Curiosity Voyage...

Today was another First Day of School. 

Not for me, but for friends across California. #BackToSchool this year was sort of like that movie Groundhog Day. It seems like there have been 1st Day posts on all my social feeds for weeks now and I’m loving it! It’s still summer for some parts of the US, but I’m already thinking about my Curiosity Voyage.

Wondering what I mean? Let me try to explain.

I’m going on a Curiosity Voyage because of the Netflix show Stranger Things. Seriously.

Well, I’m only sort of serious. I’m just calling it a Curiosity Voyage because of Stranger Things. That’s the truth.

Season 2, Chapter 3 - The Pollywog

Season 2, Chapter 3 - The Pollywog

In this episode, Gaten Matarazzo‘s character Dustin visits the Library to check out some books. He tells the Librarian that he’s going on Curiosity Voyage and needs all the books on the counter. From the moment I first heard that line, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a Curiosity Voyage.

Which brings us back to today. Another first day of school.  

I feel so connected to all of the teachers around the world who are sharing their #BackToSchool posts all over social. My own posts are coming up as Facebook “On This Day” Memories and in my Timehop. As I look at their pictures and reflect on my own, I keep finding myself wondering what this school year will be like. I also wonder about all of the possibilities for learning that are waiting for me. Parallel this with the anticipation that students and teachers feel on the first day of school and you have the perfect conditions for a Curiosity Voyage.

What will this year be like?  

What will I learn? 

How will I learn it all?  

We all know that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. My Curiosity Voyage began with a cannonball in Lake Minnetonka. 

There's nothing quite like a T-Rex and Unicorn cannonball with @AdamShortShorts!

There's nothing quite like a T-Rex and Unicorn cannonball with @AdamShortShorts!

But what does this all mean? For me, it means I’m pushing forward in my new role and I’m opening my mind to all the possibilities that lay before me. I’m watching. I’m listening. I’m trying new things... but most importantly, I’m learning. That’s what my Curiosity Voyage is all about. Learning. New opportunities. Exploring. Sharing. Contributing. 

In the days, weeks, months and years ahead I know I am going to learn so much. I'm lucky that sharing my learning and encouraging others to learn is part of my job description. I want to learn together. I want to share the journey and collaborate. I want to be a layer of support for those who are unsure where their path will lead. My experience has brought me here and my curiosity will lead me beyond. Let's learn together. Let's push buttons and try all the things. I promise, even if you we don't have all the answers right now, we'll push on and find them together.

The Magic of Beginnings

Beginnings. They can be sort of funny.  

Sometimes you find yourself in a new place, unsure which step to take first, but confident that where you are standing is exactly where you need to be.

Recently, I turned a page. I started something new. In the midst of this transition, I came across this quote by Meister Eckhart, “And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

Beginnings. Moving forward. Taking that first step. Trusting in the magic... of what already is and what is yet to be.

Today was another magical beginning. Though I’ve spent the past 4 years as a Teacher on Special Assignment doing tons of PD sessions, today’s PD just felt different.  I was keenly aware of the fact that this was my first trip in my new role and I was super excited to work with an amazing group of elementary teachers in Northern California. The beauty of a staff development day like today... I got to encourage teachers to push buttons and try new things. Play PD. Hands on. Exploring. Learning. Sharing. It was an incredible day. 

As I worked with the teachers today, I was inspired by their willingness to step outside their comfort zones and think outside the box. Taking risks comes easy for some. It’s not easy for everyone. But taking risks, in some way, is like a magical beginning.  Perhaps it’s because you know it’s time. Time to start something new and trust in the magic of beginnings.

What’s coming next is my Curiousity Voyage. I am extremely passionate about exploring, sharing, and contributing. I have the great privilege of helping others as they explore possibilities with EdTech and learn how to leverage tools to transform teaching and learning. But right now, I’m taking a risk. I’m trying something new. I’m stepping out of my own comfort zone and trusting in my new beginning. I’m going on a Curiosity Voyage and I’m inviting you to come with me. 

