Presidents Message

Some years ago at a technology event, presenters shared a number of approaches for integrating technologies into classrooms. Sessions covered such topics as Google Classroom, Minecraft, circuitry and coding, and one presenter caught my attention with a project he brought from home. He constructed a series of Christmas lights that were programmed to turn on and off in various patterns and colours. Like many other people, I had seen similar products in the store, and although creating something from scratch seemed like a lot of work, the idea intrigued me. After the session, I talked to the presenter and expressed interest in doing something similar, but I had no coding experience under my belt. He explained that he had been in my position years ago, but that he liked challenging himself to do new things and encouraged me to do the same. I thought about this technology event several times since then as I delved into the world of lights and coding. I threw myself into a situation I knew next to nothing about, but I was excited by the prospect of what I could create. Shortly after, I became acquainted with the website www.adafruit.com/ where I have gone on to create a number of little projects involving circuits and programming. Because I knew very little at the beginning, I found myself posting on forums, asking questions and making mistakes, but learning from them. Lately we have heard a lot in the education field about the mindset of an innovator. What does this mean? How often do we teachers put ourselves in situations in which we need to stretch, learn, grow and shift our perspective? Do we fill out our professional growth plans only because they are a requirement, or do we create plans to improve on our pedagogical passions? Do we seek to try new things and learn from our successes and mistakes? I encourage teachers at all levels to push yourselves throughout the year to learn, grow and find that spark! I leave you with this thought: an important goal in schools is to encourage a year’s growth in each student, but what are you doing to increase your professional practice by one year? Thank you for all you do for the benefit of students across Alberta. All my best to you as we continue the school year in January.
 

 
Ryan Layton