This past week Bart and I led a five-day course on Collaboration and Augmented Reality for the Future Classroom and Staffroom in the Future Classroom Lab in Brussels. For me this was the first time to lead a course in the most inspiring classroom in the world. Augmented and virtual reality, emerging technologies and collaborative projects are topics very dear to my heart and it was amazing to share experience, knowledge and ideas with a fantastic group of 22 teachers from 5 European countries.
Here are our daily videos:
And thanks to Stavros, we recorded our very own Augmented Reality Song:
The second half of my Fellowship year began in New York with a short stay in a hotel a few steps from Times Square. The weather was extremely cold with temperatures in the single digits and teens (I really like the US weather lingo). But despite such low temperatures and freezing winds my stay in NYC was amazing, just as the city itself, no matter what time of year it is.
This winter was fierce and long-lasting - it was only in the second half of April that it slowly gave way to spring. February
In February I traveled to Washington D.C. and San Francisco, where I attended some conferences and to Nashville for a reunion with my friend Myra, who I hadn't seen for 8 years.
Bart and I continued our collaboration and led the second run of our successful Augmented eTwinning Reality online course for 219 eTwinning teachers from all over Europe. March
My husband arrived for Spring Break and we traveled a bit more - to Washington D.C. and Baltimore and then across the US all the way to Oahu - one of the Hawaii islands. Later in March there was a chance for another family reunion when my sons, my sister and my nephew arrived and stayed with me in State College.
In April the Humphrey Fellows presented their capstone projects. This was a great opportunity for us to show what we have learned and how we are going to use our knowledge when we get back to our countries.
I spent a week in Boston as a guest of the Bunker Hill Community College faculty because I was selected for the Community College Residency Program.
I checked another item off my list - beautiful cherry blossoms in Washington.
The academic part of the Fellowship ended in April and we all received our diplomas and certificates - from the PSU and the US Department of State.
I moved to Washington D.C. because of my Professional Affiliation (PA) which I did in the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).
My friends Myra and Terri introduced me to Jenny and Tom, the kindest people in the world, who gave me their beautiful condo in Alexandria to live in until the end of my Fellowship. My husband arrived for another ten-day visit which we spent exploring D.C. and the Eastern Seaboard - Maryland and Delaware. Myra and Terri also came for a visit and we had lots of fun.
June was the month of reunions: my friends from Georgia, Marianne and Bob, visited me in Alexandria and on June 13 I arrived home happy to meet my family and friends. Here's the compilation of my Fellowship blog posts: A Life in the Year of a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow.
I was home for just a few days before going to Latvia to attend the eTwinning ambassadors conference, where Bart and I gave 4 workshops. July
I was selected to take part in the Special Task Force for EFL and Cross-Curricular ICT Curriculum Design . This meant that I was seconded to the Department of Education to work on the new curriculum so I did not go back to school in September. August
The self-paced course Connected Learning - Leading and Learning with Social Media that I designed for CoSN as part of my PA was tested after which it was opened for enrollment. I'm very pleased to see that it is up and running and that it attracts US educators who want to use social media in their teaching and for professional development. September
My new temporary job started in September and ended in December. It was a period of hard work, lots of reading and learning, writing and fruitful discussions with the other task force members. The work is now done and I'm proud of what we have accomplished. October
I traveled to Brussels on two occasions - first to attend a Future Classroom Scenario workshop (this was my award for the best eTwinning project in 2014) and then to deliver two workshops with Bart at the Annual eTwinning Conference. We received great news that a piece about our learning events that we wrote earlier this year was accepted for publication in 2017 by Routledge.
My younger son is spending this semester as an Erasmus student in Portugal so we paid him a visit. We stayed there as guests of my friends Miguela and Marco, who I first met through eTwinning and who were so kind to invite us to their home. We had a wonderful time in Portugal.
This is my second year that I'm serving on the Program Board of the CARNet User Conference. This year's conference was held in Dubrovnik and it was a great opportunity for me to meet with two outstanding keynote speakers - Dr. Kyle Peck, my PSU mentor and Dr. Dragan Gasevic, who I had a pleasure to meet at PSU earlier this year.
My visit to Dubrovnik ended badly, with fractures and plaster casts because of a nasty fall by a pool. December
At my school we organized the first transnational meeting as part of our Erasmus + project Make Me A European. We hosted 26 students and teachers from Germany, Italy, Cyprus and Poland and we all did our best to make their visit a memorable experience.
I was very pleased to have been re-elected as an eTwinning ambassador.
My older son has just left for San Francisco. He has been appointed as a Visiting Student Researcher at the University of California Berkeley. I'm so excited about this amazing opportunity he has been provided with. I'm very proud of my sons and their accomplishments and I'm thrilled that they are studying in Portugal and in the USA. And I'm sure I'll figure out how to come to terms with the empty nest.
It’s been a phenomenal, once in a lifetime learning journey - my Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship.
It’s been an amazing year filled with friendships for life, laughter
and joy, reunions and get-togethers, cheerfulness and bliss. But it's also been quite a challenging year marked by nostalgia,
lonely nights, tears, disappointments and frustration. It's been a year of determination and perseverance. And courage. And I made it happen.