I know it’s going to be an epic adventure. 




I tried something new at ISTE this year. I created a daily microblog in order to share my reflections on the learning and activities that I experienced in San Antonio. Though I have this platform, I often pay little attention to  Creating a microblog is a quick and easy way for me to share my thoughts, share edtech tips, tricks, and best practices...and it's much quicker for me to do - because it's a MICROblog!

That being said... here's what I shared on Twitter over the past few days. Enjoy!



I'm going to try and microblog more often. Seriously. I'm really going to try.


Today I was tagged in a blog post by my friend @creativeedtech. He is preparing a session on the power of a PLN and Twitter's role in education and decided to crowdsource some information by asking folks to create a simile about Twitter. So, of course I had to create one. This is what I came up with.

my #TwitterIsLike response

my #TwitterIsLike response

I've been on Twitter since March 16, 2012. I joined Twitter while I was sitting in @engagingEDU's session at the CUE Conference that year. She said teachers need Twitter, so I joined.  To be honest, I didn't really get it. I lurked for a long time.  The following year, at #CUE13, I went to a session on Twitter for Teachers and participated in my first Twitter chat. I've never told them, but it was a session facilitated by @MsVictoriaOlson, @LS_Karl and @Jstevens009 and they were the ones who finally explained Twitter in a way that I could understand.  

my first Tweet

my first Tweet

9,483 Tweets later...I still love Twitter. It is where I go for professional development. It is how I became connected with my #TOSAchat community. It is where I can access information and go to learn about #edtech trends and tools that are relevant to my job as an Innovation TOSA.  Twitter is globally crowdsourced learning...available at my fingertips! 

I'm excited to see the other #TwitterIsLike responses show up in my Twitter feed.  This tool is different for everyone. That is why I compared it to a TV Guide.  Twitter is like a TV Guide...there are tons of options available and you can use it as a tool to locate what you want to learn more about.

What are you wanting to learn about? Feel free to reach out to me if you need help getting started with Twitter. You won't regret it.

#CUErockstar reflections

In August 2014, I was at the very first CUE Rockstar TOSA camp when I heard the words, "We intend to ruin PD for you." Those words changed me. After a weekend of professional learning, I knew PD would never be the same for me, both as a participant and a the professional learning leader. 

Fast forward to February 2015...I was asked to be faculty at a CUE Rockstar TOSA Black Label event. That means that CUE was involved in providing professional development for a private PD event that two school districts were teaming up for.  It was my first experience as faculty for a CUE event and I loved connecting with other TOSAs who work to support their districts in a similar way as I do. 

Fast forward again... to January 2016. Last month I had the opportunity to be faculty at another #CUERockstar event being held for TOSAs. We met up during the last weekend of January at the @RemindHQ in San Francisco, CA.  About 100 TOSAs, Academic Coaches, and Digital Learning Coaches met for a weekend of PD...and it was amazing.  Being surrounded by a large group of folks who share the same interests, passions, and can relate to the same job demands and mindsets was inspiring.  From the moment the event began, to the last moments of the weekend, this CUE Rockstar event was like no other I had attended.  I decided that I needed to blog about this event. I write this micro-blog on Pic Collage the night I got home. I wanted to share it here, in my attempts to share more blog posts, and I realized this could be one way to actually get more blogs in...make them small, bite-size blogs, and just get it done.

microblog created with the  @PicCollage  app.

microblog created with the @PicCollage app.

2016 Reflections

2016...The Year of the PLN

I decided that was a fitting name for 2016. So much has happened these past 365 days. So much has been shared. 4,793 tweets sent. 325 Instagram posts. Thousands of emails sent. Thousands of photos taken. 

2 blog posts written.  TWO.

That is going to change in 2017. I hope it changes in 2017.

