tech-ucation reformation

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My Personal Interview Strategies August 7, 2015

Filed under: 5580 — S. Michele Holmes @ 10:39 pm
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Because Readings Seminar in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems is the last course for this program, some of my course mates and I are working to find new positions and possibly even careers.  Interviewing is necessary for landing new positions, so we are discussing the do’s and don’ts of interviewing.

The Do’s
First, prior to any interview, one should fully understand the position for which they are interviewing by reading any job descriptions and comparing one’s own qualifications to the requirements.  The potential employee should also research the company including the culture and climate as well as any competitors.  Preparing for possible interview questions, developing a set of questions to ask in return, and collecting samples of work or letters of reference should also be done in advance.  On the day of the interview, one should dress for success, bring along any items to share with the potential employer, and arrive at the location well before the scheduled time.  After the interview, the candidate should send a short thank you to the interviewers showing appreciation for the interview, highlighting something from the interview that made them stand out, and adding something that may not have been covered in the interview.

The Don’ts
However, some things should just not be done during an interview.  The obvious one has already been mentioned in the do’s, so let us think about it another way.  Don’t wear clothing inappropriate for the position to the interview.  I have always heard to dress a step above the position as a general guideline.  Don’t say negative things about prior employers or positions.  Find a positive way to say why the separation was or is necessary, such as moving on to the next stage of a career.  Don’t stumble over your words or repeat the same anecdotes again and again.  Understanding what kinds of questions will be asked and having multiple answers prepared depending upon which version is asked will help.


Hey, Have You Met . . . July 25, 2015

Filed under: 5580 — S. Michele Holmes @ 5:22 am
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My course mates and I are continuing our discussion of various social media outlets enhancing and hindering our professional presence online this week in my Readings Seminar in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems course.  Two of the questions posed are how Twitter can be used to advance a professional career and what criteria are necessary when selecting additional professional social media websites.  Then we have been challenged to create a professional presence on another site designed for that and explain why we chose it.

As for advancing a professional career with Twitter, it very easy to do just as with the other forms of social media.  Creating an account is simple with an email address and tweaking the settings.  Anyone can even create multiple accounts with Twitter because they are based on email addresses rather than actual (or made up) people.  So keeping several different accounts for various reasons may keep professional and personal information separate.  I believe I have made at least five Twitter accounts by now for various endeavors, but I am now down to one which is my professional presence account.  Being able to connect Twitter to other forms of social media allows for cross-posting, so if I see a tweet with a great professional article and retweet it, this also posts to my linked Facebook account, this blog, and my AboutMe site.  The use of hashtags can organize trains of thought and ideas which can be searched for at a later time because everything is saved.  For example, I frequently search for any tweets with #edtechjobs or #edujobs in them as part of my job searching strategy and also include my blog title or other ideas I want to organize information by in my tweets.  As for what criteria are necessary when selecting other forms of social media, they must contain ways to portray professional attributes such as work experience and samples of work.  It must also have a way to connect with other users and include the ability to search.

I feel as if I am cheating on the next part of the assignment, because I actually searched for and found a fantastic social media site several years ago and have been cultivating my professional presence and connections on it for some time.  Here is the link to my AboutMe page.  When I first found this site, I was impressed at how easy it was to work with and how it seemed to create a very basic landing page – a place where all my other forms of social media could be linked in one place.  All that appeared was one page on which you could include a representative photograph, a biography, and links to other social media, websites, interests, and portfolios.  Over the years, AboutMe has added new features including the ability to display the user’s location and work experience.  The connection aspect involves being able to search for other AboutMe pages with nearly any search criteria.  The user can compliment other users, send them a message which goes to the email associated with the account, add people to collections, and see which other users have viewed them.  I often describe it to others as Pinterest for people.


Facebook Settings and Professionals July 20, 2015

Filed under: 5580 — S. Michele Holmes @ 10:44 pm
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The discussion of using social media outlets to enhance and hinder our professional presence online continues in my Readings Seminar in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems course.  This time my course mates and I are discussing what security settings our Facebook accounts should have to reflect our personal  and professional personae.  We are then challenged to update our settings accordingly.  In preparation for the final pieces to our portfolios, we have been asked to develop a 30 second elevator pitch about ourselves.

