Reflections on #ISTE17 (Part 2 of ????) s/o to @techclara and @msmagiera

This one is going to be a challenging one for me to write.  However, it’s the one I’m most passionate about.  This is about the need to be vulnerable, and it’s challenging because I feel like a hypocrite.  Hopefully, this post is…me not being a hypocrite.  We shall see.

I was super-inspired watching my friends on the big stage Tuesday morning.  It was a pleasure to watch Clara Alaniz speak about growth, and ignite the audience with her passion.  I greatly enjoyed working with Clara in the Technical Working Group that refreshed the Educator Standards this year.  She is a phenomenal educator with a heart for all kids.

Photo via @CommonSenseEd

Next, Jennie Magiera gave an amazing, heartfelt keynote highlighting several stories about education and humanity in general.  I have always been inspired by Jennie’s brilliance, even before we worked together as coaches at Google Innovator Academy during #COL16.  To bring it full circle, I first learned of Jennie’s work during her ignite at #ISTE2014 when she spoke of Teacher IEPs (Individual Exploration Plans).

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Photo via @isteconnects

I loved Jennie’s entire keynote, but most of all her vulnerability.  One part specifically struck me, as she talked about how we tend to share our representatives online, and rarely provide a full picture.  This really resonated, having had similar conversations with friends.  We talked about how half-truths, illuminating only our wins, can backfire both in our personal and professional lives.  In listening to Jennie speak, I realized that I talk the talk, but don’t always walk the walk.

As I said in the last post, I am a huge fan of irony….except when it comes to my own shortcomings 🙂  It seems that the more connected I have become, the less I have shared of myself.  When I first connected in 2013, I immediately took to blogging, and it was Sarah Unfiltered.  Sometimes snarky, sometimes sarcastic, far from perfect, and she was totally cool with that.  She didn’t try to be perfect, and didn’t really care.

Perfect…how did that quote from Reshma Saujani go?  “We teach girls to be perfect, and boys to be brave.”

Well, I definitely knew how to fake perfect, given all those early years of training in being a girl.  But, I figured, why bother?  Nobody would read it anyway.  And if they did, they’d forget in five minutes.  I was just having fun learning and making new friends.

Fast forward, four years in. Nothing has changed, while everything has changed. First of all, have changed.  I’ve matured and become more empathetic, thanks to many of you.

Generally, the longer/more you connect, the more your…ahem…reputation builds. Whether or not you choose to use the term “branding,” in my experience, this happens more often than not.  So now, people are listening, and honestly, that can be somewhat scary.

Furthermore, I have changed roles, and am still in the process of figuring things out.  My blog posts have trickled down to an occasional errant drop, like a broken faucet.  While I’m screaming at the top of my lungs for everyone to “tell their story,” I somewhere became a little hoarse.

I strongly feel that us “old-timers” (ironically speaking…I’m 35 lol) have a responsibility to hold the door open for others by amplifying their voices.  However, what I failed to realize is that we all have something to say.  Again, we all have something to say.  And everyone should share their stories, both for better and for worse.

As I stated in my first post from today, when I find myself feeling particularly human, I blog, because I process through writing.  Nearly every time, I come back and pull it down a few hours later, because, as I tell myself, my brand is positivity.  I realized at ISTE that my brand needs to be Sarah-Jane Thomas.  I am human.  I am flawed.  I am me.

Things truly do come full-circle.  I wrote this post several years ago, and now I find myself at the same crossroad, but the question is not “to brand, or not to brand,” as that ship has sailed a long time ago.  What does strike me is point 2:

Acknowledging my weaknesses. We’re all human, right? I mean, last I checked…but anyway, nobody is perfect. Humans are a weird type of creature…it’s almost like the more you fail, the more other people like you. This is to an extent, of course…I mean, if you’re a total fail, you’re kind of a drag. But anyway, the more perfect you try to be, the more you’re going to get hated on. I just read this article today that says pretty much the same thing. It’s weird. The more perfect you try to be, the more people will hate. Isn’t the point to try and get them not to hate?Anyway, this is all to say not to be afraid to try, and even fail from time to time. Another benefit…according to the same article, the more you fail, the more successful you are. I guess that’s because it means you’re actually trying, instead of sitting on your derriere, trying to be Little Miss Perfect.

Interesting…thanks for the advice, Sarah from the Past.

I need to board my last flight home in a few minutes, so I’m going to wrap this up.  However, I want to thank Jennie and other friends for inspiring me this week to return to the real.  As a gesture of good faith as a non-hypocrite, I will actually go back and re-publish some of the posts that I took down.  Deep breath…

  1.  https://sarahdateechur.com/2017/05/24/some-days/
  2. https://sarahdateechur.com/2017/04/02/a-little-something-for-nationalpoetrymonth/

 

Ok let’s start with those two for now.  I still have lots left to blog.  Not sure if I’ll actually do it, but I have a lot more thoughts.  Anyway, later, gators.

Reflections on #ISTE17 (Part 1 of ???)

Hello, everyone!  Long time no talk.  Or is it?  LOL.  I don’t remember the last time I blogged and didn’t immediately take it down.  For some reason, I have been very turtle-like the past few months, sticking my neck out and immediately retreating back into my protective shell.  I have probably written about five posts about whatever was on my mind at the time, which I’ve published and then unpublished.

As a former English teacher, I am a huge fan of irony, even though there was hardly anything ironic about Alanis’s song (my 11th grade English teacher said so…thanks Mr. Morgan!).  However, it is not lost on me that I appear to be very extroverted and have a lot to say on social media, whereas face to face it is the exact opposite.  One of my friends described me as “smiling a lot, but not saying much.”  Yes, it has gotten better, as Sarahdahuman has become pretty good at Fight Clubbing my way to channeling Sarahdateechur.  But this is for a limited time only…this message will self-destruct.  Coming to the stage next…give it up for Sarahdasociallyawkward.  Sometimes this happens at the most inopportune times, but that’s another blog post for another time.

I am sitting at the airport, waiting to board my flight and go back to life, back to reality.  I’m sad it’s over, but so thankful and excited for all that happened this week.  I will definitely have to split it up into different posts.  Hopefully this time, I will actually follow through.

