You know when you go to an interview and the hiring committee ask you to predict the future! The typical question: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Honestly, can we even answer this question? Don’t get me wrong I have asked this question and I have answered this question. We’re my predictions accurate? I don’t remember 😊
Today I was trying to make my way through my to-do list when I got a notification on my phone. It was one of those were you see a photo “on this days” years ago. I looked at it and it show me that:
10 years ago today I was hooded by my doctoral advisor, Dr. Ginger Watson and I celebrated my earning my doctoral degree (I actually had a bunch of revisions and didn’t really graduate until the end of summer but who cares I still partied like a rockstar!). I remember my mom and my brother came to celebrate with me and that was pretty awesome.
5 years ago I was in Zurich, Switzerland leading a study abroad program with primarily undergraduate students and an alumni of the Instructional Design and Technology program from The University of Tampa. My co-coordinator Merrie was honestly the best! I don’t know how I would have finished this trip without Merrie! 💖
Reflection on this post:
So I am now, 10 year later from getting hooded, wrapping up my first year as a faculty member at The University of Tennessee Knoxville. I am working on a research plan with my first doctoral student. I am conducting research with two additional graduate students. I am the graduate coordinator of the learning, design, and technology doctoral program and we are in the process of welcoming a nice group of doctoral students this fall (very exciting!). I am also working on other research and writing projects.
If you had asked me 10 years ago or even 5 years ago, where I was planning to be in ____ number of years, I do not know if I would have even been to come up with my current life. As we say in Panama: la vida es loca y a cualquiera le toca!
It has been a few weeks since I finally restarted a workout routine. I found a place nearby that has what I need and provides access at times that work for me. It has felt so good. Last summer and at the beginning of the fall term I tried to start a morning workout routine and that just went to shit 💩 really quickly. Then, I just gave up. But by March this year I felt like I had to figured it out. So, I did. Anywho, I am trying a new schedule, a new location, and hopefully a new routine 😊
This past Monday, March 20, was the official beginning of the Spring. This post has been in my draft folder for a few weeks. Yikes! This means I have survived my first Winter in Tennessee. So I am here to share some of the sunny day outings from the last two and half months of Winter.
So I am a little bit in my feelings. Tonight as I wrapped up AERA 2023 and was posting about it on LinkedIn. I realize that this year marks my 10th anniversary of attending this annual meeting of educational researchers.
I do not know why I feel it is special, the 10th anniversary. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that 10 years ago, I just embarked in this adventure (on my own – without my advisor – self-funded) without any clear idea of what I was doing but I just did it.
I remember a few months before AERA 2013 my advisor was talking to me about conferences and she told me: “AERA is where Sweller goes to present about Cognitive Load Theory. It is a hard to get accepted. But if you are doing education research, that is where you want to go.” I do not know why but my immediate thought was: “well that is exactly were I am going to go.” I went home and I told my partner: “I want to go to AERA, I need to invest on my professional development.” Without hesitation, he just said: Sounds like a plan!
BTW, in my post from 2013 I wrote this “The AERA program was massive! Thankfully, I had browsed through the online program and downloaded my schedule to the mobile app before my arrival to San Francisco.” Dear AERA can we go back to whatever app we used in 2013? The App this year was awful!
Here are other blogs posts I have written about AERA throughout the years:
On December 2015, I gave birth to my son. I was not initially planning to attend AERA 2016 but a dear friend and colleague asked me to moderate a panel and so I made my way to Washington DC (It was the first time I travel after having my son): The “Quick Update” Post
I guess I did not blog for AERA 2017 (San Antonio), AERA 2018 (New York), and AERA 2019 (Toronto). But I was there lol
AERA 2020 was cancelled. I was really looking forward to San Francisco but glad that the conference was cancelled.
This has been a journey. Somehow in the massive sea of people that is AERA, I have created my own community and network.
Some highlights of AERA 2023:
The first three nights in Chicago for the conference, I had dinners in which we (me and other who were with me) just spoke Spanish and that was pretty freaking awesome!
Meeting colleagues from Universidad de Sevilla (Thanks to Jeff Carpenter): Paula Marcelo-Martinez, Carlos Marcelo, and Paulino Murillo. In one dinner outing we enjoyed some Chicago style pizza together, It was pretty awesome to do the Chicago style pizza with colleagues from Spain. Paula and Carlos are doing some research on Edu Influencers in Spain: Here are slides from their presentation titled “Don’t call me an influencer: New digital artisans in education.”
Definitely getting to catch up with Bodong in person for the first time in a long time.
Presenting two awards at the SIG Instructional Technology business meeting and starting in my role as program chair (please submit to SIG IT and sign up to review!)
