It has been a very steep, intense learning curve for me to get to this point. I have been told that snowboarding has a much steeper learning curve than skiing, so I like to think of all the detours and struggles I have encountered in the last four months much like the time a novice snowboarder spends sitting on the slopes.
I have learned so much in such a short amount of time that I sometimes feel like a first-year teacher again. Maybe with a bit more control over my life, but like then I am awestruck by those who seem to know so much more than I do.
What have I learned?
· Podcasting—Wow, it takes FAR longer than I ever expected to produce good educational videos. From planning to recording (and re-recording) to editing and rendering and then compiling a list of all the links in a cloud-shared document, this process required many days, and some nights.
· Marketing--the most time-consuming, frustrating, but ultimately rewarding part of the project. I have a healthy respect for anyone starting a new business. The effort paid off and I cheered with each and every ding from the Gmail app as a student registered for a summer 'boot camp' class.
· Tweeting--Oh, the world of educational twitter!! The #satchat and #tlap chats with tweets flying past faster than one could read. (It took me weeks of lurking before I knew what #tlap stood for--you teaching pirates out there know who you are!!) This was the most amazing (and fun) professional development tool ever.
So now, having worked all summer to build a website, a blog, a forum with a set of interactive games, a video textbook for organic chemistry prep and a PLN on twitter, I am ready to take the step out of my bricks-and-mortar classroom into my cloud-based one. I just read a post by Jake Clapp of Global Online Academy, and I will quote: “Teaching and learning in the online environment demands creative approaches to instruction, assessment, community building, and formative feedback.” So maybe there is a reason why I have felt like a first-year teacher again.So into the virtual classroom I go, hoping it’s a steep curve up, but a great ride down.