I've spent the past week reflecting on this past year and found myself sketchnoting the events that took place each month.  As I began to fill in the calendar, I saw some repeating patterns.  CUE Rockstar. TOSAchat. Greenscreen by DoInk. BreakoutEDU. Sketchnotes. And of course FSD.

Wow! I am so fortunate to have had so many amazing experiences this past year. I connected with so many people, developed new friendships, grew in so many ways and was able to share what I'm most passionate about with others, both near and far. The connections I made, the places I went, the people I spent time with...everything I did helped shape my 2016 and made me better for it.

So here is my look back. My pictures.



December 2016

December was filled with work, adventure, and rest. I finished my course classes for my Preliminary Administrative Services Credential. After 16 months of work, I reached the end. Well, almost the end. I just have to finish my Fieldwork Project and a few odds and ends. Then I will be done. I have no plans to become a Principal, but we'll see where this new piece of paper takes me!

I saw a new part of the world and the most epic sunrise over Bali and the most epic sunset over Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. I want to see the world. I want to make memories all over the planet. I got to do just that and I loved every minute of it. Well, every minute minus the parts that were a result of my friend's run in with some fire coral. Taking a donkey cart to our hotel because there are no cars allowed on Gili T. CHECK. Walking through a sacred forest surrounded by monkeys. CHECK. Watching the full moon rise over the Bali Sea. CHECK. 

November 2016

November was filled with lots of fun and learning. #edcampNOC came and went. So did a cowbell. #PlayPD was launched. TikiTOSA happened. I got a Disneyland Annual Pass, thanks to Lindsey Blass. I used it a lot too! I spent my third Thanksgiving in Chicago, my home away from home. I was reminded that a work-life balance is important too. But, of course, I still did all the things. 

October 2016

October was incredibly full. It was also incredibly rewarding too. This month seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. It seemed to last forever too. In the midst of it all, a last minute trip to Portland seemed like the right thing to do. It was. Fall colors. Crisp air. Time with a dear friend and her sweet family. It was the perfect getaway. FallCUE was the perfect ending to this busy month. Presenting four sessions in two days felt like a whirlwind. It also felt exhilarating. SnapchatEDU with Sabba Quidwai. Ozobots with the FSD TOSA team. Epic Learning with my Superintendent. And a CUE Rockstar Greenscreen Playground with Jody Green. It was a blast! We got in a second, official #TOSAchat TikiTOSA, which is always blast...until it ended with a hit and run on my new car. Oh well. That's what insurance is for. Throw in some sessions on sketchnoting for #TADL and a NRCAL Conference too. Busy. Busy. Busy.

September 2016

September is always fun. We're a month into school already and we kick of the month with FSD's Strengthening Your Core Conference. Hands down, this is one of the BEST professional development opportunities around. Nearly 700 teachers get to choose what their PD day will look like. Choice matters. Voice matters. The PD is meaningful and teacher driven. I had a blast presenting with my boss. I had a blast seeing new sparks ignited our teachers. 

The Apple Teacher certification launched in September. Immediately, there was a buzz on Twitter. I think I earned my certification for Mac and iPad within the first 48 hours of the program's launch! SO excited that Apple launched this.  

August 2016

This month was so special for me. I gave my first Keynote at the Norwalk - La Mirada Blended Learning Summit.  What an honor to get to share some insight and encouragement with local teachers who are just starting a 1:1 initiative. 

Back to School time is always such a rush of excitement. The start of school this year meant the start of my third year as a TOSA in FSD. I absolutely love my job and getting to support teachers and students with the innovative and instructional use of technology in the classroom.  This August year, I began to really showcase technology in FSD via Snapchat. I also connected with an amazing group of people and it's grown into my SnapchatEDU PLN. Connections via social media have allowed me to interact with all kinds of amazing folks, both near and far, and we've been able to explore, share, and contribute to the bigger EDU movements that are happening in classrooms around the world.  Who knew that Snapchat would provide so many great new connections and so much incredible learning?!

