New Beginnings: Remember

Here we are at the beginning of the fourth week in 2018. The #ICEindiana edtech resolutions challenge continues, and this week’s prompt is “I will remember….” 

There couldn’t be a better word choice at this point in the new year. With a few weeks of routine behind us, it is easy to let the fresh outlook start to slip. Now is the time to remember. For a quick summary of what I’ve resolved to do this year:

I will try to revive my blogging habits and our INeLearn blogger community.
I will share the secret things so that others can improve their edtech efforts.
I will encourage applying a premortem when developing new projects.

And now I need to remember that this is not about adding new things to my professional life. These edtech resolutions are really about picking a behavior I do well (or did well for a while there) and getting a little better at it. I don’t need to tell you that educators have enough on their plate already; that we don’t need to pile on new things. But I do think we can be guilty of inadvertently doing that to ourselves.

Take Twitter for example. I’ve gone through most of the cycles of a connected educator. First, there was falling in love with a new tool and using it at edtech conferences, only to return home and realize a year later that I’d forgotten my login info. Then there was a snow day lost to my first #edchat (yes a whole day back in 2010) to whole weekends lost between #satchat and #sunchat. For the last few years, I’ve settled into a routine set of chats, irregular check-ins, and sharing by extensions. It’s a happy medium to be certain, but I could be better at deliberately curating a couple of the hashtags that have been neglected…particularly #HSDLead and #GEGindiana. (Something tells me that #ICEindiana is off to a strong 2018.)

This year I will remember to include hashtags that support collaboration and excitement around work that really matters to me. #INeLearn will always be on the top of my list, but more specifically, I will remember to seek resources and stories to share with #HSDLead and #GEGindiana.

Hmm, after glancing at those streams, I will also remember to ask YOU to share there too! Happy fourth Monday in 2018!

Third Monday of 2018: I Will Encourage

At this time of year, we often experience higher levels of motivation, drive, even optimism than we will… say…right before spring break during the long month of March. Heck, I don’t even have a spring break to look forward to; although, I’m playing with the idea of taking vacation time and doing something with my daughter who will be in her last semester of high school this time next year. With that looking ahead mentality, I was thinking about this week’s #ICEindiana edtech resolution.

Who and/or what do I want to encourage in 2018? There are many combinations that make the list:

  • I want to encourage parents to be more engaged in their children’s digital footprint management and development.
  • I want to encourage my daughter to be more aware of how she is using her time online. When the fall of 2019 comes around, she won’t have mom and dad passing by and asking what she’s doing on her phone or Chromebook. She will need to have developed that internal voice for herself. Heck, her parents are still working on that internal voice!
  • I want to encourage district leaders to establish how they will specifically measure the success of technology integration in their schools. We cannot get better at what we are doing if we do not have solid evidence to evaluate or a clear goal to strive toward.
  • I want to encourage coaches to model responsible use by sharing privacy and data security evaluations of edtech tools before introducing them to teachers for use in the classroom.
  • I want to encourage classroom teachers to share their frustrations. If they feel like they are the only one striving to create a culture of digital responsibility and leadership among their students, then something is wrong.

As I look at this list, I begin to feel just a bit overwhelmed.  So I am going to take a play out of When, Daniel Pink’s newest book. He wraps up each of the chapters with a “Time Hacker’s Handbook.” Ultimately, I will encourage myself and those I support to try applying a premortem to projects they take on in 2018. The premortem is explained following chapter 3 and allows the project members to assume they failed at completing the project down the road (you know, kind of like we do with resolutions year after year).

To conduct a premortem, you ask yourself or the team, “What went wrong?” Taking the time to talk through “prospective hindsight,” you can identify potential issues and avoid setting yourself up for a false start. Pink says it better, so I encourage you to check out When.  Drats, there I go encouraging again!

One week into 2018: I Will Share

Last night, I turned on the Golden Globes just in time to catch the presentation of the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. More importantly, I was tuned in for Oprah’s acceptance speech.  I’ve had an on and off again relationship with Oprah over the years, but last night I couldn’t applaud her enough for two particular messages. The first was how she uncovered hope where there might otherwise be despair. And the second was how inclusive she was in her closing notes. I know, thanks to social media, that I wasn’t the only one affected by her words last night. But that’s the thing about Oprah…it’s not just words.

Regardless of your personal feelings about Oprah, the talent or the potential politician if you believe Twitter, there is no denying she has used the power of her position to affect change. Her talk show first aired during my senior year. I would race home to watch it on days I didn’t have something after school. Even then I recognized among the many stories being shared, that Oprah was committed to breaking cycles of abuse.

So today, as I thought about what my edtech resolution “I will share…” would be, I began to play with the idea of sharing the secret things. The things we don’t typically want to talk about because it makes others uncomfortable. The things that cause us to want to close our eyes or look the other way. The things people keep to themselves because they don’t want to be judged. I can share those secrets. I can help lighten the burden.

I thoroughly enjoy when I get to have Oprah moments in trainings. You know those times when the presenter shouts,  “You get a new tool…you get a new tool…and YOU get a new tool!” But there is that other side of Oprah. The side that listens to the horror stories, that refrains from judging, that invites you to share your secret and get the support you need so that you can have a brighter tomorrow.  In 2018, I resolve to be better at being that side of Oprah.