Anyway, this was my fourth, and greatest, ISTE experience.  This week has been one of the best of my life, and this statement is no exaggeration.  I always enjoy ISTE, as I love learning and seeing my friends F2F, as well as making new ones.  This week, there were several things that happened, beginning with moderating the keynote panel at Badge Summit, then the #EduMatch meetup (and the launch of our #Recipes4Ed), then giving an ignite on the big stage before the opening keynote (thanks to Anibal Pacheco for editing)…then being on panels about Google Innovator, diversity in gaming, staying connected after ISTE, and presenting in the Global PLN playground.  I was also very honored (and shocked) to be one of the recipients of the Making IT Happen award.  This week has been amazing, and I thank the amazing educators around me for pouring into me, as I hope to pour into you.  Also, huge shoutout to the #PasstheScopeEDU crew and other friends for documenting this.

I am going to end this post here.  I have a lot more to say, as this week was filled with all the feels.  I’ll let this stand as an intro to hopefully a series of blog entries.  I will actually turn around and start the next entry.  Here’s what I hope to cover, as long as time and stamina will allow:

  • The need for deeper connections (aka “PLF” lol)/vulnerability
  • Gratitude
  • Time management
  • Possible future developments in EduMatch
  • Sarahdasociallyawkward
  • Why I will stop being cheap when it comes to booking flights

Thanks for reading!

Looking Back

Hello, everyone!  It’s been a while, I know.  The school year just ended, and even though I’m now 12 months, it’s always a good time to look back.  Here is a late night/early morning random blog post, just taking a look back at my journey in education.  It was inspired by a Voxer group I’m in, where again, I was being random at 2 a.m.

I used to be Assistant Manager of a record store, and remember when Brittney Spears put out her Greatest Hits album super-early, after five years in the game.  Lol…this post kinda feels like that, a little…but it just hit me, I have been teaching for nearly 13 years!!! Wow!!!  However, I’m just getting started.  There’s still a lot left to see, learn, and do.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but just a few things that stood out to me over the years.  I will also add if I am still using them.  Here goes.

2004

  • Milestone: My first year in education.
  • New stuff: everything.
  • Status: N/A

2005-2007

  • Milestone: The next few years.
  • New stuff: PowerPoint, Discovery Education
  • Status:
    • I moved over to Google Slides for presentations, then recently moved to the new Google Sites.
    • I don’t use DE as much since I’m no longer in the classroom, but I hear great things about changes they’ve made.

2008-2009

  • Milestone: Moved to a technology role. With my school, participated in STEP (Sharing Technology with Educators Program) led by my current team, which introduced us to instructional technologies.
  • New stuff: Wikis, podcasts, video creation, tech conferences
  • Status:
    • Wikis: not so much. I use Google docs more and embed those.
    • Podcasts: I used them for a while, stopped, and they reappeared with a vengeance in 2015.
    • Video creation: This is my jam.
    • Tech conferences: Somewhat. It depends on the conference.  I love seeing my PLN face to face, though.  Can’t beat that.

2010-2011

  • Milestone: Was accepted to Teacher Leadership Academy led by my current team, in which I gained confidence and skills to present.  Began leading district workshops on PowerPoint, Google Docs, and Google Sites.  Presented at district, regional, and statewide conferences.  Started teaching middle school English.
  • New stuff: Presenting
  • Status: Still doing it, still loving it.

2012

  • Milestone: Started flipping my classroom when I learned about it at a conference.
  • New stuff: See above
  • Status: No longer in the classroom, but I still make instructional videos geared toward educators.  Began doing so in 2013 after I learned about Google Hangouts on Air.

2013

  • Milestone: Got connected.  As a direct result of that, began presenting outside of my area.
  • New stuff: Connecting, gamification, branding, edcamp
  • Status:
    • Connecting: Yup.
    • Gamification: Yup…looking to update because what I’m doing hasn’t evolved much since 2014.
    • Branding: It is what it is.  Overcame the challenge of sharing what I’m doing, for the most part.  Still working through it, but doing way better.
    • Edcamp: I still love it.  Have not been able to attend as many this year because of the d-word (dissertation), but I have plans to get back into the swing of things when I finish.

2014

  • Milestone: First time traveling totally by myself to present.  Google Teacher Academy (now known as Google Innovator Academy).  First ISTE.
  • New stuff: Google Glass, basic robotics, basic coding, EduMatch
  • Status:
    • Google Glass: Where is that emoji that laughs so hard that it cries?
    • Basic robotics: Need to pick it back up.
    • Basic coding: Need to pick it back up.  Need extra hours in the day.
    • EduMatch: Thriving.

2015

  • Milestone:  Taught high school for three months before moving to my current role.
  • New stuff: Livestreaming apps (Periscope, Meerkat, etc.), 360 video & Google Cardboard, BreakoutEDU, drones, 3D Printing, hoverboard
  • Status:
    • Livestreaming: I still use Periscope thanks to PasstheScopeEDU.  No more Meerkat.  Although not live streaming, Vine is dead (RIP).
    • 360/Cardboard:  Haven’t used it as much as I want to since I left the classroom.  Can’t find my Ricoh Theta.  I need to look harder.
    • BreakoutEDU: I like it, still use it.  It’s gaining momentum in my district.  Played a little with creating games.  That’s fun.
    • Drones: I can’t find Droney.  Also, I’m afraid to fly it now…long story, but I live near DC and I don’t really understand the law re: drones.  I know there is some kind of regulation.  Need to make the time to educate myself.
    • 3D printing: I no longer have access to a printer, but it was cool while it lasted.  I was in the process of trying to learn how to use it as more than a novelty.
    • Hoverboard: Again, I need that emoji…

2016

  • Milestone: First full year in current position.  Published first crowdsourced book through EduMatch.  Was fortunate to be invited to participate in educational initiatives with state, national, and global impact.  Went outside of North America for the first time with DigCitSummit UK.
  • New stuff: Crowdsourced publishing, Awesome Table, Raspberry Pi
  • Status:
    • Publishing: Indeed!  We have expanded to solo books.
    • Awesome Table: In love
    • Raspberry Pi: I need to pick it up again.  Need more hours in the day.  I want to be a coder so bad 😉

2017

  • Milestone: TBD. Cool stuff is happening, but I dunno yet what will be the highlight of the year.  Maybe graduating.
  • New stuff:  More livestreaming, more publishing, advanced YouTube, trying crazy stuff and seeing what happens
  • Status:

That’s it on this end.  Please pardon my randomness.  I’d love to hear how your journey has been.  If you take the challenge, please link your post to the comments below.  Thanks!

Some days

Some days make you and some will break you. Sometimes they are one in the same. Trying to keep my head in this crazy game but it’s not always easy. Believe me. Today is one of those days.

