By CUE’s Blog Editor Kate Petty
Finding out I was going to be awarded CUE’s LeRoy Finkel Fellowship of 2013 was one of those times where I remembered exactly where I was and what I was doing at that moment. I was with some friends and I started jumping up and down and screaming like a little girl at a One Direction concert. I was clearly excited but now as I look back, I realize I had no idea how truly different my life would be just seven months later.
THE LEROY FINKEL FELLOWSHIP
CUE awards the fellowship to one educator each year in honor of LeRoy Finkel, an original organizer of CUE in 1978. The fellowship seeks an innovative educator who is integrating an intriguing project in his/her classroom. The purpose of the Leroy Finkel Fellowship is to promote leadership in the field of educational technology. The award includes:
- $5,000.00 to fund the project
- Paid travel and registration to attend both CUE’s Annual Conference and the ISTE Conference
- The guidance of a professional mentor for one year
- An introduction as the award recipient at CUE’s Annual Conference.
I implemented 20 Time in Education* with my 12th grade English students last year. When my district’s Ed Tech Coordinator, Chris Bell, saw the project in action, he immediately suggested I apply for the LeRoy Finkel Fellowship and use 20 Time as my project. I took his advice and my rocket into Ed Tech leadership began.
HOW HAS MY LIFE CHANGED?
To begin with, my Personal Learning Network has more than quadrupled from the many connections I made at CUE’s Annual Conference this past March and at ISTE’s conference in San Antonio in June. The Ed Tech community and CUE is truly a family. I have met hundreds of new people and actually stay in touch with most of them via Twitter. They’ve inspired lessons plans for my classroom, they’ve given me more knowledge than all my previous years of learning put together, and they’ve been my virtual cheerleaders as I learn and grow. We all celebrate each others successes and support each other in times of failure.
A UNEXPECTED RELIEF: MENTORS
One of the best parts of the LeRoy Finkel Fellowship is getting assigned a mentor for one year. My mentor ended up being the same colleague who persuaded me to apply for the LeRoy Finkel Fellowship in the first place. Chris Bell has been a solid resource of the ins and outs of Ed Tech protocol and really helped me become an emerging leader in Ed Tech, not only in the Ed Tech community but also in my own school district. He guided me to apply and become a Google Certified Teacher, he convinced me to share at numerous conferences around southern California and the United States, he persuaded me to apply to be on the OCCUE Board of Directors, and he encouraged me to apply to be CUE’s Blog editor. As a result, and with the help of a handful of other 20 Time teachers around the country, 20 Time is growing as a must-try project in K-12 classrooms. Until I had one, I had no idea how much a mentor could positively influence my drive to succeed. Knowing the power of a mentor now, I’ve required my students to seek and find one during their 20 Time projects.
WHAT ABOUT THE AWARD MONEY?
Surprisingly, that has been the least influential part of the award. I bought supplies for the 20 Time project in my classroom and a good chunk of it was used to buy a nice laptop that I use to create presentations and project them at conferences. The leftover money is being used to finance my travel to conferences that are not part of the award such as CUE’s Fall Conference in October.
HOW TO APPLY AND SOME USEFUL TIPS:
My advice? If you are doing something awesome in your classroom (and if you are reading this, you probably are), or if you know someone who is, apply for the 2014 LeRoy Finkel Fellowship! The application is on CUE’s website. Follow CUE’s rubric as you’re writing your application but keep a couple things in mind:
- CUE wants to know that you will stand by your project and spread the idea wide and far. Have you ever heard of Google Lit Trips? Jerome Berg, the 2008 winner, escalated his project as far as anyone could imagine and is internationally known for his Lit Trips.
- CUE wants to see a motivated applicant. They want someone who is interested in the Ed Tech world and wants to be a key player for CUE and the future of educational technology. Show them that you are a team player and have the drive to move forward and up with your project. Show energy and determination.
- Have a strong budget. The awards committee wants to see materials to aid your classroom but also wants to see your plan to promote your project with peers around the CUE world and beyond.
- If you have questions regarding the nomination submission process, please contact the CUE Office at email@example.com or 925.478.3460.
Good luck, I hope to meet you in March at CUE’s Annual Conference as you are announced as the 2014 LeRoy Finkel Fellow.
Kate Petty is CUE’s blog editor. She has taught high school in Orange County, CA for ten years and has been blending, flipping, and welcoming BYOD in her class for the past three years. She is CUE’s LeRoy Finkel Fellow of 2013 for her work with 20-Time in Education. She is also a Google Certified Teacher, Project-Based Learning Certified, Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer, Leading Edge Certification Trainer, and a CUE Lead Learner. Kate is on the OCCUE board and serves as webmaster.
*If you are interested in learning more about 20 Time in Education, I will be presenting on it at the eLearning Strategies Symposium in Costa Mesa in December.