I am a librarian at Hunterdon Central Regional High School, the school Will Richardson wrote about in his blog post “Willing to be Disturbed.” He visited our school over the summer (the same school where he taught English) and heard our Superintendent, Dr. Lisa Brady, read Margaret J. Wheatley’s piece of the same title to the folks in our one-to-one pilot group (of which I am a part). She also sent a copy to every staff member and quoted from it during our opening day “ceremonies.” I am very lucky to have educational leaders who support being disturbed. You see, we are currently in the midst of sweeping and dramatic changes. We are asking folks to allow themselves, their teaching, and their philosophies to be disturbed. If anyone needs proof that I’ve been disturbed, they need look no further than this blog.
Let me explain…if I were to diagnose myself, I’d be a technology lover with acute social media phobia or TLw/ASMP. I really do love technology – love learning it, using it, playing Bookworm on it. After my initial fear of destroying everything on the computer was allayed, I became pretty experimental. Granted, it was mostly with programs (I don’t like to go behind the screen if you know what I mean), but I would never consider myself a technophobe…until it came to social media. Oh, I now have a Twitter account which I initially used to be a lurker; I’ve just recently begun dipping my toe in the Tweetsea. However, working with the pilot group this summer (amazing, open-minded folks that they are), collaborating with people from the Science Leadership Academy (SLA), and listening to and/or tweeting with people like Will Richardson, Chris Lehmann (founding principal of SLA), Damian Bariexca, and Buffy J. Hamilton (just to name a few) have changed me profoundly.
Before you say, “well, you grew up with technology…of course, you are comfortable with it,” just know that I did not buy my first computer until I was in graduate school and you have no idea how frightening it is for me to be writing this, much less thinking about posting it on Twitter. My husband, Brien Gorham, has had a blog for quite some time, Virgil’s All Night Diner. He was out there commenting and creating while I just looked from the side and said “no way” until now…
Why do something I find so terrifying?
For my students…how can I expect them to blog if I don’t have one? How can I engender a collaborative spirit in my students if I only watch from the sidelines and lurk on Twitter? How can I help them become generous generators and sharers of knowledge if I don’t do it myself? How can they begin to create their own Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) if I don’t start to do so myself?
For myself…how else can I learn from so many wonderful people without at least attempting to join in? How can I establish a PLN if I just lurk around like some stalker of knowledge? How can I better myself if I don’t embrace the changes I see around me?
For my colleagues…how can I be an advocate for classroom use without being there myself? Maybe they’ll be brave enough to dive in if I’m there to swim with them.
So, my friends, here I am…feeling “digitally naked” but so very excited. Yes, I will still make my husband read this before I post it (geez, it’s only my second post after all), but I will post it. And I will put it on Twitter and maybe even Facebook. Heart beating frantically? Absolutely, but the time has come.
I would love to know…when did your time come? Please consider commenting and/or sharing your story. What made you become a blogger/social networker, and how did you enter into the “conversation?” Was it or is it still difficult to put yourself out there? What advice can you give to new folks, like myself? I can’t wait to hear your stories, and I’d love to share them with my students and colleagues. I hope to hear from you soon!