Monday, January 21, 2008

born to blog?

I think I'm starting to get the fun part of playing with this technology. I must confess---I am a dyed in the wool letter writer. I got into email many years ago because I could connect with more folks, and hear back from them more quickly. I'm starting to see how blogs connect people. As I've spent time today fumbling around on my new mac, I've enjoyed reading everyone's blogs, including comments. Of course I've stopped to make a few comments of my own, and what I sense immediately is my feeling of isolation is disappearing. (First on-line course, remember). I can tell that if I just use this blog as an old-fashioned learning log, that alone will help me grow greatly in my willingness and ability to experiment with new technology possibilities.

I have a real interest in supporting those learners who are afraid to take a chance on something new--because they don't want to look stupid. As a secondary school teacher, I see the unrelenting anxiety of adolescence every day. The students who walk the halls with their faces set firmly in the 'don't look at me' stance. I see technology as something that allows students to get past some of that fear. Because so much of the technology involves stuff that the students are already good at--media manipulation-it is a chance for them to shine. That said, as I monitor the library, I spend a lot of time telling students to shut down Facebook and bebo, since they are not doing assigned work when they’re on those sites. I have yet to see a teacher give a ‘facebook assignment’…

I am very interested to learn more about ways social network sites can be used for educational purposes. I spent some time setting my Facebook page up the first week of this course. So far I really like receiving confirmations from young people I know that they are willing to be 'my friend'---but I'm pretty sure that if I'm on Facebook the kids are onto something else.

I love making connections with others, I love playing with language and ideas, and I love sharing what I've learned with students. Unlike most of the other members of EDES 545, I have not been in my own classroom for the past (many) years. I have been living the alternative lifestyle (i.e. one income) of an at-home Mom, running our household of 5, welcoming 20+ homestay students from around the world, creating connections in schools and the community. My classroom time was spent in the classrooms of my children’s teachers: as a volunteer. Volunteering got me started in the library as well, come to think of it.

As I reflect on the anxiety I feel every time I look at the volume of readings and tasks involved in this course I give my head a shake and say 'Perfectionist get thee gone from my head! This is a learning adventure. It's going to be fun!' I see my kids and the students at school enjoying technology. Both my sons make/edit movies for the sheer joy of expressing themselves creatively. Of course they would never say it that way, but using technology is a way of life for them and their peers, it's their way of telling the world who they are. I’m in hopes that it will become my way, too.


Joanne said...

Hi Stephanie,

I think we're converting you! Glad to hear you are beginning to see and experience the fun of blogging. Your adventure is just beginning!!!

elizabeth said...

Steph, I love your perserverance and your sense of humour. I think you hit on something really important when you said technology can help students get past some of that fear. Whether we are reluctant to speak in front of our peers because we are afraid of looking stupid, embarrassed by the attention or just need time to organize our thoughts, technology offers another avenue, which is a wonderful thing. Looking forward to meeting you.

Ronda said...

Hi Steph,

Your positive attitude towards the challenges of learning new technologies is inspiring!

I will remind myself of your "mantra" when I feel overwhelmed... this journey needs to be fun! :)

Arlene said...

Steph, I wish I could be as creative as you in making titles for each of myblog entires. Your titles remind me of "10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas that Work," "How Great Headlines Score Traffic" or "Do you Digg This Headline?" Arlene