Why do I bother?

I bother because I love to share resources and ideas for the integration of technology. I love to help teachers, whether they’re inside my district or not. I love to offer support and my knowledge (albeit limited :) ) to teachers that want to know how to bring more technology into their students’ learning experiences (yes, I know the focus should be on the learning). I bother because while many in this space already know how to use many of the resources and tools out there, there are always going to be teachers that this space is brand new to. What’s not new to one, is brand new to many more and who would we be to squelch their excitement? It’s all about sharing. Sharing what works, what doesn’t work, and more importantly what it did positively for our students. According to Dean Shareski’s K12 Online Conference keynote, it’s our moral imperative to share. If you haven’t watched this, stop and do it now. Then (because you will want to know) watch The Making of a Keynote. Good stuff.

Not only have I watched Dean’s keynote, but I was also lucky to learn from him and Alec Couros at Educon 2.3 last month in Philadelphia. Their conversation was titled The Ethical Obligation to Teach, Learn & Share Globally. You can click on the title to read the description and you can go here to watch the recording. We talked a lot in this session about sharing with each other (and in turn learning from each other) as an ethical obligation for teachers in the digital age in which we live and learn.

I’ve been lurking in on lots of conversations lately. While I do like to share resources, blog posts, and retweet others’ ideas; it’s engaging in conversation where we truly have authentic learning experiences and get different perspectives and ideas. Even when the conversation is with those whose views are different from our own. This is another reason why I bother. The learning opportunities exist, so I take them in (in realistic moderation). I have a strong knowledge of tools and resources but I always want to learn more. I want to learn how to use them to positively impact student learning. We want our students to be strong producers of content, to make contributions, to the content that the digital world has to offer; not just consume it.

When our PLN colleagues share resources and excitement about what’s happening in classrooms with technology, they are fulfilling their desire to share the great things that are happening despite all the other issues with education in this country. It doesn’t matter if it’s because their students were using a new tech tool, or if they’re implementing a 1:1/2:1/iPad/iPod Touch/Netbook initiative. They’re passionate about it and we should be encouraging each other’s efforts regardless, along with constructive criticism when necessary or requested. What they’re sharing matters to them, and while I stressed the importance of feedback and conversation from/with multiple points of view; general poking fun (blatant or cryptic) and cynical tweets do not foster further connected sharing.

We don’t want anyone to think, “Why do I bother?” and stop sharing which will likely stop the learning. We want the passion for learning and growing and sharing to continue so whenever someone thinks, “Why do I bother?”, they’ll know exactly why they bother. And keep on doing it.

I bother because I love to share, and I love to learn. Thanks for reading.

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8 Comments on “Why do I bother?”

  1. Ryflinn says:

    This is why I bother too! If I can give one teacher a new Idea or receive this gift in return.it is worth it to me. Thanks for sharing some great links as well.

  2. Great great post! Thank you!

  3. Nancy C says:

    Sometimes when I get frustrated I say “Why bother?” By saying it I think I’m actually reminding myself Why I DO bother, why I do care. I’ll be sharing your post with my administrator (and the links too) as well as colleagues…maybe they’ll be sparked to BOTHER too!

    Thanks.

  4. chris mcgee says:

    Great post Kyle! This is a great answer to all the people that I work with that ask me why I do the things that I do day in day out; Posting to my blog, interacting via twitter, collaborating in the cloud. Without great leaders like you out there this environment would not exist. Thanks for being open, available, honest, and compassionate to us #edtech people.

  5. Cale Birk says:

    Well said, Kyle! I find it hard to explain why I am willing to spend hours connected to our PLN at night, and you have done a great job of it. As nerdy as it sounds, I really like to see what other people are doing, and I get a great deal of satisfaction if I am able to contribute something (even if it is small) that might help other educators. Yet sometimes when I say this, I get a series of eye rolls and tongue clicks remarks like “I WISH that I had that much time on my hands” (even though I have two children under the age of three and have a large school to lead).

    But it IS pretty cool when you convince someone to give something like Twitter a try, and a week later they come back with that big smile on their face, and ask if you read their first post.

    Thanks for articulating this.

  6. Scott says:

    Very interesting post. I bother for many of those same reasons.
    That said, I’m interested in the amount, or lack thereof, in the online space, of dissenting views. Sometimes I worry that the online conversations we are having are more echo chamber and that we aren’t having the ‘real’ and ‘hard’ conversations and instead, face these in little bits face to face. I mean to say, generally the people online are the ones who “get it”.
    I’d love to hear your thoughts…
    Cheers,
    Scott

  7. Cathy Brophy says:

    I am curious about why other people “bother” as well? Perhaps it is my psychology background, but I wonder about the numbers of educators from the worldwide PLN, and then the number of folks attending unconferences f2f or virtually,and what is special about those folks as opposed to other great educators who choose to share locally? While reflecting on my back to back unconferences, I realized being able to share and learn from a wider audience has given me the confidence that allows me to help move our district toward 21st century teaching and learning.

  8. Chad Lehman says:

    Kyle, excellent post. You did a nice job summarizing why we do what we do online. This is a piece I think needs to be shared with those who aren’t as involved as we are. The learning is fantastic and while I often get caught up in being online too much (ask my wife), it’s part of me now. The collective intelligence of my online friends has been an incredible bonus to me.


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