I had to laugh as I was searching this blog's archives to link in a new post on Plugging In. What a difference a year makes!
LAST YEAR: "I don't have a FaceBook or MySpace account - mostly because I am old (or at least feel like it) and because I maintain several blogs. I network and connect through those."
THIS YEAR: What on earth was I thinking? I have a Facebook account now and while it is not as addictive for me as for some of my friends, it has been great fun to connect with high school and college friends as well as with my current friends. While I have recently been forced to think about the presence of my family on Facebook (Do I really need to know what my godson is doing in Arizona? Rather - do I want to?), nothing gives me more joy then throwing sheep at people! It is the casual side of my networking.
And having a blog, or two or three or eighty, doesn't mean that I am networking and connecting! The ClusterMaps on the blogs show readers and where they are located but the comments aren't always there. Blogging still feels like a one-way conversation (and fortunately, one I still enjoy having!)
LAST YEAR: "I also am concentrating on tools that I think I can help teachers translate into practice - ones that are worth their time learning. I have to confess - I just don't get the Twitter craze. Who cares what I am doing RIGHT NOW?"
THIS YEAR: After the post I just wrote on Plugged In - I am sure many of my friends (real and virtual) are laughing out loud right about now. I am a Twitter junkie and have found it to be such a valuable resource that I am blushing at my comments from last year. "Ones that are worth their time learning" - how arrogant was I? Sigh.
LAST YEAR: "But I also need to reach those who struggle with the technology and might not have the courage to stray from the traditional. To admit that we are now teaching in a very different world from that which taught us. How do I slow it down and make it more comfortable for them?"
THIS YEAR: Realizing now that teachers don't need to stray too far from the traditional to make use of the powerful tools out there. And have also realized that it isn't about the tools or slowing down (again - who do I think I am?) Instead, it is about bridging the gap between what we as teachers are good at and what many of our students are very good at - meeting them half-way if you will. And it isn't about teaching them, it is about modeling for them. I am not great at this - but I am more transparent in my learning about this.
Now that I have had a hefty helping of humble pie, I am realizing in finding and reflecting on this post how much I have grown and how much more I need to grow. I have become so comfortable with some of these tools and have integrated them into what I do, I realize that I might make some assumptions about the learners around me and their comfort level. I am very comfortable with the tools I know well but my increased networking has helped me realize how much I don't know as well as to start to ask in a very public way.
Funny - I wonder what blogging about my classroom practices (back in the day) and then finding those thoughts a year later would have done that simply reviewing my plan books didn't.