July 2016

July brought me 18,159 miles of adventures! I love July...for so many reasons. This is usually the only time I get for "summer" vacation, so I use every minute that I can for travel and adventure.  This year, I finally made it to Alaska.  That had been on the list for a while. The beauty of this state did not disappoint. The mountains. The trees. The glaciers. The fresh air.  The stillness of each morning as the fog cleared as our cruise ship drifted by.... I loved it all.

The idea of "Diamond Time" was born after a conversation with a taxi driver in Vancouver. He asked how we liked our time in Alaska. When I responded that I loved everything about it, he just smiled and said, "Ahhh...diamond time!" YES! That is what it was. Diamond time. That little phrase sparked so many thoughts for me, it would eventually become the topic for the Keynote I was going to give in August.  How do we spend our time living? How do we spend our time in the classroom?  I loved being a classroom teacher. I had many, many moments in the classroom with my baby birds that I would consider  to be "Diamond Time." I wondered, though, how many students - in classrooms today - got to experience Diamond Time.

June 2016

June was insane. I spent 14 days, back to back, doing professional development in FSD. It was amazing and exhausting. Seriously. I love the team of innovators that I work with. I love my job. We get to support nearly 700 teachers in the Fullerton School District and during June we trained new and returning iPersonalize teachers. We had 5 days with new iP teachers and 5 days with veteran iP teachers. And we had a BLAST!  iPersonalize is our quest based, experiential, gamified curriculum in FSD. Since we teach with a gamified curriculum you know we do our PD with gamified content too! Teachers earned badges, leveled up and celebrated success like it was going out of style! Really. We laughed. We cried. We danced. And we grew as educators in the process.  If you are really interested in knowing what we do in our PD, you can check out my #SnapchatEDU Stories from the iPersonalize PD on my YouTube page.

I can't let this opportunity pass without sharing how thankful I am for the team of visionaries that I work with. I work with the best team in the world. Honestly. From the top down, I couldn't ask for better colleagues and friends. I would not have survived the insane PD workload of June 2016 without my amazing boss, Pablo Diaz (@teachusingtech).  He keeps us going. He allows us to do our thing. He leads and guides us with passion and integrity.  It was an incredible PD experience for me as a presenter, because I got to share it with incredible folks like Pablo, Jason, Susan (@suechu22) and Mathew (@mabarn).  Watch the iPersonalize Work Week'll see I really do work with the best folks around.

Besides PD, June was a time for my own professional growth. I went to #CUERockstar VISTA, played my first BreakoutEDU Digital game, went to #ISTE16 and of course went on a late night Pretzel Ride. One of the most epic days of all of 2016 happened at ISTE. I got to meet and sketchnote with Sylvia Duckworth and I had a major fangirl moment when she complimented me on my sketchnotes. I also met Ben Forta, who is like one of THE reasons that one of my favorite apps,  Adobe Spark Video, even exists. I also got to film a web series with THE Chris Haskell for his Cool Teacher Show and I met THE Karen Miller, co-creator of the Greenscreen by DoInk app. It was like the universe aligned and all of the best parts of my edtech world came to life, real life, in human form!

May 2016

School’s out for summer! And what a year it was! I can’t believe that I finished my second year out of the classroom. Time is FLYING by. This month was sort of incredible...for many reasons. The first one, my dear little Maddie graduated from Tarleton State University. Maddie is like my sister. I’ve known her since she was 6 months old and tt was a great honor to get to be in Texas that weekend to see her walk across the stage and collect her diploma! Go, Maddie, go! Dream BIG!  Another big event in May was #FSDRobotNation. You might have seen tweets that Fullerton School District is building a Robot Nation. We really are. My awesome colleague, Jason (@Askmrchong) had the idea of developing an inter-district robotics competition with FSD schools and beyond. Who would have ever imagined that this first year this program would have grown so wildly and been so successful?!? Check out some of these pictures that were shared on Twitter from @FSDRobotNation!  

