Monday, June 27, 2016

Lifelong Learning - It's About Finding Pathways and New Adventures

Wow - can't believe I haven't posted since May.  Crazy.  Of course, I do post weekly on my other blog, so I am going to plead busy!!

It has been busy these last few months.  I have been doing some very diverse things, all related to math education. It's one of the benefits of going out on my own and being "independent" - I get to try new things and do a variety of math and technology related activities which keeps me interested and on my toes.  Here's just a few things I have been doing since May:

1) Working for Casio - so blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and doing research on technology, BYOD, testing etc.
2) Working for the Dana Center at UT, Texas and DoDEA (Department of Defense Education Activities) as an International Fellow supporting their adoption of College and Career Ready Standards. I went to Austin, Tx for some training and just got back from England, doing training at LakenHeath Air Force Base.  Such a marvelous experience! Heading to Austin again next week and then to SC for training in August.
3) Creating storyboards/video tutorials for OER Commons, so brushing up on my video-making skills and voice-over.  That's been a blast.
4) Teaching an online Sketchpad course for Drexel University - we are in week 2 and I love it!  Sketchpad is my all-time favorite edtech dynamic math tool so any chance I get to work with this is a bonus.
5) Heading to Hamburg, Germany end of July to support Casio R&D and attend ICME (International Congress on Mathematical Education) that happens only once every 4 years - THAT is super exciting!!

My personal experience with being able to work for many different folks is that I am constantly
learning, relearning or refining skills and knowledge. The work with DoDEA is really helping me focus on the Common Core Standards, which is then going to serve me well when I work with New Jersey teachers in August. Making videos/tutorials has forced me to dive deep into sound mixing and video clip editing and mixing, which is so helpful for making Sketchpad videos for the online course I am teaching or my blog, as well as the calculator videos I make to support Casio. All these different experiences force me to be on top of the latest education, edtech information/research and hone my math and technology skills. This "life-long" learning approach is exciting and helps me consider other avenues and possibilities for my career.

Looking back at my summers when I was in the K-12 public teaching arena, I realize that I've always been engaged in life-long learning and searching for new pathways & adventures.  I took classes or looked for new strategies, lessons and projects ideas to use in my classroom. Every learning experience led me to that next adventure - i.e. teaching to administration to running the PD for a publishing company to getting my doctorate to starting my own business to now.

I often get asked how I ended up becoming an independent consultant - and I would have to say I just kept looking for opportunities, learning whenever I could, researching and reaching out. Make connections with folks at conferences or representatives from publishing companies, take some courses and explore new pathways. Challenge yourself. Don't just sit back and let the summer go by - be sure to learn one new thing because that one new thing could open a door to the next adventure.