Monday, October 14, 2013

Still finding my way....

I don't hate writing as much as I used to. Which is why I just can't figure out why it is so hard for me to blog. When I do blog, I always feel better. It forces me to share things that are happening personally and professionally. It's a great experience to share with others that I respect and admire. Maybe it is also the gratification of getting something done. But even then, I think it is more than that. Reflecting and sharing is always good, it's just not always easy. But even given all those things I think the biggest reason I don't blog is because I constantly feel like someone else already wrote it, shared it, or invented it, and probably did it much better than I could ever have done. This is the worst thing we can do when it comes to reflecting and sharing. I was reminded of this while reading a great post by Dean Shareski titled, "Stop Me If You've Heard This Before" in which post Dean states, why we should share:
"And that’s why we share and reflect because although on the surface our stories, insights and ideas may not be new, they come with our personal context and perspectives and it’s those aspects of sharing that to me are most interesting and meaningful. It’s the reason that your 'research' matters."
So I'm going to reflect and share. Maybe because I'm inspired by Dean's blog post, or maybe because it's my birthday, and I'm feeling particularly brave. I'm not even sure what the focus of this blog post is. Heck, I'm not even sure if I like the title of my blog. I am still not convinced I've found my niche in this social media ecosystem.  But that is OK.

I do want to share that I am very inspired since attending an exceptional conference #isf13 IntegratED San Fransisco, by OETC, led by Darren Hudgins. This event was easily the best conference experience I've ever had, including multiple NSTA conferences, NMSA conferences, and NCCE too. #ipdx14 countdown anyone?

Since shifting my Twitter use from a purely recreational purpose, to a more focused effort involving connections with other educators, I have found myself experiencing this roller coaster of both personal and professional emotions and thoughts that have inspired and challenged me in many ways. There are so many great ideas, connections, resources, and opportunities that take my motivation and energy to new levels, but there are also an equal amount of  opinions shared that makes me examine and wrestle with everything I believe in and do. I need to learn that this is not necessarily bad. It is good to challenge, reflect, and reevaluate our visions and philosophies. I just need to figure out how to do just that, and not get too caught up in dwelling on feeling inadequate.

While engaging in the PLN Twitterverse, I've learned that fellow educators are very passionate about what they do and this is good. I am too. They can also very quick to judge different teaching philosophies and methods, which I sometimes find frustrating. I've read lots of things related to Education and Educational Technology such as but not limited to: Worksheets are horrible! Grades are killing creativity. Khan Academy isn't real teaching! Tablets aren't creation devices! Public schools are outdated and unnecessary. Lecturing isn't teaching. Real teaching looks this way. -- The list goes on and on. Sometimes the comments make me reflect and evaluate. Sometimes they do nothing but upset me. I need to learn to let go of things that aren't helpful, and use things that can make me better at what I do.

I'm not here to say K12 Education is perfect. I'm not here to say I have all the answers. Heck, I'm not even sure what my educational philosophy is, nor could I express it adequately. I struggle. I doubt. I get frustrated. I wonder if I'm really making a difference. I wonder if our education system can thrive again. But I do know one thing. I love being an educator and I love working tirelessly to try to find ways to help teachers and students use technology to transform teaching and learning. I haven't written a book, or given a keynote, and my school district is tiny by most standards, but I love what I do and love seeing teachers and students grow, learn, and experience the journey together. I also work with some fantastic educators!

Have I made decisions or tried things that didn't work that I look back on now and wonder "what was I thinking?" Absolutely, but they have only made the journey that much more interesting. I guess I'll keep reading the opinions of the "experts" in Educational Technology, but at the end of the day, I only have to answer to myself to the question "Did I give my best and build up others today?"

Well, several paragraphs later and I'm still not sure what I'm trying to say other than, I'm still finding my way. I'm sure that's probably already been written or shared... but that's not the point.