A Look Back on 2016
They say that time flies when you’re having fun; I often wonder if being a busy teacher may give fun a run for its money. Nearly any teacher you talk to will tell you how busy not only their job is but just how intensely busy life becomes with personal and family life outside off work. The hallmark of these amazing educators is the fact that regardless of these facts, their students never know it. The classroom achievements and interactions go on without fail or falter. I hope that I can accurately place myself in the ranks of these dedicated professionals and 2016 was definitely a whirlwind year full of huge life events, decisions, and milestones.
The biggest happening on the personal side of things was celebrating my one year anniversary. Married life (as I get asked about often) has been great and I truly enjoy every minute I get to spend with Christine. With purchasing our first home this year we have grown to be more handy than we ever thought we’d be from patching drywall to building a half wall in addition to installing a new window and getting a new roof! All of the learning experiences with our new home also had the added advantage of allowing us to grow our family with the addition of a second hedgehog and a cat. Willow (gray hedgie), Oakley (blonde hedgie), and Finn (troublesome cat) make a very happy and love filled home (though never incredibly quiet). I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world and hope for many more happy years and adventures.
Professionally, the last year has truly been a whirlwind of activity and big events. Through my school district I helped to lead a county wide switch to Google Sites (GSites) both for all school pages and the county page. All teachers also transitioned their class websites to GSites! We were just lucky enough to do this the year before a major GSites revamp (note heavy sarcasm). Let’s hope it’s a smooth transition to the new one as well. This highlights one of the best pieces of job security that a technology person can have, technology always changes! We are good at change and the best of us can help others be a bit more okay with change too, even embrace it. So, we shall ride the wave of GSites along with our brand new grade book this year followed by the launching of several school Twitter accounts and a district Twitter account.
Social media serves as a great place to showcase the amazing things that our happening in our schools. Just this past year I was part of many different projects integrating technology including many uses of G Suite, Tour Builder, Discovery Education, Google Earth, Video Production, and even student created Khan Academy style videos. Learning extended into summer with three different STEM camps with students creating with Lego EV3 robots, Hummingbird Robotics, Lego WeDo, and coding with Code.org. These successes should be showcased! Are you telling the great stories of your class or school in social media? Is someone else?
@McLane_Ryan & @Ericlowe21
The teaching and learning opportunities didn’t stop within the boundaries of Clarke County. I continued being an adjunct for Lord Fairfax community college not just on the education side but also on the workforce solutions side. Clarke county teachers were able to gain college credit for completing a course covering a vast amount about G Suite and other community members gave up a Saturday to know the ins and outs of their personal Google Accounts. Presenting at conferences was another privilege that continued to grow this year.
The Virginia EdTech Team Summit in Charlottesville, VA was the first opportunity to present in March. A packed house learned all about Google Classroom with positive feedback. Next were two presentations at the Brainstorm Conference offered by JMU, VSTE, and the SVTC in April. Following Brainstorm, presentations were given at the region math meeting in Prince William County, Augusta county through VSTE, Googlepalooza, the Northern VA EdTech Team Summit, and the 2016 VSTE conference. All in all, I was honored to deliver thirteen different presentations all around the state of Virginia. It is a great feeling to know that you have helped many people to reach some of their technology integration goals and to be selected by great organizations to present. Possibly the best feeling of all is being stopped after sessions and thanked in the hallway for making things so down-to-earth and being told people were changing their schedules to attend more of your sessions. Thank you to all that have attended my sessions this year and I can’t wait to see the great things you and your students create!
Social media (again), and in particular, Twitter, is a fantastic place for educators that have attended my sessions to stay connected throughout the school year. Remember I have access to classrooms from K-12 to collaborate! Far beyond that are the professional learning network possibilities of connecting with educators, trainers, and thought leaders around the world. Twitter has been more of focus for me this year and has led to a wealth of great resources that have helped me and that I have forwarded on to help countless others. One of these great connections is Justin Birckbichler. Justin is a Google Certified Innovator among many other credentials and a fantastic presenter. We were slated to present together at this year’s VSTE conference, however, Justin wasn’t able to make it for a very good reason. You can (and should) follow and spread the word on his battle against testicular cancer at the blog www.aballsysenseoftumor.com. Even though he couldn’t make it in person, Justin still was active on social media and even videoed a message that I showed to our session attendees. I proudly made sure Justin was part of the presentation and tried to bring his spirit in by sporting my lucky shark socks (also appropriate for a conference at the beach). Other presentations Justin was to be part of also went extremely well being offered through/by his connections with him touching base virtually. Social media can be an amazing tool not only to build a PLN, but to grow friendships and collaborations that allow never before possible things to take place.
The graphic below will help to summarize more of this year’s events and happenings, some being left out of this post. Some of these include being a mentor to two new teachers (one for 2 years), helping with gifted program projects, coaching tennis, and more! I can’t wait to see what excitement, connections, innovation, and creativity 2017 will bring!
Patrick B. Hausammann, M.S. Ed.
Emerging perpetual optimist, uncle, and #lifelonglearner… @GoogleforEducation Certified Trainer (#GoogleET), @Google Certified Admin, Educator Level 1 & 2 and a teacher & ed. tech. professional.