Presenting work that colleague Maria Luna-Thomas and I already published on Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in Digital Praxis: tiny.utk.edu/CRP_AERA23
Attending the University of Canterbury breakfast on Sunday morning and experiencing a Māori start of the day, Karakia. Thank you for the invite Cheryl Brown!
Catching up with doctoral students from Old Dominion University (Go Monarchs)!
Presenting a paper session on some part of the work that I started with Dr. Lina Gomez-Vasquez and our teams of graduate and undergraduate researchers on the use of digital networks by academics in higher education.
Getting to see so many friends, colleagues, and connections.
Two resources that I want to add to this blog post because I can come back to them later:
This past week I attend the Open Education Conference! Going to a conference you have never attended before and in a different continent is actually very intimidating. But, I made the travel arrangements and (despite some frustrations with airlines) made the journey to Inverness, Scotland to attend #OER23.
First, a shoutout to my co-authors: Josh Rosenberg and George Veletsianos. Our team has been working on a project related to self-archiving practices amongst scholars in higher education. This work has been inspired by similar work that both Josh (see blog post) and George have done in the past. The purpose of my travel to #OER23 was in part to present some of our initial findings and to get the conversation started on this topic. Here are the slides from the presentation: tiny.utk.edu/OER23
Back to the conference experience! Arriving at the conference venue (The UHI Inverness Campus so serene, accessible, and full with natural beauty) I did not know what to expect from from the conference. But I was immediately welcomed. A colleague sitting next to me an at the opening keynote introduce herself and she, just like me, was attending for the first time and had made her way to Inverness from Sri Lanka. I quickly realized that the #OER23 conference was an event with a global representation.
There are many other sessions that I could mention. I am still gathering links and resources from the conference. Thankful for all the presenters who shared their slides via Discord and other online platforms. I love that I got to meet so many online connections that I have in one way or another linked with in the past (likely in the bird app). Also, grateful for the opportunity to met colleagues who I did not know before and who share a passion for openness! It was also great to learn more about OER practices and policies in Scotland. Looking forward to future OER conferences!
I almost forgot! How could I forget? The OER GASTA was epic (also just in case you are wondering what is a GASTA?)! I do not have links to all of the GASTA presentations but here is the one presented by Eamon “Beyond the pedagogies of perpetual panic“. All of them were pretty epic!
I think for the most part when we think of preparing for work travel we think of getting work done that need to completed before we travel and preparing for the work that will be done during the work travel trip. In my case the work that will be done is normally a presentation.
But I know many of us also have to think of what is going on in our personal lives and what we need to prepare so that when we come back from work travel we are not to discombobulated to be involved and participate in activities in our personal lives (with family and friends). This all takes some serious project management skills!
This past weekend, it was Easter Sunday. I knew that after a week of travel I would come home to a special holiday for my little one and I wanted to make sure he knew I had not forgotten. So, my pre-travel preparations involved getting Easter goodies (thank you Party City!) and planning activities prior to leaving for my work trip. I also manage to get a chocolate bunny at the airport in one of my layovers on the way home 😊 🐰
What are the objectives, aims, and values of the tool designer?
What does the tool designer gain from your use of this tool?
Who is the target audience for this tool? How do you know this?
Who is harmed and who benefits from this tool?
As you are using chatGPT think about the Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) of this tool in teaching and learning
Create a figure (using Canva) that helps illustrate your SWOT analysis
I was pretty excited to see the outcome of the exercise but also to hear the stories during our discussion. Here are some examples of the SWOT analysis created by the students, shared in this post with their permission.
In the Fall 2019, The English Department at The University of Tampa hosted Drag Queen Story Hour. To be honest, I do not remember if the event was hosted every year or if that was the first time. I just know that a flyer about the event reached my inbox and it caught my attention. At that time my child was 3 years old and I thought for sure he would enjoy story time. Also, he love going to campus on the weekends to see where his mom worked. For us as parents it was a great to teach him about inclusivity at a young age and to encourage a love for learning and reading.
That Saturday, we made our way to campus and we mentioned to our son that we were going to “drag queen story hour.” We got there, found some good seat, and proceeded to hear the stories that the drag queens were reading for us. It was a really good crowd. There were lots of children and parents, also faculty and staff from the university. After the readings, we wanted to say thanks to our readers. My family and I made out way to the front of the room and talked to the wonderful queens. One of them asked me what my role was at the university and I mentioned that I was a professor in the department of education. They were a bit shocked because according to them ” I looked very young” (I laughed). So they proceeded to tell me that they were interested in getting masters in education, so I gave them my business and told them to reach out to me if they had any questions. My family and I then took a picture with the drag queens! It was a wonderful event.
