Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Another Chapter In Our LIves- And I Am Questioning Why?

Greetings Edtech Leaders,

I am blogging tonight as I am traveling to Saskatoon, Canada and I have a story to tell, and hope you can bare with me. I have a scheduled technology keynote on Friday, Aprill 11th and a full day planned of hands-on workshops with some of the most inspirational teacher leaders, administrators and library media specialists in all of Canada. This journey has been in the works for over 18 months, to plan and prepare for this engaging technology event. But at the same time my family journey has taken a different route and the recent occurances have not been planned so well, and to prepare us for the next chapter in our lives. 

We received a call on Saturday evening that our 18 year old son who is in the US Army was in a severe motorcycle accident. This was the most heart-wrenching call a mother and father could receive- and at the same time we received this from our new daughter-in-law, Heather, of only 10 months. She was overwhelmed by what was about to take place and the new direction that this accident would now change their lives for their future. *Jake was just stationed with the US Army in El Paso, TX after his basic training and AIT training from summer of 2014. 

Our Jacob suffered sever and intense trauma to his entire body- almost every bone is broken in his body, and he has sustained a brain injury. Yes, he was wearing his helmet and full suited with his US Army required clothing/gear, but nothing could prepare and protect his body for this type of beating. I am not going to go into the detail as you can only imagine, but I ask for your prayers and reflective thoughts to support Jacob and Heather and our entire family during these trying times. 

It has been four days since this event as occurred and we were advised to find a healthy family and work balance to continue on to maintain our health and strength for Jacob and Heather. It seems implausible to do such a thing, but Jeff and I run our own technology company where we have to continue to run the business to pay the bills. I was committed to a major event in Saskatoon, Canada from April 10-12 as being the technology keynote speaker and workshop presenter, and this was the normalcy we were told to follow through on to keep a routine up to support our kids and find a healthy work and family balance. I am committed to provide the best professional development for my Canadian teacher friends and will stay true to my commitment.  Jeff is staying back with Heather to help guide, support and make the critical decisions needed and necessary for Jacob's well being.  

No one ever expects that a life threatening accident would occur in one's family. How does one prepare? How does one find balance? How does one not feel guilty leaving their child behind to go to work?

I am so very thankful to Tim Nielsen, our main EdTech consultant for our company.  He picked up the scheduled trainings that were planned, without missing a beat. He stepped up in high gear to take the lead on finalizing our May events and June summer Tech Splash events. Without him, it would have not have been possible to continue to run our business- Jeff and I are forever grateful.  

As soon as I am done in Canada, I will be flying back to TX to join my husband, Heather and her mom in caring for Jacob mentally as his body and brain heals. He still has not woken up from his accident, but they have him heavily sedated to eleviate the pain and to reduce any kind of pressure to his precious brain.  We will not know what his final physical condition will be until he wakes up- and we pray to god he does wake up. The brain scanning monitor shows that he has good brain movement and there is possibility that he can hear us.  

We are only thinking positive thoughts for him and Heather, and can't wait until the day he can come home so we can care for him in Minnesota. In the mean time many of you have reached out to me and Jeff and have asked what can you do- we have since set up a supportive "Project Hope" website to keep all of you in the loop of Jacob's progress. Heather will be incurring many expences with travel /food cost traveling to and from the hospital daily. There will also be additional family hotel and airline/travel expences, so we have set up a donations portal on the Project Hope website for this purpose if you feel inclined to support our families immediate and future needs with Jacob. The website is located here: http://posthope.org/we-love-jake

Thank you for your time and effort to read my blog post today, and to support our family through prayers and kind thoughts during this very trying situation.




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Teacher Wears Many Hats- But A "Vendor" Title Is Not One Of Them!