The world is not black and white, it’s just gray. I wish today was any day but today. I want the sun to go down but will tomorrow be worse? No idea until I get through today first.

Sometimes it takes courage to get out of the bed. Sometimes it takes courage to get out of your head. My battery is low…I kinda want the world to go away and leave me alone.

But then friends hit me up on my phone. That really does help. But I wish I could fake it and act like myself.

I pull the blanket back over my head. Close my eyes and think of places I’d rather be instead. Maybe I’m better off…

Shh, I can’t even say it. Wear my heart on my sleeve, emotion displayed. It sorta sucks to be human, so I don’t really claim it.
But I’ll try harder to fake it and try not to flake. Can’t stay in this space…that would be a mistake. Sarahdahuman is officially on break.

Co-pilot on duty, Sarahdateechur on deck.  I’ll get us through this patch of turbulence.

Don’t worry, I’ve got this.

A LiveStreaming Smash of Epic Proportions #edtech

One of my friends told me about a webinar service that would allow you to have multiple people in a session, while simultaneously streaming to YouTube and/or Facebook Live.

She, in essence, created a monster lol.

I had to do this, but to my dismay, I found that it would run me $55/month.  I inquired about an educator discount, but was told there wasn’t one.  So, I had the idea late one night to figure out how to get it for free.  Today, I got to try it out with some friends.  I couldn’t figure out the FB part for free (most services will make you pay), so next time I may try with a third computer and go directly to Facebook Live.  But the rest of this is free.

The purpose of this post is to remember exactly what I did to get it to work.  For that reason, I won’t put in a lot of detail, but most of the stuff is Google-able.

Many thanks to my #EduMatch fam who showed up to help beta test.  We do a weekly podcast, Tweet & Talk, usually every Sunday at 6 PM Eastern, but we are on Spring Break because of holidays and travel.  We will return on May 7.  Today, I decided to play, and wanted to document the journey so that I don’t forget what to do in a month.  This is probably not the best way, but this worked.  I’ll update as I find easier strategies.

Caution: What you are about to read will be extremely geeky.  Again, most of it can be Googled, which is how I learned how to do this.  But I will link tutorials and resources I found useful whenever possible.  Feel free to tweet me @sarahdateechur with any questions.

What You Need

  1. Two laptops (at least one must have a webcam)
  2. A free Zoom account
  3. OBS encoder software
  4. A free Restream.io account
  5. (Mac only) SoundFlower

Pre-Work – YouTube/Periscope/Restream

  1. Schedule a meeting in Zoom.  I think you can make it recurring, which I will do when we start using this for Tweet & Talks.  Share the meeting link with participants.
  2. Get set up with Periscope Producer.
  3. On your YouTube Live page, set up your usual info like you would do in a regular YouTube Live.Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 6.31.30 PM
  4. On the same page, you also need this information under Encoder Setup.  Get your server URL and stream key.Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 6.34.22 PM
  5. On Restream.io, when you sign up for an account, add the channels you want.  I added YouTube Stream Now and Periscope.  FB costs extra.  You may need to manually put in the Server URL and Stream Key for each one, or it may do it automatically.  I don’t remember.
  6. On the right hand side of the home screen, find the RTMP URL close to you, and get the URL and Stream Key.  Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 6.37.37 PM
  7. Download and install SoundFlower if you have a Mac (I don’t think it’s needed for PC).
  8. Open up the OBS app.

Pre-Work: OBS

  1. Go to Settings, then to Stream, then click the drop-down menu at the top and select Custom Streaming Server.  Enter the info you got from Restream.io in Step 6 above. Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 6.42.43 PM
  2. (Mac Users) Under Audio, set your Desktop Audio to Sunflower (2 Ch). Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 6.45.17 PM.png
  3. Click OK, which will close you out of Settings
  4. Add a new Scene and call it whatever you want.
  5. Under Sources, add Window Capture, and Audio Input Capture.
  6. Click the gear next to Audio Input Capture, and select Device: Soundflower (2 Ch).
  7. On the Mixer, bring the Mic/Aux down to 0.  You may also need to bring the Audio Input Capture down to 0 if you end up getting an echo. Adjust Desktop Audio to your liking, so that it doesn’t peak, but still registers sound.Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 6.48.21 PM.png
  8. You can now close OBS and everything else until you are ready to go live.

The Main Event – 20 min before showtime

  1. Start your Zoom meeting and have participants join about 10 minutes prior to showtime to check audio.  This will also buy you time to get set up on the back end.
  2. (for Mac…not sure how this works on PC) Turn off your mic in your computer system settings.  In Zoom, click the drop-down menu next to the microphone, and make sure to make the Speaker go to SoundFlower (2 Ch). Turn your camera off.Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 6.56.57 PM.png
  3. Open OBS, and click on the Scene you set up in step 4 (above).
  4. Click on Window Capture and click the gear.  Select from the drop-down menu the Zoom window with your participants.
  5. From the other computer: Join the meeting as a participant. Adjust the width and height of your Window Capture, to your liking.  Invite other participants.
  6. When you are ready to go, click Start Streaming.
  7. Open Periscope app and go to your settings.  Then click on Periscope producer.
  8. It should check for the source.  If there are any issues, fix them in OBS, then click Preview, and then go live.

This is a lot of info, but it presumably will get easier every time.  In addition, I’m sure there are some extra things I am doing that I will find that I can eliminate.  I would love to hear your ideas to see if there’s a way to streamline this.  I will keep updating as I find better ways.  Also, I would love to know if anyone knows how to go to Facebook Live for free.  Thanks for reading!

A Little Something for #NationalPoetryMonth

My friend Shervette told us in the EduMatch voxer group that it’s #NationalPoetryMonth.  She posted some great poems, and invited us to do the same:

I’ve been writing poetry and songs for a while, but most of them don’t see the light of day, as I usually write them to process.  I’ll share a couple today…most are still not ready for the public lol, but that’s ok.

Poem 1 11/21/12

I’m trying to be a better me
Don’t know what I was thinking all these years
All of these tears shed late at night while lying in my bed
And for what? No moves being made
Seeking fame, trying to play the game best that I thought
But it got me nothing
No peace within
Nobody wins when you’re always out for self
I came from noble roots and the noble truth of the matter is other people need my help
My mama told me to keep my eyes on the prize
I got the tools in my hand but I didn’t realize
That noble truth
Shining bright in the darkest night
Gotta reach deep down and find the strength to fight
It’s going to be alright
Gotta add spark to the light
Once I get it popping I can make this right
But where do I begin? So many mouths around
Screaming out for help without even making a sound
The world is grimy, they’re all saying come and find me
All these years had tunnel vision, no side view mirrors up to guide me
The voice inside me saying “take” now screaming “give”
The voice inside me once yelling “die” now saying “live”
It’s about time I’ve had a change of heart
But now that I woke up, where am I supposed to start?

