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Then it was time to connect the academic year 2018 / 2019 and look back at what I managed or not to accomplish during this time in my role as IT educator at Årstaskolan. My job, which mostly consists of production, needs scheduled time for analysis and reflection. And since I slave on my own schedule, that time is now.
Last academic year's major project consisted of building the Course Portal (online education) with its courses, where a large part of my professional development consisted of learning Python in order to create courses. Other things were to start Open Lab — voluntary physical opportunities, for example, to come and workshops or to get a hand to hold, and then I also built the school's Makerspace and set up a helpdesk system for more efficient handling of school matters. And of course a lot of other things.
2018 / 2019
Weeks of the year with hours categorized
The above picture (can be enlarged) shows the number of hours in the different categories throughout the academic year. I plan everything in my calendar and compile. For me, it's important to be able to follow up that I spend my time on what I want to do, what my boss wants me to do and where it makes a difference. It's very easy to happen that time for proactive projects goes to reactive things. After all, it's always something that is perceived as acute for someone. Therefore, I try to be tough in prioritizing my tasks, where I also gather and schedule similar tasks to be as effective as possible. That, in turn, creates time for the slightly larger projects that are what I am passionate about.
Calendar and Things are constantly on my secondary screen
Change of duties
Since last year, we finally have a new IT coordinator, who takes care of technology. This means that I have been given the opportunity to focus more on the soft part of IT, development and less on padd-fixing. It has also meant that I had to learn that certain tasks are no longer my duties, something that I have been doing for almost 20 years. But how nice it is.:)
A new category for this year, but something that I always worked with, is Educational Projects. But now there is official time for this, as I have removed all the IT technical data. This year, more than a quarter of the time has gone to these projects. Here is a brief presentation of what I built, created and developed.
Hearly - an audiobook app with books of students
Hearly was born from a request from one of our Swedish teachers, Anette, where the students in her classes worked on writing audiobooks. Right now only on the App Store - but there comes an Android version a little further ahead. Built in Swift and WordPress.
Hearly - App Store
MikPortalen - progression and work materials within MIK
MIKPortalen is a site where we have collected data and materials to work with primary school students' media and information literacy. The MIKportal is based on the goals of the curriculum and progression around information retrieval, source criticism, digital tools and secure communication. All these parts fall within the framework of MIK. Built in WordPress.
The material is created by our librarian Memme. Of course, CC and free to use.
Code crack - Progression and Sample Activities in Programming
Kodknck is a site where we publish the ongoing job we do of creating a progression for programming within elementary school. To the progression we connect teacher tutorials, activity examples of how you as a teacher can teach the concepts and building blocks of programming that are important and professional development. Built in WordPress.
The material is created by me and Jonas Johansson and all material is free to use according to CC.
#sistabossen - making your own video game
Last Boss is a project, or rather a rich task over a long time, that aims to teach programming in grade 4 by allowing students to create a game. Martin Fernström, who is the teacher in this case, together with some help from me, has created the project while we implemented it in the classes. Right now, we are evaluating and improving this. Teacher guidance will, as usual, be released to the public.
Link to this does not exist yet, but more information will come next year.
Media production - and, above all, video has increased a lot over the past year. Thanks to Makerspace and its green screen, many more people have got their eyes on - and started testing video creation. As everyone can book Makerspace easily via web app and stand, light and everything is there, the threshold is low. In addition, I have built up a production park with 4K cameras, live streaming and more for many years.
Edits short presentation clips for school student health
I myself have created more video during the spring semester than the entire school year and I have had a lot of introductory sessions and workshops.
Something I'm a little disappointed about is that I haven't taken hold of - and developed our Makerspace more. Unfortunately, it has been downprioritised. However, the premises are used, but mostly for media production.
By next year, I'll try to get some more maker-business going there. We already have lots of equipment in the form of 3D printers, robots, soldering stations, materials and more. I've run some Open Lab where I created with the staff and next year I'm going to expand it.
The web, which is a major part of the educational venues for students, but also for our communication and the professional development of our staff, now consists of 13 web sites and 31 blogs. These I run, develop and build on our own servers. Opportunities in being able to build and launch quickly are unbeatable. Operating, building and maintaining these webs and servers is steadily around 10% of my time.
The focus this year has been on continuing to build on help to self-help, that is, to expand support.arstaskolan.se with lathdogs and guides to complement the course portal, with online courses within programming. The course portal was also nominated for, and one of the finalists in the City of Stockholm's Digitization Award.
Digitisation Award 2018
Pedagogical administration is at the same levels despite more tasks
About 20% of my service goes to different types of administration. The pedagogical part of my administration, which consists of grades, reviews, schedule, teaching groups, school platform, student documentation and other things, has this year increased purely taskwise as I also took on my mother tongue management. Mother tongue is purely administratively like having an extra school, where we have 33 small classes. It was on my initiative because it is never good to have a bunch of overlapping features spread across different people. So, although I have increased the number of jobs, working hours have decreased since last year, although it is fairly close.
Other administration is a bit of a slashfunnel where things like student password changes, analysis of different projects and results, creation of policy documents such as IT strategies, other strategy thinking and the like end up.
Concerning strategies, plans and policy documents, it is important to prioritise working time. No one cares about these kinds of documents and the like, except for those who created them. The focus must be on implementation.
Meetings and conferences
This is a category I'm constantly struggling to bring down. And as I succeeded this year! :) Unlike last year (where I had also brought down this category), I have been reduced considerably. Last semester, I've been cutting around 2.8 hours a week.
Much of the decline is about more effective meetings and the fact that I opt out of meetings. If you want to read more about how I look at meetings, you can read this.
Own professional development and own projects
To work with my professional development, I usually create different types of projects. Previous examples have been self-irrigation pots that can tweet, text and talk. Or digital “welcome - busy - no inside” screens controlled by calendars. It always has to be some kind of product, as I find it difficult just to learn for learning.
This year I haven't spent the same time on my professional development, although the Hearly app required a lot of learning about Apple's Swift and similar. So I've got a lot of new skills with me.
Room reservation with screen
A further development of a previous project, where I now have a simple web app that staff can easily book premises with. Schedule and busy / free can be displayed on a screen outside the current room. Runs on Raspberry Pi and includes Python, WordPress and some HTML and stuff.
Here you can read more about it
IoT start connected rooms
I just started a small Internet of things (IoT) project with connected classrooms. I hope to have a prototype up in Makerspace when the new school year starts.
Read more here
Creation of educational materials and physical education
This year I have unfortunately not created several courses for the course portal. Programming courses for primary school have been completed for two years, so there has been no great need. However, I have focused on creating lath dogs and guides to our support site, which I wrote about earlier.
The Open Lab I've run has been of mixed interest. The question is, is it worth it? On the other hand, they are completely voluntary and those who will seem to appreciate these workshops. Maybe I would try to expand, but it is entirely dependent on time.
I will probably need to think more about this. I am still quite interested in the fact that all training for staff must be able to be done online, asynchronously. Anyway you want. Whenever you want.
Of course, this is just a heck of what I've been doing and we've also had some other stuff rolling during the year, such as the exchange and transition to a new IT liver, the introduction of a new school platform, the structuring of communication routes and content, a lot of visits from around the world, some fun second visits, some lectures externally (although I'm extremely restructive with it) and hang every day with my lovely colleagues.
I am very happy with my work and if I have to judge myself I give myself an A this year again.;) It is a lot about prioritization, planning, crazy structuring and being able to do things “good enough” but with the bar really high laid. Anyway, if I'm going to do everything I want to be able to do.
Nice holiday on all of you!