Tk34’s Weblog
The Trials of a ‘Rookie’ Blogger

There is Still Hope!!

I had the privilege of listening to a presentation by Dean Shareski on his ‘Journey into Connected Learning’ . . . and it gave me hope!!

Dean reminisced into his past and it reminded me of my childhood . . . and to a certain extent, my current situation!! As a child, I was not really too keen on school, homework, or learning. I would rather be playing street hockey!! In my University days, I ‘picked up the pace’ and obtained my education degree . . . but I enjoyed University life, more so than the learning. Today, I am currently embarking on my Masters degree . . . and am trying to get back in ‘school mode’. It has been quite tough since I haven’t been a ‘real student’ for 10 years . . . I will admit, however, I am enjoying the learning this go around!!

My current class (EC&I 831 – Computers in the Classroom) deals with technology, the applications that currently exist, their capabilities, and most importantly its potential for educators and learners. I have been what might be considered in ‘slow motion’ (as far as this class is concerned)!! Not because I am not trying, or have fallen back into my ‘old ways’, but because the majority (if not most) of the Web tools that are available I am unfamiliar with. There are so many things on the Web that I just know nothing about. This class is doing an admirable job of providing me ample opportunities to learn about and experiment with these tools, but as the saying goes . . . you can’t run before you can walk!! I am trying to ‘hang in there’ . . . but I feel like I am crawling!!

Like all classes, there are expectations. The ultimate goal of EC&I 831 (and my instructor Alec Couros can correct me if I am wrong) is to introduce and create knowledge of the Web tools and their applications in an attempt to integrate them into our everyday lives . . . and possibly the classrooms of today’s schools. To realize the potential and value of these tools and how they can positively impact student learning (and educators learning) . . . and also the lives of all learners. We have some course requirements which provide us an opportunity to ‘experiment’ with these tools, such as this blog. I am not a ‘tech guy’ so my learning is slow. I often wonder if I am doing enough (especially when my classmates have more on-line accounts than I do pairs of socks)? How can I compete with this!! I am not sure my best is good enough (as far as the class is concerned) and it is frustrating! Enter Dean and his glimmer of hope!!

Dean mentioned that he wasn’t into technology until he discovered the internet (1995ish) when he discovered its potential. He admits he didn’t really put things into ‘high gear’ until the first blog he posted on February 6th, 2005. Three years later he is highly ‘connected’ and has a tremendous understanding of the Web, its tools, and how they can positively impact learning. He is highly adverse in what the Web has to offer and has put all the ‘pieces together’. He is highly respected within the educational and technological fields. I wouldn’t consider him a ‘tech guy’ but a ‘tech guru’!! I am positive that I would get no arguments from anyone who knows Dean.

As I write this post, I feel like there is hope for me. Dean has given me the ‘push’ to continue to crawl along, find my ‘high gear’, and strive to become more knowledgeable and connected (even if it is frustrating and overwhelming at times). Dean made me realize the somewhat forgotten reason I enrolled in this class. To become a better educator. To provide worthwhile learning opportunities for my students by realizing the potential of the Web and its tools. EC&I 831, the class, is a means to an end. Hopefully it will benefit, most importantly, my students . . . but also me! I will continue to crawl along and, who knows, maybe three years from now I will be a ‘tech guy’!!

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6 Responses to “There is Still Hope!!”

  1. Remember that Dean also said that it’s okay to start personal and selfish. Give yourself time to be comfortable – the benefits for you will become the benefits for your students.

  2. Some of your recollections are similar to my experiences as well. I too need to feel comfortable with technology before I use it. I have lost too many lessons and felt too much anguish when technology failed. I think the key is to live and learn. Even the VCR failed once in a while!

  3. Remember, you are not the only one crawling along. Some of us are right there beside you. Look at what you’ve learned so far and the support system you now have. This class has created its own PLC and I will continue to participate even once the class has finished. Keep up the effort!!

  4. Kind words Travis,

    I like learning but not sure how much I like school. That was always part of it for me and still is. I think that so much of the structure of school makes it hard to develop a real love of learning. Not because of the people but because of the format (time, bells,and segregated subjects to name a few)

    Many of the people I network with are very tech savvy and that’s certainly an advantage for me since it’s not really my strength.

    For someone like yourself, I think it’s even more imperative to take the selfish angle. I also think that there are going to be varying levels of connection. I’d be happy if every teacher had 10 other teachers/friends that lived outside their physical space that they felt connected to in the ways I described. Even 5. I’ll bet most of our teachers have none. The only network they have are those in their building. We can do better. All the best in your quest.

  5. […] reading Travis’ blog post, I was reminded of my progression to today.  I enjoyed University life way to much in my […]

  6. Travis wrote.. “Dean made me realize the somewhat forgotten reason I enrolled in this class. To become a better educator. To provide worthwhile learning opportunities for my students by realizing the potential of the Web and its tools. EC&I 831, the class, is a means to an end. Hopefully it will benefit, most importantly, my students . . . but also me!”
    You model the “reflective practitioner”. In the end, while you grow, your students will always benefit.
    I find the thoughts from you and others in this class and abroad have really inspired my journey as well.


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