Goal 1: Define Your Moment

Goal 1: Define Your Moment of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. Click the link to find out more about the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators.

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 11.57.27 PM“Every moment is the paradox of now or never.” ~ Simon Van Booy

This week we begin the 4th cycle and year of the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. This year’s theme is, “This is MY Moment.” Each goal will focus on getting educators to believe their plans of action now will lead to positive changes and transformation in their teaching and learning environments.

I’ve learned a lot throughout my journey as a teacher, especially undergoing the 30 Goals for Educators. We are now in our 4th year and over 9000 educators have joined in aiming to complete short-term goals to become better educators for themselves and learners. I’ve been blessed to be the igniter of this movement and see the impact and the way this process has transformed lives. Like any other movement and action it begins with a choice and 4 years ago when I posted the first goal as a new blogger I encountered many fears and excuses for never starting this journey. I had that moment in which the idea came to me and at the time I remember thinking of all the ways this would fail. I had been blogging for less than a year and had thought only a few people read my blog. I didn’t have enough time and each year I become busier and each year I wonder if it is the last year. The 30 Goals continue to be my inspiration and get me through the obstacles I put in my mind. There will always be things that get in the way of transformational action. We will always have time constraints or many other “busy things to do” but in the end I remember that I have this moment. The idea came to me now for a reason and I can decide to either take that moment and idea and live the transformational life I want to or I can let that moment slip by and continue to live in the mundane and routine that doesn’t really make me a happy person. I can continue to do the things that make my life stressful and uninspiring or I can take this moment and make my life purposeful and inspiring.

Moments become movements and incredible memories when we seize them. Now is the moment to decide to live how you want and make it count because moments pass by and can also become seconds withered away by time. The choice is ours and when we decide to make our moments meaningful we become better examples and individuals for those around us. Our spirits are uplifted and we inspire others. We inspire our learners. We become the type of educators that walk in the room and our energy ignites our learners. We can also become burnt out teachers that are stressed. I was one of those teachers at a point in my life until a student woke me up by asking me why I didn’t smile anymore. I have decided I want to be the teacher that brings positive energy into my classroom because it is one step towards helping my learners become purpose-filled individuals.


Short-term- We begin cycle 4 by defining what we hope to accomplish this new semester with as educators and with our learners. I have began this sticky note wall where you can finish the statement, “This is my moment to….”  You can also define your moments with this on your own using the following tools:

Long-term- These statements are promises you are making to yourself for action you will fulfill throughout the year. It is important to revisit these statements again before you begin your next class with learners. The more you revisit these plans, the more successful you will be in completing them.

Educational Leadership Goal

This year we will also be outlining goals for those in leadership roles- principals, vps, administrators, district policy leaders, superintendents, instructional technology leaders, etc. Lisa Dabbs, who was a principal for many years, will be posting her thoughts and reflections for leadership in her blog, Teaching with Soul.

Goal- As a leader, define what you hope to accomplish this new semester with the educators you lead. Think about actions that support collaboration among teachers, parents, and  students. How will you uplift your staff and motivate them throughout the year? How will you ensure that students’ learning needs are met and their voices and input considered? What new routines or movements can you begin to transform the school environment in a positive way?

New Teacher Goal

This year we will also be outlining goals for new teachers or teachers in training. Lisa Dabbs, who mentors new teachers through #NTChat (new teacher chat), will be posting her thoughts and support in her blog, Teaching with Soul.

Goal- As a new teacher, define what you hope to accomplish this new semester with learners. Think about the kind of teacher you’d like to be and how your instructional practice can support this. When you prepare a lesson or an assessment, think about how it will support you in your journey to becoming the kind of teacher you want to be. We will work on ensuring that you surround yourself with teachers who support you in these goals. Who you surround yourself with and who you allow to mentor you will be a big factor in your success. If you surround yourself with teachers who do not support you and what you do then it becomes easier to allow yourself to believe that you shouldn’t aim to be the teacher you want to be.


Define what you plan on doing this year to be a transformational teacher or leader. You can add it as a sticky note wall.

Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEdu, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, or adding a comment below! All goals are organized in this 30 Goals Livebinder.

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Please fill out this Google Form if you reflected on at least 1 goal so you will be listed in a 30 Goals blog list and on a 30 Goals Twitter list.

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And Maddest of All to See Education As It Is & Not As It Should Be

The way I tackle life comes from one of my favorite books,  Miguel De Cervantes’ Don Quixote of La Mancha. Briefly, the protagonist of the story, an idealist, is told he is mad and responds,

I have lived nearly fifty years, and I have seen life as it is. Pain, misery, hunger … cruelty beyond belief. I have heard the singing from taverns and the moans from bundles of filth on the streets. I have been a soldier and seen my comrades fall in battle … or die more slowly under the lash in Africa. I have held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no gallant last words … only their eyes filled with confusion, whimpering the question, “Why?” I do not think they asked why they were dying, but why they had lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!

In the same way I think it is maddest of all to see education as it is and not as it should be. For decades, I have seen policies, curricula, standardized testing, instructional practices, institutional rules, bureaucracy, and classroom design destroy the joy of learning.  That is why so many of our students slip through the system and become part of the poverty or crime cycle. Our students are searching for that thing that makes them ignite, feel like they are alive and provides meaning to their existence. I believe we can help our students find their purpose and passion through education. When they learn and discover new things they continually find a piece to that puzzle. If not, they continually will seek this elsewhere. So how can we begin to have an education system that supports this type of learning where we don’t punish kids for their curiosity and where we give them the time to explore their passions?

How Do We Transform the System?

Don Quixote had two characteristics every stakeholder in education should have, vision and passion. Passionate people are contagious. They spread their vision and energy to others who become inflamed as well! My vision for education is to see educators and students collaborate with each other over dire problems, mentor each other, and spread the passion so the weary become strong.

6 Revolutionary Educational Models We Can Learn From

I also believe there are educational models out there that are on the right track. We can learn from these models and try to replicate them. I will introduce you to them in the hope that as we begin 2012 we will aim to adopt some of their characteristics into our classrooms. That is where transformation starts. We begin in our classrooms and do what we can and as we feel more empowered we transform our schools then the community. As a famous Chinese proverb says,”The journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step.”

Be Very Afraid and Other Projects by Dr. Stephen Heppell

In April, I had the opportunity to meet Professor Heppell at the Plymouth E-learning Conference and learn about the amazing projects he has been organizing to transform education. One of them is the Be Very Afraid project where students redesign their schools and make key decisions about their learning environments and how they want to learn. You have to watch the amazing interviews by the students, because it is truly inspirational. Prof. Heppell also leads projects to help us rethink the way we design our classrooms. Look at the photos here to learn about shoeless classrooms and tiered seating. Check out his other revolutionary ideas here that are taking place.

Bijal Damani’s Class Bazaar in India

In October I was at the UNESCO Bangkok ICT and Problem Based Learning Conference, which is where I met ISTE Outstanding Teacher, Bijal Damani, and learned about her bazaar project that has her students in India using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to learn about marketing skills. The students host their own bazaar, invent projects that will improve the lives of others, create advertisements for these products, get sponsors, and much more. The most incredible part is that the money raised helps children in the slums in India receive a better education.

Monika Hardy’s Innovation Lab

Monika Hardy’s Innovation Lab connects her high school students in Denver with mentors worldwide from her Personal Learning Network. Basically, the students have a curriculum built upon what they want to explore. They are matched up with mentors in the chosen field in the community and online that provide them the reading, math, and other relevant skills that are needed to explore their interests. Read more about the passion led courses here and watch a full presentation with her mentors and students here.

The Swiss School

I learned about this school through a Tweet. I loved what I saw, children learning in various languages math, culture, food, creativity, and more! They need funding and are offering language and culture courses taught by kids for a fee. Check out how you can learn and give.

The Blue School by The Blue Man Group

I learned about this school by watching an online talk by Sir Ken Robinson. This school is a Lab School that invites parents to sit in on classes and supports the creative learning of students.

