I used to love to blog; I'd have sudden bursts of ideas that produced fairly thoughtful posts, particularly about education and technology. During the past two years, though, I've felt like I've had a major case of writer's block and that most of what I did produce was fairly superficial. It's not for a lack of experiences during my previous position as I traveled quite a bit, worked with a variety of students and teachers, and became reacquainted with the world of urban education. I guess I felt stymied in just about every way professionally and it manifested itself in my inability to articulate myself.
Hopefully, that will all change now. Two weeks ago, I began a new position at the University of Chicago at the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education. This group is responsible for the development of the well regarded Everyday Math curriculum published by McGraw Hill. My new colleagues also have developed a science curriculum, conduct research related to math and science education, and provide professional development to schools.
My new role will entail helping CEMSE to think about how technology can be incorporated into their existing endeavors. I also will be consulting on a couple of budding research projects that are in the proposal development stage and serving as a tech coach to schools through an Illinois Board of Higher Education grant in Area 14 of Chicago Public Schools. Area 14 is basically the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Also, CEMSE will be working closely with the Everyday Math publisher to develop technology-related materials, and I'll be a part of that team as well. We are also piloting a science curriculum infused with technology in Arlington Heights School District 25, one of my favorite school districts in Illinois.
It really is an exciting move for me because I'll learn a bit about how the publishing industry works and about how large scale research projects are produced. I'll also continue to work with teachers, and will learn more about math and science education in general. The downside is that I will definitely work much less directly with students; I am going to miss the enthusiasm of the kids at my previous school. At any rate, my move generally is a really great opportunity and will make me a more well-rounded educator. I'm profoundly grateful to have a job given the nature of our economy!
Outside of CEMSE, I am not sure how much outside work I'll be able to take on, although I do hope to incorporate some consulting into my workflow at some point. Right now, I need to learn the ropes of my new workplace and if the first two weeks are any indication, I have a lot to learn!
This summer looks to be busy with this new job and with a few other events that are fast approaching. At NECC at the end of June, I'll be presenting on podcasting with Larry Anderson, Julene Reed and others. Then, in July, I'm off to iSummit, a conference for 1 to 1 laptop schools, in Memphis and then directly on to Winter Park, Florida, where I'll be participating in the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute at Full Sail University. I'm particularly excited about visiting Full Sail, as I'm seriously considering getting a second master's degree through their online program.
So.. I guess I am one of them now... one of the people I've occasionally accused of being out of touch with classroom teachers as they no longer work directly in a school. I'm in a new and different world now, still very much thinking about best practices in education, but not directly impacting kids. Will this lessen or add to my credibility as an educator? Only time will tell, but I'm banking on my new experiences to help me gain further perspective! Stay tuned for more updates... I plan on getting back in the swing of writing here more often.