A number of settings can be used to limit what others see on your Facebook profile and wall.  Under the “select audience” settings, one can choose for all future posts to be public, for friends only, or for just the user to see.  This can also be done with individual posts.  The user can also select who they can receive friend requests from, including either everyone or friends of friends.  One can also limit who sees your email address and telephone number.  These needs are different depending upon if you have a personal or professional need.  I have actually created two separate Facebook accounts (sorry, Mark), one for my close friends and family and another for my professional and potential business persona.  However, the real issue lies with when work friends become outside of work friends, so knowing how to manipulate these settings is necessary.  An interesting setting is the who can follow you.  It seems that now, not only can you be friends with another account but also have people follow you.  I can see how this would be a necessary setting for very public profiles such as celebrities and political people.

One can also set up pages and groups with a variety of public and private settings.  However, these are also issues with this.  For example, one of my former coworkers created a private Facebook group for his students.  The idea was for them to have a place to keep up with important dates and times, post pictures and videos for members only, and discuss class content.  At the time other options such as Edmodo and Remind101 were not available.  He was told he could not conduct such a group even if it had no ties to his personal account because of the settings.

Elevator Pitch:
I am a designer of educational experiences with over 10 years teaching experience in public schools. Over the years I have come to view technology as a means to differentiate and individualize instruction and assist all learners in reaching their full potential. I desire to consult with educators, administrators, and stakeholders on how to incorporate more technology in the classroom and in professional development to meet their students’ needs.


Social Media Outlets, Professional and Casual July 18, 2015

Filed under: 5580 — S. Michele Holmes @ 5:14 am
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As my Readings Seminar in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems course mates and I work our way through our final professional portfolios, we are also exploring how various social media outlets may enhance and hinder our professional presence as we conduct job searches and craft our careers.  The two outlets we are discussing this week are LinkedIn and Facebook.  We have been asked to ponder if LinkedIn is useful to searching for jobs and how LinkedIn and Facebook profiles differ.

As for whether or not LinkedIn is useful for job hunting, the simple answer is a resounding YES.  The benefits of being able to network on a global scale alone increases the chances of finding the right fit as well as creating jobs that do not exist.  Also, being able to search for, research, and link to company websites based upon preferences such as industries and locations is a massive benefit no job search website such as Monster or SimplyHired has been able to offer before.  I personally find the idea of having an online professional presence as necessary in this day and age to the point that I have created profiles through numerous outlets such as Twitter, AboutMe, and Facebook, but LinkedIn takes the networking to a whole new level by providing a way for people to connect with each other.  Another benefit is having a resume online which can be referenced in emails and other digital communication which saves time and money.  LinkedIn does have some disadvantages such as having your current employer be made aware that you are searching for other opportunities.  Also, the likelihood for potential employers to make judgements about what they see on your LinkedIn profile is much higher which could result in losing out on a position.

When considering how ubiquitous the use of social media has become in every aspect of our lives, both professional and personal, it is only natural to be concerned about what happens when the display of these two aspects of life do not portray the same picture.  LinkedIn was designed to be used in a professional capacity while Facebook was not.  It was designed for socializing.  Discrepancies between home and work agendas can cause conflict because of lack of understanding and context.  For example, as a teacher in a small, close community, I was warned by employers not to post morally questionable content which could be misconstrued in the wrong context.  Think about going out to celebrate your 20th wedding anniversary and having a glass of champagne, posting the event on Facebook for your family and friends to also enjoy, then receive a reprimand at work on Monday after one of your students’ parents saw it and complained.  I actually created a 2nd Facebook account to act as my professional Facebook account especially with the increase in news and advertising content relevant to user activity and preferences, but keeping up with so many different accounts has become cumbersome with no time to maximize the benefits of their use for job searching.


Defining Scholarly Writing July 15, 2015

Filed under: 5580 — S. Michele Holmes @ 7:28 pm
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This week my Readings Seminar in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems course mates and I are reviewing and revising our scholarly writing samples. These samples are primarily reviews of literature and research proposals with some opinion pieces and will all appear in our program portfolios. All of the samples are scholarly, so let us consider what that means. We have been asked to research, blog about, and discuss the differences between scholarly writing and other types of writing.

Scholarly writing is just one of many forms of academic writing. The world of academia consists of a multitude of fields with endless topics for study and research. Each field requires a different style of writing, each with their own methodologies and rules. Because our field deals with research, education, and technology, the writing must be highly information-based. This style of academic writing relies on the structure of the text to help readers interact with the information.  The use of headings and subheading to divide the work into smaller chunks and the inclusion of graphics such as tables and charts will help. Consider when experimental research is completed how it must be reported in a consistent order and manner although the content including the review of the literature, research methodologies, and findings will all be different. Levasseur (2009) points out that scholarly writing should be balanced, objective, accurate, and tentative (BOAT) meaning that scholars should present all sides of any argument, write without any bias understanding they may be wrong, report all research findings accurately, and understand that proof and results depend largely upon circumstances.

