From daTeechur's Desk: The Celebration Edition

Plus...catch LIVE self-publishing courses while they're here.

Happy Friday, friends!

I hope this message finds you well. On Tuesday, EduMatch® celebrated its ninth anniversary. That’s nine years of connections, PLFs, learning, growing, and so much more. Thank you all who have been a part of it, and cheers to many more years ahead.

To celebrate, I present you with the very first post about the origin of EduMatch. As you may or may not know, EduMatch is my baby, but I also work 9-5 with a large district as a Regional Technology Coordinator. I am grateful for the opportunity to simultaneously do two things I love as my career.

Some people ask me how I can do both. It’s not always easy, but two things in particular have helped me tremendously: a) teamwork…shoutout to the amazing EduMatch Executive Board and Nonprofit Board who make magic happen; and b) learning things in one that I can use in the other, and vice versa. This post is actually a double-header, as the second featured post is about making the overlaps work in our favor. I hope you enjoy!

EduMatch: Not a Dating Site (2014)

On Friday night, I was bored. It was one of those rare days when I was home with nothing to do. Well, I had plenty to do, but I didn’t feel like doing it. That would have gone against everything that Friday night stood for.

Anyway, my mind started to wander as I was sitting on the couch, playing on my phone. All of a sudden, I had a #showergem moment. FYI, in case you’re wondering, here’s the definition of a #showergem.

In other words, a #showergem is when your brain is on pause, and all of a sudden, you have an awesome idea. Here are a few previous #showergems:

  • With seven billion people in the world, we are each only a dot. But what a beautiful picture we make when we start to connect.

  • Being a connected educator is like using augmented reality on our profession.

  • Relationships are the most important things there are.

  • Everyone has their own version of the truth. Why should you put anyone else’s above yours? Don’t worry so much about what other people think of you.

  • Your mama’s so stupid, she stuck her head in the washer because it said, “Permanent Press.”

As I’m sure you can infer, the last one was from when I was in fifth grade.

Anyway, one common theme of my #showergems tends to deal with helping educators connect and collaborate. This is the focus of most of the things that I choose to do in my free time.

I was sitting on my couch, playing on Voxer, chatting with one of my #eduhomies (new hashtag that I’m totally Columbusing, btw), telling her how she and my cousin would hit it off. Not in a dating way, but they would have so much to talk about, since they geek out over the same things.

Ironically, I had been joking around with another #eduhomie about how we should team up and make a “Teachers Date Teachers” website. Well, the #eduhomie was joking. I was half-serious. Kidding! Maybe. Totally. Anyway.

So back to the story. I made a remark in my vox to my #eduhomie that I pride myself in being an educational matchmaker. Long story short, @edu_match was born.

In my research, I saw there was an #edmatch, but that was about fundraising. There were a few @edumatch accounts, but none of them appeared to be what I had in mind. So, I jumped in feet first, just adding the underscore to make it unique.

It was very silly, and I decided to keep it very Sarah. Those of you who know me know exactly what I mean. I was dead serious about fully exploring the potential, but I wasn’t going to do it if I wasn’t entertaining myself in the process.

Side note: even though I’m pretty Google-savvy, this was the first time I ever used Google Draw for anything. I was not shy about admitting how horrible the logo is, but honestly, I don’t know if I’ll change it. It sets a tone for how informal and fun this experiment is. In addition, people love to tell me how horrible the logo is, and this is great! Especially because it’s usually followed by, but the idea is awesome.

Personally, I’m more inclined to click on something that catches my attention, good or bad, and see exactly what it is. I could, possibly, have the same effect with an awesome logo, but this experiment is still in its infancy, and I didn’t want to drop a ton of money on something that I wasn’t sure would work.

Similarly, people tend to think it is a “Teachers Date Teachers” project. LOLOLOL. I welcome the confusion, because that gives me the opportunity to clarify it. In my experience, people are more engaged when they are trying to understand something, than if you try to cold-sell an idea. Confusing people can be good, so I really play up the, “it’s not a dating site” factor. The follow-up question is usually, “then, what is it?”

So glad you asked.

According to the website (s/o to the #eduhomie for the suggestion),

“we use the power of social media in order to help foster collaboration and connections among educators around the globe.

Each day, we have an #edtech Person of the Day, and tweet out several bits of information that they have supplied. You don’t need to do anything, and there is nothing to lose.”

“We” sounds better than “I.” But truly, it is “we.” I treat this with the EdCamp mentality. My job is to facilitate these connections, but it’s all driven by the people who sign up, and who participate.

Yesterday, we had our first #edtech Person of the Day. I asked him how it was going midway through the day. Much to my surprise, he said that he had a bunch of new followers. I was so happy to hear that, but it inspired me to change the sign-up form a little. I added a place for the Person of the Day to write a discussion question to ask the Twitterverse. Although follows are good, engagement is better!

As of this morning, we have 10 people signed up to be featured. Wow!!! This is great.