Poem 2 12/2/12

She was a girl from the suburbs
Nothing much to report
But she was one of a kind, she was brighter
Which is kind of why nobody liked her
One day in gym, she looked up and saw him
She never had seen him before
He was tall, he was fly, he was handsome
He smiled as he walked through the door
Much older than a boy of fourteen, it seemed
Just as she was learning to drive
“What the hell,” she thought, “he’s a freshman,
Wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.”
The friends grew closer over the years
He comforted her when she shed tears
But one day, the worst of her fears
She asked him to prom, he said no
And she felt so alone

He was a boy from the suburbs
Everyone said he was a teddy bear
Over six feet tall, he was cuddly
Had a smile that could make you fall in love
He didn’t see her forever it seemed
Then one day in the most unlikely place
He looked to his left and saw her face
He asked her what’s up and the old friends caught up
On life after graduation
He got her number, and they started dating
But one day it all fell apart, and she stopped picking up the phone
And he felt so alone

A few years later, the woman had a breakup
The man called her up, as he saw it on Facebook
They met up for lunch, he said she’s the marrying kind
And he was surprised she wasn’t somebody’s wife
He told her she’s beautiful, she wasn’t used to hearing
She had to bite her lip to keep from tearing
By the time lunch was over, they planned to meet again
Then a week later, she found out she’d lost him
And I felt so alone

It’s been three years, felt like yesterday
But the sound of your voice is starting to fade
Almost like you knew that day was goodbye
Sometimes at random, I still break down and cry
Your mama told me we went to daycare together
The things we forget…I’m trying to get better
As the years go by, as the tear flow dries
Leaving lines on my face in their place
My friend, you can never be replaced
But now I’m never alone

Random thoughts on a Sunday morning (Culture and Personalization)

Yesterday, I was in a Voxer group, catching up on what felt like 50 million messages that I’d missed throughout the week. I listened at 4x speed, as I often do, so some of the gist may have been lost. Someone mentioned something about culture, and someone (else?) mentioned something about personalization.

Untitled drawing (3)

This got me to thinking about the interplay between culture and personalization. Personalization is a popular buzzword in education. I have taken a dislike to most buzzwords because too often, they lose their meaning and become corrupted and diluted. It’s like a game of edu-telephone. But sometimes if you go past all of those layers of muck, there’s still something valuable.

I do believe in personalization. Last week on a Google Innovator panel on advocacy, Jennie Magiera spoke of the difference between “every child” and “each child.” She preferred the latter, because it spoke to the uniqueness that each child brings, as opposed to the uniform connotation of every child. Each child has his/her own experiences, background, knowledge, culture, dreams, challenges, interests, and more. All of those intersect to make each person different.


Let’s take one piece of that…culture. What is your culture?

In a different Voxer group, a few weeks ago, a friend asked us to identify the five cultural traits that play the strongest role in our lives. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it went something like:

  1. Black
  2. Woman
  3. Haitian
  4. Middle class
  5. Non-religious

Other friends chimed in, with many of them saying “educator,” “parent,” and other things I hadn’t even thought of putting on my list. But these are all true. We each belong to an infinite amount of cultures, and the combination of these cultures is the intersectionality that makes us unique.

For any of these five cultural traits I listed, I no doubt have common experiences with most other people sharing that trait. For example, at the top of my list is being Black. When I see another Black person (especially in America), chances are that we have some common experiences, at a bare minimum. These experiences may lead us to have shared perspectives, which influence other things that we may then also have in common. But might this look different if I’m interacting with a Black woman or Black man?

Absolutely.

Being a Black woman comes with its own unique set of experiences. If you can picture a Google search, our terms would be

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 10.14.49 AM

which would cut our number of hits roughly in half.

Now, if I expanded this search to

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 10.16.05 AM.png

this would also have some relevant hits, but if I wanted to find the “Culture of Sarah-Jane Thomas” page, I’d have to keep searching.

Black AND woman AND “Haitian-American” AND “Middle Class” -religious

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 10.16.58 AM.png

28,300 results…but, we would be getting somewhere at least.


The next question my friend on Voxer asked that night was something to the effect of, “What’s your in-group?”

In-group may not have been the exact phrase she used, but basically, if you walked into a room full of __________ people and would be most at ease, what would go in the blank?

Easy! “No.” (Introvert joke.)

All jokes aside, I thought long and hard about this one. I went down the list of my top five cultural traits, and found some combinations that would work, but she didn’t ask all that lol.

I could only think of two honest answers. The first is educators, but that is fairly recent. The second has been my in-group throughout my life. I feel most instantly at ease with…

…people who grew up in the US in an immigrant household.

This surprised even me. But when I think about it, it makes perfect sense. My parents came here in the late 60s, and had my brother and (much later) me. I grew up navigating two cultures, my Haitian family life at home and American culture in the outside world. Sometimes there was dissonance, and even as an adult, there still are those fun moments when people just don’t “get it.”  (Side note: particularly when dating…I’m amused/annoyed at the reaction I get from some guys about my cultural values.)  It is so refreshing when someone understands without me having to explain.

In our Voxer group that night, I went back and forth about this with another friend, who moved to the US when he was very young. We had a good laugh about how we weren’t allowed to go to sleepovers as kids, and I referenced a funny YouTube video that my mom had sent me about a Haitian father arguing with an American parent about them. We also bonded over our respective national foods.  This has often been the case when meeting other first- and second-generation people.

This is not to say that I don’t feel at ease with anyone who is not from an immigrant family, or that every single person who grew up bicultural is my automatic homie.  But even though our home cultures are different, I feel like this is the group of people who “get” me the most, as a group.


As always, this was all a great big tangent.  What does any of this have to do with education?

Let’s (quickly) examine two sides of the same coin.  We preach personalization in learning as a best practice.  Absolutely.  What role does culture play in this?

