My Connected Evolution
When I was in college working on my teacher certification, many moons ago, email was an emerging technology. In fact, I begrudgingly used it only because it was a classroom requirement and I largely saw it as “one more thing to do” and that it was nothing more than a novelty. I saw email as a fad that wouldn’t last very long.
Fast forward 20 years and I’m just over it. I’ve been through all the stages of technology innovation with email: novelty, enrichment, sophistication, saturation, oversaturation, annoyance, and I’ve recently arrived at nuisance. For dissemination of information, it’s okay; for communication, it’s terrible.
What once was a more efficient and speedier way to communicate has now infiltrated my daily life to the point of lunacy. It’s just not that relevant anymore. I remember even ten years ago, when I was navigating the shift from sophistication to saturation (in the days before SPAM had a 10 to 1 correspondence around real email; maybe 20 to 1) I would hunger for emails and interactions.
And then I joined a listserv created by the Teacher Leader Network.
I created special filters in my email program and delighted in asynchronous conversation with educators from around the world. We’d pose questions and the answers would come as nested exchanges and a flurry of replies back and forth. I learned so much then from a cadre of professionals that I still learn from today!
Then the listserv graduated to a website with a blog and the emails stopped. The blog, from the Center for Teaching Quality, was way more efficient for collecting these conversations especially as they multiplied over time. With tagging capabilities and sorting features, the blog opened up new avenues of collecting and curating information so that users could sort and search by relevance and interest.
I liked the idea of a blog so much that I started my own blog.
The first blog I started in 2004 was a personal one. In 2008, I added a professional one as well. You can access it here. 2008 also saw my introduction to Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn was a year later, and after that I saw forays into Google Wave, Pinterest, LiveBinders, Google Plus, Diigo, Educlipper, and more. I was texting more and messaging folks both synchronously and asynchronously across a variety of web and device applications.
We’ve come a long way in twenty years. I’ve come a long way in twenty years. My technological and interactive evolution has gone from rubbing two sticks together with email to virtually being able to make fire in my hands with not much more than a thought. In fact, I can now participate in social media by pressing a button on any of my devices and speaking my message directly into the microphone.
Despite my issues with email, I love the connections. I love the instant toolbox and resources that my network gives to me. I love working with virtual friends and having professional partnerships online that translate into physical collaborations.
I credit these connections with the development of my professional persona, from interacting with movers and shakers early on to inviting mentorships that improved my professional practice. Everyone I interact with online now is a mentor. They coach and guide me even today as I seek to be better at what I do.
For connected educator month, I would like to encourage you to be even more connected that you are now. Try out multiple platforms and follow people that you think might help to improve your professional practice. Interact with others, share resources, ask your network for help, consume and contribute, become a part of the connected ecosystem. There is nothing else you can do that’s more important in the 21st Century than becoming a connected educator. It’s not only an imperative, it is a gift.
For more information about Connected Educator month, I encourage you to visit:
Mike on Twitter: @fisher1000
Exploring the Close Reading Standard now available
Digital Learning Strategies now available
*Photograph purchased from Fotolia.com