The Hellerup School in Denmark

I learned about the Hellerup school in Denmark from this article that describes the concept of learning without walls, “The school’s stairs and hallways double as a space where the whole school community can gather and learn together. The school leader’s office is located in the center of the school, without walls, because he wanted to be able to see the students throughout the day and because he believed it was important for students to see adults interact professionally and respectfully with each other, setting an example for the young students.”



Think about how you can transform your classroom in 2012 and begin to set that in motion.

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What other educational models do you think are revolutionary?

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11 of ’11 Projects Transforming Education

Adam Simpson, an educator in Turkey, recently challenged bloggers to reflect on and post 11 of their best blog posts of 2011 (11 of 11). Reading several of the blogger’s posts and different takes on it has spurred me to reflect on my past year blogging and collaborating with my passionate/personal learning network (PLN) who inspire me and support me daily. I am a better person and educator because they share and believe in me. Daily, I am grateful for being blessed with such an incredible Passionate Learning Network.

My 2011 Journey

I will take a spin and post 11 projects I take part in that I believe are transforming education. These projects are the reason why I haven’t blogged as much as I would like to, because I believe that part of transformation is taking that bold step to act upon what you believe. I believe a quality education improves the world because it opens minds, breaks generational cycles, and perpetuates new positive cycles. Every child to adult I help realize their potential means they are helping the world become a better place. I am helping them stay away from poverty and crime. I take that job very seriously and whenever anyone tells me it can’t be done, I just do it. I don’t worry about the criticisms and I don’t even look at any obstacles. As Henry Ford says, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.”

Over 11 of ’11 Projects

I hope by sharing these projects you will be able to see the potential of what you can do when you collaborate with others to activate your passion. With the support and collaboration of my PLN, I have been able to be a part of projects that have impacted tens of thousands of people worldwide. I have been collaborating with educators online for less than 3 years. Imagine the possibilites of every person activating their passion with the support of their PLN.

  • The 30 Goals Challenge- Over 7000 educators worldwide have participated in accomplishing goals to transform their classrooms and impact their students. Educators who join receive a free ebook and have access to several videos and podcasts to help them achieve their goals. More importantly they get to reflect upon these goals on Twitter (#30Goals), Facebook, or on their blogs and receive the support of 1000s of educators also accomplishing these goals.
  • The Reform Symposium Free E-Conference- This past August we had 80 presenters and 12 keynote speakers that impacted over 4100 educators worldwide in 100 countries! Organised by educators for educators, it was FREE but offered more valuable and inspiring Professional Development than money could buy! If you didn’t manage to attend you can catch up by viewing the Recordings.
  • The Virtual Round Table E-Conference- ELTon nominated free online conference focusing on language and technology. Unique in that participants can attend via a live video conference or in Second Life.
  • #Edchat- Join over 2000 educators on Twitter every Tuesday at 12pm EST/6pm EST to discuss various educational topics you get to vote for and suggest.
  • #ELTChat- Join English language teaching educators worldwide on Twitter every Wednesday at 12:00 pm London time, at 21:00 pm London time to discuss various educational topics you get to vote for and suggest.
  • TESOL’s free Electronic Village Online (EVO) sessions- These are free online 5 week courses that start January 9th and end February 12th. You can choose from several courses including the Digital Storytelling for Young Learners one I am moderating with a dream team (Esra Girgin, Barbara Sakamoto, Özge Karaoglu, Jennifer Verschoor, David Dodgson, Michelle Worgan, and Sabrina De Vita)
  • 140 Character Conferences- Jeff Pulver has been amazing in getting celebrities, educators, and leaders in various fields to speak passionately about how social media is revolutionizing their fields. If you cannot attend physically, then attend virtually. I help organize the educational panels so if you hear of one coming to your city and would like to take part, please let me know. Jeff live streams the talks! Follow the hashtag, #140Conf for continuous updates.
  • Cooperative Catalyst Blog- Read about the projects and ways educators are transforming education daily. Several bloggers challenge readers to rethink traditional education models. I have enjoyed adding a few posts to the mix.
  • Free Friday Webinars- Thanks to the American TESOL Institute, I conduct free 30 minute online webinars on the Adobe Connect platform every Friday at 4pm EST (New York Time), 3pm Austin, TX, 1pm LA, California, 9pm London Time, 10pm Paris Time, 11pm Athens/Istanbul Time, Sat 8am Sydney time, and Sat. 6am Tokyo time. This is the Adobe Room to join! http://americantesol.adobeconnect.com/terrell/,  Check out the Livebinder resources and past recordings-  http://americantesol.com/tesol-lectures.htm
  • Simple K12 webinars- Attend free webinars with experts on various topics. I often present for Simple K12 and they won a 2011 Edublogs Award!
  • The Educators’ PLN Ning- The Educator’s PLN is a great place to interact and learn from other educators. We have hosted free live chats with various educational leaders. In the past we featured Alfie Kohn, Howard Rheingold, Diane Ravitch, Chris Lehmann, Steve Hargadon, Jim Burke, and others.
  • The Horizon Report, K-12- This amazing free e-report was curated by education thought leaders worldwide. We identified 6 technology trends to transform education and show examples of them in schools worldwide.


