February 19, 2008

Managing the Bakery of EdTech Treats

Filed under: about me,edtech,learning,personal learning network,TeachersFirst — Candace Hackett Shively @ 5:16 pm

“However, it is important to realize that we also need to spend time away from the grid in order to remain focused on areas that interest us. By focusing on specific ideas and using other people as sources for our learning, we don’t have to do all the work ourselves.”

So says Kelly Christopherson (KC) in a wonderful post about prioritizing the overwhelming “informational tsunami” for educators on technology, web 2.0, and change. I feel overloaded every day. When events like a family crisis or days at a conference keep me (blessedly) away from my computer–well, except for emergencies– for days at a time, my RSS reader becomes a Horrendous Heap to read, and I often resort to fast-scan-then-give-up-and-mark-all-as-read. But curiosity still nags at me. What treats did I just throw out?

So how do I balance my selfish curiosity (“I just wanna read about it so I know what it is and how it works– in case I am missing something”) with the focus that KC suggests to keep myself sane? With a web site such as TeachersFirst to orchestrate, I am very aware of the wide range of teacher needs we try to meet– for free, without bias, and with respect for our users. We can never be everything to everybody. We are generalists, seeking to deliver from our bakery variety pack a selected, deliciously-frosted cupcake for each teacher-user. We cannot possibly deliver an entire cake to each, but we hope that our cupcake variety is diverse enough for everyone to find just the taste they need now and to return for another cupcake soon. For some teachers, TeachersFirst may entice them to get involved in baking themselves, taking a course or researching “recipes” for techno-treats independently. Others will always opt for our delicious bakery, simply as a trusted time saver.

Personally, I want to know how to bake every type of edtech cake, fill it, frost it, and even list its nutritional content. I know I will never meet that goal. But I will try to take KC’s advice about “taking time away from the grid” (or the bakery). I feel as though he has given me permission to hit the “mark all as read” button when I am feeling overwhelmed.

Perhaps the most important permission I can give myself when confronted with so many edtech treats is permission to follow the bakery scents that intrigue me most and write with passion about those. I may never learn to make every cake, but those I do pursue will taste genuine, indeed. Those who read TeachersFirst and choose us as their favorite bakery will, I hope,  appreciate our authenticity.

1 Comment

  1. Ah, the bakery. In our small town we have a bakery where you can go for a wonderful treat, order a cake or just get some wonderful fresh bread. The wonderful thing about the bakery is that they can supply you with what you need when you don’t have the time to make it yourself. However, there is something about taking the time to do some cooking and baking on your own that is satisfying. A balance of both is needed.
    As for taking time to hit the “All Read” button, I’m learning that if it is a great tool/idea, it will surface again somewhere and I’ll catch it. The more I look at how I spend my time, the more I realize that online life needs to be kept in balance with all other aspects otherwise there won’t be time for roadhockey games, pokemon games, book reading, cards, board games, newspapers or other things that I share with my children and wife. There won’t be time to listen to stories of hockey games or forts or wild attacks from snow gnomes. Working in any place means that you need to define a time for work hours and stick to them. We are becoming very connected but is it in the right way?

    Comment by Kelly Christopherson — February 24, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.