I must admit that I have been writing this first blog post in my head for several months and for many reasons, many of which you may have experienced as well, I kept that post to myself.
As an e-Learning Contact (eLC) for Superior-Greenstone District School Board, I have had many amazing opportunities to witness the positive impact that technology has in both the classroom and on professional development. I admit, despite my role as the eLC, I am fairly new to the idea of introducing various forms of technology into my daily life, but I realize the substantial impact that technology can have on our professional development:
- Online collaboration
- continued lifelong learning
- “connectedness” and digital skills
- expansion of learning networks
But what was holding me back?
- Loss of privacy?
- Frustration with technology?
Yes…to all of the above. When I attended the Digital Learning Forum at Humber College in 2012, I had the opportunity to meet individuals who passionately incorporate technology and Blended Learning into their lives and classroom and in turn, support us with their sharing. I was introduced to Mark Carbone (@markcarbone) and he asked me for my Twitter name and I stated that I was not on Twitter and he asked me “why?” I stated that I didn’t think I had anything of value to add to the world of Twitter. He simply looked at me, and said that this meant I was a “thoughtful person who would have great things to say when I found my voice.” It was a wonderfully patient comment. Although I am sure that he does not remember the previous exchange, it had a lasting impact on me. Fortunate to be at the ECCO conference in Toronto this year, I realized the professional growth I missing out on by not having a “voice” on Twitter and with nervousness and trepidation I launched myself into the Twittersphere and “found my voice”. (Perhaps not as profound as Mr. Carbone suggested it would be, but it was there!)
Within a year, I find myself faced with trying to find my voice again. I have read the books, taken the courses on modeling the skills we want in our students and I encourage educators with taking professional risks in their daily practice and yet, I stand quietly on the sidelines cheering like mad, while finding excuses not to take similar risks.
I consider myself very fortunate. I have had many opportunities to study and have achieved my PQP II and I have had many leadership opportunities within the SGDSB. I have mentors and role models such as @NIckMC40, @dfryed, and @bgrasley who encourage and support me and who I can watch, in awe, as they demonstrate their passion for teaching, learning and sharing-every day. I am surrounded by colleagues who are also on this learning journey with me:@ColleenKR, @TL_Stevenson, @lcosta_miller and JMarciski to name a few. And yet, I hesitate…
What did it take to take this “leap of faith” and submit my first blog post? A little bit of everything. Setting aside time to learn something new, opening myself up to the world a little bit more, and perhaps a lot of fear. As we know, fear can be a great motivator. I have watched and read many of my fellow SGDSB colleagues admit their fears to all, face the challenge, and experience and the #etmooc journey without me. I fear not being on this journey with them, and fear that one day I will simply give in to my fears and stop taking risks.
So…..knowing that this latest professional and personal risk will be both messy and rewarding and before I back out once again, I will leave both you and I with this quote:
“Fear is a wild horse that needs a tight rein,
for it is both friend and foe,
both good and evil,
and to live effectively one must learn to master it.”