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Happy New Year — New Goals…

Looking back at 2013

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Lunar New Year is upon us, which means I’m rapidly running out of time on ALL world calendars to assess last year and stake a claim on this one! This is a ‘goal post’ 😉  What are YOUR goals?

Just like this time last year, when I birthed this blog/website, January 2014 finds me utterly in love with online professional development.  Last year the task was just to get the website up and my ‘tomtesol’ handle out there a bit, so that I could meet a few folks around the world and take my professional development further than I’d managed through my own prior reflection, Journal/resource reading, collegial chat, internet reading, etc. But what did I actually accomplish last year?

Achievements 2013

1. Acquired the skills to get this blog going, which led to a tremendous expansion of my opportunities for professional and personal growth. I’d been blogging and writing for years, but always privately, which I finally admitted to myself was hugely inefficient and often little more than navel-gazing, a type of reflection that I truthfully despise and did not want to model for my learners.

2. Presented at the 6th Virtual Roundtable Conference on our experience here integrating Google+ communities as real world classroom extensions. I enjoyed the experience but in the end was a bit embarrassed by how little I actually shared. That said, there was time for everyone to play around with and explore a bit, which I figured was more important than talking about it, and I met some neat people and old friends/colleagues in the process.

3. Engaged with Social Networking — I’m all in, for better or worse. All my news comes from Flipboard, we threw out the satellite dish and plugged a computer into the TV, Hootsuite runs on two devices all the time, through which my two twitter handles and facebook IDs, Linked in, Evernote, Blogger, and others stream continuously… and where I occasionally, but usually daily, spend some time fishing. I’m probably more fascinated by the process than I am by most of the content, but again, it’s been a staggering evolution of my global community of practice.

4. Published an article in an international conference proceedings.

5. Attended a bunch of Massive Open Online Courses, abandoning most of them but eventually learning to pick out good ones.  In particular, my favorite MOOC of 2013 was Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence on Coursera. I learned a great deal from both the lectures and the readings, in particular how to understand what I’m doing as a leader in any particular moment on a continuum from ‘Leading for compliance’ and ‘leading with compassion’, or as others would say, between ‘managing’ and ‘leading’.  Generally, I used MOOCs to guide my reading, which was a change from prior years, in which I would usually browse the relevant academic journals a few times a year in a more hit-or-miss exercise.

6. I worked with my Administrative Director to iron out a couple of new educational products.

7. I taught a Young Learner course for the first time.

8. Perhaps most importantly pedagogically, I committed to entirely learner-centered content and technology choices in my General English teaching. By this I mean as much as possible, students do writing or speaking tasks in which the topic is of their own choosing and interest — not driven by a textbook or what I think is interesting.  Furthermore, the tools they use to produce language in class are the same as the ones they use outside of class. That means that in addition to mouths and hands holding pens, smartphones and other digital devices are the norm.

9. I designed 4 seminars on CBI/CLIL at the request of national teacher training institutes in Korea.

Goals For 2014

1. Massively ramp up efficiency and interactivity of Google+ communities following the model provided by the wonderful #eperfectEvo MOOC I’m currently taking. I’m not quite embarrassed by how much more they are doing with their G+ community than my staff and I got around to so far.

2.Identify useful online creation tools that students can use to ramp up their L2 acquisition. So much of the edtech stuff is crap, so to speak — but there must be stuff out there that’s right for me and for students. For (an) example (of crap), I spent the morning on the following ‘book’ from this company which offered free use for educators and their students and a bunch of cool sharing opportunities… But after it was published they revealed they’d stuck 3 pages of ads in my little 4-page creation that I could pay to get rid of …  Oh well — I enjoyed trying out the free software, and I hope you look at it, too (a couple of fun pics and facts about me), but my students won’t be doing this. (hint: turn the page by clicking in the top-right corner)

3. Build an online course of some sort through one of the popular providers (to learn how to do it).

4. Participate actively and consistently in the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. This post and my first creative task (see #2 immediately above) fulfill the 1st goal: “Prepare for the Journey” 

5. Complete at least 3 MOOCs more seriously than I did in 2013 (I did a ton of reading, but not much interacting, which isn’t too unusual, but I’ll get more out of them if I either participate with the participants or take the MOOC lessons to my colleagues where we can explore the ideas in our workplace). Two of the MOOCs out of 3 have already begun — and I’m optimistic about both the “ePerfect ETextbook EVO mentioned above and in my last two posts, AND the Graduate-level-rich Corpus Linguistics MOOC from Lanacaster which, while still in its 1st week, has already offered up more in practical applicability than any other linguistics MOOC I’ve taken.

6. Use my own code in my websites or apps = Learn to code: Sailed through this week until I hit a wall that I can’t get any support on. Did the task correctly per the instructions, but the program disapproves, won’t help me, and won’t let me skip it. So I’m jumping to Codeacademy, which colleagues recommend anyway.

Happy New Year — New Goals…

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I'm in this for the dialogue :-)

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