Hello All

My name is Todd and I am really excited to see how things go in this space for teachers.

Our Girls & A Summer Day at the Beach

My job is to be a great husband and excellent father. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and two smart and kind daughters. We like to read, hike, garden, play Halo, sing Anime, watch movies, dance, dance, and more dance.

I taught high school English for ten years before finding myself as an instructional designer at a small community college in the vast high desert of Arizona. I live right where I want to be. It is beautiful.

My role at the college is varied. I work with teachers in a variety of venues and share things with them that are used in F2F, hybrid, and online courses. My background in education lends itself more to field trips, experiential learning strategies, crafts, and sitting under trees writing poems. But, I like how computers can add some value to things and I do not ignore that.

I participated in an open online course earlier this year. I was an amazing experience. I developed relationships in this online space that were inspiring and pushed me in my understanding of the internet and how it might be used in “academic” settings.

I am excited by the opportunity to learn in this space over the next year and I look forward to some challenges!

 

Hello and a WordPress Workshop for Yavapai College

Today I am leading our first ever WordPress workshop at Yavapai College. It is pretty exciting for me as I have long been encouraging instructors to use tools like Blogger, WordPress, wiki environments, and Ning type spaces for course content, course interaction, or as places to create professional portfolios. We have several folks doing just that and there are some examples of our instructors sites and others, inclusing a couple from Lisa Lane, on the site I am going to use as a resource or gathering point. Not real sure yet.

I am interested to see if I can keep the group going beyond one meeting. We will see.

I am also very excited about this course and learning from all the people who participate. Here is some information about me and what I am lucky enough to get to do. If you want to see what I think is important you can see that here in images.

I look forward to meeting all of you.

Todd

Professional Development and the Value of Informal Learning

Last Week I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple hours with two of my heroes. Two of my role models in the field I work in. I was able to have an unscripted conversation with Alan Levine and Jim Groom. It was informal. Sometimes we learn a lot in that environment.

You can listen to some of the conversation here

http://faculty.yc.edu/tconaway/strawberry.mp3

As a teacher I know the value of encouragement. I know the value of allowing students to share their aspirations and dreams and that I need to value those as well. In school we give extra credit to the student who goes beyond the expectations and accepting and valuing the learning they do outside of the classroom. In informal settings.

We have no place, no ability to compensate, no structure surrounding that part of professional development. Had I spoken with Alan and Jim at a table in a college classroom might that have been accepted as professional development? In a bar? Does the location of the conversation matter?

As it stands the conversations I had with my role models is logged as “vacation” time on my time card. How inspiring is that the next time I find the chance to sit and talk with leaders in the industry? Sorry if I am whining…

Jim Groom told me professional development is a state of mind. Well, I am all good with that. I hope that the educational environment can help make that part of the culture of the schooling and leadership they are responsible for.