Thursday, March 20, 2014

In-Depth: On Education


*This is a new series I've created in an effort to reveal more of myself than just layouts & DIY projects here on the blog. Topics may vary. 

As a teacher I recognize the importance of 'professional development' and the need to enhance your skills, upgrade -whatever you want to call it- in your field of expertise. Not too long ago, I completed my Masters in Education & am about to embark on a few more courses to enrich my mind & my teaching abilities.

So, naturally that led to some thoughts on 'professional development' in my favourite hobby- papercrafting.

As a teacher, both in my professional & personal life, the line blurs sometimes between passions and I find myself drawn to the role of student. I believe that teaching classes and creating projects and content for courses is fun & enriching for both the teacher and the student, but sometimes it's nice to sit back and let someone create the content and learn something new without any of the pressure!

So where do I go for professional development or enrichment to hone my craft skills?

Well, there's the obvious- my local papercrafting store The Paperie. They provide classes on a wide array of topics, some of which interest me & some which scare me half to death (*mixed media, cough, cough). At The Paperie, I get to hang out with friends, get out of the house & learn something new. Also, shopping-need I say more!

But, sometimes I want to reach a little farther and learn from the 'pros', my 'scrapbooking superheroes' so to speak. You know who they are- the big dogs like Ali Edwards, Kelly Purkey, Amy Tangerine, Cathy Zeilske, Stacey Julian, and the list goes on. Big Picture Classes, an online classroom created by Stacy Julien, is a wonderful venue for online classes. I've taken a number of their workshops and self-paced classes before and throughly enjoyed them including one of Ali's classes, 'Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow'. At Big Picture, I get direct access to 'superstar scrapbookers', beautiful printable content, the time is always convenient because it's whenever I'm free & I meet new people-or I'm left alone to do my own thing.

Another way I keep in touch with the scrapbooking world & learn new things is by listening to free podcasts like 'The Paperclipping Roundtable'. It's an awesome podcast run weekly by Noell Hymen & her hubbie Izzy from They also have a separate membership program which you can join to gain access to hundreds of videos on a variety of topics. I adore the podcast because I can use it on the go, like when I'm driving to work, there are always different guests on & it's a way to hear what some of the industry experts are thinking about different topics each week. It's also *free*!

In the past I was a member of the Simple Scrapper design team which created sketch templates for members to use to create layouts. Since my stint there,  owner Jennifer Wilson has developed a number of free & paid classes via her website. Emails are sent directly to your inbox with some great information and have similar pros to using a forum like Big Picture Classes.

And then there's the obvious freebies for example online tutorials like Cathy Zeilske's & Ali Edward's vimeo videos. Pinterest, the never-ending source of inspiration. And countless 'You Tube' videos and channels that are floating out there just waiting to be watched!

The point I'm trying to make is that there's a plethora of options out there for anyone wanting to learn something new! The choices can be overwhelming but I think, like anything, you need to chose what's most important for you & what's 'right' for you and your style.

I love learning.  And I don't just say that because I'm a teacher either. I really do like to learn new things! It gives me confidence in my skills & that makes me feel great.

Next week, as I set my goals for the Spring season, I'm setting the wheels in motion to take more time to develop new scrapbooking & papercrafting skills. I want to push my boundaries & improve on my less desirable traits (*journaler I am not) as a scrapbooker. I want to be a learner & a student this Spring.


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