I'm a talker. Sometimes a writer. Forever a thinker. Always a laugher. Come on in and get to know me... I am currently a consultant in the Technology Component of Region 14 Education Service Center located in Abilene, TX. I have a passion for people, an enthusiasm for education, and I'm thrilled with technology. Join me on the adventure of 21st century instruction!
Life happened... Illness, family, job, tired, blah, blah, blah!
And then the excuses started that I always used to NOT start a blog in the first place...
1. I don't really have anything to say that anyone wants to read...
2. It's been too long between posts...
3. How embarrassing!
4. No one will ever follow again!
You know the routine...
But the fact of the matter is we all have something to say -- whether in words, pics, thoughts, actions, etc...
In the classroom, we constantly harp on communication skills, and quite frankly, encouraging and enabling a child to express his/her story in a comprehensive manner is what it's all about...
The platform? Meh! I personally use Twitter right now for PD, but have recently used Twitter to communicate with my 16 year old niece who lives 800 miles away more than ever before... In fact, via that platform and Vine, I may know more about what's going on in her Story of Life than her parents do!
With my own parents? Oh... with Mom it's the good old-fashioned telephone, and with Dad, it's email...
With the majority of my friends, I communicate with text and with the majority of my co-workers it is Google Chat...
So here I am with you... spouting my story and taking up the OLD BLOG once again!
The power of the #etmooc in joining together everyday strangers around the globe with a passion for learning gives me such an adrenaline rush! I have to admit it!
I began to get an inkling of this internal high as my PLN grew on Twitter over the years and random names and faces offered me ideas, resources, and insight.
But how do you explain that to someone who just doesn't get it?!
Then I joined a little online class that was free and intrigued me... #etmooc... For those of you who aren't familiar, it is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Educational Technology... Sooooo the best online course I've taken!
Over the past couple of weeks, being Connected has been the topic of discussion and such a simple pop culture phenomena as the lip dub possibly explains my fascination of having a PLN better than any words I could write... Consider that in less than 1 week, well over 50 of us from around the globe came together with one common goal... That's the recipe for problem solving, collaborating in the true sense of the word, and establishing relationships where learning is a fantastic byproduct. So blessed to be living in this day and age!
No, I am not entering the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's yet... I am, however, reflecting on the crazy of my life since the New Year began and feeling two things:
Overwhelmed and Excited!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I entered the Twittersphere several years ago to ultimately expand my knowledge base around my (for lack of a better word) job. I love my vocation (labeled Instructional Technology Consultant) because it speaks to my God-given love and desire of teaching and envelopes it in my enthusiasm for "the latest and greatest" in the tech tool world.
I grew my one-sided Professional Learning Network or PLN (is that really possible? -- I'm speaking of my "lurking" syndrome) to a comfortable/manageable level--a hundred or so "experts" in my field that I found to offer thought processes similar to mine and who apparently had way more time than I did to stamp down their digital presence by sharing "new-to-me" tools and ideas.
Exactly when did that stop fulfilling my professional growth need? I can't put a finger on it...
All I know is that in the middle of the crazy, I, with no prompting, no grad course ahead of me, the guilty of crying "I hate online courses!" randomly and suddenly clicked on a link and registered for #etmooc.
What?! I signed up with no pay for a 10 week online course!?
Yep! And I can't keep up with the adrenaline rush!!!!
Granted, moocs are different and the almost 100% student-centered approach is what gives me an almost personal relationship with oh, I don't know, 1700+ participants!
Yes, you read that right! LOL! And I already love these people! Some are those PLN "experts", some are pinching themselves to discover they are enjoying the process, some are so overwhelmed they are paralyzed, but most find their fit and feel the excitement...
What will my learning outcomes be? That will continually be revealed long after the course is over, I'm sure, but I see a huge shift in my PLN. Did you notice I initially defined it as Professional Learning Network? I find a peace and comfort in the reality of my Personal Learning Network.
Well... I removed the privacy lock from my personal Twitter account today (@christycate). I honestly haven't thought about the fact that it was in place in quite a long time.
You see, I was first inundated with Twitter by Alan November (@globalearner) several years ago at a Texas ASCD (@txascd) conference. We communicated via the stream for several days and I returned to my day job, ready to offer all the fabulous resources I was gaining from others in a professional outlet. After discussion with "the powers that be", it was determined that I could set-up a Retweet feed tied to a work Twitter account. My personal account could do all the "Following". (Thank the Lord for Hootsuite!) Being new to the social media land (I have refused the Facebook and stand by my decision), I became quite adept at the "lurker" mentality and absorbed resources like a sponge. (Twitter is hands-down my favorite PD outlet to date.) Suffering from the "newby" approach of "please don't follow me, I might not have a clue what to tweet" coupled with the educator "protect-our-kids-by-filtering-everything mentality" left me with an urgent sense to protect my account.
Haven't thought about it much sense...
Until today, when our @etmooc webinar reminded me that the point of professional Twitter truly becomes moot without an open, free-flowing stream of thoughts, ideas, and networking. I may have to start including RT or MT before everything I tweet, since I honestly believe "there is nothing new under the sun." If I don't, please know that I'm not assuming original thought, I'm merely the one with the thought at the time.
I know... It doesn't really make sense on paper...
I won a county essay contest in the 8th grade.
I made "good grades" in writing/ELA as a student.
One of my required high school journal entries was published in my grandfather's book.
I was a senior English teacher for 2 years, for heaven's sake.
And I really have a hard time putting my thoughts in writing. Find it stressful, really.
I love to talk! I am a communicator by nature, but expressing myself in written form always seems like that homework assignment that I'm forcing myself to do. (Sorry for the lack of transparency to all my former students.)
But alas, I love to read, I believe in the benefits of collaboration, chances are I enjoy YOUR blog, and my @etmooc facilitators have asked for this method of communication.
So here I sit... Bracing myself to one day admit that I truly enjoy the benefits of the ole blog.