As we were walking back to our car I ran into the Provost, who stopped by the say hi to me and my family. In the exchange we mentioned that were coming to from the Drag Queen Story Hour event and he was happy to hear we enjoyed it and that there was a great turn out. He mentioned that there had been some threats made about potential protest but that he was happy everything had gone smoothly.
Once were in our car out little one said to me: “mommy were were the dragons? I did not see any dragons”
I was confused. So I said: “dragons? Why did you think were going to see dragons?”
He responded: You said we were going to “dragon queen story hour!”
My partner and I just burst out laughing! We explained the title of event to him (and what exactly were meant by drag queens) and he said: “Oh, okay!” and moved on with his day!
Early during the fall semester I became interested in joining a writing retreat to make progress towards some of the writing goals that I had for 2023. I have a few big projects that require time to outline, analyze the data, organize the ideas that I want to share, and just get the ball rolling. Having uninterrupted time is extremely beneficial for any writing project. However. having long chunks of uninterrupted time are tremendously valuable.
I started searching the Internet for writing retreats for academics. I do not know if I was just not very good at searching for this type of activity but most results were either very far into the future or focused on creative writing. I did not see myself as an academic engaged in creative writing so I figured I would not fit into those spaces. As any good blogger, I started reading blogs of others who had been in a writing retreat and what I notice was that some writer discussed the good, the bad, and the ugly of writing retreats. I also noticed one academic blogger mentioned how he first started by creating a solo writing retreat. The idea of a solo writing retreat attracted me. I have travelled solo in the past and enjoyed the experience. I figured this would be somewhat similar with a little caveat, I would be bringing my co-author Missy (dog) with me. So after figuring out a good week for me to take a leave of absence from home, I settled on specific dates to travel to a small cabin with my co-author.
When the time came to start the writing retreat, I packed food and comfy clothes. After settling into our cabin, the outlining, organizing, and writing tasks started to happen. The scenery in the location of the cabin was lovely. We even got snow. It was magical. But even more magical was that I was getting the work done. I was not expecting to have a completed product by the end of my writing retreat, but I was hoping to make serious progress. I can honestly say that I was able to do just that. Now, I am working on the remaining of one those projects on a regular basis and hopefully on track to reach the final outcome.
I think the one aspect about my writing retreat that I will change for next time is the length of time. For this first writing retreat I planned for 7 days. To be honest, at 5 days I was really missing mi familia. So, in retrospective the next writing retreat will be 5 instead of 7 days.
The year of 2022 gave me wonderful professional opportunities. After 9 years at The University of Tampa I accepted a position at The University of Tennessee Knoxville. It was not an easy decision from me because living in Tampa allowed me to surround myself with a large Latinx community. I spoke Spanish regularly, had a favorite radio station, and could eat all the amazing Latin American food that I wanted. I also just had to take a 3 hour non-stop flight from Tampa to Panama City. But there were also many concerns I had. Some were related to my family members (i.e. school district, future employment opportunities of partner, etc.) and others were related to my own career goals and aspirations as well as my changing level of satisfaction with living in Florida. When the opportunity came to apply for positions, with the support of my family, I decided to move forward with it. I accept a position and that meant relocating across states. I had an idea of the level of work and commitment the relocation would take but it was so much more than that. I am so glad I had cleared my schedule last summer. Selling a house was emotionally exhausted. The move itself was not as draining but dealing with one of the craziest real state markets was too much mentally. What kept us moving forward with knowing that the move would give better educational opportunities for our son, a career change for my partner, and a position in which I could further my career goals, while living a city and region that we knew we would enjoy exploring.
Long intro that leads me to say that unlike most people, last summer was anything but relaxing. So with lots of work and school assignments during the Fall term we decided that it was time to reclaim so rest and relaxation during the Winter Break. Those plans took us two sunny destinations: Panama and Costa Rica. After leaving Panama in such a rush at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, I wanted to go back to finish the trip that was cut short for us. We also wanted to enjoy beautiful Costa Rica. During his undergraduate years, my partner spend a Summer studying Spanish in Costa Rica and he is full of stories of his travels throughout the country. I had visited Costa Rica as a child with my parents but was limited to mostly visiting the capital city, San Jose (and surrounding areas: Cartage and Queretaro). So needless to say we were all very excited to explore Costa Rica as a family. Words can not really describe the beauty of these two countries. I would highly recommend them. I am so incredibly grateful and I know also privilege to have taken this time to rest, recharge, and give myself permission to have fun.
You must be logged in to post a comment.