I just read a great quote from Kim Cofino’s blog, Always Learning, as she was reflecting on the Shanghai Conference from last weekend…
“I didn’t realize before how much blogging (reading and writing in collaboration with others) would change my life – not just enhance my professional development like reading a journal article, but change my life – the way I think, the way I interact with people, the way I work, the way I look at the world. It’s impossible to understand the impact of these technologies unless you are using them yourself.”
I totally agree. Even before Web 2.0, I experienced the same thing, albiet on a slightly smaller and slower scale just through email forums and message boards. I’ve been active on mailing lists and forums since about 1994 and cannot imagine what it would be like to not be connected to others. Now, with blogs and RSS and Twitter and podcasts and all these other incredible tools, the fibres that forms those connections are just getting stronger and more intertwined. It really is life changing, because it affects more than just your day to day work. These connections and conversations change you from the inside out.
I know some incredibly dedicated and well-meaning teachers. They work hard, spending hours of their day planning and marking and preparing, and yet, I just think if they made even a small part of their day available for just connecting and conversing with other educators, reading the ideas of others, sharing their thoughts about those ideas, reflecting on what they read and write… it would totally turbocharge all the other great stuff they do. I’ve mentioned it to many people over the years, but so often hear back, “I don’t have time for that”.
I don’t have time NOT to. There is only just so much you can do when you work in a vacuum, and Kim’s right… it’s the networking and mind expanding that goes along with these technologies that can have such a huge impact on your effectiveness as an educator. Thanks for the great post Kim.