Fall 2019 Semester Reflection

When I wrote my Fall 2019 goals, I thought I’d have time to write a couple posts throughout the semester. Technically I did have plenty of time, I just chose to use it for other things (like walk Ollie, read, and get hooked on the Great British Baking Show). Plus, for the 698 class, we had to write Learning Lost posts every 2 weeks, which felt like internal blogging via Google Docs–I really liked it! Plus, a few cohort friends and I read each others’ posts and left comments. Occasionally, I posted tweet reflections using #MariEdDjourney.

Semester Goals

My major goal for this semester was to effectively manage my time, and I definitely did that! I ended up using my Passion Planner to track my due dates. I wrote assignment due dates on the bottom of each day (let’s be real, I almost never have plans in the 9 & 10pm hours!), added my own checkpoint due dates for bigger assignments, then checked off the assignments as I completed them. As a result, I was very much on top of my deadlines, almost always finishing things days before the actual due date. In fact, my week-long trip to Iceland barely impacted my workflow, and I returned still ahead of my deadlines.

Back in September, I had the opportunity to video chat with my EdD advisor, Dr. Hsu. He was incredibly encouraging and expressed his confidence in my academic abilities. Dr. Hsu’s major goal for me this semester and throughout this program was to take time to relax. So, he jokingly told me that each of my Learning Log posts needed to include a picture of Ollie and what we were up to. I took this very seriously, as a necessary reminder to enjoy life.

As a whole, I don’t think this semester was too much work. Yes, it was a lot of work, and yes I had to spend some weeknights and weekends doing homework; however, I never felt like it was too much work. Plus, I managed to finish a total of 60 books in 2019, even with all the reading I had to do for my summer and fall classes.

The Most Challenging Assignment

Our final paper for EDTECH 603 (Critical and Cultural Perspectives in Educational Technology) was tough! Our professor has incredibly high expectations, which made me work even harder. One piece of feedback he gave me on my paper rough draft was “Would there be some way to have someone experienced with academic writing proofread your paper?” At first, that really stung! I know I’m a good academic writer and two of my classmates left me extensive helpful feedback. However, this reminded me that there are always areas I can improve. Thankfully my dad is an excellent academic writer and editor, and he read through my paper multiple times. As stressful and anxiety-inducing as this paper was, I know I grew as a student. And, I earned a solid A on the paper!

I really enjoyed my courses this semester. My professors were excellent, responsive, and helpful. I received thoughtful feedback from both my professors and a couple of my peers. Overall, I am still quite happy to be on this EdD journey!


Fall 2019 Goals

Fall 2019 semester has officially started, and I’m ready! I’m quite excited for the courses I’m taking this semester. Looking through the coursework, it seems like a lot of work, but also manageable with the rest of my work commitments. Ask me in December if this is still the case…

What I’m taking:

EDTECH 603 – Global/Critical and Cultural Perspectives in Educational Technology
“Explores the implementation of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in educational contexts outside of the United States. Considers the promises and challenges of such ICT integration in both developed and developing countries. This course has recently been renamed, using the term “Critical” used in place of “Global.” However, for the time being, the course makes connections both terms, looking critically at ICTs in education in relationship to global processes of development and modernization.” (From syllabus / course catalog)

EDTECH 650 – Research in EdTech
“During this course, we will review quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research approaches in education, and focus on research studies and methodologies in Educational Technology. We will discuss preliminary elements that are necessary before designing a research proposal such as reviewing the literature, deciding on to use a theory, selecting an appropriate research methodology, and employing good writing and ethical practices.” (From syllabus)

EDTECH 698 – Seminar in Ed Tech
This is a brand new course in the EdD program and will last 4 semesters. This one unit seminar will be a way to interact with our faculty advisor, other students in our cohort and in the program, and access necessary resources.

Overall, I am super excited for this semester! I am grateful that my cohort members will be in 604 and 698 with me. Many are also in 650, with the exception of those who have already completed the Boise State EdS program.

Goals for Fall 2019:

My big goal for this semester is to make sure I am on top of my due dates. I haven’t quite figured out how I am going to track them. Google Calendar? My Passion Planner? I need a system in place quickly. I’m not much of a procrastinator; however, knowing how many other things are going on in my life, I need to be in control of my time.

By being on top of my assignments and a master of my time, I will have time to relax and do fun things. I am hoping I can make my goal of reading 52 books, with no more than half as audiobooks–it’s hard when I have so much school reading too. As of 8/31/19, I am at 39 books, including 14 audiobooks.

I’d love your advice for how you manage multiple classes and due dates. Please leave a comment with your tips!

