Just this past year, I happened upon social networking. I say happened upon like it wasn’t everywhere, but I have two small kids and have been in the baby fog for the last two years. For those of you who don’t have kids, there is this time period after having them where everything in your life revolves around them. Everything.
As my oldest started preschool, I was looking for a way to connect with friends more efficiently and thought I would try Facebook. Loved it. Then I found the English Companion Ning. All these teachers able to talk and help each other. Loved it. Posted a few questions. Got a few answers. Read posts by other teachers struggling with the same issues I was. I wasn’t alone. Amazing.
Then I discovered Twitter. Suddenly I was connected to a whole new group of teachers, many whom I knew from ECNing, discussing things like technology and project based learning and educational policy. People who were sharing links to new web tools and discussing how best to set up a new wiki. It was a whole new world…
…and not one I necessarily belong to. You see this is a world populated by people contemplating the best way to jailbreak an i-phone. My only criteria for a phone is one that won’t break when my two-year-old hurls it against a wall. This world is populated by people who discuss the opportunities that Second Life can offer education. I don’t need or want a second life; I’m having enough trouble managing the first one. In fact as I write this, I am having to take breaks to help the two year old name her plastic animals and yell at the almost four-year-old to get out of my bathroom. She wants to smell nice and keeps rummaging through my stuff.
But what I have found to be true of both ECNing and Twitter is that both of these groups are not there to showcase their expertise, although they willingly offer it if asked. Both of these groups that I now belong to, for better or worse, are there to improve, to become better educators, better leaders, better learners. And when someone like me, someone who thought she was hot stuff last year becuase she gave notes using PowerPoint, joins the group, they welcome her with open arms.
So here I am, on the web and in the group whether or not I belong there. All can do now is keep moving forward, kids (both those in my classroom and those in my home) in tow, and step (or leap) into this new world. Wish me luck!