In my dissertation, Chapter Two is a review of literature that shapes my conceptual framework.  In it, I reference Gloria Ladson-Billings’s work regarding Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.  Sneak peek:

Ladson-Billings (1992) stated that the matching of school culture to student culture generally yields positive results. From this premise, she coined the term “Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP),” which she described as “a pedagogy of opposition that recognizes and celebrates African and African-American culture,” with the primary goal being “to empower students and to examine critically social change” (p. 314). Here, she talked about the sharing of power in the classroom equally between teachers and students, since education is an “empowering force” (p. 318).

This method respects the background of learners such as Haitian students and helps to avert the phenomenon of not-learning, a term coined by Gao (2014) to describe a student’s conscious decision to assert his/her power to reject learning. Au (2008) mentioned consequences of classrooms where CRP is not practiced, describing possible student behaviors including, “ignoring the teacher, refusing to participate, turning in incomplete assignments, or acting out in class…student resistance can develop quickly if teachers signal their low regard for students’ culture” (p. 70). It is, therefore, important to include CRP practices so that students know that their culture is respected, which will positively impact their motivation for learning.

According to Gay (2000), CRP practices: acknowledge the legitimacy of cultural heritages of different ethnic groups, build meaningfulness between home and school experience, use a wide variety of instructional strategies, teach students to know and praise their own and each other’s cultural heritages, and incorporate multicultural information, resources, and materials in all the subjects and skills routinely taught in schools (p. 29). Gay discussed the need to respect the cultural and individual differences of students, and to embrace the skills that ELs bring with them, such as bilingualism. CRP acknowledges and embraces such differences, recognizing them as positive and encouraging students to share, adding to the richness of the classroom and learning experience.

Anyway, long story short (too late), I would argue that while personalization should take into consideration interests, proficiency levels, etc., Culturally Relevant Pedagogy also needs to be at the core.  I’ll even take it a step further, and say that we must also include Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy.

Paris (2012) introduced the idea of culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP), which “seeks to perpetuate and foster – to sustain – linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling” (p. 93)…Paris suggested teacher advocacy in support of students’ home languages and cultures, while simultaneously helping learners navigate the dominant culture. 

In conversations about personalization, I rarely hear any talk of including a learner’s home language or culture.  I would love to see some research or resources regarding this.  If you have any, please send them my way.  Furthermore, the bulk of discussion I hear tends to center at the whole group level, i.e. having books that reflect all types of characters, how to celebrate all cultures all year long, etc.  These discussions are absolutely necessary.  In addition, I would like to hear more regarding CRP/CSP in personalization.


Additionally, we have to be careful not to view culture from a monolithic standpoint.  Now, we finally get to the point of that big detour we took somewhere in the middle.  An individual’s “culture” is actually comprised of the combination of many different cultures.  No two people from a given culture (even with many of the same intersections) will turn out identically.

For example, think of siblings.  My brother and I were raised in the same household, by the same parents.  He is probably the one person who has the most in common with me, but we are not the same.  He is male, and I am female.  He was born in the 60s, and I was born in the 80s.  At the core, we have the same values, but we are still very different.

So are our learners.  Part of CRP/CSP includes embracing the differences that each child brings.  I feel like this piece is often lacking in conversations about how to support our students.  Far too often, I hear stuff like _______ (insert strategy here) works for (implicit: all) __________ (insert marginalized group here) students, and this is bullshit.  Quite honestly, if personalization is a “best practice,” shouldn’t that be the case for each student?  Why is it implied that some of our students should receive the luxury of personalized instruction, while others should get some cookie-cutter approach? (Edit: I started going in, dropping in extended references about Dangerous Minds, but that’s not my steelo.)  And usually the cookie-cutter approach goes viral…*facepalm*

You know what should go viral?  Getting to know your students.  Building relationships.  Embracing their cultures…all of them.  Not assuming that just because they are Black/brown/Christian/Muslim/etc. that they like _________________, or don’t like ______________, or listen to _____________, or speak _________________ at home, or their parents have ______________________.  That’s actually called stereotyping.  Instead of assuming, ask.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  I do think that students learn in different ways, and often culture does play a role.  As a matter of fact, the intersection of all of our cultures plays a HUGE role in our learning.  Respect and embrace that.  Each learner is different and brings with them a wealth of cultural capital.  Don’t be afraid to try new strategies with your students, but make sure you are also respecting them as individuals.

#BFC530 and #IMMOOC-inspired post: Snow Day Reflections on Choice in #PD

This morning is a snow day.  To my surprise, the forecast got it right for once.  I woke up around 5 AM to the sound of tapping against my window, and got out my phone to check if school was closed.

C63jF7rWkAA2H--

Hooray!

I have this horrible habit of not being able to go back to sleep once I wake up.  Plus, I had set a calendar reminder for #BFC530 today.  I’ve been trying to get back into Twitter chats, but this time with balance lol.  Today’s topic was right up my alley.

First, a quick note regarding terminology.  You will see me employ professional learning (PL) and professional development (PD) in this post.  At first glance, it may seem like I’m doing it arbitrarily; however, I refer to PL as non-mandated learning opportunities for educators to opt-in.  PD, in this case, will refer to learning opportunities mandated by a school or district.  These terms are intended to be value-free as there are good and bad examples of both.

Being part of our district’s Technology Training Team, I am honored to contribute to the PL opportunities that we provide.  Even prior to joining our team, PL had been a strong interest of mine, beginning with creating #edtech tutorial videos in 2013, then organizing a team that hosted our district’s first edcamp in 2014.  After attending Google Innovator Academy (then Google Teacher Academy) later that year, my project was to start a Google Educator Group for the DC Area.  That summer, we had gamified learning challenges based on instructional strategies, which stretched me as both an organizer and a learner.  This opportunity for growth, plus contributions from my educational family, inspired many of the things that we do in EduMatch.  (P.S. I’m currently thinking of bringing back the gamified challenges to that as well.)

Regarding choice, I have been inspired by the great work of Jennie Magiera, Emmanuel Andre, and others when it comes to designing PD.  Choice is extremely important for all learners, including us.  The perceived disconnect between pedagogy and andragogy has puzzled me for a long time.  Yes, children and adults are different, but we are not two different species.  The day you turn 18, you do not magically turn into a brand new person.  Instead, we just become older versions of ourselves with more life experience and perspective.  When I was 12, I loved music, basketball, and LL Cool J.  At…20-teen…I still enjoy karaoke, playing three-on-three vs. sixth graders, and LL Cool J (enough said).