Try activating your passion project in 2012! Let us know about it so we can help you get the support you need.

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What 2012 passion project will you activate?

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Happy Birthday! #Edchat Turns 2!

Part of the #Edchat Category

#Edchat turns TWO this week!

Thank You

For the last 2 years #Edchat has been the birth of  conversation for over 2000 educators weekly on how to improve education worldwide! #Edchat has created real change by igniting new projects, adding more educators to the conversation, inspiring over 400 educational chats, inspiring a new school, inspiring a free online conference with over 4000 attendees, and so much more. The conversation began 2 years ago with 3 educators- (Tom Whitby (@TomWhitby), Steven Anderson (@Web20Classroom), and (@ShellTerrell))- who desired education transformation and saw the need for educational stakeholders to discuss, debate, explore, reflect, react, and act on various issues which impact education. For this reason, I would argue that #Edchat is one of the most powerful hashtags creating real change in schools.
You can engage in the movement by:

  • suggesting topics on the poll
  • voting for topics
  • engaging in the discussion
  • blogging about the conversations
  • inviting friends to the conversation
  • presenting about the educator communities that exist
  • transforming the conversation into action at your schools

In it’s two years, #Edchat has inspired, motivated, and transform educational stakeholders. We have a diverse group of student teachers, parents, students, administrators, and community leaders who participate weekly in order to collaborate on improving our education systems worldwide!

This was last year’s Wallwisher! Please continue the tradition by adding how Edchat has impacted you!

Helpful Edchat Resources!

Edchat is transformational because of you! Here are helpful resources to become more involved or to help introduce educators to Edchat!

We’d like to thank the following for their weekly dedication to Edchat:


Get another educator involved in the Edchat conversations which take place every Tuesday at 12pm NYC EDT and 7pm NYC EDT! Participate by engaging a few and adding #Edchat to the end of your tweet.

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What would you like to see from Edchat this upcoming year?

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Two: The Power of Educators on Social Networks

Plymouth Keynote
By foto_mania, Flickr

On April 8th I celebrated my two year Twitter birthday. 100s of members of my Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN) joined me in the celebration online and face-to-face as I gave my Keynote, Wings & Webs: Education Transformation and Social Media, which I’ve included a shortened version below. This was one of 14 presentations I gave in the last 30 days while traveling throughout Turkey, Germany, and the UK meeting 100s of members of my PLN. This will explain my 4 week absence on this blog.

Plymouth was an incredible experience for me. This was the first conference I had presented at in which the majority of the audience were tekkies, had smart phones and netbooks or iPads, had Twitter accounts, and the venue itself had a strong wifi connection. The backchannel was roaring as I gave my keynote livestreamed to my friends on Twitter. And yes, I do refer to several members of my Personal/ Passionate Learning Network as friends even though I have over 12,000 I connect and often collaborate with. I am one of those people who preaches about Twitter and the way it has changed my life so profoundly in just 2 years.