I’m learning as I go along…for example, today, I have scheduled the tweets to promote our second Person of the Day. This helps me tweet at odd hours of the night being in EST, but our friends on the Eastern Hemisphere are wide awake. Maybe there is a script or something so that I can automate it 100%. That would be awesome. Also, I’m trying to figure out what happens if/when this gets huge. It would kind of suck to sign up and have to wait for weeks or months before you are “on deck.” Maybe eventually we will have multiple People of the Day. Hmmmm.

Tl;dr version: If you have a crazy idea, jump in and do it.

If you have any suggestions, comments, or feedback, please share below. Thanks!

Work the Middle (2017)

Reflection is very important in the process of growth. Sometimes, we need to hold a mirror up to ourselves and see what we do well, as well as where we need to grow. These areas, very often, will overlap (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Where I Need to Grow

Very recently, I was thinking about my personal glows and grows and found that my strengths are in the “hook,” but not so much in the “line” and “sinker.” Yes, Sarah, I signed up for Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Voxer, WhatsApp, Medium, etc. Now what?

I have had some success publicizing virtual events, especially when they are short-term. As for the long-term, it varies. Some communities pretty much run themselves, but what about when they don’t?

Source: https://soldoutarenas.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/tired-meme.jpg

Yesterday, when I was chatting with friends on Voxer, I had a showergem moment (obviously, I was not in the shower). Lately, I’ve had the opportunity to align with some amazing organizations, each with their own communities. Part of my role is to help grow these communities. So, why not introduce the communities to one another?

Simple. Obvious. Duh (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Duh.

If we are strategic in aligning ourselves with other educators, companies, and organizations that match our core beliefs, there will likely be lots of overlap in their values. Why not cross-promote and work together? Win-win-win.

Source: http://fruitachamber.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Capt.jpg

Previously, I nearly burned myself out trying to juggle so many projects at once. Like The Offspring, I tried to “keep ‘em separated,” when I should have channeled my inner Aaliyah, in order to “work the middle.” (See what I did there? Ok, maybe not.)

As my dad says, my goal is to “work smarter, not harder.” The beauty about education is that there is room for everyone! Building a community is not a zero-sum game. This is not Coke vs. Pepsi. It’s more like if Coke and Pepsi teamed up to make an amazing, mouth-watering, cavity-causing beverage. All soda junkies worldwide would rejoice in the sweet, sweet carbonation.

(P.S. I have played with this before, but not quite at this level…you can see this scaled for virtual events on The Edsquad).

This can translate to other stuff in life too. For example, I love to work out. I also love Pokemon Go. Thus, I do PokeRuns (playing Pokemon while running).

Source: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/09/09/11/59/pokemon-1656997_960_720.png

I’m planning to be more strategic about looking for the overlaps and working the middle. Here’s the master plan.

  1. List out “big rocks” in life.

Big rocks, in this sense, are anything that’s important to you. I did this last night. Some of mine were loved ones, work, EduMatch, and several other organizations that I’m affiliated with. Don’t forget your interests! Some of mine are music, working out, and sleep.

2. Create hella Venn diagrams.

Disclaimer…I’m not from Cali but I’m stealing hella. Just because it sounds way better than “MAAAAADDDDD VENN DIAGRAMS!”

Source: memegenerator.net

Shoutout to a good friend of mine who recommended a tool called draw.io. This allows you to easily create Venn diagrams, and other types of charts and graphs. It also integrates into your Google Drive.

3. Find the overlaps.

Whether you make one or hella Venn diagrams, look for any potential overlaps. As a very basic example, if two of my areas are friends and music, an overlap would be to plan a karaoke outing with some friends (next Saturday, thank you very much).

Source: https://typeset-beta.imgix.net/elite-daily/2017/05/08082959/thinking-man-meme.jpg?w=748&h=448&fit=crop&crop=faces&auto=format&q=70

In my original example, I may look at where two organizations I work with may have a common interest and propose a collaboration there. Instead of working twice as hard, it will be twice as smart!

4. Work the middle.

Another thing my dad says is to “plan your work and work your plan.” My dad is a very wise man! I’m just saying.

Source: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTGrjkWFuaMYkn3K64R_jXegimRHQbdeLa3pLnEiFnXx0kdTB2A

Some productivity tools that I love are Slack (free), Trello (free), Todoist (free), and recently DaPulse (not free).

There you have it. Go forth, and work ye the middle.

Unveil Your Story: From Manuscript to Published Book, Now With LIVE Sessions!

Exciting news! Our second self-publishing course has evolved to include live sessions every Thursday night for the next two weeks. If you've already got that final draft polished and ready, but you're scratching your head about the next steps, this course is for you! We're diving deeper into the ins and outs of Amazon Kindle Direct and also introducing you to the fascinating world of audiobooks. Don't Miss Out! Secure Your Spot. And to sweeten the deal, take 70% off with promo code ‘StarPupil’ at checkout.

Alright folks, that does it for me. Thanks so much for reading!

Have a video to share or interested in being a guest blogger? Email me at [email protected].

Stay connected, stay curious, and let the sharing begin!

Best,

Sarah

Your EduMatch® Connection
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