My main aim for continuing my education and pursuing my master's degree was to find the best ways to nurture creativity. Dave's presentation on Rhizomatic Learning at first confused me. While my heart is in innovation and creativity, my head is clearly stuck in the traditional model of education. This idea of branching out and the learning going in so many different directions excites and scares me. In this class I have a hard time struggling with direction as I am used to the teacher telling me specifically what to and then doing it. This idea of picking anything for our major project has been a struggle as where do I start? Dave's concept of Rhizomatic learning is like the roots of a tree this would be how we model education. We can't control where it will lead, but we can influence where it will go.
Speaking of plant metaphors, one that has always stayed with me was a man whom I met at an Apple Computers Education conference about 8 years ago. He was the technology specialist in his district and worked at the board office. He said that we have to stop thinking of a computer as a $1000 pencil and look for ways to make it meaningful. He thought of himself as a gardener. A gardener plants seeds, tends the garden, monitors, nurtures and watches the garden eventually grow. He viewed his job as that as while he was not in a classroom, by helping teachers incorporate new technology this allowed for many students to grow. Classroom teachers generally get continual validation as they work directly with the kids daily and see the progress. For someone in a role at a board office they don't have the same immediate feedback as they might not see the "fruit of the vine" once it blossoms. I know many of the people in this class have a similar role as their current assignment is working outside of a singignitele classroom. I see so many great examples of this daily. I am lucky to work with great teachers who inspire kids (some with really limited ability on technology) and I get to network with awesome teachers in my education classes who are leading the way with student engagement.
My professional development goals this year are to improve student engagement and nurture positive identity with students. I see so many students tuning out of school as they feel it does not relate to their lives (or perhaps they feel the school does not care about them). With tools such as blogs and social media I see great opportunities to give a voice to students. In having a voice, they will realize that they matter, there are others out there going through the same issues and finding ways to be expressive and creative. That all sounds good, but where I struggle is to how to make that happen. What motivates me is I see the potential of open education and communication and I do feel these goals I mentioned can happen. We can give students the tools (access and literacy in technology), but we need to ignite a fire in kids for them to want to learn to express themselves and communicate with others.