April 2016

This month allowed me some time to work on my Google Certifications. I earned both the Google Level 1 and Level 2 Certifications this month...yay! I got to attend a CUE Rockstar camp in Orcutt, CA in April. It was the first ever STEAMPUNK Rockstar camp and it was awesome! We explored Maker Spaces, Robotics, 360° Math, and made real life connections with more folks from my #TOSAchat community.  Speaking of #TOSAchat… I got to moderate a chat this month with my friend Cynthia (@teachingtechnix) and we chose a topic related to FRIENDS. It is always amazing to connect with my PLN during these Twitter chats…and so fun to see that this one was trending on Twitter because of the awesome participation of friends across CA and the US who joined in to chat.

March 2016

Skull turned 40. We all celebrated in Chicago.  The Dews came up from Texas. It was so fun to have our families together to celebrate. The fact that we were there for River Dyeing Day was a bonus...and it sure is something else! Chicago goes CRAZY on River Dyeing Day. Seriously.

Two other big events happened in March. The first one was SXSW EDU. I had never been. I am so used to CA EdTech events, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. I was not disappointed. I feel like the sessions and discussions that I went to at SXSW EDU were bigger and tended to have a more global perspective. I loved that I got to connect with so many ADE friends and attend their sessions. Hearing from folks like Sabba Quidwai (askMsQ), Michael Hernandez (@cinehead) and Kristin Zeimke (@KristinZiemke) opened my mind to bigger possibilities, topics like social justice, and gave me ideas for new things I wanted to integrate back at home. It was also at SXSW EDU that I got to connect with some of my other favorite ADEs, Jake Lee (@teachingjake) and Liz Castillo (@liz_castillo) and hear about the amazing work they are doing at Punahou School in Hawaii. I am always so inspired by my ADE friends.  The other big event this month was the National CUE Conference in Palm Spings. #CUE16 did not disappoint. I was only able to stick around for the first 2 days due to my Admin Credential Program...but the time I had there was BEYOND amazing! My session was focused on using Greenscreens of course...and I was overwhelmed by how many folks showed up! They were even spilling out the door… I had planned on doing a Playground style session, but that didn’t happen. What did happen was a perfect detour to the original plan. I think it might have been one of my favorite presenting experiences ever. Folks were into the topic. The energy in the room was positive...and I think that folks walked away with many new ideas, tips and tricks and I predict that a greenscreen movement is going to spread across the land.

February 2016

My job as a TOSA is a unique role in education. I get to teach and coach my peers the same time as I get to be in classrooms teaching students who to use technology.  This month, I was asked by CUE to be a Lead Learner at a CUE Rockstar Black Label event for TOSAs only. It was so cool to connect with other local educators who are in the same role that I am. I am thankful for those connections and the opportunity to connect with others in the #CUERockstar community because they share the same kind of crazy, passionate, innovative mindset and they are the ones who are Lone Nuts who have found their tribe.  Another local event happened at the beginning of February. It’s one of my favorite events to present at every year. My first experience with the OC CUE Tech Fest was when my students were selected to present at the 2012 Student Technology Showcase. I’ve been presenting at OC CUE ever since. This year I did a Greenscreen Playground and a Robot Playground. It is always great to help educators learn new tools to use in their classrooms. It’s even more fun when we get to play and learn at the same time.

January 2016

The beginning of what will be an incredible year...I just know it. I was asked to do a Coffee Break for the SGV CUE affiliate and that means I get to do another Greenscreen Playground.  I love helping others learn new tools and I’m always up for some fun. It’s like the best of both worlds...combine some PD with some play based learning. Throw in some fun teachers who show up to learn on a Saturday and it’s like a learning party!  I’m writing this on the last day of January 2017. It was yesterday that this event showed up in my TimeHop. 2016 flew by. I know 2017 will pass by in a flash too.

