Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Expanding Horizons

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If you are reading this, first of all, thank a teacher.  Also, you must think that my post has something meaningful to say or something that you can learn about, whether it is from past experience in reading my posts or somebody has recommended my blog to you.  If the latter is the case, please pass along my thanks to your colleague for the recommendation.  Maybe you are a first time reader that happened to stumble upon my blog.  I hope that you can glean something useful from this post or others that I have written and will return for future posts.  The bottom line is that I write this blog for several reasons, including my love for writing, my love of sharing my knowledge and skills, and to contribute to the many professional learning networks in which I am proud to be a member.  

This love of sharing isn't limited to just my blog, tweeting ideas (and my blog), and participating in chats on various Voxer groups.  I also love to share at trainings and conferences, which is also one of the main reasons why I choose to volunteer so much of my times working with CUE-NV.  Over the course of my first few years of teaching, I didn't do a lot of presenting to staff and I certainly never had presented at a district level professional development day or at a regional or national conference.  I was too wrapped up in coaching football and working on my master's to sacrifice any more time and, regrettably, I didn't think that my voice was worth hearing at the time.  

Finally, a few years ago (the exact year is lost on me at this point), I started to come out of that shell.  I started to become more involved at my school on various committees and I was tasked with presenting to staff on various things on professional development days and during our "house meetings" after school once a month.  Then the million dollar question was asked of me:  "Would you be willing to present to educators during a Google Mini-Conference offered by the district?"  I was definitely stunned by the question, but without hesitation, I agreed to do so.  

At one of my previous schools, we were a pilot for the rollout for Google Apps for Education accounts.  Each teacher and student was given a GAFE account, along with everything that comes with that account.  While I already had been relatively tech-savvy and had incorporated a great deal of technology into my curriculum, I really took off with the account.  My classroom was incorporating aspects of the flipped classroom and I was nearly paperless, with a few exceptions.  When Google Classroom came out, the transition to paperless was complete.  Did I have access to one-to-one devices in my classroom?  By no means, but I was lucky enough to work at a school where students could and would bring their own devices, even if it was a simple flip phone that had access to the Internet (I am still amazed by the resiliency of a student that did not have any access to a device outside of her flip phone and wrote all of her assignments and even papers on that phone for me and her other classes).  Over the course of a couple of years, I became very savvy using the various Google tools, as well as other tools that I had delved into and had started making a name for myself.  My supervisor at the time had mentioned my name to some district-level educators, hence why I was asked.  

Fast forward a few years, and I cannot even begin to think about how many presentations I have made at various district conference, EdTech Team Google and Apple Summits, and CUE-NV events.  It occurred to me a few days ago that while I have presented dozens of times, I have never presented outside of Las Vegas.  I mentioned this to my wife, and she was surprised as well (she has this really unique "Really?"  when something confuses or surprises her, this was one of those moments).  I decided that it was high time to start looking into presenting in other areas to a new audience.  

Have you tried Pear Deck yet?  If not, you should...
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One of the requirements of the Pear Deck Certified Coaches cohort is that you present sessions on Pear Deck at a Google Summit.  This is easy; we have a Google Summit in Las Vegas every year, one that I have attended and/or presented at for several years now.  However, as much fun as I have had presenting at the Summit in Las Vegas, and submitted my presentations on Pear Deck and Google Keep for it, this was a great opportunity to present somewhere else.  I also submitted presentations for a Google Summit near Los Angeles in February.  Then a couple of days later, I noticed that there was going to be an event in January in Visalia that was organized by some of my virtual colleagues, Adam Juarez and Katherine Goyette.  I asked if they were looking for presentations, to which they said yes, so I submitted some presentations for their Tech Rodeo.  Now, just because I submitted doesn't mean that any of them will be accepted; however, if accepted, I look forward to expanding my reach a little bit more.  

My next step: completing my Google Certified Trainer requirements and application again (my last submission was rejected, but I know why and haven't had the time to go back to correct it).  I will need to recertify my Google Certified Educator Level 2 first, as well as redo the requirements for the trainer application, but I am not worried about that. I also need to consider submitting proposals for future events like Fall CUE and CUE National.  I think I am ready for that kind of an audience, something that I would have never said as early as 5 years ago.  

Until next time... 

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