Friday, 1 January 2016

Looking Forward to 2016

Like many people, I've been reflecting on the past year and what I've done and all the things I've learned! And with those thoughts and reflections, I've set some goals for the new year - and I'm pretty excited about it all!

This January I will start my final course for my M. Ed, at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (@uoit)! I have loved doing this so much! I've learned and grown and have gained much from all the work, reading and collaborating. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I'm going to savour this course ...I might complain about the workload, but I don't think I'll really mean it!

In November, I had an epiphany, of sorts. One of my coursemates  (@katpapulkas) did a presentation about MakerSpaces/MakerEducation that was dynamic and interesting. It talked about how transformative the maker movement is and how excited people of all ages get over it. Later that week, I attended the ECOO Conference (@BringIT2016) - though it was 2015 - and was privileged to hear keynote speaker, Sylvia Martinez (@smartinez) talk about Maker Education. And, like a thunderbolt, an idea hit me! I'd been troubled about students who are so disengaged from school and learning. I love learning as do my closest friends - how could these kids not love it?! But maybe they do love learning, just not what and where? And then I thought, what if, we could bring Making to them? What if ....they could get excited about making something that works or that does something ....and maybe they would come to school - and maybe they would even want to stay there ... and maybe they would get sparked up!! Well this idea took me through the rest of 2015 and is the wave I'm riding into 2016.

I read 3 books and numerous articles and did research on the Maker Movement. I wrote a paper about it. I worked on a TLLP proposal for it. I badgered, educated, discussed, cajoled, shared info about Maker Education with friends, colleagues, family members, coursemates. I see making EVERYWHERE I look! I would never consider myself a tinkerer. I only make when I'm cooking - which I do a lot of and, by all accounts, I do that well. So, mostly, me wanting to create the Maker Movement at my school is very far out of my comfort zone. Like the students on my caseload (135 IEPs) this is focusing on my strengths and what I can do, not on my weaknesses. I'm creative and organized and a good problem solver. I have perseverance and determination and I can see the long road. And even though someone "in the know" told me that my idea doesn't "fit" what a Maker Space is, I'm not dissuaded because I know it's a good idea for the kids!

So - there are a few things I want to do this year:
1) Learn to code - because I think this will be a valuable skill to have in the future and I think I need to have it!
2) Learn how to create an interactive website, because although I almost have a Masters of Education in Digital Technologies, I've never done this before!
3) Blog more!!! I reflect all the time - in my head - I'll see if it makes a difference if I write it down
4) Execute my Maker Space idea! (Which includes another gazillion things - but I have 365 more days- it's a Leap Year - to discuss those!)

See why I'm so excited?!

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