The past few months of Twittering have been eye opening and quite HUMBLING for me...
Please indulge me as I explain... of course it's MY BLOG... so I allow myself this indulgence. :-)
I came into teaching as a second career. I had wanted to be a music teacher when I first started college - specifically Orchestra or Choir - since I sing and play the violin. Upon listening to older students discuss how teachers were paid so poorly etc.. I changed my major and finished with a degree in Marketing and Advertising.
I'm not cut-throat enough for the advertising game - so needless to say I worked at a hospital (business side) for nearly 10 years. By this time I was married and had kids... and started to feel the pangs to do something different. I wanted to teach - I mean I really wanted to teach - so going back to grad school, I received my teaching certification and started teaching.
I was able to incorporate a lot of my business saavy and parenting skills into my classroom. Unlike many teachers, I didn't experience problems with classroom management - so I focused on immersing myself into my curriculum to become what I thought was an effective teacher.
I like to research and read - so I did a lot of that. I took on the mentality that it was MY classroom and once I closed the door, I could do what I thought was the best for my students and their learning. I have always (and continue to be) an unconventional teacher. My colleagues think I'm crazy at times - but they see that students are learning.. and LOVING LEARNING in my classroom.
Using my business experience, I understand and do not shy away from computers - as many teachers in my district seem to do. There are some teachers, not grasping the aspects of technology, that consider themselves high tech if they can attach a document in an email. With this being the norm in our level of technology around the district - I have considered myself to be a "high-tech" teacher. I have and maintain a website (oooohhhh... ahhhhhh). I have my students create webquests (ooohhhhh... ahhhhhhh). I have a Facebook and MySpace page so that I can connect with the digital native on their turf. (ooohhhhh... ahhhhh). I have had students use texting and their cell phones for various assignments. (ohhhh... ahhhh). My colleagues think I'm such a "high-tech" teacher... I THINK I'M SUCH A "HIGH-TECH" TEACHER............ until I started Twittering.
Sure, I had seen distance learning in my graduate classes - but I thought that was an expensive program that only higher-ed could afford. Skype? That was just a glorified chatting mechanism!! TWITTER?? Yet another bulletin board chat mechanism!
AU CONTRAIRE MON FRERE!!!
Since I have found the VALUE in TWITTER... the scales have been removed from my eyes and I can SEE - what REAL "high-tech" teachers are doing within their Web 2.0 classrooms!! OH MY GOSH.. my ego was crushed... and then I was humbled to see that I knew NOTHING about technology!
I signed up for Twitter in April.... I really started USING it in May when, instead of tweeting about my mundane activities, I started to learn how to use this invaluable service. I started following teachers... listening... watching... learning the vocabulary. What was this Web 2.0? Was this a new kind of internet... unlike the one created by Al Gore? :-)
Then I Googled... I read... I followed tiny urls... I read... I installed Tweetdeck.. and made a lot of Tweets a favorite so I could explore them later... Web 2.0, Promethean, Flat Classroom, Skype... OMG there is SO MUCH OUT THERE!!
In Twitter I read all the excitement about NECC coming up. I start to get excited too - then I think to myself, "I'm not a computer teacher... I teach Gifted and Talented. Why am I getting excited?" I look at the profiles of the teachers that I'm following and realize that many of them are NOT computer teachers either! They are GREAT teachers that are incorporating Web. 2.0 into their classrooms so as to reach these digital natives RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE!! Learning... authentic learning... with the medium of they've grown up using - (the computer!)
Then, this Saturday I got up and while enjoying my coffee, I figured I'd see what my Tweets were doing. They spoke of a Live Feed for a SMACK DOWN! I was drawn like a bug to a light! I was going to participate in this COOL technology. Virtually rub elbows with these Web 2.0 people that I've been observing for a month or so. WOW!!!
I drink my coffee... and I watch.. and listen... and try to save the links that are being presented... but it's going to fast and I can't see the screen... "What was that? A music interface?? Where??"... so much information... MY HEAD WAS SPINNING... TOTO WE ARE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE!!!
So today, Sunday, I have a new resolve. First off - I now know that I'm a newbie that knows nothing... but am more than willing to learn. Secondly - I am NOT going to jump in over my head and try to do EVERYTHING - only to get discouraged and fail! Third - I'm going to continue to learn as much as I can this summer. I'm going to ask questions and glean as much as possible in this short time. LASTLY - I'm going to become an educator that uses Web 2.0 within my classroom - and try to show others the value that it holds.
I've said all I want to say for now.... thanks for indulging me!
Have a GREAT DAY!