I like many of you reading this may have struggled with this topic at one time or another? Working for someone or setting off on your own. Years ago I had a very successful business but like many businesses, I was doing something that was to soon. I started my own Internet provider company around 1998. Now if you think back to 1998 you might recall that the Internet was no big deal. Most people had AOL and were happy playing online games hosted by one company. I was running a small three phone bulletin board our of my apartment before setting off to build the next big thing. At that time I would go out to sell a website and every business owner asked me what would they want one of those for? But when I ran this company I was still working full time as a Paramedic.
After selling off the business because the big guns of Comcast and Verizon were getting into the Internet game we could not compete. But I still had my full-time job to fall back on.
I did later take a new job full-time working for schools at the Technology Director. But as things go sometimes even a forever job is not forever. That is what brings us to today’s post.
Self-employment is a way for you to secure your own future. I never heard of anyone laying their self off from their own business. Okay on name comes to mind of someone who started a company only to be put out by the very people who he hired, Steve Jobs. But he returned later with fresh eyes and made it one of the richest companies in the world.
But self-employment brings its own stresses and let downs. You may be your own boss but you have to be willing to worry about something 24/7/365. But for years since being in the technology field, I always seem to be doing work at home in off hours for the company I am with. I guess it is just how I am wired or maybe its because I owned my own business I know how important it is to keep all of the technology running smoothly all the time?
If you watch Shark Tank you will hear this statement. “If you work full time and try to have a business the business becomes more of a hobby then a real business.” So I would say if you are self-employed or you are leaning that way you should be ALL IN. We all love a safety net in our lives but when you are ALL IN you will be focused every minute of every day on growing your business.
I would like to hear your thoughts on being self-employed and what it means to you?
Collaborative learning is a great way to teach for the 21st century. Today’s largest companies create and move their businesses by using collaborative meetings. Companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft have teams that meet often to come up with the next big thing. Even programming companies work on large code projects with many programmers coming up with ideas and each writing a piece of the code.
Today’s education, for the most part, is leading this new way of educating children from elementary to high school and even in the college setting. With the help of great tools such as interactive whiteboards, Google Suite and Office 365 and much more. Smartphones can also be a great collaborative learning tool. The focus is getting students to learn together much like the businesses of today.
I enjoy walking into a classroom and seeing a teacher walking around the room and assisting the students in learning in group settings. The day’s of the teacher standing in front of the classroom and lecturing have been put back into the dark ages of education.
If you do teach or even lead teams in a business find ways to have each person or student contribute to the overall lesson. You will find great rewards when you see how much your students or staff know.
Teaching students to be prepared for the modern world is a hard task. Teaching using technology can be default because it is ever changing. Adapting to those changes can be a challenge. But as you can see from the picture above many great tools have been created for us to use in our lessons. I try to adopt at least one new tool a year to help with education. You also have to have a good clear vision when adopting new tech tools. You never want to have your students feel that they are on tech overload.
I like to see a blend of online learning with a mixture of book and classroom instruction. This way we can reach all types of learners. Some students will learn better at a self-pace while others strive to keep pace in the classroom. Using a good mixture of both will keep all of the students engaged on the subject matter.
I do believe in digital notes. How many times have you wanted to refer to a note to find you left it in the office or classroom? With digital notes and using a tool such as Evernote or Google Keep, I can always have my notes on every device I carry. Besides, it is easier to carry my phone in my pocket then carry around my paper notebook.
Traveling at least by car has never really been my thing. Don’t get me wrong we have done a ton of it over the years even taking our children on many car trips. But in today’s fast paced world and everyone trying to get somewhere as fast as they can makes you wonder if it is safe anymore? We were on a highway yesterday doing 60 in a 55 zone and there were people trying to run over us. Then you get moving in the fast lane and you find a person driving 10 miles under the limit in the fast lane. Then we have the distracted drivers. Remember when our parents taught us to drive? Both hands on the wheel, hand over hand, eyes scanning everywhere all the time. Today you see more people looking down towards their lap, ie’ SMART PHONE then watching the road ahead. I am writing this in the hopes that someone will read it and think, “I could save a life today by paying attention!”
Today’s technology workers have to be vast in what the can handle. The day has long past to just be a simple computer repair person or even a networking guru. Working for school districts has transformed the way I look at technology and how I approach each day. When you work for a profit company you may begin to get a little rusty because you are working with one system or another and you don’t get to invest time with many forms of technology. I always instruct my staff to learn about all forms of technology because the students and teachers that we assist deserve the very best from their tech teams. Not only do we watch over servers, network switches and Windows computers we also get involved with Smart Boards, Macs, iPads, Tablets, Video Production and Education software. We are the experts that people rely on daily to enable them to teach and learn. Microsoft Office is a great tool and has been around for a long time but Google and G Suite has been taking over schools by storm. So we as technology motivators have to curve our way of thinking and assist in finding new and better cost effective ways to educate the young people of today. iPads are very predominant in education and we must know how to push apps out to the teachers and students while still securing the devices. A very good school technologist will never stop learning and investigating new ways to help the district educate with technology while keeping an eye on the budget to make it cost effective for everyone.
As you can see the World of Technology is always changing. And I have worked for a profit company where you don’t get to see innovation because making money is the key to their success. But in education we innovate with Technology all the time to show students that technology is changing and we get to help show them the new World they will be stepping into.
When you set a Good Reads Challenge it gives you a goal to get some reading done throughout the year. So how do you reach your goal? First set a little time aside each day to put your feet up and grab your book and relax and read. I have found that you can give yourself an hour after work each day to steal a little time for yourself. Another tip I can give you is to always carry your book with you. I have found that by reading on my Kindle and by using the Kindle app on my smart phone I always have my book with me. Better yet the book will use whisper sync and keep all your devices up to date on whatever page you are on. Stephen King once said, “You can read in chunks or you can read as a marathon.” All Mr. King is saying is read. I talked with one older women once who I found reading and I asked her, “What is the best time to read?” Her response, “All of the time. The only time you should never read is when you lay down for bed.” She went on to tell me that your body knows it’s time to sleep, so don’t waste your time. The main tip I can give you is to read. If we just watch TV and movies you will miss out on so many great works or writing.
I am once again deep into my college courses. As I talked about in my last post that colleges now offer online course work you can go back to school even if you are working full time. Pictured above is my class room in my kitchen. I don’t have to go out and get in my car and fight traffic to get to a classroom. I can open an iPad and read my course work where ever I may be. I then use a laptop and EverNote to take my notes and write my papers and projects to submit to the professor. I find myself at times doing course work early in the morning or late into the evening. Attending online classes allow me to work on my free time without fighting to make a class on time. I must say this type of learning does take dedication and devotion to learning. You are still giving up your time to attend but it’s on your time. I spoke with a high school teacher the other day and she feels that in another 20 years there will be no more brink and mortar schools? I disagree. I told her when you are young you need the structure that the classroom provides. I have heard of many young people trying online learning and felling because they can’t give up their free time on their own. Not to say that this is everyone. We did go to a graduation party where the young girl completed her high school requirements using a Cyber School. Online learning works for me, but if you are not sure look at your life style and that will dictate which type of learning you should choose.