Blog Entries (edtech 537)

Blogging Plan

As Edtech 537 comes to a close (this is the last official assignment post), I am figuring out my blogging plan going forward. Earlier this week, I posted the results of the future of this blog survey.

After taking into consideration my work and time commitments, future coursework, and my teaching blog, I have come up with a rough plan for my blogging in the future.

Frequency: I plan to post a new entry to this blog every two weeks. In the alternating weeks, I will blog at I tend to post longer blog entries, so weekly posts are much more reasonable for me.

In the survey I posted, half of the respondents said they’d like to read new posts weekly. However, I don’t think weekly posts on two blogs is doable for me. I’d love to, and I know I’d burn out much more quickly if I tried to maintain that workload.

Content: I will include a mix of reflection posts, resources for prospective students, and relevant research I find. In the future, I hope to find a few more guest bloggers to share about different aspects of their doctoral journey (Know anyone? Send them my way!).

Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my blog throughout this course. It has been fun learning from and interacting with you all!

Blog Entries (edtech 537)

Results from my blog survey

Last week, I posted a poll (respond here) asking my readers about their preferences for future blog posts. Below, I am sharing the results (as of Tuesday, August 13th).

How often would you like to read new posts?

I wanted to get an idea of how frequently readers would like to read new content. I wonder how much expectations and reality match up? For example, do you think you would have time to read one post per week, or would it get lost in the email shuffles.

Additionally, I could post weekly. And honestly, I wonder if I can sustain the quality of the posts. Nonetheless, it would be an excellent habit to get into!Forms response chart. Question title: How often would you like to read new posts?. Number of responses: 6 responses.

What topics are you most interested to learn about?

I was a bit surprised that 5/6 people wanted to read reflections on coursework. I didn’t think that the classes themselves would be as interesting as the research process. Good think I polled my readers!

Coming in for a 3-way tie for second was research and/or book reviews, information on the application process, and advice for time management. I will find ways to work these topics into my future blog posts, especially in the next few months!

Forms response chart. Question title: Which topics are you most interested to learn more about?. Number of responses: 6 responses.

Thank you again to everyone who responded! I appreciate your feedback. If you didn’t respond, please take a minute to fill out the survey. I turned on email notifications, so I will stay updated as more feedback comes in.

Blog Entries (edtech 537)

Reader poll: future direction of Mari’s EdD Journey blog

After writing this blog post earlier this week about how we share our doctoral research and journey, it really got me thinking about the future of this blog. As some of you know (especially those who comment regularly), the majority of my posts over the last 6 weeks have been assignments for Edtech 537 at Boise State.

Once fall semester starts, I know I’ll be busy with more coursework, plus working and not working (having fun!). I’m curious how I can use my blog to help others along this doctoral process journey and/or share what I am learning about. I am willing to put in the time and effort to blog if it will benefit other students.

Please use this survey to help me decide the future direction of my blog!

As always, I appreciate your comments and feedback on my blog! If you’ve read similar doctoral journey blogs, please add them in the comments so I can follow them too!

Blog Entries (edtech 537)

EdD or PhD?

I previously posted PhD or EdD? Which is right for me? and I’ve been looking for more advice to share about getting started on this journey. Many friends and members of my PLN have mentioned an interest in a future EdD or PhD, but aren’t sure which is right for them.

As I’ve combed through resources, many seem polarized in one direction, or are created by a specific university. I wanted to find something that showed both sides, and offered useful advice for individuals looking to pursue a doctoral program.

Thankfully, I landed on this great YouTube video by absolutely, Elisabeth! Not only does she discuss the differences between the two programs, but also she shares excellent advice for the search and application process.

If you are interested in doctoral programs, I highly recommend watching the entire video. Her video is packed full of wisdom!

Want more? absolutely, Elisabeth! has a whole playlist about her “Journey to an Ed.D.”!

Blog Entries (edtech 537)

The benefits of teacher Twitter

“Most new teachers have experience using social media, but are they taking advantage of the on-demand professional development and support? Mari Venturino dives into how Twitter can be the PD you’re looking for to grow and become confident as an educator.”

In August 2018, I was featured on episode 19 of Kim Lepre’s Teachers Need Teachers podcast, where I talked about the benefits of using Twitter for professional development. It’s always fun to chat with other educators, especially on a Podcast. Kim made it super relaxed and easy to chat–it helps that we already know each other and teach in the same district!

I love so many aspects of Twitter, especially the professional connections I’ve made; a handful of these people have become some of my closest friends!

Have a listen to TnT 19 Mari Venturino takes on Twitter as a teacher!

Did you enjoy this episode? Make sure you subscribe to the Teachers Need Teachers podcast wherever you usually access your podcasts!

