Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thoughts of a Beginning Blogger

I'm doing it, I'm starting my blog. I'm not sure exactly what this adventure will entail, and I cannot help but feel somewhat apprehensive (okay, EXTREMELY apprehensive) about this journey. I find myself constantly thinking about what I possibly have to contribute to the community of bloggers, educators, and Web 2.o enthusiasts. This apprehension has led to more and more questions. Besides the uncertainty, I cannot help but feel completely absorbed in the possibilities. Here are a few of my thoughts as I begin my journey...

How do they do it? Larry Ferlazzo, Richard Byrne, Sue Waters, Steven Anderson, Shelly Terrell, Kristen Swanson, Jeremy Macdonald? This is only naming a few. These are the educators that I have followed for months, and when their new blog posts come rolling through my Google Reader, I am always amazed. Everyday it's a new tool, website, resource, idea, or reflection on what they have dedicated their time and efforts towards - education, technology, and helping others. Not only are these bloggers passionate about what they do, they manage to find unique and practical resources time and time again. How do you guys do it?

Why didn't I think of that? I mean seriously... Richard Byrne's idea about leaving a video for your students when you have a sub? What an awesome idea! So simple, yet effective. Then I think to myself, "I can do that!" That would totally work. Not to mention the thousands, literally thousands of other posts he has on his one-of-a-kind blog Free Technology for Teachers

Is this too much? I find myself tinkering around online for hours at a time trying to update my class website, read a few blogs, develop my PLN through Twitter, make connections on English Companion Ning and The Educator's PLN. Next thing I know I'm reading Jeremy Macdonald's post "Life Happens."
What an awesome post that was. It really made me think about the possibility of too much connectivity. I immediately shut my computer down and go give my wife a hug and a kiss. I really want to contribute something, but not at the expense of missing out on what's really important.

Where do I see myself in...? I think more and more about where I want to be in 3 years, or 5 years. I think about how great it would be to be able to help educators successfully integrate technology in their classrooms. Then I read Steven W. Anderson's post "I Wonder if This Social Media Thing Will Ever Catch On." Steven talked about leading a professional development seminar in Philadelphia with all these other ed tech leaders in attendance. One part of this really caught my attention. Here's what he said:

"I was sitting at the head of a very long table. Along both sides of this table were people I mainly know from Twitter. There were teachers, technology integrators, administrators, professors, and others but all were truly amazing educators. I looked down the table and thought to myself, how did I get here?"

How cool that must have been! I would love to be part of a group like that. Maybe not as the person sitting at the head of the table (you're the man, Steven!), but at least a seat in the corner just listening in on things.

Where do I start? With all the great blogs out there, with all the great technology minds, with all the resources, I always question what can I possibly contribute. Then I found an answer. It came to me through listening in on Steve Hargadon's opening keynote for The Reform Symposium. He said something that really stuck. He said we "need to get past our perceptions that participation [in Web 2.0] is only for the elite." That made perfect sense. I'm not trying to take over the ed tech world, I'm just trying to offer whatever guidance I can to educators who may not be aware of the potential. I'm mainly focused on my school district. I think there are ways technology can be used to improve instruction that sometimes get overlooked. I'm hoping Avon Tech Resource for Educators will have something useful. Maybe it will be just enough to encourage the next
educator to follow in the footsteps of Larry Ferlazzo, Richard Byrne, Sue Waters, Steven Anderson, Shelly Terrell, Kristen Swanson, Jeremy Macdonald... or me! Guess I'll get started and see what happens.