Posts for Tag: tosa

office space

Yesterday, a colleague asked if I would be in my office later. My reply was simply, “I will.”  

*current “office” view

It got me thinking. As the end of the first trimester comes to a close, I still don’t have an office. This is my third year in the district, and I don’t have a designated desk or cubicle. 

I’m not complaining. At the start of the year, I did have a small cubicle in the Tech Department. Only, a week later it was overrun with hundreds of Chromebooks for the district rollout. Now it houses old desktops and peripherals, like some sad Land of Misfit Toys.

But then I wondered: do I need an office? Does having an office make me a more productive TOSA? Can I be a better TOSA if I had an office? 

Honestly, I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do know that having an office might limit my visibility. Meaning, I do enjoy interacting with students and staff...and most of the relationships I’ve built were initiated by simply being present.  

After two years and one trimester of claiming the staff rooms, teacher classrooms, work rooms, and pods of five elementary sites, do I even want an office? 🤔


"I've learned a lot this year." 

Read that sentence again. What does the voice in your head sound like? What is the tone? What words did your internal voice emphasize? 

I've heard this phrase many times in years past. Sometimes that phrase was uttered by students, and sometimes by colleagues. I've heard myself say it on several occasions these last few days of school. Only, I truly did learn a lot this year.  

See, I was fortunate to work some inspiring people. I was lucky in that I was allowed into five different elementary schools and over 60 classrooms. I enjoyed working with 100s of students, in grade levels Kindergarten through Grade 5. And, I learned a lot this year. Every student and every teacher helped me learn something this year. I never felt like the smartest person in the room...
Honestly, I wasn't sure what this year would look like when I took the role of TOSA/Instructional Technology. This role was new in the district for the 2015-2016 school year, and it dovetailed with the roll-out of Google Apps for Education. Administration was extremely supportive, and my fellow TOSAs at the middle schools helped me wrap my brain around this new role and how we could best serve our students and staff. 

One of those TOSAs helped me understand that we are #bettertogether. She convinced me to start using Twitter as a #PLN, and I soon found a host of teachers working with Instructional Technology. The winter CUE workshop at, coupled with #TOSAchat on Twitter, I learned a lot this year. 

[#TOSAchat badge via: @jyoung1219]

The 2015-2016 school year is over. I'm fortunate to be returning in early August for the 2016-2017 school year. Next year, I'll continue to work with many of the same teachers and students. I will continue to refine my approach to Instructional Technology. And, more importantly, I will continue to learn along the way with an rad group of people. 

I'm still learning. 

building to learn

This resonates with me, because I sense a theme at the elementary level. That theme is focused on teaching students how to build something. Telling them how to build something. I hear the following statements frequently. 

I want my students to learn how to build a slideshow. 

I want my students to learn how create a spreadsheet. 

I want my students to learn how to format a business letter. 

I get it. There is a laundry list of things for students to build. And, there are a variety of artifacts that students should have in their portfolio to meet grade level, or common core standards. However, I question what students learn from a lesson in which they are taught, exactly, how to build something. Further, do the students even care about what they may learn?

Students should be building to learn. Certainly, the students may need some basic instruction surrounding the guidelines of a digital assignment. Students may need a quick tutorial on certain software functions. But, watch how quickly they engage when they are allowed to build something on their own. 

Please, let the students build to learn. Let them make mistakes. There's always a Control+Z option. Let them collaborate, and build with each other. If they're building something, they will learn.  

12345 Challenge


1)  What is your one biggest challenge during this school year?  

Time. There is simply not enough time to accomplish all of the learning goals I have scheduled. Penultimate challenge: brevity. However, I’m working to resolve that.   

2)  Share two accomplishments that you are proud of from this school year.

  1. Shifting focus. Introducing Google Apps For Education (GAFE) to five elementary schools was a challenge. I am proud to have helped assist the way students, staff, and stakeholders view GAFE as a learning tool.

  2. Building community. GAFE has brought together students and staff through collaborative documents. I am proud to say that I am a part of that community.

3)  What are three things you wish to accomplish before the end of the school year?

  1. A clear #edtech #curriculum outline for the 2016-2017 school year

  2. Create a keystone event to measure student growth (please note that I did not use the word “assessment”)

  3. Get approval for my (last!) fieldwork class necessary to obtain a Preliminary Administrative Credential

4)  Give four reasons you remain in education in today’s rough culture.

  1. Students. My take: the education arena has always been a “rough” culture. The politics, the funding, and the media scrutiny will always be a part of education. I choose to focus on the kids. Kids will do amazing things if we let them. And, I want them to wow me with technology in their learning.  

  2. Potential. The ability of technology to enhance quality teaching and learning is limitless. Attending #CUE conferences this year, and following all the amazing educators on Twitter #TOSAchat has inspired me. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

  3. Team #RESCUEtech. I am proud to work with an awesome group of people. The real accomplishment was the district’s successful GAFE roll-out. There were numerous staff members who made that happen. I am simply proud to be a part of that team

  4. Money. I’m not kidding. Today’s public education arena has seen some positive shifts in finance. Funding for technology and training in schools is more readily available. And, the rate of return on that investment is limitless.

5)  Which five people do you hope will take the challenge with you?

    *also published to