The point is that best practice for learners is best practice for learners, regardless of age.  Student choice is preached far and wide, and as a student of the world, I prefer choice.  This is why PL opportunities like edcamps are so clutch.  In addition, I believe that PDs can also be very effective and relevant when done correctly.  To me, “done correctly” almost always involves choice.  Maybe there is a prerequisite for educators to see what is available, since you don’t know what you don’t know.  But after that…choice.

Another thing that is equally important is building capacity.  Everyone is good at something, and should share their expertise with others for the good of the field.  However, this is more complicated than meets the eye.  Some people are hesitant to share for various reasons, many of which stem from feeling disempowered.

When I first began teaching, I had low confidence in my ability, as a result of some negative experiences.  About four years in, I was given a role in leadership as Social Studies Chair, and the healing process began.  My fifth year, I moved to a school where my principal was a true multiplier, and this is when I began to feel like a leader.  Around my sixth year, the Technology Training Team selected me for participation in their Teacher Leadership Academy, and I began to see myself as a leader.  My eighth year, I got connected and *BAM*!  I don’t even have to explain the BAM…if you’re reading this, you probably already know what it’s like to breathe the fresh air of building and learning from a PLN.

This ties into my passion for building capacity.  I want to note that I needed EVERYTHING that happened, to undo the layers of self-doubt I had built early in my career.  I thank everyone who has ever believed in me and helped me to believe in myself.  This is where building capacity is key.  Once people see themselves as leaders, they act as leaders.

However, nobody has to wait for others to deem you a leader.  If you want to be a leader, then lead.  As a good friend of mine, Dr. Will, said, “if no one invites you to the table, build your own table.”  You are a leader!!! To quote one of my favorite movies,


Anyway, back to the point.  So, this morning, I was doing #BFC530, and participated in a great discussion.  I saw this tweet:

which reminded me of a recent discussion that pushed my thinking with George Couros and Katie Martin last week on the #IMMOOC YouTube Live.  At one point, we were talking about how educators can “innovate inside the box”:

Through our discussion, I learned A LOT!  Although my own growth came from being provided with trust and space, Katie and George helped me realize that support looks different for different people.  Some folks, like Kevin and I, may thrive with freedom, although this is not always the case.  I asked Kevin what he thought, and he suggested that each teacher be able to design his/her PD.  YES!!!

David, another #BFC530er, also had done this at his school:

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 7.32.36 AM

David was so kind to share this Google doc with me.  Again, I think of Jennie’s Teacher IEPs and Manny’s model, where educators can choose their PD courses university-style, with double credits awarded for teaching a course.  Building capacity for the win!

Now what? Five tips for #educators to #resist

Betsy Devos was confirmed today as the new Secretary of Education for the United States.

This is concerning to many educators, as well as members of the general public.  Millions had called their senators in hopes to convince them to vote in the interest of public school students nationwide.  However, many chose to vote instead with their pocket…ahem…party.

Houston, we have a problem.

Public education has a big question mark looming overhead.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, much less the next four years.  I know what yesterday brought, and that was an announcement from CoSN, linking to this Washington Post article that “the FCC is stopping companies from providing federally subsidized Internet” to low-income families.  This is devastating news, and will no doubt exacerbate the already-wide digital divide that affects our students.

When there is a problem, we need to work to find a solution.  I don’t have it…I’m sure nobody does.  This is much bigger than any one individual, which is exactly why we need to come together.  We need all hands on deck.  We are at war to protect our future.

ISTE Teacher Standards 2017, Draft 2, challenges all educators to be advocates (See Standard 2: Leader, Indicator B).  In light of several questionable decisions taken by elected government officials(?), we need to rise up and fight for our students.  Many of us have been doing so all along, but again, we need all hands on deck.

So, what can we do?  It is helpful to have a set of actionable steps.  These are some initial thoughts, and I encourage any readers to add their suggestions in the comments:

  1. Each one, reach one.  I always talk about how connecting with other educators via social media has helped me become a better teacher for my students.  Over the years, I have found even more benefit as my use has grown to include collaborating for social change.  We need more voices in the mix.  Now, connecting is more than sharing best practice (which I’m not diminishing by any means…this is also important).  Let me put it this way, an individual can make a big difference; however, that difference is amplified even further with collaborators.  So I challenge everyone reading this to bring a colleague online, and get them involved.
  2. Organize.  The power of grassroots movements is undeniable.  The keyword in that last sentence is grassroots.  People who start movements don’t wait for permission to organize to be handed to them.  They take it.  We all have so much more power than we know, individually and collectively.  Don’t sit around waiting for a leader to take action on an issue you care about.  That leader can very well be you.  (Of course, there are precautionary measures to take.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there may be risk involved.  Be smart.  Only go as hard as you are willing/able.  But there are ways to resist in most situations, and taking small action is better than taking no action.)
    1. Don’t be afraid to lead…and don’t be afraid to follow.  There’s nothing worse than groups fighting for the same cause, but also fighting each other like crabs in a barrel.  It’s a waste of energy at best, and also counterproductive.  Instead, I would suggest looking first to see if there is already a group aligned with your vision, and throwing your support behind that.  If there’s not a good fit, then go for what you know, but reach out to similar groups to see if you can work together.
  3. Keep your eyes open. Going back to social media…I use Twitter lists a lot.  I have a special one called, “Watch These,” where I always go when I sign on, immediately after checking notifications and/or DMs.  It has evolved through the years, first including my close friends.  Then I added those who inspired me in education, then those outside of education.  In addition to my all-time-favorite Twitter peeps, the current iteration has grown to include people who are there for not-so-positive reasons.  I’ll let you guess who they are.  Anyway, my reason for adding them to the list is because it helps me keep my eyes open.  I see what these people are saying.  It’s better to get it directly from the source than to hear it second- and third-hand, especially with all of this “fake news” and “alternative facts” going around.
    1. I also like to follow alt-gov accounts like @AltUSNatParkSer, @Alt_DeptofED, @RoguePOTUSStaff, @RogueNASA, and others.  I cannot vouch for the authenticity of all of the alt-gov accounts, but at a bare minimum, they often share valuable information, such as when demonstrations are being held.
  4. Stay vocal.  Social media is definitely a recurring theme in this post, as you can see.  As much as you are able, share your views freely, share them often, and fight for what you believe in.  Do not accept to be silenced by the opposition.  Silence is death.  Yes, that may sound overdramatic, but it is true.  When you allow yourself to be silenced, you are allowing your idea/passion to die.
    1. Tangentially, we need to be amplifying and uplifting one another.  Too many times, I have been guilty of letting my passion die because it was met with deafening silence.  Now, I am learning to keep talking.  Talk to anyone who will listen.  Talk, even if no one is listening.  Just keep talking.
    2. I was introduced to the term “protest fatigue” by an article a friend shared, but as Shaun King says, we must reject that.  Protest fatigue is death.  Resist, resist, resist.  Not everyone can go to marches all the time, but there are many ways to resist.  Do whatever you are able/willing.  Every little bit helps.  Speaking of that…
  5. Don’t forget the little things. Senators Collins and Murkowski voted NO today.  I have tremendous respect for them, especially given that every other member of their party voted to approve the nominee.  With a little bit of digging, it’s not hard to see how that could have *possibly* happened.  I would like to note that, even though Senator Murkowski’s campaign allegedly received a donation, she still voted NO, which was pretty remarkable.  This begs the question, why?  It would have been so easy to just vote with her party.  But she did exactly what we hope that all elected officials would do…listened to her constituents. “I have heard from thousands — truly thousands — of Alaskans who shared their concerns about Mrs. Devos as Secretary of Education. They’ve contacted me by phone, by e-mail, in person, and their concerns center, as mine do, on Mrs. Devos’s lack of experience with public education and the lack of knowledge that she portrayed in her confirmation hearing,” she stated February 1 at a Senate session.  
    1. I have always been reluctant to call my legislators for two reasons: a) it was a bit scary, and b) I felt like it would be a waste of time.  Concerning the first point, this particular issue lit me up so much that I forgot all about being shy.  (By the way, my friend shared this link with me, which was a tremendous help.)   Regarding the latter, Senators Collins and Murkowski’s actions today are living proof of what can happen when we don’t forget the little things.  I’m a believer, and from now on, I will be calling my legislators and letting my voice be heard.
    2. Another friend of mine put me onto the Party of Lincoln app (iOS, Android) which has over 20 ways to take political action, and includes the phone numbers of U.S. politicians.  I’ve also used Countable (iOS, Android), which allows you to contact Congress and learn about bills.

