This past week was such a great experience. I got to return to one of my favorite conferences- NCTies and share four sessions- a poster session, a workshop, and 2 concurrent sessions. I really enjoyed getting to reconnect with so many of PLN (Professional Learning Network) and get to meet new educators and add to my PLN.  This coming week is also busy. I will be attending and presenting two sessions at KySTE23 for the first time and at Spring CUE (virtually). The month of March is definitely a busy one for me. In addition to 2 in person conferences and one virtual one, I will be doing an Educator Alexander webinar on March 25th to conclude the month. I would love to connect with you at any of these opportunities.

Reviewing what are the ABCs of Transforming Learning are-

Two weeks ago, I shared a blog post called M= Maximize Student Engagement Using Audio and Video Tools.   So many times, we try to engage our students using something that what we have always used. That could include completing a worksheet, making a poster, or countless other tasks. But doing so doesn't take into account the world that our students live in. They live in a world where they constantly engage with both audio and video content. We can teach like we always have or we can pivot and use our students' natural curiosity where it comes to digital content to maximize their engagement.

This week, we will focus on N = Never Stop Learning.  During a month where I am engaging in so many learning opportunities- this was the perfect focus for N.  As educators, we need to be lifelong learners, but with so much on educators' plates right now- that can seem like the one thing that gets left off of our to do list.  But as educators, it is essential that we do engage in the pursuit of learning- our students deserve it and so do we.

N = Never Stop Learning

Not only is this important for us to continue to grow as educators, but we need to model these behaviors for our students and our colleagues. Both our students and our colleagues need to see us taking us risks and engaging in learning. They need to see us struggle and persevere, despite the ups and downs. Being an educator is not a static process.  We need to be in a process of continual improvement based on our passions and interests. Traditional professional development doesn't always take that into account. So how else can we never stop learning?

Whether you engage in a marathon of learning...

In January 2022, I began a marathon-like learning experience. I was so honored to win a NASA scholarship to become an ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) Certified Educator. This was something that I had been wanting to do, but initially thought was cost prohibitive. So when I won this scholarship, I was so excited.  So many people had told me that it would be a life changing experience and they were 100% correct.

During our first class, we discussed how as we began this new challenge, we might get stuck in a learning pit- a place that we would doubt ourselves, contemplate giving up. It would be a place where we would feel lost and we would need strategies to lift ourselves out of that pit. So we shared how we had gotten out of prior learning pits and brainstormed how we would deal with our future learning pits.

During our coursework, I stayed out of that pit for the most part. I loved the reflective nature of this experience and took so many takeaways with me, like revisiting Universal Design for Learning and creating the edurubricon. Engaging in this experience took so many things that I had learned beforehand and helped me to connect them like puzzle pieces to become a better educator.

But once our coursework ended, we began the six month period to work on our portfolios- the final step. That's when it happened to me- the learning pit. I can't quite describe why it happened to me, but every time that I thought about working on my portfolio, I got overwhelmed. I just couldn't get started. I was stuck!

I thought about giving up so many times- maybe it just wasn't meant to be. Then, I attended VSTE and met other ISTE Certified Educators. They helped refocus me, supported me and gave me the momentum to get back to my portfolio.On February 22, 2023, I got word that I was officially an ISTE Certified Educator. I am so proud of myself for not giving up. 

Remember that when you embark, if you embark, on a marathon learning experience- you can do this! But you don't have to do it alone. Feel free to reach out to others- I am here to help you in any way possible. We are better together

Or Engage in Sprints of Learning

To never stop learning, you don't need to complete a marathon-like learning experience- you can also engage in sprints of learning. These sprints will reenergize your practice and give you that boost that you might need right now. 

Here are a few sprint learning experiences that you might consider. (Best of all, they are all FREE!)

Wixie Webinars: 

Wixie webinars are short 30 minute virtual sessions conducted on Google Meet. These are perfect for my littles educators. If you are a fan of Wixie like I am, these sessions are a perfect way to up your Wixie game. This month, there are three sessions- one for art education, one directed towards building digital citizenship skills. Plus, there is one that I just happen to be leading that talks about how you can create artifacts of learning using thinking routines and Wixie. You can watch any of these webinars using this link.

Educator Alexander Workshops: 

Desiree Alexander does a fantastic job of amplifying educator voices and providing just right professional development sessions when you need them. She usually hosts them twice a month and they are fantastic. What I especially appreciate about them is not only the variety of sessions, but the fact that you can choose whether to watch them live or asynchronously. Look at this month's offering. On March 11, she is hosting one on having brave spaces in English classes and then shameless plug on March 25, I am sharing my Empowering Student Voice with UDL and Technology Tools. Then in April, I am presenting my Tech Up the Math session on April 29th.

Use a podcast to learn on the go

Maybe you want to fit in your learning on the go, if so, podcasts are a great option. You can fit one in while taking a walk, driving to or from work, or any time you want. Here are some of my favorites to get you started:

Leaning Into Leadership (Darrin Peppard)

Aspire to Lead (Joshua Stamper)

Innovators Mindset (George Couros)

Teaching Champions (Brian Martin)

Define YOUniversity (Lindsay Titus)

So how will you never stop learning?

Try one of these ideas and see what impact it makes on you and your students? We need to model lifelong learning to our students and show them how we too engage in challenges, sometimes get stuck in that learning pit and make our way out.