On Monday I sat for the oral defense of my qualifying exams in my quest to earn a PhD from the University of Kentucky’s School Technology Leadership program within the Department of Educational Leadership. Happy to say that I passed those exams, so “all” that remains is my dissertation. I say “all” because I know there is a lot of work to be done with completing the dissertation, but I have accomplished some major milestones in my doctoral program (coursework is completed, dissertation prospectus defense, new job in a new district). A majority of the heavy lifting is done, so I truly look forward to working on the dissertation that I hope will be done by the end of the summer. That may seem like a long time from now, but I started this program in the fall of 2012 so 10 more months isn’t such a long time to me.
This program has been a lot of work, but I don’t regret what has gone into it. I have learned a lot and have met some fantastic educators along the way (fellow classmates and UK professors). Several of my classmates have completed their doctorates and have been a source of support for those of us still working toward that degree: Jill Janes, Rachel Allen, Kevin Flora, and Ericka Hollis. The faculty at UK has been supportive and responsive to help us succeed with our work in the program and with our work in our jobs as educators. There are many talented faculty members at UK who have helped me, but many thanks to Justin Bathon, a tireless and passionate prof who has been my advisor. Additional thanks to Wayne Lewis, Tricia Browne-Ferrigno, and Gerry Swan who all serve on my dissertation committee. I feel fortunate to learn from all of them.
I still have more work to go, but I feel it is important to acknowledge all that has happened to this point.
My qualifying exams are due in about a month so things are starting to feel quite real in this quest for a Ph. D. I ran across this video shared at Vinny Cho’s blog and found it super helpful for mapping out my next 35 days of writing.
If you aren’t already, follow Vinny Cho. He’s a super smart guy who does a lot of research in how school leaders use social media.
This is an excellent resource if you need an overview of what is happening with laws and regulations regarding student data privacy. Technology and data use are quickly increasing within schools, and most state laws do not adequately address student privacy issues in a digital environment. According to this compendium and many other sources, you will begin to see a lot more attention and action with regard to student data privacy regs. In the year 2015 alone, there were over 180 bills introduced within state legislatures to deal with student data issues.
Screenshot from the web page of the Center for Democracy and Technology
I’ve been quiet in this space for a while. Time to start thinking and writing again. This work from Ze Frank is my go to when I feel stuck and tentative. There is some NSFW language here, so be careful about the ears around you if you listen. Thanks to my cool Twitter uncle, John Pederson, for the intro to the world of Ze Frank.
Lip dub videos from schools are nothing new, but you’ll have a whole new appreciation if you do one yourself for your school. I am fortunate to work with fantastic teachers, supportive families, and amazing students. I’m sure you can say the same for your school community, so feel free to brag about it.
This slide is from my presentation on school culture that I facilitated at the IntegratED conference in Portland, OR in February 2015. My presentation had dozens of slides, but this quote seemed to strike a nerve with many of the attendees and those following along on Twitter. This comes from the book School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It by Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker. It is a terrific read that is full of useful organizational research and theory, in addition to practical steps on how to make sure your school culture is a healthy place for students, staff, and parents.
I was happy to join Katrina Stevens, Andrew Marcinek, Adina Sullivan, and Shawn Hinger for chat about getting tech devices into the hands of students and teachers. I like the format that the USDOE Ed Tech crew is using for these conversations. It isn’t a panel of experts laying out a complicated plan for tech use. It’s a conversation among practicing professionals about their experience with what works and what doesn’t.