We have work to do, friends!  Again, I welcome any constructive comments and ideas for ways that educators (and let’s be real, all human beings) can support one another. Thanks for reading!

So, you want to write a book?

We just did. It had been a dream of mine for a very long time, but I was afraid because I thought it would be difficult. I was wrong. It can be done, relatively simply!

Caveat one: We literally just released this book less than a week ago, so I’m still learning a lot. I may have to update this post later as it’s still brand new waters.

Caveat two: I started writing this at the gym, so I may come back and add details that I forgot in between sets of squats.

Caveat three: I am not a lawyer, nor do I have an MBA. This is the documentation of an experience. You may want to consult with a professional, as this is not intended to be advice.

The purpose of this post is two-fold. First, I need to document the process while it’s still fresh in my mind. Second, hopefully in doing so, this will serve as a roadmap for others who wish to do the same.

This post will provide information on beginning a publishing company. It will also include information on how to crowdsource an anthology. For example, our book has authors from all over the country. Not everything will apply to everyone, so pick and choose what is relevant to you.

One more thing before jumping in…I need to thank everyone who made this project possible, beginning with the 19 other collaborating authors, all of the chapter editors, the EduMatch community, my educational and non-educational friends, and huge props to my family! I had no idea what I was doing, but my parents are writers and really took me under their wing. So did my edu writer friends who have already published. Looking forward to more collaboration with all whom I’ve mentioned and more in 2017.

Ok, ready? Set? Lehgo.


Simon Sinek says to start with the why.

Have a Purpose 

It doesn’t have to be grandiose. My purpose was that I’m passionate about sharing. I strongly feel that part of being an educator is also to educate one another. I’ve learned a lot from my colleagues, and I wanted to share as well. Just as our students have multiple ways of learning, so do we. Some people like reading books.

I chose to crowdsource this book to get multiple perspectives on multiple topics. Every author in the book is an expert at what he or she does, and was willing to share. When I say “experts,” I am not using that term in an elitist way; quite the opposite. We all have expertise in something. Find yours and share it to make our field better. Knowledge only increases as we share it because it spreads and allows for dialogue. This serves to further polish the idea and make it even better. Off my soapbox.

When I say “experts,” I am not using that term in an elitist way; quite the opposite. We all have expertise in something. Find yours and share it to make our field better. Knowledge only increases as we share it because it spreads and allows for dialogue. This serves to further polish the idea and make it even better. Off my soapbox.

Get your business in order

This section is mainly for publishers, edupreneurs, and organizations. Upon the recommendation of friends, when EduMatch was ready, I went to Legalzoom to get it registered officially to do business as an LLC. This was about a year in. Shortly after that, I applied for a trademark, which required a product, hence the book.

How do you know when you’re ready? It’s a blurry line, to be honest. I’d say definitely anytime money changes hands, for sure. You want to make sure to legally separate your personal assets from that of your organization or company.

This wasn’t the case for us…at the time, EduMatch was self-funded, and still is (meaning, it costs money to run and doesn’t make any lol). Honestly, it came down to branding. I wrote a post a while back about how branding is viewed by some as a dirty word, but like it or not, everyone has a brand, also known as reputation. Just like Tony Sinansis and Joe Sanfelippo said at a 2013 edcamp session that changed my life, “tell your story or someone else will tell it for you.”

I registered to protect the EduMatch brand. We stand for the passion for helping all children. We stand for open sharing of ideas. We stand for educators educating educators. We stand for grassroots initiatives, collaboration, and for learning with and from each other. We stand for empowerment. We stand for worldwide teamwork, regardless of titles. That’s what I wanted to protect. When you think of EduMatch, I want you to think of all of those things.

Again, off my soapbox. Anyway, Legalzoom can help you set up your business and get you a trademark. It’s pretty easy…not cheap, though. We got the basic package. I got about a million solicitation emails from lawyers who offered to help me file the trademark, but ended up doing it myself.

Plan

Have a plan from the get-go, and begin with the end in mind. Put together an outline with your anticipated release date, and set milestones accordingly. This helped tremendously…winging it works in some cases, but after many unsuccessful attempts, I’ve learned that planning and organization go a long way.

 

Crowdsource

This section is for people who are looking to do an anthology-style publication. If that’s not you, you can skip this part.

Since this was our first book project, I pitched the idea to people in the EduMatch Voxer group as well as a few others, and people who had guest blogged for us. I didn’t want to put it out on Twitter, because then it could have been too much to handle. I told everyone upfront that this was uncharted territory and there was a huge chance it wouldn’t work. Everyone was ok with taking that chance.

