One of the more recent podcasts I've been listening to is Trailblazers from Walter Isaacson . In this podcast, he looks into moments in history which saw explosions of innovation. Each episode has a theme, some examples are the innovation in the automotive industry, maps and the world of movies to name a few. In this most recent episode, he looks at a person instead. This person being the ultimate Innovator, Leonardo da Vinci.
I highly recommend this for anyone and don't think you have to be a history teacher to find interesting in this incredible life.
But it is a line early on from this podcast that motivated me to blog. It was where he talks about note taking. Give it a listen here. Be sure to listen starting at the 3:00 mark
The timing of this coincides with me making a concerted shift to do all my note taking from here on out in my life on paper. I find so many reason for this. First off, it is where I am comfortable. Plus it allows me to move more quickly than I can on a device and like the podcast mentioned, there is a sense of permanence to it. I've been trying this for awhile and yes as a tech enthusiast I get razzed from time to time for breaking out the notepad.
But this is not just me, there are lot of educators out there turning to their pens and notepads. About a year ago I was able to visit some ed tech friends, Tom Covington and Michael Jephcott in Basset School district. While I was there, I remember Tom sharing with me how he has been committed to jotting down his thoughts on his trusted Moleskine notebooks. He even showed me how he saves each one of them and they are that forever reminder of this thoughts, notes and ideas. This was EXACTLY what Isaacson was talking about in his podcast about Leonardi; this type of medium will last for generations. Tom's commitment to this type of notetaking sat with me for awhile.
There are many others out in the community as well who are putting pen to paper. In fact, there is a movement towards doodles and drawing called sketchnoting. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, sketchnotes are “purposeful doodling while listening to something interesting.” I’ve been dabbling in this a little and want to keep at it.
This last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles with many educators from my district here in Rocklin, CA to visit the Museum of Tolerance. I hope to blog about this incredibly powerful learning experience that we all took part in later as it helped so many of not just think about the history but to really think about HOW we can dialogue with our students and critical issues. Throughout the two days, I tried to document these experiences through photos like you can see below but also with my first real attempt at sketchnoting which you can see here:
Lastly, let me leave you with THREE resources about sketchnoting if want to give it a try:
1) Sylvia Duckworth - nuff said! She has inspired so many educators with her work and you can check her and her stuff out here
2) Try these two books
Sketchnote for Educators Paperback – December 7, 2016
by Sylvia Duckworth
The Sketchnote Handbook: the illustrated guide to visual note taking 1st Edition
by Mike Rohde
and here is a video from Mike Rohde about how to get started sketchnoting
Later this week I will be attending the Fall CUE conference here in Northern California. I believe it is my 7th or 8th of this in a row… you see I’m a bit of a tech conference junkie!
I am leading a few sessions this year. One titled “#CreateWithChromebooks” and another more about just Google Slides titled “I Didn’t Know Google Slides Could Do That?”
A third session I have is a little new to me as it is one geared more towards education leaders, admin, TOSA’s, etc. It is titled “Connect With Your Community and Develop Your School’s Brand” and in it I am helping to demonstrate ways anyone can help promote and celebrate what they are doing in the schools and districts. I will be showing how to create and expand your social media presence as well as focus on more traditional communications tools as well. But I will also be touching on the power of podcasts.
I have a two fold plan of what I want to do
1) Show them podcasts, in fact specific episodes, which they should listen to in order to learn and / or be inspired
Here is a list of some of the episodes that really connected with me for some reason or another
2) Show them how they can make a podcast themselves with as little as the phone in their pocket
Should be fun!
All this blocking and being an offensive lineman took me to the beginning of my adult life. My last play took place in some suburban German town in 1995 when I was 24 years old. I had known that this was my final time ever donning a uniform and helmet and I felt like I was ready for it. After 14 years of blocking, I was leaving Germany, looking at my life and ready for a new chapter and a new direction. Football did a lot for me. It paid for my college, gave me an identity, connected me with my wife, and left me with some lessons that I would not really grasp until much later.
It is many of these lessons which I am thinking about now.
Fast forward a bit in life, I got married to that wonderful woman I met because of football and prepared to start raising a family. I had more than a passing thought about “if we have some boys, what kind of football player will they be? A lineman like me or maybe something with a little more glory”.
Well, life is full of curveballs and we ended up with two wonderful daughters and no football in our future.
As parents, we did what everyone does… put them in as many activities as you can. Softball, theater, dance and more were all attempted. For my oldest daughter, we never quite knew what she would settle on, and then slowly it came to be.
She BECAME a volleyball player.
My younger daughter is heading down a different path, one of music and theater which I am so excited to see her in. (I’ll have more about this in a future post.).
