Our morning plenary session today focused on refining our vision. Visioning can at times be dull or perhaps seem too "touchy feely" to be worth the time spent developing it. But the activities we did today were powerful and thought provoking. More importantly - the activities helped us to refine our visions.
This was important for me, as clarity has been something of an issue for me of late. I think I know what I want to say - carefully select the best words to convey that meaning - but somehow when they come out, they come out in gibberish. Or at least it seems from the stunned look of the person of I am talking to. You know the look - somewhere between pity and confusion, when they start responding to you by speaking s-l-o-w-e-r and LOUDER?
Back to my vision! While I ponder how close my vision is to that of my organization - I have come to understand that it is about building capacity and efficacy. Because I have felt that I have been unsuccessful in using Web 2.0 tools in the past year to help build a sense of community, I took a step backward and thought about why that might be. I think there are three reasons why I was unsuccessful.
First, the technology. I was speaking with a colleague yesterday who I view as quite the risk-taker and we were discussing the use of blogs. She said it was one thing that she would never do because when it came to things on the computer - she just wasn't as comfortable as in the other areas in which I have seen her step out of her comfort zone. I thought about the comment for a while and realized that it holds true for many people. Some are afraid they might break something on the computer - others are afraid that they'll put something out there, accidentally and before it is polished, and then they can never take it back. This tells me that I need to focus on the use of the tools, but also on the culture of the schools I work with around what publishing on the web might mean.
Second, the time issue. This issue seems ever present and I am not sure how to address it. What I do know is I need to focus on how the tools can be integrated into classroom practice, or show what they might replace, before the time dragon is quieted.
The last issue is a bit tricky. In reflecting on conversations with folks and on blog posts, it seems that as teachers we don't often feel comfortable with our own writing. It isn't something that we are asked to do regularly and for some, it seems to be a chore. Yet - we want our students to do it on a much more regular basis. I am thinking about asking teachers to set up their own blogs first - to experiment with their writing, find their voice, and be comfortable becoming a writer. Then - as their comfort level with both the tool and the writing increases, they might be able to see a use in their classroom. And hopefully, might become active participants in the blogging community.