Monday, 17 August 2015

"Choose One Thing"

The rate of change related to developments in technology is overwhelming.  In order to encourage staff (as well as myself) to not become too overwhelmed with rapidly evolving tech trends, for the past 3 years I have asked staff to "try one thing".  What I mean by this is, at the beginning of each school year, I ask that each staff member set a goal for the year around deeply exploring a single technology tool that they would like to utilize effectively and really invest their time learning to use it well.  This does not mean that they shouldn't explore other tools, just that they should persist over a period of time becoming as much as an "expert" as they can in the use of a particular tool.  I also believe that is important to frame the instruction to "choose one thing" with encouragement to first determine what their goal is.  Once an individual has a clear goal, they can then begin to explore tools that may be suitable to achieve it and make strategic decisions, rather than jumping on the latest edu-bandwagon. 

I also try to model what I ask of my staff.  For me, three years ago, my "one thing" was Twitter, last year it was Google Docs and this school year it will be blogging.  All of my personal learning goals have stemmed from the larger goal of communication, specifically around making broader connections, publicly sharing learning, modelling my own learning as well as challenging my personal beliefs.  

In the past, I have experimented with blogging for our SCDSB site, Sharing Simcoe as well as for the #SCDSBTTOG blog.  Now, I have created my own blog and it is my goal to find my voice and share meaningfully via the platform of blogging.  

This school year, I participated in many discussions around blogging and digital portfolios with teachers and realized just how many choices between various platforms are available.  Like other tech tools,  there are so many options that can easily become overwhelming.  I am in the process of creating this spreadsheet to share which I'm hoping will assist others in choosing the format that is right for them. It is very much a work in progress and I would appreciate feedback. 

Whether blogging is your "one thing" or whether it is something else, I would encourage you to think about your goal, choose the tool that you want to "go deep" with this year and dive into the school year with this goal in mind.   Happy learning!