For my oldest, we participated in club volleyball leagues, played on the middle school teams and then when high school came around, tried out for the team. She made the team and over four years moved her way to being a starter and a captain. For me, this was a such a journey. She is playing at the school where I teach; Rocklin High… the school in which she grew up around and spent virtually her entire life part of. As I migrated into a football coach, my family came with me. Both my girls and my wife became an integral part of my football and professional life at Rockin High.
But I started to change.
Football felt like it no longer belonged in my day to day life and about 4 years ago I said goodbye to it.
What is interesting is that those lessons of being a lineman I learned so many years ago, were still part of me. Here are just some of them:
You are part of something much bigger than just YOU.
The work you do is hard, often not very fun but necessary towards a greater goal
Take pride in work that others don’t see.
And now here I am watching my daughter have a great senior year standing at the middle of net blocking the balls from the opposing team.
Did you catch that? My daughter is there in the middle... blocking.
Although football was not the future for my children, here was my daughter being the middle blocker, doing the dirty work and getting the job done. This comparison is one I have thought of often… her as a middle blocker and me as a center.
It wasn’t until this last week that got me thinking about all those lessons again. A week ago, about half way through this volleyball season, my daughter suffered a career ending sports injury during a game. After attempting a block, she landed on someone’s foot and broke both her tibia and fibula in a compound fracture.
This was such blow to her. All that she had worked for, all that she had hoped for in her final year of volleyball, just ended. I've coached countless football players who all have had to play their last play. I've seen them weep and get emotional of the finality of it all, but to see your own child experience this in a hospital miles from your home is devastating.
For my wife and I, this entire experience has been tough. Seeing your kid in pain, real pain, and not being able to do anything about it is heartbreaking.
She is recovering now and our family, friends and the Rocklin community have been a huge support to us all and it’s very humbling.
The good news is that her prognosis is 100% recoverable, but it will all just take time. Her leg now has a hard cast, which made her a little more independent and she is now planning on how to get around for homecoming this week!
I usually do don't write much about my personal life here on my Ed Tech blog, but I felt like writing this life update for several reasons.
First, I have been absent in much of what I was once connected with. I used to be more engaged in the ed tech community online and the combination of my change in my career (see my earlier post) and this injury has made me take a few steps back in being a connected educator. I feel guilty and frustrated at times for not being able to do it all; for having some of life’s details fall through the cracks.
So, here is a blanket, all-inclusive “I’m sorry” if an email, a tweet, a vox or some other conversation fell through those cracks I mentioned. But I am grateful those around help me stay focused to “just keep swimming”.
Secondly, it has been a somewhat cathartic to spend some time just writing. Not just about educational strategies or the newest and coolest tech thing that just came out, but being able to reflect where I am in life. I gave keynote address to my district’s teachers last spring and one of the main points I tried to impart was the power of reflection. Therefore, me being able to write this post gives me the venue to reflect.
This is is where I am in the Fall of 2017. Teaching, TOSA’ing, Trying To Stay Connected, and Taking some time to try and take it all in.
Thanks and I hope to reconnect with many of you again soon.
First off, I know I'm supposed to called them "tsunamis" but I grew up in the 80s when all we knew were tidal waves, so that's what I'm naming this post!
I'm sitting here reflecting at the end of my first week of my new job and thought I would try to put some of my thoughts down regarding this job and how I am feeling at this point in my life.
I wrote about the details of my job a previous blog post, but the quick description of my job is:
part time Tech TOSA / part time Broadcasting teacher at Rocklin high.
The days leading up to this week felt like standing on a beach, watching a tidal wave come at me.
By taking on two jobs, I would have a lot coming at me in once the school year began. So, here is what I did:
I thought a lot about over the summer;
I spend time planning that first week
I spend quite a few summer days and nights going into my classroom
I asked for help from family, friends and my education PLN
and I did all this because I KNEW what was in this tidal wave
Now, in no way am I trying to make this list to show how I'm more busy than anyone else... Because so many of us feel this way! It's kind of the nature of our roles in education. We embody the concept of wearing many hats.
What I am wanting to share though, is a bit of a realization that the wave which I was waiting for... wasn't that bad. In fact... it was somewhat manageable.
I attribute this not getting swamped by the tidal was to a fair amount of planning and preparation as well as the natural human feeling of anxiety as a looming date nears you.
And now, here I am on a Sunday night, writing my reflection feeling OK about it all.
I do need to say "sorry" to my PLN. This is my community of education people on social media, like Twitter, Voxer, etc that I feel like I have had to step away from for awhile. I hope to be able to get back on that horse and be part of the community again soon.
oh... and there's still that little voice in there saying, "uh... what are you going to do next week though!"
Crap... time to start lesson planning!