Saturday, August 8, 2015

Coach's Corner: 20% Project in 30 Minutes Flat


When I went to my first +EdTechTeam Summit and looked at the schedule, I thought to myself, "Thirty minutes seems awfully long for a break; couldn't we be doing something better with that time?" Of course I no longer feel this way, but this is where I started. And thus begins the narrative of my 20% Time Project at the +EdTechTeam Summit.

So I would love to say that the first inspiration for this project came from an +EdTechTeam Summit, but alas it actually started at ISTE from some conversations with +Levi Valdois  about a leadership project he is working on called "51 Flavors." At the same time, I was realizing the value of connecting with people and picking their brains. I had a chance to engage in a few conversations with +Thomas Whitby around coaching and professional development. I took a few notes on his key points, but many of the gems I wanted to remember slipped past me. How, pray tell, could I catch these insights and cement them in memory?

Enter the Coach's Corner Youtube Series. I wanted to capture as much knowledge on becoming a District Wide Technology Trainer as much as possible. So I went to the +EdTechTeam Team Gafe Summit in Palo Alto. I sat down in the Gunn High School auditorium and listened to Ms. +Jennie Magiera's amazing keynote on taking risks and choosing not to be bothered by failure. So I thought, why not take a risk this very moment? Here at the +EdTechTeam summit, I was surrounded by people with tons of experience training teachers. This was a golden opportunity to grab them for a moment and ask for advice.

I just needed to figure how and when I was going to ask and work up the courage to do so. As I was cogitating about this, I walked into my second session, and who was sitting there -- Ms. +Jennie Magiera herself. I had time before the next session started, so I thought why not? I must have looked like an awkward teenage boy at a middle school dance as I went up to her and asked her if I could do a quick impromptu interview. I struggled through the interview as I held up my iPad and recorded the video arm extended. Boy was my arm tired after six minutes!

I went through the same process with +jeffery heil+Lisa Highfill+benjamin friesen+James Sanders+Kasey Bell+Michelle Armstrong, and +Mark Wagner.  Suddenly, thirty minutes wasn't enough time. I would pick my session, throw my bag down, and proceed to do as many interviews as possible. In between the interviews, I used those few minutes to do the best editing in the time I had. Of course after rewatching the videos, I found many errors, but the message remained the same. This became my 20% Project not because of the time I allocated to the project, but because of the spirit behind the project. Because of the thirty minute break, I was able to engage in my own learning and professional growth based on my own needs, while possibly helping some others along the way.

So what were my big take aways and key insights into EdTech coaching? The Worldle above represents a loose transcript of all the answers that the +EdTechTeam members gave me. To me it represents how I should proceed with my coaching: my first steps. Moreover, it summarizes my big take aways from the summits. Those thirty-minute intervals between sessions afforded me the opportunity to pursue my own personal and professional learning and create a historical record of the summit that can be paused, rewound, shared, and reviewed. This was the cherry on top of the sundae; perhaps the most valuable piece of my GAFE Summit.

At a this point, I should stop because I must thank each of the interviewees who took the time to humor me in my project. Thank you, +Jennie Magiera+jeffery heil+Lisa Highfill+benjamin friesen+James Sanders+Kasey Bell+Michelle Armstrong, and +Mark Wagner (this interview is missing one component and has not yet been released); you have provided me with inspiration, confidence, direction, and agency in my immediate future educational endeavors. 

By the way, if you are interested in the Coach's Corner Series, its simply a click away. I hope it is as helpful to you as it was to me. You can even check out the two bonus videos by my own daughter, former principal, and my wife, whose video is forthcoming.

Shameless plug aside, I need to end this post by expressing my gratitude to the +EdTechTeam for scheduling the thirty minutes between sessions, which ultimately allowed me to create my own 20% Time Project.