Monday, December 12, 2016

Strategies for Building an Ed Tech Resume



I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve my teaching and keep things exciting. If I'm not feeling motivated and enthusiastic, how can I expect my students to be?

It turns out that a lot of the things that one might do to keep growing as an educator are also awesome for building your ed tech resume overall - and you never know where that may lead! I'd love to eventually leave the classroom and start helping other teachers (in a more formal capacity) to utilize innovative teaching strategies and new technology in their own curriculum, so I'm trying to get lots of experience in a variety of areas in order to help facilitate that dream.

Here are some things that you can do now, as a teacher in any subject area, to start building your ed tech resume. You don't need to necessarily intend on leaving your current gig; these steps will help any educator at any level/subject area become more effective at their job!

Grad School: 

You don't need to go back to school for a full degree; explore your state's requirements for additional endorsements on your current teaching license. You may be surprised to find out that it only takes a class or two to become endorsed in a brand new area! This is what happened to me when I switched from visual arts to computer literacy. I was actually able to snag endorsements in computer applications and technology specialist at the same time! Depending on your district's policies, you may be able to complete these classes via an online program (my program was through University of Illinois), and even get reimbursed for classes.


Google Certified:

Does your district use Chromebooks? Does your school have G Suite for Education? For either of these situations, I highly recommend the Google Certified Educator programs. There are two levels, so if you're feeling a little timid, you can start at level one and see how you feel before moving on. The Google Certified Educator programs are a great way to learn in-depth about the possibilities and functions of G Suite - you'll likely learn lots of fun new tricks that you can begin integrating immediately into your teaching! There is a small charge associated with each level test, but I think it's a good way to make sure that the people completing the program are really serious about it. When you pass level one or two, you get a nifty digital badge to display on your website, resume, or portfolio for the next 24 months!

Apple Teacher:

Similar to Google Certification is the Apple Teacher program. Although my district isn't a "Mac/Apple" district, we still have some iPads deployed within the schools. I have a set of 8 in my own classroom for use with our Spheros, Dot and Dash, etc... So I feel like this would be a good way to get in some more professional development that expands my areas of expertise. My husband's district is 1:1 iPad, so he's been working on his Apple Teacher badges. I decided to go along for the ride! You can earn badges in the area of iPad or Mac (I'm currently working on iPad), and if you earn all eight badges in either area, you get the privilege of being known as an Apple Teacher, which also has a sweet logo to display, and the opportunity to earn even more badges in other Apple areas.

Teacher Institute/In-service Programs:

Unless you are in a coaching/TOSA type of position in your district, you may not have a whole lot of opportunities to teach other teachers. Keep an eye out for potential small events in your district, or building, and volunteer if you can! Last year, my district hosted a "Tech Camp"-style in-service day, and I taught two different sessions to other teachers in my district. Sometimes you can submit a proposal to teach a class within your district for other teachers, or present to one particular subject area or department on an institute day. If you are lucky enough to have these types of opportunities, be sure to take advantage of them! They're a great way to start small in preparation for larger presentations, like at professional conferences (see below!).

Conference Presentations:

It's one thing to attend a professional conference. It's a whole other ballgame to actually present at one! If you have a job where you don't have a lot of opportunity to be a leader (say you're a classroom teacher looking to move into a coaching position), but you have something to share, try presenting at conferences! If you're nervous, start small. I started out by presenting at my state professional conference (the IAEA - all art teachers!) on a topic that I was really comfortable with. The following year, I decided to present on social media, which, although being a presentation for art teachers, was still within the realm of technology and easily adaptable to many different subject areas. Up next on my presenter schedule are a Google Summit in January, and the ICE Conference in the spring!

Grants:

Grants are awesome for the simple fact that you can get free stuff to help you out professionally - maybe it's supplies for your classes, a rad guest speaker, or tuition for continuing education classes. But winning a grant is also a great item to add to your professional resume, because it shows that you are innovative (hey, you won!), but also willing to go above and beyond in your job, because writing a grant is quite a bit of work on top of your normal job responsibilities. My district has an education foundation that holds fundraisers year-round, and then grants money to teachers who apply for various projects. I've been fortunate to win grants from this program several times! If you've never applied for a grant before, a really simple program to win small tech toys and/or accessories is the iPevo Wishpool program. In past years, I've been granted iPad keyboards, cases, and charging accessories.

As is my philosophy with most educational concepts, dream big, but start small. You'll be amazed how much you can accomplish within a small time frame if you just focus on little steps along the way.

These tips will help you to build your educational technology resume, both for teachers looking to move into technology roles, and for those working on a future-ready approach to teaching. Do you have any special strategies for building your technology skills?

- Mrs. L.
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