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Wednesday / September 20

Opportunities for Connected Educators

As the month of October is Connected Educators Month, I am extremely thankful that I have become a connected educator.  Being connected has enabled me to learn, share and grow with a global network of passionate educators. This school year I was asked to create a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) lab.  At the International Society for Technology conference (ISTE 2015)  I decided to learn as much as I could about STEM/STEAM.   I accomplished this by attending some sessions but more valuable for me was having conversations with members of my Personal Learning Network (PLN). Their experiences with teaching STEM classes really opened my ideas to all the possible projects I could do with the students in my classes.

When I got to ISTE tweeted that I was looking forward to learning about STEM/STEAM. As a result I had a few people who said let’s chat.  Those conversations that I had with several people including, Amanda Dykes (@amandacdykes), Katrina Keene (@teachintechgal), Nathan Stevens (@nathan_stevens), Meredith Martin (@geekyteach ) and Kevin Jarrett (@kjarrett) got me thinking and plans started forming.  Over the summer I worked on ideas that can be done in my STEAM/Lab. I was faced with having a very tight schedule and basically no money.   Thanks to being a connected educator I was able to shoot ideas back and forth and design an a area that would fit the needs of my students..

Since I did not have any funds I had to find ways to get money for the STEAM Lab. My good friend Meghan EveretteKrakower Post (@bamameghan)  suggested that we should apply for a grant through the ASCD Emerging Leader program which both of us had been a part of. Fortunately we won the grant.  My next step was to talk with my administrators before school started about how the schedule would work.  We came up with a cycle schedule so every class will go through the STEAM lab three times during the school year.  I then had to figure out the exact projects I would be doing in the time I had.  Once again I reached out to my PLN for ideas and had many conversations with others who have done this before.  We currently have two projects planned for this Fall. After running the first cycle the students were excited about learning about engineers in our community.

Thanks to being a connected educator I was able to bring this amazing learning experience to my students.  With the help of my PLN the creation of a STEAM/STEM lab was made feasible to meet the needs of my school building.

We are now looking for funding for more STEAM projects. Please consider donating to our project through Donors Choose: http://goo.gl/y4aWRV or http://goo.gl/V1NQiY.

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Billy Krakower is a full-time teacher at Woodland Park Public Schools in Woodland Park, New Jersey, where he has taught computers and special education to grades 3 and 4 for over eight years. He is the Chief Financial & Event Officer for Evolving Educators, LLC (evolvingeducators.com). Billy co-moderates two weekly Twitter chats, #NJed chat and #satchat (for educational leaders). He co-hosts “SatChat Radio,” a weekly show interviewing educators on BAM Radio Network and available on iTunes. Billy is one of the lead organizers of edcampNJ and edcampLeadership North NJ. He is on the teacher advisory board for ReadWorks. Billy is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader, and a member of the NJASCD Executive board and serves as the Technology Committee Chair. He also served as co-director of NJ-ASCD Northern Region (Fall 2013 – June 2015). He has presented at more than 20 local and national technology conferences on topics including Twitters & You, The Science Behind a Mystery Location Call, and Connecting Beyond the Classroom.

Billy has an Advance Certificate in Educational Leadership and a dual Masters Degree in Special Education & Elementary Education from Long Island University. Billy is a Google Certified Educator and an Edmodo Certified Trainer. You can read more about Billy, his awards, and his presentations at www.billykrakower.com. He is passionate about helping every child and adult enjoy and learn using technology tools in easy, fun and empowering ways.

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