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Personalizing ISTE 2012 with My Friends

Barbara Bray avatarI’m on my way to ISTE in San Diego soon. I’m going to be talking about personalizing learning. I’m pulling together my presentations, events, and meetings. I’m pretty excited about seeing many of my friends from around the world. Now here’s my dilemma — I want to spend time with friends but I am planning to network. Some of my friends have contracted me to provide services. I guess I’m what you call a “networker” and “digital friend.” But the boundaries are getting fuzzier and fuzzier because of social media. This is my avatar on the right. Red hair — always smiling. I kind of look like my avatar. The real me may appear a little shorter  :)

I started looking at my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and get it that I’m all over social media. I do love it. I love the connections, learning from friends I’m following and who are in my circles, on Scoopit and Pinterest, connections on LinkedIn, those who share on my FB timeline or in my Twitter feeds. I guess one of the decisions I had to make when creating circles in Google+ is what circles to put people in. I didn’t feel right putting some people in acquaintances because I felt like they were kind of “friends.”

So now I have to think about what is a friend? Who do I call my friends? Actually, most of the same people are popping up as friends or connections across social media. Many of these friends I don’t know but look forward to meet at ISTE. I hope you introduce yourself and say “I’m your friend on …..” That is if you want a hug.

I’m a hugger and networker. See me walking down the exhibit hall and I’m talking to everyone. Meet you the first time, I’ll shake your hand, look you in the eyes, and have a great conversation. Next time, I’ll probably hug you. Can’t help it. That’s me!

So if you hug me back, then we can call each other friends? Nooooo! It’s more than that. Friends and business acquaintances are different. Can you be both? Yes!


I only started thinking about this when my social media connections got pretty big and I was scooping this and tweeting that and spending too much time on social media. Social media started taking over. I love connecting to all my friends. Now I’m getting ready for ISTE and will see so many of you — my wonderful friends. But I’m going to ISTE to share my research, my work, and learn from you.

Missing Piece

This time I’m very excited about the prospect of working with others who are researching Personalized Learning and how it can transform education. I’m looking to talk to you, learn from you, and maybe work with you. I have been collaborating with Kathleen McClaskey and set up our own site Personalize Learning. We both believe that learning starts with the learner.  We are getting connected to new “Friends” because of our work around Personalized Learning.

ISTE 2012 ConferenceI hope to see you at ISTE at our sessions. We’re hosting a Birds of a Feather session on Monday  that is mainly interactive by you the participants. You bring the questions, talk about them in small groups, and then share back. We’ll collect the information and share them with you on our website. We are also doing a presentation about Personalized Learning Toolkits  on Tuesday at 3:45 and anticipate lots of feedback and sharing. Kathleen and I have worked very hard on this presentation and hope you find it beneficial. Join us!

So I hope to see lots of my friends in San Diego. I am hooked on social media. Probably will be hugging a few of you. I just have to say thank you to so many of my friends who have been there for me for so many years. I feel very fortunate. It will be fun to see you and meet in person some of my virtual friends for the first time.

Some ways to connect:

Check out my Scoop-its:


Contact me via if you want to set up a time to meet at the conference.


Baby Boomers Retiring: Opportunities for Teaching Jobs

Something is happening now. Teachers that are baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1954) are going to be retiring. That means that teaching jobs are going to be available. Lots of teaching jobs will start opening up all over the country and world. Kansas is putting together a plan to prepare for all the teacher retirements and shortages. According to the Kansas City Star, “Administrators were concerned five years ago that there wouldn’t be enough teachers once older teachers started retiring. Then the economy tanked and many veteran teachers decided to keep working for a few more years.”

What is interesting is that teaching is now a second or third career for even retirees according to this article in the NY Times. Walt Patterson who is 65 who had been a local school board member, heard about an opening at the nearby West High School to teach science, and decided to build on his science and math background to become a teacher.

Teacher Coming back to teach after retirement

“My wife told me she wasn’t going to keep working while I went out every day to play golf,” Mr. Patteson said. After 10 years in the Navy, where he was a pilot, he returned home to help run his family’s farm in Tracy, Calif. But two decades later, in 1999, when the farm was sold, he was only 53 and he wanted to do something community minded.

All over the Internet there is talk about baby boomers leaving in droves and leaving a teacher shortage. This means there could be an expanding economy. If teachers retire, they leave with a pension and have time to enjoy themselves and spend some of their money on themselves. Money that goes back into the economy.

Michigan is probably one of the hardest hit states because of the collapse of the auto industry. Rick Heglund writes in his article ‘There’s hope for unemployed workers: Baby boomers will retire’: “Michigan’s unemployment rate stands at 14.1 percent as 684,000 people say they can’t find work.”

The Orlando Sentinel article “Teaching: A Hot Career as Boomers Retire” starts off with how many teaching jobs have been lost and why would anyone want to be a teacher. “within the next decade as waves of aging baby boomers retire, leaving districts with lots of openings to fill.”

This means that if you are interested in being a teacher, this is the time to jump in. Especially if you have a math or science background, you will be in demand in a few years. Take some classes. Learn about how technology will play a big part in a classroom and online environment. Things are changing. Jobs are coming. And if you’re retiring and want to work, look at teaching and sharing your vast knowledge you have attained.


Going to CUE

I’m looking forward to going to the CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference in Palm Springs  (March 16-19) – not just because of the weather. But because of the people — connecting in person with people you know virtually. This is my time to recharge, learn, unlearn, and take some risks. I’m presenting four sessions, so you probably have figured out what I’m doing right now. finding lots of resources and goodies to share.

