I felt I was simply jumping through hoops to earn a piece of paper. So, when one of the first year students here in Galway asked me this evening, “What do I need to do to be prepared for this experience next year?” my response was that he should make sure to choose a topic he was passionate about. This thing was WORK! However, when you are doing something you believe in, the work doesn’t ever feel like wasted effort. Coming into the presentation today, knowing that I had a product that I worked hard for and believed in, made the presenting part seem like a walk in the park.

Conference Ready!

Conference Ready!

I also have a slight advantage here. I have presented at and helped organize conferences before, so once I knew the work on the project was put in, I wasn’t particularly nervous about presenting. However, I did feel a great sense of pride in my classmates and our group as a whole. In my last blog post I wrote about the research to practice project as a journey. One of the best things about this process is that though we were working on individual topics, we were never in it alone. I felt incredibly supported by all the people in the program, but none more than my fellow year 2s. The amount of pride and work everyone put into their projects is what made today so great.

I am especially happy with the bond that developed with my fellow room presenter. While I wanted everyone’s project to go well, I became especially connected to Rachelle’s presentation. We were there for each other and I became invested in her success just as much as my own. It was a very cool experience to see both of our sessions get Tweeted and ReTweeted!

As part of the TeachMeet team my duties did not end when my presentation was over. I originally joined the TeachMeet team because I would really like to host an EdCamp back home. After going through this experience with my group-mates I feel better prepared to take on the uncertainty of an Unconference of my own. The session I was in, about Instructional Coaching, was very rewarding. I learned a lot from the other participants and appreciated the opportunity to share my experiences with them.

In final reflection of the day, I have to note, it’s probably not a good thing to cry right before you head to your presentation. Yet, that is the space I found myself in listening to the incredibly moving comments by our welcome speaker, Stephen Howell. I was incredibly touched by his sentiment that everyone in that room could have a drastic impact on the world. It echoed the feeling I had the day before about my fellow classmates, that each one of these individuals is unique, powerful and equipped to make real change happen in education. Stephen’s words, that each one of us, myself included, can go out and make a real difference in this world are something I will try to carry with me after I leave Ireland.

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A Journey

Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands

Who’s ready to embark on a journey?

Over the last two weeks I have engaged in an incredible JOURNEY. I emphasize the word journey because it truly has been a process with many steps. As with any journey I have experienced many emotions, including: anticipation, excitement, frustration, panic, fear, exhilaration, and gratification. The fact that I immediately tie this experience to emotion is a testament to how invested I am in the process.

The anticipation came early on in the activity. Often when you plan a journey the first step is to get a map of where you are headed. However, with this assignment the end product was not very clearly defined. We were asked to embark on the trek without knowing exactly where we were headed. I had a choice to make. Do I hold back because I am unsure of where we were headed? Or do I go all in, trusting in the people who designed the experience to make sure I did not stray too far off path?  I decided to go all in and have not regretted that decision even once.

The first choice I had to make was which direction to head. While I did not have an exact map of where I was going, I did know that I was suppose to create a research-based learning experience. My design idea centered around my new role as an educational technology instructor. In my new job, I am blessed with the opportunity to provide training for the teachers in my district.  Our current model has been to provide one time trainings that teach a specific technology tool.  While these have been well received, I had a belief that there was an even better way to approach it. I wanted to create a professional development experience that would build over time. Instead of teaching teachers how to use one specific tool, I wanted them to learn how to find and implement tools on their own. However, those were only my gut instincts and this project needed to be based on solid research.

Equipped with the right tools, could I scale that mountain?

Research. Ugh, how I have hated that word since my undergraduate days. The research part of this journey felt like my mountain to scale. This process was designed to teach us that the learning experiences we were creating needed to be grounded in proven research. While I understand the logic of that, I have never had a lot of success in the research process. I always got what I needed, but it never felt I truly “got it”. In order to move past this hurdle I would have to dig deep.

As promised, we were given all the tools we needed to make it through this journey. Like any difficult task that is completed, the in depth look we took at the research process was really valuable for me. I have a better understanding of how to assess if research is “good” research. I have some tricks and resources to help focus my research, not only for this project, but for further learning as well. I felt my frustration with research turn to excitement as I saw that I could build a strong product when I based my ideas on something concrete and proven.

