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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Six Things to Bring to Your First EdCamp

With only days to go until EdCamp New Jersey I thought I'd share some tips I’ve picked up since my first  EdCamp (EdCamp Philly 2013). Here are six things you should bring to your first EdCamp (and really, almost any conference). Be sure to read to the end, number 6 is a MUST!

BRING...

  1. a friend (colleague, mentor, roommate, grade level buddy)  -  Going to your first EdCamp can be a bit intimidating. This unconference is unlike traditional PD  -  sessions are created the day of the event based on the interests, desires and needs of the attendees. A friend, either one who has attended an EdCamp before, or a first - time attendee like yourself, can help you navigate this new uncharted territory. You will have an ally to share thoughts, ideas, and your experiences. Also, be sure to check out EdCamp 101. This pre - session takes place during breakfast and will arm you with information about the EdCamp philosophy, the rule of mobility, and leave no trace, etc.

  1. an open mind and a desire to learn.  Two of my favorite things about EdCamp, the fact that the sessions are created the day of using the power and skills of the audience and the rule of mobility are what make EdCamps some of the best professional development available.

If you arrive early enough the morning of EdCamp, you will see a completely empty session - board. And little by little, slowly at first, the empty slots for sessions fill up with Post - it notes containing session titles and names of facilitators. Topic ideas are limitless and range from discussions on Next Gen Science Standards, to Google tools and tips, to sketchnoting basics, and podcasts in the classroom. Be ready to learn from and with the talented people who are willing to give up their Saturday in order to attend EdCamp!

Why is the rule of mobility (also known as “the rule of two feet”) so fantastic? Say you walk into a session and the title was misleading or the content doesn't hit the level of skill you desire and need - simply gather your things, stand up and walk out. With the digital session board you will be able to find a different session that is better suited for you.

  1. an idea. Come with an idea of something you want to learn more about or you want to discuss; EdCamp is not about presentations and slide decks - it's about learning and growing together. Sessions are often created spur-of-the-moment - out of curiosity, need, or a conversation sparked over the customary breakfast of bagels and coffee. Don't see a session regarding a topic you want to explore and you're too shy to facilitate? Get over it! Just kidding (sort of). Seriously, let the person running the session board now what you are interested in and she or he may create a wishlist. Someone else might lead the session for you (until you're ready to do it at your next EdCamp!).

  1. snacks and a beverage. I never go anywhere without food! Grab your favorite portable snacks and your favorite drink and tuck them into your bag. While most EdCamps serve breakfast and lunch, not all meals are created equally and I like to be prepared, so that I don't get cranky and I'm always ready to learn. Be sure to check the EdCamp website for particulars about food.

  1. something to write on and with. Believe it or not, as a Tech coach I do most of my best creative work with a pen and paper and over the past year have truly taken to sketchnoting. There's something magical about the power of pen and paper. Bring it back-up pen - the ideas will be flowing and you don't want to run out of ink!

  1. a charged device and charger - preferably one with a keyboard. I cannot tell you how many times I've attended or hosted a session at a conference (EdCamp or otherwise) where the participants have been woefully unprepared because they did not bring a computer or other device of choice (phones and tablets are great but only if you are familiar with how to take notes on them). Why am I recommending digital tools and note-taking when I just sang the praises of sketchnotes and analog tools? Simple. Another amazing feature of any EdCamp I've attended has been the digital session board created in real time as topics are added to the physical board. Attached to each session is a collaborative Google doc for participants to use to crowdsource the new learning taking place in the session. Participants and session facilitators are invited to add resources and notes as well as participant information. This not only helps to get ALL of the information discussed in the room, but it keeps the conversation going when session and/or conference end. It's also a great way for you to “attend” more than one session at the same time, especially if participants have been taking copious notes in the shared doc. (Take those notes!) By the way, if you and your friend split up, this is a great way for you to share notes later. In fact, you get everyone's notes!

So, there you have it, my top six things for you to bring to your first EdCamp. This is in no way, shape, or form the definitive list of what to bring, but I can assure you - come EdCamp Day, I will have these six things with me!


Are you an experienced EdCamper? What would you bring? Is this your first EdCamp? What are you packing with you for the day?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What's In the Box? - The Reveal

My apologies for the delay in this post. I know I promised to have it to you on Monday, unfortunately illness had me home from school for two days and I was unable to open the boxes after the weekend as promised.
What's in the boxes?!?!?!

