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Message from the President: Ryan Layton


Message from the President

Some years ago I attended a technology event where presenters shared a number of approaches to integrating technologies into classrooms. Sessions covered such topics as Google Classroom, Minecraft, circuitry and coding and one particular presenter caught my attention with a project he had brought in from home.  He had constructed a series of Christmas lights that were programmed to turn on and off in various patterns and colours. Like many others I had seen similar products in the store and while creating something from scratch seemed like a lot of work, I was intrigued by the idea. After the session I talked to the presenter and shared that I was interested in doing something similar but had no coding experience under my belt. He explained that he had been in my position years ago but that he liked to regularly challenge himself to do new things and encouraged me to do the same. 

I have thought about this technology event a number of times since then as I have delved into the world of lights and coding. I had thrown myself into a situation where I knew next to nothing but I was excited by the prospect of what I could create. Shortly after that time I became acquainted with the website https://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've heard a lot in the educational field about the mindset of an "innovator." What does this mean to us?  How often do we, as teachers, put ourselves in situations where we need to stretch, learn, grow and shift our perspective?  Are our professional growth plans documents we fill out only because they are a requirement or do we create plans by which we improve on our pedagogical passions?  Do we seek to try new things and learn from our successes and mistakes? I would encourage teachers at all levels to push themselves throughout the year to learn and grow and find that spark!

As we move into the holiday season I will leave you with this thought: an important goal in our schools is to encourage a year's growth in each one of our students, but have you asked yourself what you are doing to increase your professional practice by one year? New Year's resolutions are just around the corner...

Thank you for all you do across our province for the benefit of students in Alberta. Enjoy your break and all my best to you as we continue the year in January.

Ryan Layton

President, Educational Technology Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association

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