Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Business as usual or taking a swim

I recently watched conversations via Twitter concerning what is keeping teachers from being able to move to the next level, to join the revolution, to use the tools that are there, to stop talking and really start doing, etc. As I sat and thought about it, one of the things that came to mind was could it possibly be as simple as ego? The more I thought however, I began to realize it is more than that.

I would like to think that in my 31 years as a teacher/learner, I was able to put my ego aside and work with the students rather than being the sage on the stage. Last October I attended a one day conference in Round Rock sponsored by Leading and Learning. Speakers were the likes of Wes Fryer, David Jakes, Miguel Guhlin and others that I have forgotten since then and if you were one of them I apologize. My point is that I had never "twittered" before that day. So I started with Twitter and was fascinated. Then I played with Ustream.TV and thought "Wow!" Then I started watching the discussion on Twitter and started adding some people. I would go to others Twitter home pages and see who they were following and add some of them.

Then came TCEA 2008. Some of the same people I was following were talking throughout the conference online, through Twitter, live blogging, etc. I then had the chance to listen to Carolyn Foote and later that day followed that with Randy Rodgers and I sat on the sidelines with John Maklary and Miguel Guhlin, Scott FLoyd and many others and drank it all in. Then all of a sudden it clicked. I can't tell you exactly what the trigger was, but I felt like that scene in the "Hellen Keller Story." All of a sudden I got it, I realized what the importance of what I had been reading all along in the TEC-SIG listserv and on Twitter and reading through others blogs. It was as if the heavens opened and a bright light...well you get the picture. It all clicked.

Then, like that scene I was running from item to item electronically trying things out and I actually started blogging, then I tried to Ustream a presentation we did at NCEA in Indianapolis (that failed but I am ready to try again), I have been practicing live blogging and I feel like I have been a contributor.

So what does this have to do with ego in the classroom. I think there are so many things that we are shouting from the rooftops about, that those who don't get it are overwhelmed and what is the fail safe when we are overwhelmed - business as usual. So in an effort to get around the business as usual approach I have started sending out emails to my faculty that have "Did you know..." in the subject line. They have gotten used to knowing that it will be some small snippet of technology that they can try out. I usually keep it as simple and as brief as possible. The result has been teachers asking when I am going to send out the next one. I have gotten responses from teachers such as , Thanks, I like the info, Cool idea, I am going to try that and even I like my technology in small bytes.

So maybe it is time to stop the shouting and start spoon feeding. Those of us who think we get it have been brought to this river of knowledge by many in our PLN's. We drink freely from its cool and flowing waters and we continue to absorb and be refreshed. If others see us drink from it often enough and we share with them and give them sips on ocassion, we might find some others coming back for buckets and maybe an ocassional swim.

All I can say is last one in is a rotten egg.


Alan Lutz said...

I echo most of your sentiments. As you know from reading my blog,, at some point not too long ago, the LIGHT came on for me too. I look at notes I took almost a year ago and I see Twitter but never gave it another thought. But several things all clicked about the same time at the beginning of March this year. 1. I started a Ning of my own for people in my district of private Lutheran schools. The excitement as I saw it grow to over 40 members practially overnight keep me going and wanting to be more of a leader. 2. At the CUE in Palm Springs at the same time I attended a workshop by Mark Wagner and he again showed Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, etc. Inspired me to really try some this time. 3. It was when I tried to post something about Web 2.0 on my Ning and didn't even sound like I knew what I was talking about, that I decided to really pay attention to Twitter, follow links to Classroom 2.0 by Steve Hargadon, free online training, etc.
And then, one more kudo to you, Paul. Your taking the time to read my fledgling efforts at starting a blog and commenting what you said at the end of this post about letting my staff see where I'm drinking from, pushed me up in from of my whole staff of over 35 peers and showed them cutting edge video from YouTube, a peek at my PLN, and for my efforts I was rewarded by a phone call from the principal 10 minutes later telling me I did a great job, and feed back from the staff who went back to their room and tried out things I demoed and are putting them to use in their classes already. As the saying goes, Lead, follow, or get out of the way. I am ready to Lead to the best of my abilities and I keep learning more everyday.

David said...

I'm not a teacher but as an outsider one major roadblock I see is fear. Fear that some kid will see or write something objectonable. So the administration closes down all 2.0/social sites. At the school where my wife teaches even the teachers can't get past the filtering software. Once my wife was using Flickr to show photos of instruments, but that is now blocked.