2016 brought so many rich and incredible experiences my way. I am so thankful for the incredible people from all my colleagues, my friends, and of course my family. I know that the next 11 months will be incredible. So, here’s to yesterday and all that is coming tomorrow.



Spring Break

Spring Break for me was like a wonderful, slow stroll. I went from my usual 100 MPH all the way down to 0. It was awesome. 

For a long time I've been talking about doing a roadtrip up the coast with a friend.  Last week it finally happened.  Heather had to be in Santa Barbara for a baby shower and I decided to tag along. From there we hit the road and headed north up Highyway 1. 

The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden was a perfect place for me to hangout while Heather was at the baby shower.  Blue skies. Golden poppies. Fresh air.  I just sat there. I took a lot of photos too. 

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens

Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens

There's something magical about the central coast of California. The jagged, rocky coastline. The gently rolling hills. The smog-free air.  Our timing was perfect.  Every placed we stopped seemed like a sleepy, little beach town.  Folks kept telling us, "Last week it was packed! Everyone was here for Spring Break!" Let me tell you, I feel like I won Spring Break. No agenda. No crowds. Nothing to do but relax and create our own adventures. 


Easter Sunday we were up before the sun and drove to Morro Rock for the sunrise service.   If you ever have the chance, Easter Sunday at Morro Rock is worth the drive.  After, we eased into the morning with a slow stroll at low tide. If you know me, you know low tide at just about any beach is equivalent to my happy place.  What made this slow stroll so perfect was the abundance of sand dollars. I must have pocketed about 50. No joke.  The fog kept rolling in and out. It was spectacular. It was a memorable Easter morning, to say the least.

sand dollars for days... Morro Rock

sand dollars for days... Morro Rock

Later that day, on a whim, we pulled off Highway 1 and climbed a random hill.  This was the view from the top. In the distance, looking south, you could see all the way back to Morro Rock.  But looking north, the rugged shoreline stretched on as far as we could see.  When folks dream of the Golden State, this is what they must imagine. In a picture, to me, this is California. 


north of Cayucos, CA

north of Cayucos, CA

The northernmost point we went was to San Simeon, to Hearst Castle. Wow! Rich history. Beautiful architecture. We were both surprised at the amount of antiquities through the house and on the property.  If you're going to visit Hearst Castle, I recommend that you do a double tour. We did the Grand Rooms tour, but I would have loved to see more.  It was all stunning. 


Hearst Castle, San Simeon

Hearst Castle, San Simeon

As we began the journey south, I couldn't help but notice the beauty of the landscape that surrounded us. Southern California has many beautiful places. But along the Central Coast, there's something about the open spaces, the blue skies, the absence of concrete and buildings and busyness that seems magical. That is what I appreciated the most. No schedule to keep. No break lights and traffic signals blinking at me. Just the open road and the sun shining down. And the abundance beautiful views.

Harmony, CA

Harmony, CA


Our last stop was in Solvang, CA. I had never been to Solvang before.  It is such a quaint, lovely little town.   We slow strolled and window shopped. We ate some ableskievers. We took some windmill pictures.  We took a walk around Mission Santa Inés.  Solvang was a great ending to an enjoyable road trip. 


the view from mission Santa Inés

the view from mission Santa Inés

Spring Break was wonderful. Heather and I created our own adventures, shared a ton of laughs, and I was reminded that "unplugging"  a bit is important, at least every once in a while.  It was during this time that I was able to clearly see what was surrounding me.  What I saw did not disappoint. It made me ready for the next adventure. 

Here's to the road ahead.

Enjoy our funny little road trip video! 


Happy New Year!  

Hello 2016!  It's a brand new year and the beginning of a new year of adventures.  I am already excited for 365 days that are yet to come...I'm ready to see what this new year has for me!

January 1 was an amazing day.  I had the privilege of being the guest moderator on the #TOSAchat today on Twitter.  Today was Day 11 of the "12 Days of #TOSAchat" and you can see the question I put out to my #TOSAchat PLN in the image below.

