2. 4. 18. 8. 30. 1. 19. 8.
Last night was the last final of my undergrad.
Now, I don’t want to write a sappy blog post because I’ll save those for the sentimental bridal blogs. And this, my friends, is not a bridal blog. Therefore, no sappiness is allowed.
So I’ll simply state the facts and numbers. There’s no emotion in algebra, right?
Yesterday I published my 150th post on my blog. Coincidentally, yesterday also marked the 150th day until graduation. This odd fluke epitomizes the latter half of my undergrad.
For the past year and a half, I have grown as a professional educator. My undergrad education has transformed my thoughts and perspectives. I have learned so much and the evidence is in my digital footprint.
When I started my digital journey over a year ago, I had nothing. When you Googled my name, you would find a few newspaper articles about my high school achievements. To say I had a passive digital footprint is an understatement.
But I have matured as a student, pre-service educator, and as a person. I can now articulate my thoughts easier. I have research to back up my teaching theologies. I express myself weekly on my blog.
If I were to Google myself today, pages upon pages are full of my active digital participation:
- @kelseyempfield – my Twitter account
- Kelsey Empfield: An Introduction – my WordPress blog
- Social Stories – my Storify
- Kelsey Empfield on Pinterest
- Contact – Kelsey Empfield – my Weebly website
All of the sites that appear are professional sites, pieces of my professional digital persona. When I apply for jobs in a few months, I want prospective employers to Google me and see all the learning I’ve been doing on my own!
I’ve been actively developing my digital footprint because the digital world is a great opportunity to showcase learning and make valuable connections.
I enrolled in Digital Literacy because I wanted to know more about the digital opportunities I didn’t already know about. I didn’t need to take Digital Literacy. It’s not in my catalogue. My parents didn’t make me. But I’m so glad I took my learning into my own hands and enrolled. I learned so much!
My favorite parts of Digital Literacy were:
- Developing a learning project
- Doing the learning project
- Interacting and learning from my classmates
- Learning how to articulate why I prescribe to certain educational theories
- Creating my ideal school
- Realizing that I can have my ideal school (very few factors are out of our control)
- Discussing the importance of current events in class (a la Ferguson)
- Challenging resistance
- Challenging myself
This semester I took my learning into my own hands and pursued the things I wanted to learn.
My learning project gave me motivation to keep pursuing learning. My goal for the semester was to enhance my teacher persona.
I have to say that I’m widely pleased with what I accomplished. Let me present the numbers that reflect my learning…because education is all about measurable outcomes, right?
2 Author Presentations
When I began enhancing my teacher persona, I also had to begin looking for new opportunities. In the first month, two opportunities presented themselves and I’m grateful I took advantage of them.
The first opportunity I found was an author roundtable. Margaret Coel came to campus and led a question/answer discussion.
I loved hearing a published author talk about writing:
“I get inspired because I have an idea.”
“As a writer you have to open your eyes to other ideas. You have to be receptive of other perspectives.”
She encouraged us to write in the raw for the first draft and then focus on editing and revising.
The second opportunity I found was an author presentation and the author happened to be my professor, Dr. Robert McEwen. Meet Dr. McEwen:
After just publishing his book, he presented the book to us at the public library. I loved hearing about his work and seeing him in a setting outside of the classroom.
He read excerpts from his book and seemed very grateful that I came out to support him.
Part of being a teacher is continued education. My best learning experiences have happened at conferences in the past, so I decided to take every opportunity for a conference that I could find. I found four:
National Council of Teachers of English National Convention
I started blogging over a year ago and I still enjoy it. I love the different levels of connections vlogs can have with readers, as opposed to plain text.
Some of my favorite vlogs this semester include:
My philosophy of education series
And poetry readings
Some of my favorites are:
Blogging has always been my favorite learning tool and continues to be. A year ago I had 41 followers and now I have 71 followers. Sure I wish I had more people reading my stuff, but it’s okay. I’m celebrating the fact that nearly 100 people (okay, I’m rounding up…) think my words are valuable.
They learn from what I write.
And that’s an awesome feeling.
I also had an all-time high month this semester. In October my blog was viewed 456 times which beats the previous record in January 2014 with 442 views.
1 Professional Website
What began as a small assignment for another class became my obsession. I found myself always thinking about how I could improve my website.
I could add vlogs.
I could add lesson plans.
I could add headshots.
I could add contact information.
After hours of working on my website, I can hardly wait to write kelseyempfield.weebly.com on my resume when I apply for jobs in a few months.
19 Tech Programs
Also during this semester, I explored a lot of different programs and apps I was unfamiliar with:
- Google Maps
I learned about these tech programs in classes, personally, or by chance. As you can see, I clearly don’t have any problem creating accounts and experimenting. The only problem is that I’ve tripled the usernames and passwords I have to know!
Despite trying new programs, the five I primarily stick with are:
But really, Digital Literacy is about CONNECTION. Connecting with people via the internet and expanding your personal learning network.
Last night during the final, we reflected on our semester in the class. If you want to check out the conversation, check out my Storify. I loved the discussion because it helped me continue to build relationships with my classmates and I grew as a pre-service teacher.
This semester I’ve made really valuable connections. And I guarantee that the 8 connections I’ve made with people in my class will prove most valuable.
This semester has pushed me in so many ways I didn’t anticipate. I’ve had to have hard conversations with myself about my educational beliefs and my interpersonal skills.
Every semester I get sentimental. And because I’ve never had a bridal blog, I use numbers to keep me from tearing up. My numbers are always different because my learning always looks a bit different.
Spring 2013: 28. 185. 24. 80+. 34. 16. 3.
Fall 2013: 32. 41. 1147. 1. 16. 3. And Infinity.
Fall 2014: 2. 4. 18. 8. 30. 1. 19. 8.
2 Author Presentations, 4 Conferences,
18 Vlogs, 8 Selfies, 30 Blogs,
1 Professional Website, 19 Tech Programs,
and 8 Valuable Connections