CUE Conference 2011Come and Get It – Free Stuff to Use Right Away
Thursday 9:30-10:30 in the Oasis 4 of the Convention Center

Digital Storytelling and Web 2.0 Workshop
Thursday 11:30-2:30pm  – registration required
Plaza B Hilton Hotel – Windows Lab

Mobile Technology – Learning on the Go
Friday 11:30 – 11:50
Oasis 1 – Convention Center

Quick Ways you can bring Joy to Learning
Friday 3:30 pm to 3:50 pm
Oasis 1 – Convention Center

I’m putting together a website with lots of resources with a backchannel for participants to share resources. Let me know if you are going and share any presentations you are doing. If you are going to or presenting at a different conference, please share that also.


Holiday Amnesia

I got this email from Adam Wentz about holidays…

I am currently suffering from holiday amnesia, a clinical ailment that leads to forgetting everything I was supposed to do after a lengthy amount of time not doing anything that I knew I was supposed to do while simultaneously doing everything I could to avoid doing anything.  This of course has many symptoms not the least of which include forgetting passwords to work computers, ah ha moments where I remember something vaguely that I was planning to do before the break (and yet not exactly remembering the details), and of course there is the forgetting of peoples names… who are you people?

I laughed but it hit home. I didn’t realize that it took longer to do things over the holidays. Was it all the sugary treats? Was it that this is supposed to be a time to rest and reflect? The time with family I haven’t seen in a long time. I was going to do so many things over the holidays and hardly touched my To Do list. Someone wrote me. I couldn’t remember who they were. Then a day later, it was one of my good friends. Alzheimers? No, I got it. Adam is right. Holiday amnesia. So now it’s back to work and getting the brain moving again.


Things that are important to me

I thought about the things that are important to me after reading “15-minute writing exercise closes the gender gap in university-level physics.” The article shares “Perhaps you care about creativity, family relationships, your career, or having a sense of humour. Pick two or three of these values and write a few sentences about why they are important to you. You have fifteen minutes. It could change your life.” So here goes…


My family means the world to me. My children and granddaughter were here over Thanksgiving and the house was warmer (not only because the heat was up higher than I usually put it) but the feeling in the house was warm and special. My sisters and their families were here also. The love we have for each other is something you cannot really hold or touch. It just is there. Always. Being with people that know you and have history with you means so much. You can bring up something that happened years ago and see their smiles because they experienced it also. I do have some challenges now but it doesn’t matter when you have love and people that love you no matter what. Some love is always there even though you have to let it go. My granddaughter, Cali, has a sparkle in her eye when she sees me, her Baba. She giggles and shows me pure love. Wow! How lucky am I!


There are some people who are there for you in good times. But it’s the people that are with you during the tough times that you know are really your friends. Like I said earlier I have a few challenges right now that I am processing and working through. Everyone has something to deal with especially during these tough economic times. I hope my friends don’t think I take them for granted. I want them to know how much I appreciate them. I don’t want to list them here but you know who you are. Even though I may have loads of Twitter and Facebook friends, there are some real special people in my life who believe in me and want to see me successful.  I would do anything for them too. To have a business now in difficult times means that you have to be tough — tougher than I’m used to. I like to do things for others or I wouldn’t have created My eCoach. I tend to bend over backwards for people instead of doing what I need to do for myself. Watch out world! I’m growing and changing to be something different and stronger. But don’t worry — I’ll still be there for my good friends.


I once told my children “I love learning” and they laughed at it. My granddaughter said that to me this weekend and I just smiled. Every day is a new day. Each day I hope to learn something new. I am so curious about the world and what I can find out about it. Cali is almost three so the world is her playground. Watching how she is curious and creative brings out the child in me. I love technology but I want to learn so much more about the world as a scientist, researcher, and artist.

I am joining different groups now to stretch my mind, my world. I’m spending each day reading and researching ideas and topics that I’ve always wanted to learn about. I’m teaching a course on “Learning in Real Time” for UCSC this Spring and putting on webinars that stretch my mind. Just did a webinar with Roxanne Clement on Joy in Learning Matters for the Global Education Conference (see all the archived recordings here). I tried to go to as Make Mine a Million Competitionmany webinars as I could during that conference and going back to check the archives there and other virtual conferences. So cool! I’m running a book study for Sig ILT on Web 2.0: How to for educators just because I want to.

I am a Micro Awardee from the Make Me a Million $ Competition for Count Me In for women business owners. I am learning about being more successful at what I do and how to do that. I plan to share what I learn with you. It’s all about attitude. I get it. When you get that feeling that you can do anything you want to do, it’s so rewarding.


So back to the article about gender gap… I didn’t believe enough in me especially being a woman who grew up in the 60s and 70s. The last few months have opened my eyes that if I don’t believe in me, then why would anyone else? I do now. I do get it.  I’m learning.


Web 2.0 Smackdown

The Internet has so much to offer and now there are thousands of new Web 2.0 tools and apps that it is difficult for users to sift through them all to find what they need. I am lucky to be on the ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) SigILT (Special Interest Group Innovative Learning Technologies) who presented a Web 2.0 Smackdown. I co-presented with Elizabeth Hubbell with the support of an amazing board running the backchannel: Katie Christo and Adam Wendt.

Elizabeth and I practiced our Webinar using Adobe Connect that had a limit of 100 spaces. We noticed on Twitter all the interest seemed like that would not be enough spaces so we moved to GoToMeeting. Elizabeth and I were both on Macs and found we couldn’t archive and I had no access to change screen sharing. I worked blind while Elizabeth walked through my presentation. So Peggy George who was in our audience did a screen capture and uploaded the video. How is that for thinking on your feet!

“Web 2.0 Tools We Can’t Live Without” from Peggy George on Vimeo.