Those of you who know me well know that I LOVE to sleep in whenever I can.  Despite being New Years Day, I set my alarm to be up and ready for the start of our slow chat today on Twitter. Knowing that the chat would focus on personal and professional goals, I spent some time reflecting yesterday and selecting what goals I would set for myself in the coming year.  I have learned, by experience, that when I put my goals on paper I am way more likely to see them come to fruition.  It is no surprise that I made a visual representation of these goals and had it ready to post on Instagram at 8 o'clock on January 1, 2016.  

My goals, personal and professional, for 2016:

As soon as I got my own post done for Day 11 of #TOSAchat, I began to clean and purge and eliminate clutter that had accumulated over the past few months.  Don't ask me why I started this at 8:00 a.m. on New Years Day. felt SO GOOD to clear off my desk, clean up bookshelves, and eliminate the stuff that has piled up.  What was even better was the fact that all day long, between cleaning and dusting, was the sound of notifications on Twitter (and my new Apple Watch) that someone had posted in the slow chat.  All day long I had the privilege of talking with folks all over the United States, folks already in my PLN and new friends from today, about the goals they were setting for 2016.  It felt like friends near and far were sharing their hopes and dreams for 2016 with me all was an honor to share so many moments and comment back with encouragement, affirmation, and my best wishes for the goals they were making.  

One of the coolest things about today was that I got to connect with so many new people...both near and far!  Another highlight was that we shared #TOSAchat with #FlyHighFri today and many people were posting about #oneword2016 that would be their theme for the new year.  I had never heard of this hashtag, so naturally I had to check it out!  Jackpot!  What a positive place and a new aspect I can bring into PLN.  Of course, I had to pick my one word.

FORWARD.  That is the word I chose for 2016.  Forward, to me, means movement and growth in the personal and professional goals I created.  Since I have set many goals for the next 365 days, forward movement will be how I measure my progress.  I have been known to joke and say, "Even if I fall flat on my face, at least I know I'm moving forward."  It's movement.  It's growth.  It's progress.  Some of the goals will require baby steps.  Some are already set in motion.  Forward.  In 2016, I want to always move forward.

As I wrap up today and think about today's slow chat, I can only smile as I think about the amazing PLN that I connected with in 2015. The #TOSAchat group has been a place of inspiration and encouragement.  A place to share anything and everything, from eduWINS to eduFAILS with some eduOMGs thrown in too, this place is where I feel at home.  I came across a quote today that I feel sums up how I feel about #TOSAchat and my PLN.  

Positive energies are contagious.  TOSAchat energy is contagious.  2016 will prove it.  I know it is going to be a great year.  Here's to the road ahead...and Happy New Year!

#TOSAchat & Connected Educators Month

Every Monday night I spend time with my friends.  Most of them I have never met before.  Some of them I work with.  It doesn't matter that I have never seen some of them...I don't know if I ever will.  They are my friends.  They are my colleagues.  They are my Professional Learning Network.  My PLN.  My #TOSAchat buddies.  They are passionate about the same things I am passionate about.  I can't imagine spending Monday nights any other way.

I've been on Twitter for over 2 years now but it wasn't until this year that I decided to participate in a Twitter chat.  I don't remember how I heard about #TOSAchat, but I was able to join in on that very first night...and the rest is history! 

Tonight's #TOSAchat was all about being a Connected Educator.  When 8 o'clock rolled around, we were all ready to go!  It started off with a bang!

Q1: What is your 140 character definition of a connected educator?

A1: a connected educator leverages social media & shares via multiple platforms, someone who realizes the globe is their classroom #tosachat

This is the definition I've come to in regards to what it means (for me) to be a Connected Educator.  Using social media...check! Check out,, and if you're interested in connecting via social media.  Sharing via multiple platforms...check! This blog is my newest way of contributing to the bigger picture.  I just need more time to work on it and add content from the past 12+ years of my career.  Realizing the globe is my classroom...CHECK!  Did you catch the name of this website?  Tech. Travel. Teach.  That's me.  The travel part is the extension of "the globe is my classroom" mentality.  

