Final Project Refined

My plan for my final project is starting to come together in my mind. It always seems to take me a while to percolate ideas. I think I have two main stumbling blocks with this project – first of all my last plan was a little too large in scope with no real focus and second I didn’t know where to start or how to make it all happen. That second one is a big deal because yes, I could learn, but I fear it would take me longer than I have to complete this project.

So I have continued to think and I have asked multiple people for their opinions and I now think I would like to base my project around one simple, yet at the same time difficult, concept: sharing.

My good friend and mentor Keri-Lee and I used to start one of our presentations by saying “I create therefore I am” as we encouraged fellow teachers to move away from consumption style apps on iPods and iPads towards more open ended creative apps. This is still a very important concept. But I also have a new mantra, one that speaks to me personally and professionally: “I share therefore I am”. The truth of the matter is simple, I don’t share. And I am not really sure why.

Keri-Lee Beasley and Dave Caleb:

In the beginning of the year I started with a bang – I posted to my blog and a link on our portal each Tuesday (Tech Tip Tuesdays) and each Wednesday (Wired Wednesday). But it wasn’t sustainable, I missed a post and then another and then it seemed easier to just not post. I think there were several problems with this project – it was too often and I couldn’t keep up, people at school didn’t read my posts (and I am not just imagining it – on twitter a post by a staff member would come up linking to something I had written about months ago and it was not unusual to be asked for resources and links to things I had already posted yet staff members knew nothing about) and perhaps I was oversharing (is 55 links per week on a Google Doc too much?!). After a visit to UWCSEA and some commiserating over coffee with KL and Dave they shared with me their new ‘Digital Bytes‘ and I really like this format. It is easy to keep up with (3 links) and the pdf can be emailed to those who prefer a copy each week and it encompasses all that is needed – an image, a short description and web links.

Keri-Lee Beasley (again – what can I say? This woman loves to share!)

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All of her publications are fabulous and they are all free!

In March I was fortunate to attend an ACAMIS conference in GuangZhou. I was in the Curriculum Coordinators stream but jumped ship when I found out how great Rick Wormeli was. I could listen to him for hours. He had such great things to say. I went to each of his presentations regardless of which stream they were meant for and I came away from the conference puzzled and reinvigorated. What I loved most about Rick was the way he shared. He encouraged us to tweet, he gave links to resources and he posted all his keynotes on the conference website. This is a man who is passionate about teaching, who is paid to present at various conferences and still he shares. I am passionate, I present – but I haven’t posted any of my presentations. I can learn from this man.

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Krissy Venosdale (@venspired) is inspiring in the way she shares. Her blog posts are thought provoking and her images speak volumes. And she freely shares them all. In her words:
When I create something to share, it’s not just a printable to me. Many times, it’s tied to something I learned from students, colleagues, and experiences. It’s art. It’s a piece of my heart. The words, the design, the entire product. And I love to share them. Because if I can make one teacher’s day more positive, then it’s worth it. I give the designs freely here, on my Flickr page, and provide high resolution printables that people can print. Because in my eyes, education needs more positivity, a lift, something that should be free? Inspiration. Sharing. Collaboration. Decorating Your Walls with Messages that Remind You Why You Teach and Learn. Printing a poster to frame and put on your desk. I love that.” From – Because We Need to Show Them How To Share

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And because this blog post is getting too long here are a few other things I came across when I was thinking about sharing:

– On Twitter today I read a post by Lucy Gray, 10 Questions to Ask When Planning Tech Infused Units. #10 especially spoke to me: How am I connecting my students to others? to experts? to other classrooms? In other words: How am I sharing?

Larry Ferlazzo recently posted his student motivation handouts on his publishers website for free

Kim Cofino posts her presentations on her blog

– I love social bookmarking. I get most of my resources from a Diigo group I belong to – Literacy With ICT. Phil Taylor and John Evans are the most active members in the group – and they share everything they find. I also follow the UWCSEA Teachers Group on Diigo (but don’t tell them, it’s my little secret!)

– We are hosting a conference next weekend, #EngagingTech and we have fabulous presenters who all volunteered their time to come and share with us – Keri-Lee, Dianne McKenzie, Kelly Grogan and Ed Chang just to name a few.

Phew – that is one long blog post and it all boils down to one thing – sharing. I want to do more. My next post will be about the sorts of things I think I can do to share more. Stay tuned!