New Years–a time for rest, rejuvenation and repair. A time to assess. Do we settle into our life, enjoy where it’s headed, or is it time to grab our purse, our iPhone and keys and get out of there?
As most of you know, I am a K-8 technology teacher, but I have a serious interest in writing. It started with non-fiction technical writing and morphed to novels. I write techno-thrillers, scientific fiction–plots that are based in the cerebral and encourage readers to join my love of intelligent topics. Therefore, my resolutions are far-ranging and varied, so I group them. Here’s how I did last year:
Attend ISTE this summer. I missed it last summer, but it’s already approved by my principal for this summer. Anyone else going?Went and loved it. Here’s my summary Start a technology club at my school. I’ve tried to do this in the past, but I’ll try harder this yearJust not going to happen. I think it would work in Middle School, but most of my classes are K-5. Or am I making excuses? Participate more in the online communities that encourage technology integration in education. I write a weekly column for Technology Integration in Education and one for Examiner.com on tech tips for Everyman. Maybe there’re more.I need to find new ezines and blogs for tech ed. I am active on several social networks for tech teachers and write a column for an international ezine. I’d like to do more. Participate more actively in Computer Science Teachers Association. To that end, they have asked me to serve as a reviewer for their Computer Science & Information Technology Symposium. I’ve already made the commitment.I have done nothing with CSTA since that initial review. I have to ask myself: Why not?
Finish my current techno-thriller, Seek and Destroy (although I haven’t settled on a title). I’m in the editing phase. I got a lot done over my two week Christmas break, but not enough. I have another break in February and March, but that won’t be enough, so I’m looking at summer. Unfortunately, I have a writer’s conference in February and Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in January. I’m not ready. I don’t know what to do.The novel is finished, out to agents. Both the writer’s conference and ABNA helped me solidify the edits. I’ve moved on to my next novel–a paleo-historic novel of early man.
- Market Seek and Destroy (new title: Twenty-Four Days). I have a few people interested. I know (aka, hope) one of them will grab it. Did not happen last summer. More on that here.
- I have two historic fiction books, part of a series, that deal with paleo times. I’m thinking of jumping into the ebook market with them. I can upload to Smashwords, get them on Apple, Kindle, other ereaders. If nothing else, I’ll learn about ebook publishing, which I can then share with you. This too did not happen, though I’m hopeful it will this year.
Finish an ebook I started called How Not to Hate Your Computer. I have most of the content collected, but must format and edit. It doesn’t take the concentration of fiction writing, so I think it’s reasonable to complete this book by end of summer.I didn’t publish this title, but did put two others out there–my first foray into ebook-only publishing. So far, I cover costs.
- Figure out a better marketing plan for my core books on teaching technology to grades K-8. Still working this.
Continue publishing 3-4 posts a week on my blogs, Ask a Tech Teacher, Ask a Tech Teacher Homeschool Edition. These are my passion, so they’re fun to write.Done and I’ll continue this year Continue with my columns for Technology in Education and Examiner (I write a thrice-weekly column as their examiner for technology and another on USNA). These are a different sort of writing and have become valuable to my overall expertise.I’ve switched ezines, but the idea’s the same. I am looking for more opportunities to interact with tech teachers in this manner.
- Decide what to do with Sizzle in Science. I started this blog out of my love for science, but when I run out of time (which is often), this one suffers. I should make a decision on its future rather than let it languish. That’s my bias for action. I hate inactivity. Still pondering
Find guest bloggers for my blogs. I’ve reached out a bit, but not enough. My readers would benefit from other opinions.This has worked well. I’ve enjoyed my guest bloggers and gotten some great ideas from their diverse experience. I will continue this. Be a guest blogger for others. On that note–anyone interested?I have received many invitations, which thrills me. I will continue this in 2012.
With all this in mind, here are my plans for 2012:
- Seek out other tech ed teachers to see what is being done to incorporate technology into the classroom. Tech ed is a chameleon, constantly in flux, changing to suit educational environs. It’s a challenge to stay on top of it and one that requires attention every week of every year.
- Keep pushing my students and colleagues to integrate technology into core subjects and add the exciting Web 2.0 tools to their curriculum. Yes–it’s difficult because it’s not the way they’ve done it before, and yes–it’s worth it.
- Persuade several of my teacher colleagues to go to ISTE 2012 with me.
- Add ebooks on keyboarding and Web 2.0 tools to my collection. These are the most oft-discussed articles on my blog, and the ones I get more requests than any other for fresh ideas and lesson plans. Time to provide that help.
- Expand the availability of my curriculum books.
- Reach out to organizations that will provide discounted or free copies of my curriculum to needy schools. I tried to do this through Teachers Without Borders with no luck. I decided they weren’t set up for what I had to offer. There must be someone…
- Get involved with edtech outreach via radio appearances (similar to mine with BAM! Radio), guest spots, focused tech ed articles, to join the conversation about the importance of technology in improving the education of students. Is 1:1 the best approach? Should the cloud transform education? How best do we move technology training from the lab to the classroom? Issues like these may be decided by next year. I’d like to participate.
- Continue publishing 3-4 posts a week on my blogs, Ask a Tech Teacher and Ask a Tech Teacher Homeschool Edition. These are my passion, so they’re fun to write. Readership grows every year so I know I’m reaching the right people.
- Write more ‘pillar posts’. These are fundamental articles about blogging, usually on the long side but as pithy as the primest beef you’d ever eat
- Continue with my columns for Innovate My School and Examiner. Find more opportunities to interact with tech teacher groups in this manner.
- Continue reaching out to qualified tech ed teachers to write guest blogs for me. The few I found in 2011 were well received and added a dimension to my blog I couldn’t have accomplished on my own.
I continue to receive many invitations to write product reviews, book reviews. I’d like to leverage this into helping needy school districts with materials they can’t afford on their own. Do a better job publicizing this part of my blog.
That’s enough. What are yours? I’d like to learn from you.
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist forExaminer.com, Editorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s seeking representation for a techno-thriller Any suggestions? Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.