If your reading this after my original post, chances are you may have waited a week to discover what was in the box. I thank you for indulging me with guesses, silly or otherwise. Your responses tell me you are almost as excited as I am.

And now the wait is over (or nearly over)-it's time to discover what was in the box. But first, let's discuss some of your guesses!

If you know anything about me, you might guess it's a new pair of running shoes or some other equipment meant to get me laced up and back out on the road, in training for my next race. Perhaps spending some big bucks on running gear might get me motivated to run again...I sure know I miss it!

If you know me well maybe you guessed I dropped big bucks and loaded my amazon cart with a "library" of new books, but in truth, my TBR list of books I ALREADY own could keep any bookworm happy for the balance of 2016!
One of my TBR lists.
This one is from #Read4Fun
Or if you REALLY know me, you guessed that I splurged on a fancy "house" set Harry Potter books. Alas, the sorting hat is still not certain where I belong. Maybe once I get my letter from Hogwarts I'll stop by Flourish and Blotts for a new set (my 4th) of Harry Potter books.

Tired of guessing? Tired of having your guesses shot down? Want me to just tell you already?

Ok, here it is...after nearly a year of saying I would NEVER do it, and eight months after being approved for a grant from the West Windsor Plainsboro Education Foundation, I am the proud owner of...

My Podcasting Equipment

That's right, this tech coach is getting ready to enter the wonderful world of PODCASTING with the students and teachers at her school!

So what exactly was in the box? Two Behringer Q802USB Mixers, six Samson Q2U Handheld Dynamic Microphones, and six of those foamy things that go on the mic (just kidding, they're called windscreens)!

I'm still as excited and maybe even more nervous about my purchases than I was last week. Why? you ask. Because now that you know what's in the box, I imagine your next question will be, "Now what?"

NOW THE FUN BEGINS!!!

Stay tuned next week to find out how this adventure begins to unfold!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Oh My Goodness! What Have I Done?!?!

I've done it! I've pulled the trigger. I've pushed the button. I've opened my wallet and in less than 60 seconds I have managed to spend more money in one sitting than I have ever done in my entire life (except maybe in December).

My heart is beating wildly in my chest and my hands are shaking as I draft this post. I am experiencing the same nervous sense of excitement that is the norm before a BIG race - say a half marathon - from what others might consider a simple purchase.

I can't wait for the box(es) carrying my purchase to arrive at school! I can only begin to imagine how big the box(es) will be! It will be a restless few days of waiting.

Mystery Box 2 Clip Art

Any guess on what I purchased? On Monday we'll find out together! Until then...


Thursday, December 31, 2015

15 Most Memorable Moments of 2015

With only a few hours left in 2015, it's safe to say that there is very little more that will happen as we count down to midnight that will change how I view my 2015 school year. I find myself, like so may teachers (and regular, non-super hero folk), reflecting on all that has happened during the past 365 days. I find myself smiling as I recall the 15 moments in 2015 that are most memorable. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here they are...

15.    Book Clubs:  This year was the year of "Professional Reading" for me. It started in January with a book club hosted by Beth Houf, Jay Billy, and Marci Houseman that centered around the amazing and career changing book Teach Like a Pirate (TLAP). For several weeks teachers met as a community to discuss the book using the hashtag #bfctlap. The book club culminated in a surprise GHO with "Lead Pirate" Dave Burgess. This inspired me to suggest that my team read the book so as to better assist the teachers with whom we work. All told, I spent time in three different book clubs discussing TLAP! It was an amazing period of personal PD! This first book led to several others that my team and I would read during 2015; Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath: Underdogs Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants (Sharon's pick), Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Dan Heath and Chip Heath (Dan's pick), and  Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (Rick's pick). I'll be honest, I haven't read that one...YET!) I look forward to the list that my team has created for 2016!

14.    Blogging:  This was something that was pushed on me by too many people to remember and name, but I thank them! Shy to share my words, and inconsistent at best, blogging became something real for me after I attended TCT15 and ISTE2015. I felt I had so much new learning to process, the only way to do it justice would be to share my new information with the world. I started, but then stopped. This blog seems to be a series of start stops, but I am hopeful that, as 2015 comes to an end, I am able to START a habit that sticks! (I am also hopeful, dear reader, that you will help hold me accountable!)

13.    Trail Running:  I know, you are asking yourself, What in the world does this have to do with teaching and technology? Let me explain...running in my release, my calm, my rejuvenator. It is also when I generate some of my best ideas! My head clears and the ideas flow. This summer I explored the local trails and trail running for the first time and it made running and thinking new again!

