Taking a Deep Breath!

There are so many times throughout my days (and nights) that I think-you should write about that-and then the thought leaves my brain and I’m off and running in another direction. My life is so rich right now that I wanted to reflect on some of it…and also alleviate some of the anxieties my ED483 students are feeling with regards to teaching, learning, and keeping up with it all!

First of all, let me tell you, I am blessed with a dynamic group of learners this semester! 46 students in two sections of Education Media and Technology let me share my passion and enthusiasm for 21st Century learning on a weekly basis. They humor me with their patience as I explain new technology tools like a child on Christmas morning. I know, at times, my love for this stuff explodes with a gusto that can make some people take a step back and I have reflected on that a number of times, telling myself that “my mission is not everyone else’s mission”, yet after a comment by friend and colleague, Charlie Yeager, about my ability to “sell it” when it comes to the use of technology in the classroom, I sometimes think that my enthusiasm is exactly what people need. So, I guess as I run through this course for the first time, I am not going to check my enthusiasm at the door–I’ve been at this game long enough to understand that enthusiasm for a subject, a passion for something is really what life is all about–and in teaching, if you don’t have it, your students won’t ever get it!

These same students–impress me with their ability to take new things and make them their own. Now, mind you there are a few students that are still anxiously skeptical and not quite buying in to it all, but those that are–are in hook, line and sinker. More than anything else, I feel like I am accomplishing something if a student takes a concept or tool I have introduced and uses it his/her own way, for her/his own purpose. Tools will come and go, activities can be designed and redesigned, but truly taking something and incorporating it into your personal learning experience is (I believe) one of the surest ways of becoming a life-long learning in this digital age. Want to see for yourself? Their blog roll, delicious names and twitter accounts are beginning to take shape–some really good networks are being formed!

Another factor that brings a new perspective to my learning this semester is that I am fortunate enough to have two of my colleagues enrolled for graduate credit in this pre-service course. They are veteran teachers who are Upper Peninsula Writing Project TC’s as well as members of our NHS MI-Champions project. Having their “real-world” voices in our class is a gift. I think that it is a good model for the soon-to-be teachers as they contemplate their own efforts to become life-long learners. Helen and Vickie are two of Negaunee’s finest teachers and I am flattered that they have elected to be part of my learning network! (Be sure to follow the links to their wikis that they have developed, just click their names!) Their desire to take their teaching and personal learning into the digital age is refreshing. They are always thinking, asking questions and most of all doing things to improve the learning experiences of their students.

So the uber-geek enthusiasm I bring to a classroom often projects me forward at speeds, I fail to recognize, are sometimes at a pace that may be a bit difficult for those new to this digital world. I’d like to provide the excuse that if they could jump inside my head and see all of the things I have yet to show them, they too, would clamber for me to move quickly. However, I also understand that I have been traveling this super-highway for a few years and I have to remember that the excitement and passion I have developed was cultivated along the way, not cast upon me in one workshop, at one conference or even during one course. I am going to implement a bit of the “less is more” philosophy when it comes to the actual introduction of “tools”, but will continue to feed their brains and lure them in with sights, sounds, articles, and opinions that illustrate the bigger picture of learning today. If they can walk away from my course with some tools that take them into a world of people, a network of educators, devoted to making education relevant to the needs of children then I feel the future of our schools will be a better place.

14 Comments

  1. mariewestman says:

    Thank you for sharing your inner debate about expressing passion and excitement about technology! I feel that this was an important thought because you are demonstrating now what we will be going through in the next few years. Each of us are excited about specific areas of study in education and we will be very excited to share our knowledge with our students. For me, it’s books and writings! However, more than just “selling” technology, where the passion and excitement is fake, you are showing us what there is to be excited about. Keep it up!

  2. momorris33 says:

    I appreciate your excitement for our course.
    I have to admit (which I’m sure you could sense) that I was very “I don’t think I like new tech stuff” (much like this little girl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROmWiY2Rg28). But I decided this is where the world is heading I should try it. Picasa was my “gateway drug” if you will, and then I just started testing the waters on other things. I have found that just by clicking links and following them the world wide web is an exciting and scary place. But I am enjoying it. So I thank you for your gusto. I completely agree that passion is contagious, especially from a teacher to student, student to teacher perspective.

  3. Thanks for your comments Marie and Morgan! I appreciate your thoughts. As I have moved through this learning experience I have always wanted to somehow illustrate the path that I have traveled so those I was introducing technology to could see, feel and experience it as I did. I view the use of technology as so much more than tools to use for a project. It is a way to discover, enlighten, connect, develop, create and collaborate. If engaging students in the learning process is our ultimate goal–if we want to instill in them a passion for learning–then providing them with connections-both online and offline that help make learning more meaningful is what we need to be doing.

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