It’s About the Tool

How odd that so many of us will preach, “It’s about the tool,” when we preach that schools and teachers should integrate technology. In the next moment many who say this also speak/blog vehemently against social networks like Twitter and Facebook. I have read many of these posts in the last year and have also heard speakers at the conferences I’ve attended speak against these tools. In some cases they try to encourage other educators to believe these networks are evil and that their feelings of warmth for their PLN are something to be ashamed of or that it is a superficial feeling. I want to clarify now that social media has profoundly improved my experience as an educator. I am a better educator because my PLN has supported, challenged, and collaborated with and shared with me. They have infected me with their passion to be better at my profession. Thank you, friends!

How Do You Use These Tools?

Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are tools and I know that I have used these tools effectively to collaborate and connect with teachers worldwide. That is my choice. Perhaps, those who scream against these tools are really not that social? Perhaps, they haven’t figured out how to use social media tools effectively? Okay, I understand we are individuals and make choices but why do they have to blame the tool? I use social media tools to share a human experience of reaching out to others and make meaningful connections. I have been able in the last two years to do amazing things I would have never been able to do as effectively without these tools, which include:

  • Provide free professional development and resources to 10,000s of educators worldwide in over 150 countries
  • Provide a free curriculum to an educator in Nepal who I also Skype with
  • Travel to 16 countries spending quality time with friends from all over the globe including Turkey, Greece, the UK, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Poland, France, the US, Brussels, Brazil, Japan, and so forth
  • Eat fish and chips with friends I met online on the beach
  • Take roadtrips with friends I met online throughout Poland, Belgium, France, and Amsterdam
  • Provide free weekly webinars to teachers in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Peru, and other countries where resources and professional development are scarce

I have an overwhelming amount of stories I could share. Everyday I wake up I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing field where we make a profound difference in the world. I guess the reason I feel so passionate about social media is that I come from humble Mexican American beginnings. I am part of the first generation in my family to graduate from college and I have been blessed to travel more than anyone else in my family for generations. I explain more about this in my keynote below.

Social Media Transforms Our Conference Experiences

Social media has transformed my conference experience. I now attend more conferences because I want to hang out with members of my PLN. Before social media, most of the educators that attended conferences weren’t connected to many people attending the conference. This was my reality and I remember experiencing this “alone” feeling. I would get lost among the crowd and feel even more alone. I stopped going to conferences a decade ago because I was sick and tired of the protocols of shaking people’s hands and giving them a mini interview stating why they should want to know me. That’s a conference, though, for educators not on social media. Social media has revolutionized the conference experience. I meet people at conferences and I feel I know them and they know me. They know about my pug, my preference for Coke 0, and much more. We hug at first glance and we spend quality time enjoying the talks and events. We “experience” the conference. I attend way more conferences worldwide as a result of my online connections and I leave feeling I have grown because of the conference and the people I learned from and connected with on a real level. How do you approach that first meet and greet and get to the point where you can just be comfortable enjoying each other’s company? When does a conference become an experience versus an uncomfortable way to just network? Simply, social media. It takes away the leg work.

Power through Social Networks

Sometimes, the connections I make on social networks are to parents, learners, politicians, authors, other teachers, or administrators. We more than connect. We have conversations of what education transformation should be. I have the ability to show these various stakeholders what effective learning looks like. I have the ability to disprove their notions that what matters most is a learner’s test scores or grades. I have the ability to persuade them that mobile learning is a way for students to get outside the walls of their classroom and be active, interacting in a meaningful way with their environments. I believe educator messages about education transformation should go viral in order to transform the way most education systems are worldwide. I shared this in my keynote. Social media is a powerful way to spread these messages. So to the naysayers I say sorry I’m not quitting. I have a world that needs changing and educators collaborating on social media are on a mission to positively impact their learning environments. Social networks may transform decades from now but the worldwide collaboration and human connection educators participate in daily on these networks won’t ever die.

My Plymouth Keynote


Share your story why you believe educators should be active on social networks.

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