12.    School PD Committee:  This year I am acting as co-chair of my school's PD committee. My co-chair, Kara Kleckner, and I make perfect partners. We each bring different talents to our role and in our shared space/classroom we hash out ideas and plan a minimum of 2 PD sessions per month. So far we have planned PD focusing on technology, literacy, and student engagement. PD has taken place in the morning, during faculty meetings, and during PLC time. I am lucky to have such an amazing partner!

11.    Sketchnoting:  I have always been a bit of a doodler and last year I started carrying a notebook with me everywhere I went (again) to capture my thoughts, notes and important details from various meetings. Seems like a bit of a stretch that this techie would carry a notebook, but I assure you, it is not. I remember so much more when I write rather than type. And I remember even more when I add sketches or doodles to my notes., Thus, my fascination with sketchnoting. I will leave it at that for the time being, but know that I am co-planning PD on sketchnoting in the classroom. Look for a blog post once our PD day is over in February.

10.    EdCamp, TCT, Ednado...oh my!  Living in NJ there is no loss for weekend PD. On almost any given weekend I am able to find quality PD within a 50 mile radius. Anything from EdCamp NJ, EdCamp LDR (I had to pick from North Jersey, South Jersey, and Philadelphia), EdCamp Jersey Shore, EdCamp Philly...I think I may be missing an EdCamp somewhere. Then there was the first Ednado and the inaugural Tomorrow's Classrooms Today. In the past I have attended events like these as a participant. For 2015, with a LOT of encouragement and persuasion from my PLN I took the plunge and started presenting. I have always learned a lot at these events, but acting as the presenter is a growth experience like no other!

9.    Voxer:  If you haven't experienced Voxer, you don't know what you are missing! Walkie talkie like conversations that are stored on your phone. Groups that will share valuable (and some not valuable) information that will change the way you learn. Voxer is a way to connect daily with the people with whom you would like to learn. Unlike Twitter, there are not constraints of 140 characters and you can choose to share content via text, video, photo, and audio message.

8.    Twitter and Twitter Chats:  If you are reading this I feel it is safe to assume that you are already in Twitter (and if you're not, please comment on how you found this post-seriously!), therefore I am just going to mention a few of my favorite twitter chats... #BFC530 (that chat that started it all for me), #PodcastPD (the chat I started), and #2pencilchat (the chat I wish I had started-thanks Sean Farnum!). Sorry I am light on details here. I PROMISE to write a full blog post on these chats and more in the New Year!

7.    Meeting People in Person:  Let's just say it's safe to say that with the number of conferences and unconferences I have attended in 2015 I am bound to leave someone off the list of people I have met. To save myself any embarrassment I am going to say it was lovely meeting you all and I look forward to seeing you again soon!

6.    PodcastPD the Podcast:  It started as a supplement to the #PodcastPD chat, something for participants to listen to when AJ Bianco, Chris Nesi and I took a break for holidays. Then it morphed into an occasional blab.im conversation, because Chris wanted to "try something new". Now it is a weekly conversation. Talk about peer pressure!

5.    #PodcastPD:  PodcastPD the Podcast would exist without #PodcastPD and #PodcastPD wouldn't exist without the post I wrote for my department blog and a LOT of encouragement from Jen Williams, AJ Bianco, and Chris Nesi. It started as a traditional Twitter chat-taking place Sunday evenings from 8:30-9:00 ET. We are currently blabbing, but we may make our way back to Twitter in 2016, we shall see!

4.    NJ/PA ECET2 (aka the Alphabet Conference): NJ/PA Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers is an invitation only, overnight, all expenses paid conference the likes of nothing I have ever attended. As I was walking around during one of our meals, someone said to me, "Look around, I feel like all of the NJ Edu Rock Stars are here!" And it was true! The names are too many and as in #7, I fear I would leave someone out. I was honored to be able to present to such an amazing group!

3.    ISTE 2015:  The Tech Conference to end all tech conferences took place in Philly this past year (another one of those 50 mile radius opportunities) and I was fortunate to attend as an ambassador for Glogster. While I spent many hours on the Expo floor, I was afforded the opportunity to meet so many new people, people I only knew as a handle and a tiny photo! I was also afforded the opportunity to attend numerous presentations and meetups. Let's suffice it to say that ISTE is for tech educators and educator who use teach what Disney is for this princess (I ran as Ana from Frozen during the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon). I hope to repeat both experiences in the coming years...I'll start with ISTE 2016 in Denver!

