Sunday, February 2, 2014

Confessions of an Ed App Junkie


I've been an app slut.  For reasons not yet hashed out during therapy, I've registered for every new online edu-tool I've come across, even if the web app was a clone of one I'd already been happily married to.  


I suspect I've been motivated by a fear of missing the beta-boat should the holy grail of edu-apps makes itself known.  For the last few years,  I've kept up with ed tech and the various movements therein, but it's been from a distance for fear of getting sucked into committed relationships (See?  Online life is like real life!)

Needless to say, all these new accounts and half-baked attempts at curating the all-time best resources have made my virtual workspace cluttered and coffee-stained. Sure, I'm the go-to gal at work for finding the right match between task and e-tool, but when you're relatively new at a project-based learning gig like I am, there's little time to consistently build a meaningful network online. The day-to-day need-to-knows of my students take precedence over time to blog, vlog, tweet, pin, poke, post, comment, or respond, much less navigating newly-born interfaces and keeping up with the latest online teacher toys.  

And yet, I've still found myself trying.

What's different, however, is that I've reached a tipping point in my personal life where I've slowly begun to shed unnecessary things.  It started with a box of clothes I'd been hoping I could fit back into once I returned to my glorious rock-climbing-enabled body size. It felt good getting rid of that antagonistic big turd of a box glaring at me every time I turned the closet light on. 

Weeding out the bookcases was easier, for the most part.  Much of their content could now be found online.  Next, I'm digitizing photos and VHS tapes.  It's a slow, ongoing process but at least now I'm in that place where I'm getting rid of more than I take in.  It's felt good, which is why I've started to consider how to simplify my online life so that it's less about quantity (memberships, feeds, web tools, bookmarks, email alerts) and more about quality.
The question over the next year will be how can I spend the time I have online in those virtual spaces where educators are building knowledge together through sharing and collaboration? That's where I want and need to be.  I know where these places are because I've mostly been that person passing by and gawkin' through the window at the goings on thinking, aw man, someday when I have the time, I'm going to knock at the front door and get in on this.

I have so many ideas and so much energy when it comes to teaching.  Connecting with others who are equally as passionate amplifies the potential for inspiration, collaboration, and growth. I'm not ready to knock on the door just yet, but I'll be there shortly.

One of the first items on my action plan is to consolidate some of the platforms I use.  Google's kind of a no-brainer as a dashboard since its apps seamlessly integrate (which is why I'll be shutting down two other blogs and have started fresh on Blogger).  Also, the clean interface is sparklin' clean, which gives me a standard to shoot for when clearing out the rest of my actual closet.  

I'll be meandering all things pedagogical (keeping it short) mostly about project-based learning, ELA instruction, and general issues around public ed and I'll be doing it as regularly as possible with the hope of landing on a consistent, habit-of-mind-induced schedule.  As is with the whittling down of my worldly possessions, it'll be a process getting from the window to the door.  

But until then, if you should happen to be at this window, feel free to holler in and I'll be sure to greet you.

Thanks for your time reading this.