Once the research was in the books the actual design of the experience I wanted to create started taking place. At times I was overcome with the “hugeness” of the idea I was grappling with. Is it possible that in one month here in Ireland I could really design something that could have the kind of impact I was imagining? While it was scary, it was also quite exhilarating.  One of the things that kept me grounded was the many check-ins we did with peers and our professors.  Each time I met with someone, I was forced to express my design idea out loud. Describing it multiple times helped me to begin to narrow down and grasp just what it was I was picturing in my head. The feedback and reflection process was invaluable. With each iteration I felt myself gain more and more clarity about what I was trying to accomplish.

Those first few days of gathering research, formulating ideas and gaining clarity began to feel very comfortable. Then all of a sudden a deadline was thrown down…Friday by midnight…a draft of the actual product was due. The sense of panic I felt was very overwhelming.  It is one thing to have big ideas and to gain confidence in those ideas as you hash things out with others. It is another thing entirely to believe that you can actually put something concrete together in a short amount of time. Once again I had to trust in the process and just put one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving, even if it doesn’t seem like forward progress. One thing I have learned about myself, not just in the last two weeks, but through this program as a whole, is that sometimes I have to step away from the computer to get things done. It is amazing how whole parts of my project have come together while I was not actually sitting with my computer. My brain continues to mull over, hash out and plan even while walking the streets of Galway or sitting in a pub.

In a very short time span I have gone from self-professing my ineptitude with web design, to deciding my final product should be in the form of a website. Again, a testament to the environment that has been created for this class, I did not choose the safe path, but opted for the risky. The risky path was one I knew would push my comfort zone, but would ultimately create a project that I could use in my job back home. After all, isn’t that what I am here for? And isn’t that what I am asking the teachers who participate in my learning experience to do as well? If I expect them to take risks in learning with me, then I must be willing to take risks in my journey as well.

I pause now for a reflection on this journey so far, but it is far from over. The beginnings of the website are built, initial feedback is in, but there is much still to accomplish. I am incredibly grateful for the experience to this point. It has given me skills and confidence that will help me as I forge my way forward. I can picture the end of the journey more clearly now, but if there is one thing I have learned in this process it is this. The road may be uncertain, but if you are willing to go all in, the rewards will be well worth it, no matter the destination.

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Adventures in Ed Tech

Passion and curiosity.  Those are the topics we are meant to focus on as we come to the culminating activity for the Graduate Certificate in Ed Tech program from MSU.  Thomas Freidman asserts that in this technology driven culture we currently live in, we must have more than just intelligence.  We must also have the passion and the curiosity to remain relevant in the workforce (Freidman, 2013).

Freidman’s article and the ending of this first part of the masters program come at an interesting time for me.  This year has been a time of great change in my own career.  The change was driven by my own desire to follow my passion, instead of staying in a comfortable job; a job that no longer inspired my curiosity. For my final project I used Powtoon to create an animation of my journey, which I hope demonstrates just how much I believe that if you follow your passion you will find success and happiness.  Enjoy this Adventure in Ed Tech!


Campbell, S. (2010) Twitter Bird Sketch. [drawing]. Retrieved from

Friedman, T.L. (2013, January 29). It’s P.Q. and C.Q. as much as I.Q. New York Times. Retrieved from

Kazuma, jp. (2008) Wii Controller [photograph]. Retrieved from

McHorney, D. (2014). Makey Makey Kit [Photograph]

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How to incorporate failure as a learning mode in education is a Failure PiktochartWicked Problem indeed.  As part of my Wicked Problem Project in CEP 812 I had the opportunity to research, discuss and think about ways to incorporate failure into education.  In my Think Tank discussion there was never any doubt that failure could be a valuable learning tool.  The wickedness of the problem comes from the paradigm shift that would need to occur to incorporate failure into our current learning system.
I believe that through TPACK inspired incorporation of standards based mastery learning, personalization and technology, failure can in fact be re-introduced as a powerful learning tool.  Click here for the full essay on my proposal.

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