2.    My TRST Team:  TRST = Teacher Resource Specialist for Technology - a really long title that  equate with tech facilitator or tech coach. I am fortunate enough to spend my days working and collaborating with one of the best teams around. Dan Gallagher, Melissa Morris - Inoa, Jaime Cook, Kim Lowden, and Laura Agnella have helped me grow as a teacher in my district in immeasurable ways. Whether we are planning, laughing, eating or taking risks, we are constantly growing!

1.    The #EdJusticeLeague:  Some of the most creative and dedicated teachers I know, Dani Kennis, Chrissy Romano, Chris Nesi, Adam Schoenbart, and AJ Bianco have shaped my learning in a way transformative as that of my mentor, Aline Galvano. Each with their own super powers, our master mind group is in contact daily using Voxer as our bat phone. There is no doubt that they have unlocked my hidden super powers and unleashed in me someone with a burning desire to be better, to grow, to change and to help others--one tech tool at a time!

It's hard to believe that 2015 is over. So much has happened this year for me professionally. I was a sponge and I soaked up all that I could...and then I shared (just a bit). I know I am fortunate to have had the year that I had. If it had been half the year that it was, I would still consider myself lucky! For 2016 I will WORK to make it a year that is equal to, if not better than this one! I hope you have had some similar moments. Take a minute to reflect back and share ONE of those moments with me in the comments; I'd love to hear all about it.

Have a Happy New Year!

Sorry for the lack of photos...I'll update after my race tomorrow!

Monday, November 16, 2015

You're Invited!

My invitation arrived via Twitter at 9:00 am exactly 10 days ago. I was excited for the invite...it's been a while since I've been to this party and I've missed the energy and excitement that comes with attendance. And Jen Williams knows how to throw a party and host an event! The conversation, the idea sharing, the fun and the new learning promised during this party was more than enough to make my RSVP a definitive YES! So, what kind of party am I talking about? The Tribe of Bloggers, of course!



My last blog post was nearly a full four months ago. Back in July I was on fire, fresh off the excitement of ISTE and other summer professional development. I had attended a session about blogging and was ready flex my new found muscles and share my learning and ideas with the world.

Fast forward to August and the start of the school year and it seemed I had no time to commit to this new "hobby".

Another hit on the fast forward button and we arrive to ten days ago and Jen's invitation to join the #TribeofBloggers. What is it? The rules for this party are simple... One new post every two weeks. Sounds simple, right? Ten days ago I thought the same thing and here I am, just like when I was in school, pulling an all nighter to get my first post in on time. I make this promise to my new tribe-I will not be so late with my entries-I will not wait until the deadline again.


My Blog Ideas mini notebook

I have started a notebook full of ideas that is sure to keep the posts coming (at least for the first few months) and I am excited to be typing away at the keyboard, sharing my ideas. Here's to many more "miles" of posts.




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Words With John Mason - Social Studies Teacher and Podcaster

Q1 As you reflect on your last year(s) in education, what is a stand out moment for you?

At the end of the school year I had the opportunity to sit down with my, now former principal, to go over my annual review for the school year. In the course of the conversation we spoke about what was required, going over my evaluations and areas in need of improvement, but the conversation continued into other areas as well. For example, that we need people who are willing to put themselves out there and not merely wait to be offered a position. There is still a strain of thought that people need to put in ‘their time’ in order to gain things whereas with the major shifts that are happening in education today it is simply not sensible to follow this mentality. If someone has great ideas they need to put them out there and to not be afraid to go for it regardless of the status quo. We hear this frequently, as teachers, but workplace politics and the reality of it ultimately softens many of us and our resolve to do so. I’d suggest that if one has something in mind that is truly awesome that even those who would prefer that you hold back will ultimately come to your side once they see how great you ideas or actions can be.

Q2 Who or what inspires you as an educator?

Students certainly inspire me on a regular basis but perhaps not in a typical way. I find often it isn’t a student’s curiosity or drive that motivate me to improve my craft but the opposite; a lack of wonderment and intrinsic desire for growth and learning pushes me to try to find ways bring that student into the fold. Clearly, we need to teach to who is in the room and often times this means that we are dealing with students who may not be particularly interested in school, for a variety of reasons, on a given day. While there are also a plethora of awesome people in my PLN who push me towards greater things some folks that have been involved in my nascent career have been instrumental in pushing me forward. I’d be remiss not to mention Steve Santilli, @SPSantilli, who not only hired me for my first teaching job but pushed me towards becoming a Connected Educator, and to not merely be satisfied with what is but moving towards what education should be. My wife, @MsKouzoukas, continues to inspire me, whether she knows it or not, and keeps me moving forward as I want to be awesome for not just my students and myself, but also her.

