Here I am taking a deep breath and trying something new. Something that is exciting and scary at the same time. Something that makes me feel both energized and vulnerable. Something that reminds me how our students often must feel. And for that perspective and reminder alone, I am grateful. This blog is one of the many risks I am taking this year as I leap off the virtual edge of teaching and learning. I have physically and metaphorically removed the walls of my classroom by taking a professional leave from my school to work on my Master’s in Educational Technology and Design at the University of Saskatchewan. As I live in Calgary, I am a student in a way I have never before experienced. My learning is entirely online. For an elementary school teacher who holds relationships and connections at the heart of my work I struggled at first to truly understand this world of online learning. However, I have quickly realized that everything at the core of learning is still present even if it is not immediately recognizable or it takes a different shape. In fact the learning is far beyond what it has ever been for me as a student. I feel invigorated, renewed and enthused. To have the time and space to think deeply, wonder widely and connect richly is unbelievable to me. I am so inspired.
This blog is my first assignment in EC&I 831(Social Media and Open Education). The theme of this course is taking risks and exploration, and creating a blog certainly fits both for me. I have been a teacher for 13 years and my experiences have included Kindergarten to Grade 6, special ed, a range of schools, team teaching and leadership. I am grateful for the rich diversity in my career as it continually challenges me and pushes my practice forward. Technology has always been a part of my teaching and in many forms. I love the variety, richness and depth of experiences that it makes possible for students and teachers. I am excited this course will move me outside my comfort zone and encourage me to ponder big ideas, but I am also really looking forward to being connected to a network of educators that will support me in discovering new ways of “doing”.
Doing means connecting learning to essential skills, such as collaborating, communicating and creating. Doing means to go beyond basic literacy to include information, media, network, intercultural and ethical literacies. Doing means taking advantage of technology tools that allow students and professionals to create personal learning networks. (Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, http://www.globallyconnectedlearning.com/)