Blog Entries (edtech 537)

Publishing blogs, articles, and op-eds in the doctoral journey

I was scrolling through Twitter the other day when I saw this tweet (see screenshot below) pop through my feed. It caught my interest because it was relating to blogging by PhD/grad students, and different experiences.

As I went through the thread, I saw a variety of experiences, including individuals making points about journals not accepting previously published work, specifically on blogs, or stating that blogging isn’t necessarily academic writing. However, I did see a few individuals share their own blogs for different parts of their PhD or graduate student work. I was grateful to examine a variety of opinions.

Screenshot of a Twitter exchange between myself (@MsVenturino) and another user about the use of blogs by doctoral students.

I decided to share my blog in the conversation, since I think my purpose and goals are slightly different than other doctoral/graduate student bloggers. I’m not sure if I will be sharing research in the future, or how blogging might impact that. Then again, if I am researching social media in education, I need to be able to transparently showcase my research using the same social media platform(s). For now, I am happy to serve as a guidepost for others considering the EdD or PhD in education journey.

I’m curious what other thoughts or experiences are out there, besides the replies to this tweet. What do you think? How could blogs expand the accessibility and increase the impact of our work?


Announcing Fueled by Coffee and Love: A Brew Perspective

I am so excited to share that Fueled by Coffee and Love: A Brew Perspective is published!!

Mari holding a copy of Fueled by Coffee and Love: A Brew Perspective in her classroom!

Fueled by Coffee and Love: A Brew Perspective is the third book in the Fueled by Coffee and Love series, and is available on Amazon. These books are collections of “real stories by real teachers” and feature a diverse subset of teachers, coaches, and administrators.

How did Fueled by Coffee and Love start?

As I’ve shared previously in the Fueled by Coffee and Love and Fueled by Coffee and Love: The Refill blog posts, this project started in response to the negative media attention teachers get, especially from individuals who have never worked in education. This third book was propelled by individuals who were interested in contributing their own story.

The book is self-published via Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon). I hired Ray Charbonneau (y42k publishing services) to assemble and upload the book for finished publishing. If you’re interested in self-publishing, he’s the best!

Why Fueled by Coffee and Love?

This project aims to shine a positive light on education through the joys and challenges of everyday in classrooms and schools. Each story uniquely shares someone’s heart for their work and their kids.

All proceeds from this project are donated back to classrooms through organizations like Donors Choose. We have been able to support dozens of classrooms and projects.

How can I help?

Interested in writing for future Fueled by Coffee and Love books? Join the Interest List!

Blog Entries (edtech 537)

EDTECH537 – Examining Generational Differences

This post is a response to the prompt from this blog for EDTECH537.

“I’m bad with technology!”

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that, I’d be rich. Or at least, be able to take myself on a nice vacation. Substitute technology with any other perceived-difficult subject (math, art, writing, etc.) and you’ll instantly feel a little twinge of relatability.

Instead, let’s focus on our growth mindset (thanks Carol Dweck!) and rephrase this with “I haven’t had enough practice with technology yet.” The idea of a “digital native”and “digital immigrant,” as presented in Prensky’s (2001) article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, does not sit well with me. Everyone can learn, and some have not had as much exposure to certain technologies.

By Prensky’s definition, I am a “digital native” — when the article was published in 2001, I was just starting middle school; I had access to a family computer with dial-up internet and AOL Instant Messenger! When I look at my 7th grade students, I remind myself that they have significantly more computing power in a tiny backlit box in their pocket than I did in my whole house in middle school. Does that make them more tech savvy than I am? Maybe. Depends. And really, likely not.

Access to technology does not mean appropriate or resourceful use. We all have to be guided in our learning. I’ve asked my students to research a topic and we’ve brainstormed potential research questions. However, they still type the question, word-for-word, into Google and expect to find quality answers! My students need explicit teaching and modeling for how to research, use keywords, and refine searches.

My favorite analogy is cars: no matter our generational differences, we all grew up around cars. We looked at them, we rode in them, and we talked about them. Why then, when we turn 15.5 (in California), do we have to take a permit test, practice for many supervised hours behind the wheel, then take a driving test, just to get a provisional license? It’s because we need explicit teaching and modeling, and plenty of practice and coaching, before we are ready to solo venture the 5 minutes to our friend’s house by car.

Technology is the exact same. Just because our students have access does not mean they will use it properly or resourcefully. One of my favorite books is Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Dr. Devorah Heitner. She emphasizes this modeling and guiding students in conversations around technology and appropriate use. I highly recommend it for anyone who is a parent, teacher or works with youth.

Our growth mindset is key to building up our own technology skills, both in and out of the classroom. We are all learners!