Q3 How do you integrate technology into your teaching?

Technology is an integral part of my pedagogy but in two main and different ways. While ideas of App Smashing and using technology on a regular basis to make cool things and to push one’s learning is great, I try to think of teaching the structure of technology in addition to how to use it to make awesome things. For example, as my middle school went BYOD in the past year I had students communicate concepts like collective learning in a 6 second Vine clip. Great use of technology, challenging, pushes their thinking, 6 seconds is a real short clip, and introduces the students to rudimentary video editing. I also make it a point to try to teach them the fundamental pieces of technology that they will likely continue to use over time. For instance, defining a web browser, at least the concept of it. Will web browsers be exactly the same in 10 years? Many people would assume not but while their abilities and appearance have shifted they are largely the same as they were ten years ago even with the advent of tablets and smartphones. The idea that the web browser is what one uses to visit places online, and that places online have addresses like houses, help to teach students the larger concepts they need to know to navigate the tech world. Teaching 6th grade, many students weren’t aware of how to visit a website without just searching Google. Contrary to popular belief, I find many students have a rudimentary understanding of technology at best and part of my job is to teach them how to use tools but also to understand technology in general.

Q4 What resources do you use to learn about new instructional technology? Where/how do you do your tech-sploration?

Twitter, of course, is a great resource for learning about educational technology. Due to the inherently limited nature of Twitter it is often best used, in my opinion, for things like this where ideas and tools can be shared in a more straightforward manner within the 140 character limit. Podcasts are a great resource, too, and there are tons of great Edtech podcasts, I particularly like the House of EdTech. Often times it is still a search on DuckDuckGo, that allows me to go find new tools to play around with. Once I find a new tool to say that I explore it is an understatement where I almost always immediately go through every single option that I can tweak and try to figure out the overall structure of a tool to determine whether or not it will fit my needs. Of course, this isn’t a perfect system, and I still make mistakes and end up investing time in a tool that I may not ultimately use, but as a whole I can usually make a decent judgement as to whether or not a tool will fit into my workflow. Between Twitter and searching online I generally have no shortage of new tools to try, however, and do also keep up with some iOS and related blogs, such as Apple World Today, to try to stay up to date on new apps and things to play with. I am also a productivity nerd and always love to try to find out more about how to upgrade my workflow, sometimes to my detriment, and to find ways to allow technology to make my teaching life easier overall. Places like TheSweetSetup spend ample time on this as well as other folks like Brett Terpstra provide tons of resources for this.

Q5 What's next for you in the coming year?

It is somewhat odd to put this into writing but I recently accepted a new teaching position for next year. I am leaving my first teaching job, spending the last three years in 6th grade Social Studies, and moving to a local high school where I will be teaching a collection of Juniors and Freshmen. Should be an interesting leap, to say the least, as not only will there be new content to teach but new challenges to overcome as I move into a new building to work with an entirely new staff. I will truly miss many of the awesome folks I have worked with in the past three years, such as @bethsteinen, @MissMcErlane, @SPSantilli, but am looking forward to the new challenges ahead. In addition to focusing on teaching entirely new content I look forward to finding out what I will be able to do with high school students as opposed to middle school. I don’t like to say that the middle school students are limited but there is inevitably a difference within maturity level as well as ability. The biggest challenge will be how to best do this while still working on my podcast and going to graduate school. It’ll certainly be a busy year but I, currently, welcome the shift.


John is a 4th year Social Studies teacher from Southern New Jersey who is currently attending grad school for administration. As a lifelong technology enthusiast, lover of coffee, and passionate educator, John has also presented locally on technology, Social Studies, and language arts integration in the classroom. John is also a teacher as well as a practitioner of Yoga and currently lives with his lovely wife in Northfield, NJ. Recently, John launched his first podcast, titled beardED which focuses on big ideas in education, technology integration, and how to connect what you learn online with what you do each day in your school and classroom. You can currently find his podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and at his website, jmason.me



Voxer: jmason

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Words With Melissa Morris Inoa - First Year Teacher Resource Specialist for Technology

Q1 As you reflect on your last year(s) in education, what is a stand out moment for you?
Something standing out to me right now is the idea of how quickly things can and do change. This is not a single moment, nor is it news, but it is an idea that is becoming increasingly more important to me:  how much change occurs, how receptive or resistant we are to change, what we do with the change; where the change originates, and what other changes it creates.

