Saturday, February 13, 2016

Career Day at Madison Public School

Friday, February 12, 2016 was a career exploration day at Madison Public School, and I was lucky to be invited to participate. Every student in grades 9-12 rotated through eight different sessions with professionals sharing about their chosen career path.  The day was designed by Karla Kush, Guidance Counselor and Jim Crill, HS Principal, and Madison has done variations of the experience several times in the past. What a great opportunity for students to link purpose for what they are doing in school and discover many different options for professional ambitions! 

Guest speakers at Madison Public School's Career Day, February 12, 2016
In each of the 8 rotations, students were tasked with completing a "Career Report" which not only helped guide the discussions, but also helped students make connections to their personal goals.

I shared about my role as a Instructional Technology Facilitator and the convergence of the fields of education and technology. 

I began by sharing a brief story of my journey to getting to my current professional role. 

Next, I talked about some of my experiences through the SMART Exemplary Educator, Google Certified Teacher, and Apple Distinguished Educator programs, and what leading technology companies today are looking for in future employees.  Instead of seeking "clicking skills," software expertise, or even GPA, it is more important to have innovative ideas and the ability to prove yourself as a self-directed learner. 

I encouraged students to open their minds to additional opportunities that exist within the fields of educational technology.  When I think about all the "jobs" that I have had even as "just a teacher" it is really mind-boggling.  In education you can not only be a teacher, but a writer, presenter/speaker, leader/administrator, coach, counselor, media specialist, tutor, curriculum developer, and teach online classes. In the field of technology I have had experiences with web design, coding, network & systems administration, social media, animation, graphic design, and multimedia creation, just to name a few. The possibilities are truly endless, if students are willing to approach the career with an open mindset and be willing to continually keep learning. 

And to do so, there is no time better than the present. I concluded by sharing three valuable tools/tips for pursuing any profession or career, even while they are still in high school.

1) Get motivated by TED Talks and see others' inspiring ideas take shape into action. Follow their lead or apply to your own passions. 

2) Learn anything, anytime, anywhere with iTunes U.  Don't limit yourself to the classes you take or what your teachers know. 

3) Be intentional about building a positive digital footprint-- starting right now.  Make yourself "google-able" and build a personal brand for yourself that showcases your talents, skills, and interests.  Start a blog or build an page.  

We had great discussions with high school students about the exciting times we live in and the opportunities for all to follow their dreams.  Thank you, Madison Public Schools, for the chance to share my excitement for the field of educational technology with your bright youth!

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