Greetings Edtech World,

It was recently brought to my attention from a Minnesota administrator- that another Minnesota school district was inquiring to find out more information about me, my company and my credibility as a presenter. I am glad individuals are seeking out this needed information to do their research on the front end, and bring in the most
influential and inspiring presenter to make a learning impact with their staff. But I later found out one individual responded to the original Google+ post online and noted he did not know much about me, but noted he met me at the MN Google Summit, and interacted with me online though a few Google Hangouts, but viewed me as a "vendor' since I was not "stationed" in a k-12 school. It saddens me to note that some educators view a successful edtech business woman as a "vendor" from their perspective. The online quote from this individual noting, "I met her at the Minnesota Google Summit this past spring and wanted to write her off as a vendor for not being connected with a school." This quote appears as if a woman owned edtech company was frowned upon or looked down upon because I was not in a classroom setting. Yet he does not know my whole story and the capabilities that I have and offer- as I was not there selling anything- I was providing professional development expertise and provided my service for free at this event. 

According to Wikipedia- vendor, or a supplier, in a supply chain is an enterprise that contributes goods or services in a supply chain. Generally, a supply chain vendor manufactures inventory/stock items and sells them to the next link in the chain. Today, the terms refers to a supplier of any good or service.

The word "vendor" apparently can be taken out of context and be utilized in a negative way even though it is meant to positive. The quote I noted in the above paragraph of "I met her at the Minnesota Google Summit this past spring and wanted to write her off as a vendor for not being connected with a school" left me feeling that my unselfish ways of sharing of my expertise and bountiful resources at this event was not appreciated or even accepted. It is amazing how one person can have so much influence- whether negative or positive on another individual with sharing a small piece of misguided information. *Now if he would have only "Googled" my name - he would have gotten the big picture, the whole story- the missing puzzle piece to understand that I am not a "vendor."

Hmmmmm.... this made me really take a step back and look differently at this situation and reflect on this particular incident. In all of my F2F and online presentations, I almost always introduce myself as an educator first and foremost before any of the titles, certifications or years of teaching experience. At times, I even begin my workshops and bypass my intro and truly focus on my audience member intro's to get to know them more professionally, and then usually after an hour or so- an attendee will ask...."and what is your name again and I want to visit or land a job in your school where you instruct." You see, I truly live and breath the life of an educator. It is not about me as a "vendor" it is about the educators I serve to provide them the best possible professional development experiences to improve their instructional practices and approaches to enhance teaching and learning.  Yes, I DO have a dream job as an educator, even though I am not "stationed" behind 4 walls within a physical classroom setting and do not have 25+ students in my classroom.

My job is PASSION - DRIVEN- it is not "vendor" driven. I stay up-to-date and relevant with current trends, research, and best practices in K-20 education. I spend an exorbitant about of time each week researching, reading, designing, creating and publishing original works to share and collaborate with others to extend their and my personal and professional learning. An additional 10-15 hours a week I spend networking, connecting and cultivating relationships with k-20 educators and administrators through social media streams to solve problems, find new solutions or create new edtech work flows to increase productivity and efficiency of a school's professional development learning initiative and communication practices.

The best part of my job is I meet with students and teachers on a regular basis and ask them and discuss with them how they learn best. I dig
deeper into the inquiry process and continue to ask them what would they like to change in their educational work space to create a better, safer and more conducive learning environment. And then I try my best to make the magic happen with finding funding resources, or connecting or bringing in experts in virtually to provide new inspirational insights to support their practices of change, or empowering the teachers and students to step-up, take the risk and activate the change they are seeking for improved classroom learning experiences. 

Then as I continue on with my "normal 60+ hour work week" as many educator's do,  I provide inspirational professional development to schools throughout the Nation and Internationally- whether it is onsite or through Adobe Connect or Google Hangouts as webinars. I wear many hats in my job- as most educators do, as I am also a technology coach, a Google Certified Teacher, a National Intel Senior Trainer, and a 1:1 mobile learning specialist.

My job is to empower teachers and administrators with motivating and engaging best instructional practices- to improve their teaching and administrative performances in their k-12 teaching and learning environments- to ultimately impact student achievement for each and every child in their district. 



My name is Naomi Harm, I am a very proud and respected educator, I am a mother, I am a first time grand-mother, I am the CEO of Innovative Educator Consulting Corporation, a first generation woman owned business entrepreneur- and proud of it! I am not a vendor.