Changes with technology, especially, are happening quite quickly these days. These rapid and disruptive changes have a huge and immediate impact to the field of education, and our society in general. (Keep in mind that the first iPad was only released in April of 2010 and the first Chromebook in June of 2011...and now it’s difficult to imagine schools -- and museums and doctors’ offices and car dealerships -- without them!) Not everyone responds to these changes in the same way, so change and growth (or the lack thereof) are ideas that I’m sure I will be reflecting and focusing on for a while.  


Q2 Who or what inspires you as an educator? Education is not an easy field. Many people who get into the field of education don’t stay for long, because teaching is extremely hard work and there are new challenges all the time. What inspires me -- and what keeps me in this increasingly demanding field -- are my students. Helping my students to view themselves as learners, set and achieve goals, become impassioned to try new things, and share their ideas and talents with others is what keeps me in this field. Now that my role includes working directly with other educators, they are inspiring me as well. Their goals are my goals, and we are working to accomplish them together.


Q3 How do you integrate technology into your teaching?
Integrating new uses for technology became a part of my teaching practice when I was a novice teacher and was looking for ways to motivate some very, very disengaged students. The actual devices and sites that we used were really secondary to the goal of increasing engagement and empowering my students as learners. Being receptive to new ideas and new ways to engage my students has always been at the core of my practice.

I try to make sure that my students understand what we are learning and why, and that they are a part of the process. We all need to understand how something is relevant to us, both as individuals and as part of a community or society, in order to really learn. I guide my students in putting ideas in their own words, setting goals for themselves and monitoring their progress, reflecting on their learning process, and taking control of their own learning. Technology is a great way to personalize and differentiate learning. When students choose to use a device or a certain app or website, they are making decisions about their learning process.


Q4 What resources do you use to learn about new instructional technology? Where/how do you do your tech-sploration?
I read a lot. (I prefer actual books, but also read magazines, ebooks, and online journals.) As my career has evolved to not only teach students, but to also assist and provide resources for colleagues, I’ve found that it is helpful to follow ideas from all fields and disciplines. I pay attention to how events are organized when I attend them and the way that information is shared with me. I watch how traffic patterns on highways change over time and which products are displayed in stores. I notice how my bank updates their mobile app and how the convenience store implements new ways to order sandwiches. As I encounter new ideas and experiences, I tend to think about how those ideas can translate to the classroom. I think of my students, their interests, their struggles, and I see if there are connections that can be made.

For me, the greatest sources of tech-sploration are usually conversations. I love talking with people about the goals or tasks they are trying to accomplish. I love brainstorming with them -- whether students, other educators, or individuals outside of the field of education -- about what they’ve already tried, what worked and what didn’t, what else there is to try. There are new technologies developed every day. There are new ways to use old technology being explored all the time. I believe that we learn from our experiences as well as the experiences of others and that by sharing ideas and resources, new ideas emerge.


Q5 What's next for you in the coming year?
Many, many new things are coming this year! For starters, I’m going to be working at the high school level for the first time. Most of my teaching career has been at the middle school level, and so it will be exciting to work with an older population of students who are more independent, already identifying areas of concentration, and thinking about their futures beyond high school. It will be especially fun for me to work again with students that I taught back when they were in 7th grade! As an instructional coach, I will be working alongside other educators from all content areas. Our work will be focused on developing, collecting, and cataloging best practices and resources for facilitating future ready classrooms.

I will also be starting a new graduate program this fall, studying the concepts of creativity and innovation. My work will include exploring how the habits and practices of creative and innovative people, in many different fields and all parts of the world, can be translated to the field of education. I’m excited!


Melissa Morris Inoa
Melissa Morris Inoa is a Teacher Resource Specialist for Technology and Instruction in New Jersey. She works alongside teachers to integrate technology into instruction in meaningful and relevant ways. She is a proponent of the growth mindset and innovative practices.  

Melissa is also a former special education and language arts teacher, teaching since 2005. She is currently studying Creativity and Innovation at Drexel University and has a BA in English from Rutgers University and a MA in Inclusive Education from Georgian Court University. She holds a Supervisor certificate as well as certificates of instruction in Elementary Education, Teacher of Students with Disabilities, and Literacy/Language Arts.

You can connect with Melissa online through her blogs: https://melissamorris.wordpress.com/ and https://todayinschool.wordpress.com and on Twitter (@mmorriswrite).