The chat continued with another great question.

Q2: As a connected educator, what’s the best way you’ve found to share thoughts, ideas, and ask questions?

A2: TWITTER! #gamechanger for sure! share via @YouTube & Goolge apps, spreading the love across #fsdtech and beyond! #tosachat

Twitter has been a game changer in my career.  I was a lurker for a long time.  I even went to a Twitter Chat session at CUE that @MsVictoriaOlson, @LS_Karl and @Jstevens009 did a few years back.  That session helped me finally understand how Twitter worked, how a chat worked and what the Q1..A1...Q2...A2...format meant!   Now, years later, I should thank them.  It changed everything for me.  Recently I found a little gem that @MsVictoriaOlson made and posted on YouTube.  This must have been a school project for her...but it is a great way for teachers and other educators to understand how to leverage Twitter and become a connected educator. 

@MsVictoriaOlson writes, "This was a video assignment for my ETEC 565M Mobile Technologies class in the UBC Masters of Educational Technology program. Though this video is intended for a course, it will undoubtedly have value for other educators as they begin to connect to the Twitter for PD world. Enjoy!"

One more question in the chat tonight really got me thinking about parts of my job and how I connect with teachers in my district.

Q3: Other than Twitter, how do you encourage collaboration? Please give examples.

A3: use TodaysMeet, Google Docs, small group PD, Quest Based & Gamified PD w team elements to encourage collaboration among Ts #tosachat

Besides using a back channel and collaborating in Google, we have started to gamify our PD with teachers.  There is a program we do in Fullerton called iPersonalize.  It is a combination of quest based learning, experiential learning, transmedia storytelling, geolocation activities, and allows students to leverage voice and choice in a personalized learning environment.  It's kind of amazing.  We've nurtured and watched iPersonalize grow from an idea our Superintendent had into a complete product that has transfomed teaching and learning in our school district.  If anyone is interested, check out the hashtag #FSDbootcamp on Instagram and see some pictures that our students shared at our last kick-off event.  You can find multiple posts about it on our iPersonalize Facebook page.  Anyways, this is something that is special and unique to FSD.  The gamification of our ELA, Math, and STEM curriculum through iPersonalize is one thing.  The fact we gamify our professional development and encourage collaboration among teachers is another thing...and it's pretty special too!  Check out some of the pictures from our June 2015 iPersonalize Work Week where about 35 teachers went through a whole week of Quest Based PD...leveled up...and made some epic wins!

There is a lot going on in these pictures.  Click through them...there are many pictures to look at!  What you primarily see is the amazing group of FSD teachers who gave up a week of their summer to come talk about quest based learning and how to transform and personalize the learning experience our students are having in classrooms across our district.  These educators are amazing.  Seriously.

I think that the #TOSAchat tonight was such a great way to kick off Connected Educators month.  #CE15 is something I can get on board with.  As a connected TOSA, I want to share what I am passionate about.  I want to support my colleagues.  I want to help others find their own connections.  The world seems a bit smaller tonight.  Thanks to Twitter.  Thanks to my PLN.  Thanks to the fact that I'm a Connected Educator.  

take 2...

I finally found the time to sit and work on this site and my internet connectivity at home keeps cutting out.  Frustrating.   I did create a few images for this site.  I posted my first #techtravelteach Instagram and I am excited to continue to build this website.  Creating (and maintaining!) a blog and a website was a personal/professional goal that I set for myself this year.  I hope to be able to use this site and contribute to global conversations surrounding things I'm passionate about.  My BIG 3.  Where I thrive.  You can always find me somehow connected to these three.  Tech. Travel. Teach.  Me in a nutshell.