Scholars must also consider more than the content of their writings.  Levasseur (2009) also discusses four areas which need attention when writing scholarly papers:  content, organization, grammar, and style. When considering the organization of a work, he suggests providing clear transitions for the reader by assuming that the reader is unfamiliar with the field. He also warns scholars to use correct grammar which could result in further revisions and delays if not kept in check. Some last tips regarding style is to follow the appropriate writing guidelines for one’s field, write in the third person, and cite other works correctly. Trott (2013) supports these ideas stating that scholarly writing should be in the active voice using declarative sentences and paying close attention to language and grammar.


Levasseur, R. E.  (2009).  Scholarly Writing.  Mindfire Press Article.  Retrieved from–Scholarly_Writing.pdf

Trott, B. (2013). Thoughts on scholarly writing. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 53(1), 2-4. Retrieved from


When I Grow Up, I Want . . . July 11, 2015

Well, it is that time again – another graduate course has begun – but this time it is different because it is the last course for this master’s degree.  The purpose for my latest course, Readings Seminar in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems, is to reflect upon my entire graduate program and develop a portfolio of representative works which have been polished and peer-reviewed.  For the first blog post and discussion, my course mates and I have been asked to revisit our application essays for the program and specifically reflect upon our career goals.  Have our plans changed during the course of the program and why or why not?  Have the plans been further defined and/or refined?

As for how I originally planned to use the degree, I envisioned several career possibilities.  The first was as an instructional technologist for a school district.  This plan really has not changed but has expanded to include university-level position and possibly even the private sector.  Because this is my main career focus, I have applied for multiple positions in this field, although some may be called by another name.  For example, I have applied for a position with a university to be a media specialist and am about to apply for another as a BYOD program transition specialist.  I had also considered conducting educational research involving technology and the effectiveness of its use in the classroom.  This is still a serious consideration, although it will likely involve continuing my education into another degree.  Working for a company that designs educational hardware and software including product development, training, and support also sounded hugely appealing at the time of my application.  While this is still an area I would consider pursuing, it is the one I will look into more once the other options have been flushed out.

Something I did not expect as a career choice was website development, but earning this degree has opened up a whole new level of opportunity.  I remember thinking at the beginning of the program how one aspect I enjoy about teaching is taking educational materials and reworking them to present them to my students in an effort to make the learning process more efficient and effective.  Website development is simply a new and exciting means to do just that.  I appreciate the flexibility and versatility that website development offers to this process.  Striving to take already created content and reorganize it was so easy using Dreamweaver and Muse.  So while I am considering other types of positions, website development has now been added to the list as well as my skill set.  Even if it does not become my main function, it does not mean that I will not know how to.


Sssshhhhhh – On The Air! May 6, 2015

My Technology-Based Learning Environments course mates and I are in the final weeks of class which means we are now finalizing our courses including the job aids, final peer reviews, and last reflections.  This is the last blog required for the course, but we will have to complete some reflections which will not be blogged.  I am certain I will post some of those thoughts to my personal blog, and I definitely plan to go back and read my previous blogs for this course to develop my final reflections.

As for what needs to be done with my course, I am still creating the videos for the course due to the delay in production – thank you spring allergies!  This year seems to be especially crazy; I have seen more wildflowers than ever.  The allergies are now under control with the help of several medications, but now kids, pets, and a spouse keep hindering getting the videos done in a timely manner.  I need to have a space dedicated to creating them without interruption, but I do not see that happening until I have a professional designer job, so I just need to chalk it up to a lesson learned.  This does give me something to think about if I intend to do any remote or freelance work.  Having my family around with constant interruptions is usually not a problem because I am adept at helping them with their needs quickly and getting back to the task at hand, but video-recording is a whole different game.  Now I understand why radio stations have those “on air” lights and special recording rooms!  I am not quite finished with the text pieces of the course either, but that will easily be done because I already have it all worked out in my head.  Plus I am waiting for peer reviews to come in; perhaps I can head off some work by taking their ideas into account before the final additions. Then again, I am prioritizing other projects right now which also demands my already limited time.

As for the possibility of implementation, I am sad that my course will not get to be, at least at this point.  Perhaps one day in the future, I will have the opportunity.  I am even considering selling parts of it.  But at this point I have no prospects to, and this, of course, will make evaluation impossible, but it will be alright.  I am really pleased with the topic and nature of the course.  Somebody in the future will like it too and want to use it, so then I can get valid client feedback.



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