Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tracy's Tuesday Tech Tip: Big Sky Effect

From the Dictionary of Tracy:

Big Sky Effect: a way of being. a way of feeling. a way of looking at something from a different perspective. a state of contentment. (origin) - my bro, BCC...

Feeling or being alone can be pretty daunting, and it certainly was as I drove around by myself for much of my trip in South Dakota; my first time traveling all by myself for much of the trip, pretty much galavanting around the state, and predominantly Custer and the Black Hills area. Absolutely beautiful - ziplining, ropes course, hiking, rock climbing, plus sunsets, thunderstorms (nothing better than sitting on a porch watching things be refreshed for the next day), summer breeze and memories that will forever be. However, navigating the unknown roads and trails, getting a flat tire, and maybe getting lost a few times along the way certainly has a way of grounding you. In these moments of solitude, you get to think about your life and what you're doing with it, and where you want to be.

Honestly, when it comes down to being and living, we ask ourselves, what do we want to accomplish, who we want to be, how other people around us are build up in us living and being who we are? Each of us is blessed to be in education and to have an opportunity to influence the lives of our students around us - those kids who come in everyday to feel safe in our school, enjoy their friends' company, and hopefully learn a thing or two along the way.

Tomorrow, our school has our iPad Re-Rollout Meetings which have been a ton of planning and time of all of our teachers already. Checking in iPads, making sure they up and ready to go, it's been a process for the past few weeks to make sure that the devices are ready to go for learning. For some people, it's a new process to learn, something maybe a little bit scary, and just a lot of an undertaking as well.

Through it, we look at if it's worth it, the opportunity we gain - digital access for our students, innovative brainstorming and tools, deeper connections, and so much more are just a few of the many positives. Despite a few nerves in learning the technology and management pieces, what a great time to be a part of the digital transformation age...a moment to CELEBRATE the journey we are on as Waukesha One to transform our students' lives, as well as a moment of reflection. In our educational world, there's always a new idea around the corner, a resourceful resource to help us along the way to get these conversations started - Edutopia, ISTE, Pinterest, Edudemic are just some of the many resources we have to spur our thinking to create those learning opportunities integrating technology with meaning and intention.

Maybe it's starting small with a blog or a wiki. Perhaps its making anchor charts and vocabulary come alive with videos and portfolios of the learning. Maybe it's going big with a makerspace or how about just building a Symbaloo of websites you want to make accessible for families and students? A big idea can first start small, just as a small idea turns into something big - let your learners be part of the conversation and build upon their learning to come alive!

I think we all have moments of busyness, where we aren't sure where to start on a long to-do list, or when we are not even sure of the whole process. I had one of those moments this past week as two of my students were giving me about 12 ideas for our winter concert, and I just was at idea number one, along with a hefty checklist of items that still has a few items to go. Needless to say, I felt a little overwhelmed by their thoughtful planning for a concert theme I wasn't too familiar with. But then, the conversation came that changed it all, that took all my feelings of nervousness away - I asked these two guys if they were okay and having fun (as they were working on a few tasks that was not finding enjoyable - sharpening pencils, organizing papers, talking about this concert I had no idea where to start on, etc). Immediately to my comment, they laughed and said "Ms. Garon, of course we are! We have fun because we are spending time with you."

It's not the big tech idea, it's not even the small, that can ever replace those moments. The smiles, eyes of wonder walking into our classrooms that you create, that YOU are the reason for...that's what keeps us going, in any lesson, everyday. A deeper meaning, the hope we have from them...That's our #bigskyeffect.

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