I really admire my 83-year-old father…for many reasons. But the one I am going to reference today is his willingness to embrace and keep up with the changing technology of our world. The farmhouse he grew up in in rural Kansas didn’t have electricity, and water for cooking and cleaning had to be hand pumped from the well. Fast forward to 2014. Dad uses the GPS in his car to get around to the estate sales he loves, he used his smart phone to text me pictures of my niece’s wedding this weekend and he spends hours reading e-books from the public library on the tablet he bought this summer. His latest adventure is Facebook. Look out world, here Dad comes!
However, one thing that hasn’t shifted in Dad’s mind concerns organization. His paradigm includes the importance of keeping things neat and orderly. Sounds like a great trait, right? The family finances are in neat folders in his desk and his socks are still arranged in neat rows in his dresser drawer. That desire for order extends into his electronic world also. When he receives notifications on his phone (updates, news alerts, notifications that a wireless network is available to join), he can’t rest until he assesses each one and deletes it. When I tried to explain to him that those alerts weren’t all that important and that he certainly didn’t need to fret about “clearing them out,” he just didn’t buy in. In his world, they were part of the work he needed to do before he could rest.
My point is this: We all move along accepting change and new technologies at different paces. We fit them into our paradigm of the world in ways that make sense to us. And so it should be. There are so much new social media and new technologies out there. If we embraced it all, we would be swamped.
The challenge and the opportunity is to be open to new ways of interacting, learning and connecting while holding on to our key values and finding the balance that works for us.
Here is an image that has stuck with me over the years…
At a PD session about 5 years ago, an ACPS teacher used a metaphor to explain her approach to social media tools like Twitter: Think of Twitter as this stream of constant communication. Just decide to stick a toe in and enjoy the result, whenever it works for you. It is not something that you need to keep up with. It will be there when you have the time and the energy to test out the waters again.
That feels right. Whether it is the newest educational tech tool, an online PD session, an educator blog, or a hashtag-driven conversation on Twitter, dip your toe in when you have the time. It is not a lifetime commitment, just a chance to learn and grow in a non-threatening, horizon-expanding medium. What you take away in a few minutes might end up in your classroom tomorrow. Like so much in life, it is not all or none. Here’s to finding the right balance!
Some places you might want to dip a toe…
|Twitter Handle/ Hashtag
|#CE14||Connected Educator Month http://connectededucators.org/|
|@ddmeyer||Dan Meyer http://blog.mrmeyer.cominteresting math problem solving|
|@edutopia/ @ASCD||Edutopia/ ASCD|
|@edrethink||John Spencer – a thoughtful, reflective educator|
|#ACPS@pammoran||For the local “news”…|
What blog, website, Twitterer, or platform do you recommend to reach out and sample the waters that are constantly flowing by in our connected world? Please add your ideas as a Comment below this post.