Friday, May 21, 2010

Support Is Just a Question Away

In my previous post, I spoke about needing to talk with someone. I had some things running through my head and I wanted to make sure I wasn't off base. I just needed some good feedback. If this had taken place 3 years ago, well, first of all I would not be here, I would not have a group of people that I have networked with and I surely would not have made a Skype call to Canada or anywhere else for that matter ( I wouldn't have a MBP either but that is a whole other post someday.)!

I have heard it called a PLN (Personal Learning Network) or a PLE (Personal Learning Environment) or just NETWORKING. It matters not how you refer to it or what you call it, I truly do think however it is important to make connections with others with a broader scope than yourself. I feel that I am somewhat knowlegable in the tech world but as an icon once said "A man has got to know his limitations," and trust me I know mine.

So it came down to reaching out and I had seen Dean Shareski online through some tweets he had posted so I thought I would give Dean a shout. Not only did Dean respond, but I am sure that I could have reached out to just about anyone that was online and gotten some very good feedback to my questions that I posed to Dean. As it turned out Dean was the one I chose that day.

Too often 140 characters are not enough and the need for some genuine feedback where you can at least hear tone in the voice, or even with Skype, see the other person and their facial expressions are so very important. If you are in my network or I am in yours, please know that if you think I can answer a question or lend an ear for what you are working on I am more than willing. I know there are many out there that would also be willing and available, just call. We can't be afraid to ask, we can't be afraid of who we ask, because I think we are all truly in it for the right reasons.

Too often we get frustrated in our buildings or districts and then we are no good to anyone. We are here for the students, the learning, the possibilities and I am glad that I have that many more possibilities as a result of everyone out there. Thanks for being there Dean and responding.

So much to learn and so little time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Access, Support and Windmills

The other day Region 10 ESC had their 16th Annual Technology Planning Day and I was asked to do a presentation on the use of social media in schools and why it is important. I was looking forward to the day and came prepared with a laptop and my air card just in case and figured that there would be a lot of people in the same situation.

Well, that being said, you can imagine my shock when I estimated there were 5% or less of the 500 people in attendance that had any type of electronic device to take notes or even back channel. I realize that there are many people that are very tech savy that take notes with pen and paper but I truly was amazed.

I tweeted a few things out about the fact that night and got several responses from people mostly talking about how they use pen and paper for their note taking a well. As I mulled over the situation I finally thought I needed to talk with someone to check and see if I was reacting in the wrong way. I was fortunate that Dean Shareski was available. After a wonderful conversation with Dean I decided to post the following thoughts:

I worry that the fact that the people in the room did not have ways to electronically take notes that the possibility existed that they were not receiving equipment and possibly support from their schools/districts. If that is the case how can we expect the teachers to be willing to work toward integrating technology in their classrooms when they themselves do not have access to the very equipment necessary?

What happens with those notes and how will they be shared in a written state when these teachers return to their schools? Will they be shared, will they even make it to a file or will they simply sit in that notebook until the next conference?

Who knows, maybe I just worry too much about the wrong things but what I truly want to see are teachers that are fully supported by their IT staffs, their schools and their districts so that they can do the best possible job for our students.

Your thoughts or am I just tilting at windmills? I hope not, our kids need us in so many ways.

More to learn that is for sure.