• Adrian Cargal

You Are The Missing Link...

My first love in teaching was science curriculum. I am enamored by the reasoning behind how the world works. I love the looks on students' faces when they "peek behind the curtain" and find out the true meaning behind patterns, systems, and cycles present in our everyday lives. The thrill of exploring to learn has always intrigued me. Because of my eagerness to teach science, I stumbled upon the Engineering Design Process. There are many models that portray the steps, but I have always preferred "The ABDCEs of Engineering". First, ask the question connected to the problem at hand. This would be a question formed from the hypothesis or theory. Then, the brainstorming begins. There are no stupid ideas, and every idea must be considered. The design takes place next with a detailed, labeled sketch of the product, whatever it may be. Creation based upon the design happens, with an evaluation of the product afterward. After testing the product, modifications are made in order to improve upon the original design, and the process continues indefinitely. I encouraged every student to use this process when in my classroom and the results were amazing. Students were always willing to go the extra mile to improve and grow in their learning.

Why do I bring this up? Does it look familiar? It should! Growth Mindset, Creating Significant Learning Environments (CSLE), and providing Choice, Ownership, and Voice in order to provide Authentic learning experiences (COVA) are approaches that are quickly making headway in the digital world, but they have already been around in the science world for many years in the form of the Engineering Design Process and STEM techniques. I felt affirmed in my practice after learning about CSLE, COVA, and Growth Mindset.

My second love is educational technology. I love using digital platforms to help others develop meaningful experiences for their classroom. I am a true advocate for effectively-used technology and the benefits of networking with the world to create great conversations, develop new ideas, and share for the benefit of others. I have presented at many conferences, workshops, and district professional development sessions, using every opportunity as a learning opportunity for me as well as others. However, there was one missing link...

Have you ever had that light bulb go off in your head, and you are like, "Wow, this is the exact thing I need to make things come full circle for me!" Well, that is what happened when I began creating my ePortfolio. I actually thought, "Why have I not started doing this already?" I guess the answer to that was, nobody made me. That sounds terrible, but it is the truth. I get caught up in everyday tasks and I have never been made to sit down and create an "All About Me" website to showcase my accolades, presentations, thoughts, or personality. Do you know how long I would search my Google Drive to find videos or presentations from years past to use for campus training? I cannot count the times I have said, "Well, I made a video on that and I have a really cool accountability tracker for these activities, but I will have to find them and get back to you on that because I cannot remember where they are at this moment."

Fret no longer, friends, I have found the missing link, and I now have a one-stop-shop for anyone and everyone that wants access to my ideas or creations! Oh, you need a new math game to play with your second graders? Check out my website, under the STEM tab. What's that you say? Do you need some help with classroom management? Check out my website, under the instructional coaching tab and you will find what you need. Educational Technology? Professional Development? But wait, there's more! Do you want to know more about me? Yep, you know where to go,

Seriously though, this ePortfolio is a place I will always have, owned by me no matter what district or company I work with, and I will know exactly where to go if I want to show someone my work, and I won't have to waste any time searching for it in some folder, Google Drive, or shared drive ever again. I will use this ePortfolio to display information in an organized way that everyone can access at any time. The one thing that I must vow to do is keep it updated so that I can reflect upon my personal growth, brainstorm new ideas, design and create products, and continually monitor, modify, and evaluate my life journey as an educator. So, I suppose you could say that I am using the Engineering Design Process on myself!

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