I can’t count the number of times I’ve had someone ask me, “How do you find all this stuff? Did you take a class or something?” Or another one of my favorites, “How do you have time to do all this stuff?” Are you ready? I’m going to tell you my secret…….
The secret is I love learning! I live in a very rural area and their just aren’t a lot of professional development opportunities. So I had to start creating some of my own. Thankfully the internet exists so that I can do that. Do I really have the time to learn all this technology stuff? Well, I think so but that’s partly because I’m so passionate about it. So I choose to FIND the time to be at my computer exploring new things every night. That being said I know many educators feel that finding the time in their already busy day to learn about technology is a
(can’t you hear the theme music playing?)
I understand completely! So please use the internet to your best advantage.
Start out using an RSS reader like Google Reader to subscribe to a few really good blogs. Here’s a great list from Mrs. Smoke to get you started. Other educators have already started grappling with whatever issue you are thinking about. You just ahve to find them. Start reading those blogs and you’ve taken out some of the steps toward finding a solution. Why start at step one on every issue? If you utilize your Reader the the info comes to you instead of you going to hunt it down.
Next, sign up for a social bookmarking tool like Diigo or Delicious and use it! How many times have you been looking for your favorite resource only to remember you bookmarked it on your computer at home and you can’t get to it from the computer you are on? What a waste! No more will this be an issue for you! Your bookmarks are on the net with these FREE services and you can get to them anywhere any time (well as long as you can remember your user name and password) Plus as an added bonus if you get your colleges to sign up for accounts you can now search their bookmarks too! Why should you be the one doing all the hard work? Share I say!! Need a resource on internet safety? Search everyone’s bookmarks on Delicious or Diigo – you’ll find more than you could ever use.
Now that you’re really grooving…..Why not take the big plunge and start microblogging at Twitter or Plurk? You’ll find there are many other educators on these services already. Microblogging is a great way to find out about things as they are happening. And it’s a fantastic way to ask for help when you can’t find that really great feature of Google Docs you saw demonstrated at that conference last month. While you’re at it throw up a link to that really great website you just stumbled across. Someone out there will be so glad you shared.
The point is that I try to use my time wisely. I’m using all these services to get the information coming to me, when I need it. I don’t have time to visit 50 different websites everyday to see if they have posted anything new and interesting and neither do you. So don’t! Use your time to read the information you have coming to you and ponder how you could use it to change the way you teach. See this really isn’t all that impossible after all! You just have to be (there’s that theme music again!)