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  • Writer's pictureRichard Smith

Where have I been? It was time to grow.

Where have I been?  That is the number one question people have been asking me.  It’s been over a year since my last episode.  I really missed making them, but something had to give.  In this new age of social-emotional awareness there was so much stuff happening in my life professionally, that it started to impact things personally (like the podcast). I had to re-prioritize my life a little and take a break.  

There were a lot of us in education re-assessing priorities over the last couple of years.  The pandemic gave us a lot of pause to look at education as students, parents, teachers, etc. overall.  The demands of my role in education were stressful as I oversaw technology for the building and taught a load of classes too.  After some time, I decided that it was time to take a break from the classroom and take on a new journey in education.  Which also gave me some pause about the podcast.  What will it look like going forward?  Who am I trying to reach? Will it have any merit when I’m not in the classroom?  After much deliberation, I decided that I did want to continue to do the podcast. It was important for me to offer a voice for teachers who still wanted to be more confident with integrating tech tools in their classroom in a meaningful way, but I wanted it to be more than just tools.  It wanted to get a message out there that our students are learning differently now more than we ever did.  Computers in education have grown significantly beyond just one class or some time with the Oregon Trail.  It has become THE tool for learning as we desire to meet the needs of our students where they learn.  They are digital natives and our profession is one that MUST meet them where they learn.  More about this later. 

As I mentioned, I stayed in education but took the leap into Higher Ed.  Getting into Higher Ed has always been a goal for me since graduating with my masters in 2009. I took a stop along the way to get back into the classroom.  First, in K-8, where I met some pretty amazing students and families, outstanding colleagues and dear friends, and first had the opportunity to integrate a 1:1 program with Chromebooks.  Then it was time to grow.  I moved into a high school program where I taught and expanded their tech and STEM program.  Again, I had the opportunity to meet some outstanding students and teacher friends again.  Leaving the classroom was a hard decision, but one that became necessary to my overall life and career goals.  Again, it was time to grow.  I’ve always told my students that you never stop learning, life always gives you opportunities to grow. So now another chance to go, I am now a course and materials designer for Cleveland State University’s Center for eLearning.  A chance to go into higher education and work with instructors and staff on bringing a quality learning program to a virtual workspace.  I have been doing this for just over a year and it is refreshing to put my skills and education to use in a different way.  A chance to put some research and theories to the test. 

That idea of learning to grow was something I picked-up from my master's program at Cleveland State, so it is fitting that my path ended up growing in that direction this time around. It taught me to be a forever learner always searching for that opportunity to pick something up along the way. I look forward to sharing my learning journey with you as we grow together! Until the next episode...which will drop on 3/1/2024!

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