Potential contributing authors filled out a Google form with their emails and topics. As responses came in, I sent an email with more details on the project and asked respondents to reconfirm their interest. When they agreed, I then shared with them a Google Doc template. Contributing authors then had about three months to write their chapters.

During the second month, I began to line up chapter editors using a similar process. For this, I sent out a Google form to a slightly larger audience (i.e. the EduMatch mailing list) asking potential chapter editors to fill it out, with their areas of professional interest. I attempted to match potential editors with authors, based on areas of mutual interest. Sometimes they aligned perfectly, sometimes not.

When the submission deadline was up, I shared the Google docs with commenting rights to the chapter editors, who then used the commenting and suggested edit features to provide feedback on content and style. There were more chapter editors than contributing authors, so in some cases, the authors received feedback from multiple people. Each author had feedback from at least one editor.

After the authors had made their final edits, I transferred each chapter to a master template that I had found online. It was in Word format, which complicated things a bit, which leads us to the next section.

Formatting

The book was initially going to be available as a free PDF available for download on our website, edumatch.org, with other options TBD. My goal was to eventually have paperback and Kindle versions as well, but I didn’t want to promise this and not be able to deliver. However, beginning with the end in mind, it had always been set up to be paperback-ready.

In a Voxer group of authors, we discussed how we could make this moonshot happen. I also talked to authors I knew (hi Mom), and read a book on how to publish…that went way over my head. Our trademark category was e-books, which is why it was important to set EduMatch up as a publisher.

Createspace came up multiple times, as did Lulu. Both looked good, but Createspace had lots of options. I downloaded a template that I found online, and transferred the chapters onto it. It was in Word, and that was a headache, but there wasn’t much of a choice. Word lets you have custom section headers, for one thing. This is small, yet vital.  

Lessons learned: hyperlinks when you export to a PDF in “Word for Mac” don’t always work; if you transfer between a PC and a Mac, formatting will almost definitely be lost; use only one computer, because formatting is also probably lost if you upload to Google Drive and download the file to work on another PC; “Manage Versions” of PDFs in Google Drive will become your best friend.

We will come back to that last point. Anyway, after getting all of the chapters transferred, table of contents set, etc., I shared the first draft with the collaborating authors as a Word file and PDF. They could then use track changes to get it back to me with any final revisions if they had Word. If not, they could open the file as a Google Doc and make the changes there as suggested edits so I’d see them. The PDF was necessary in that case so they could see how it would appear with the formatting in place. Google doc conversion lost formatting lol.

After this final round, I shared the web version with the authors through Google Drive. Here is where Manage Versions saved my life. Between all of the formatting losses, there were glitches here and there that I (and Grammarly…and Spell Check) lost. Whenever someone found them, I could fix it in the Word file, resave as a PDF, and upload the new version on Google Drive. Same link…I wasn’t constantly sending out emails with an updated URL.

Publishing

Createspace has a pretty simple process, and you just follow the steps. I’d highly recommend ordering a physical proof before publishing. My mom noticed that the type was different fonts and sizes in some parts of the book, as a result of all of the conversions and glitches. This was subtle but very important. We would not have seen this had it not been for the physical proof.

The cost of the book depends on several factors, including your desired royalty, distribution channels, the number of pages you have, and whether it’s black and white or color.

At first, the price was really high, which was not what we wanted as a group. Our intention was not to make a lot of money, it was to share strategies with other educators. We discussed it in our Voxer group and decided to include a black and white paperback option. Also, we found that by opting out of expanded distribution for the full-color version, we could knock about $10 off. Hence, it’s a collector’s edition.

For the Kindle version, we used KDP. Again, very easy and self-explanatory. The only drawback was that we could only list 10 contributing authors on the form and we had 20. If you have more, just go to their contact page and fill out a ticket. You are then able to send them more names.

Before submitting on Createspace and KDP, we were able to get someone to design a book cover for a great price on Fiverr. Even with all of the gig extras, it was under $50.

The person who did it only did a front cover, but I found out that I had Photoshop through Adobe Creative Cloud, so I did the back. (You only need the back if you’re doing a physical copy.) Gimp is a free alternative, but I didn’t really use it once I found out I had Photoshop. Anyway, Createspace has templates for book covers, too, that you can download.

Even if you don’t know how to use the tools, you can teach yourself with YouTube tutorials. The Colorzilla Google extension lets you find out the numeric code to any color, which may come in handy if you need to match exact hues. Also, you can download Photoshop fonts online from DaFont and install them to your computer. 

Promotion

Once you have the book set up and you’re ready to launch it, start promoting. Here are a few things that worked for us:

  • YouTube Live: We had a panel of authors for an #EduMatch Tweet & Talk, many of them part of this project. This was a good way to get some buzz going. You can do the same. Send out the video when it’s done.
  • Drop hints on social media: Create a hashtag and promote the book across platforms.
    Ally with educational events: We coincided the launch of the book with the wrap of Edcamp Voice on Voxer. All attendees received the link to the free PDF download in their closing letter.
  • Have a launch party: We did this on Zoom, the day after the launch.  Unfortunately, it kept crashing, and the video didn’t record.  So, we will do it again on January 8. If you use Zoom (or anything else), it’s a good idea have multiple backup plans running in case of technical issues.
  • Thunderclap: This is a great, free tool that you can use to crowdsource promotion. You create a message and get people to “support” your project. If you get the required number of supporters (minimum 100), it will send out the same message from all of their accounts at the same time, hence a thunderclap. It’s best if you can set this up well in advance. It takes a while to get it approved, and you need time to get supporters. We were still able to get it to tip in two days, but next time we will allow for more breathing room.
  • Press release: One of our contributing authors yesterday suggested a press release because someone asked her for one. This was a great idea. You can get it done on Fiverr, or just do it yourself. When you have it, send it out to people who may be interested. Remember your target audience…you might want to include Twitter chat moderators,  podcasters,  YouTubers, educational publications, educational organizations/edcamps/conference organizers, and maybe even school district communications offices.

This is where we stand, as of today.

What’s next?

I’m excited to see what 2017 will bring for our project. We will be talking about the book on #RuralEdChat on January 10, and have a book study coming up in March.

EduMatch plans to do a Snapshot for 2017, as well as other books that are in the works. We also have other plans brewing, with details coming soon. Part of the fun is seeing what happens next.

Comments, questions, and ideas are welcomed. As always, thanks for reading!