Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The One Where Passion Is Key #slice2013

Every Tuesday, Ruth and Stacey, host Slice of Life at their blog, Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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My friend, Erin, reminded me that October is Connected Educator month! Hooray for connected educators! I love telling people how Twitter completely changed my teaching life and is the best professional development ever. I've also been talking to people about blogging and how it's such a great way to share stories and have encouraged a few to try it themselves. 

People are all over the place when it comes to their comfort level with technology, which is totally cool...except that I love technology and really think it can be used to impact students and their learning and wish more people were more connected as educators. I'm uber passionate about technology so when I start talking with someone about technology, I end up encouraging them to stretch their technology use here and there. I realize I have to be careful of how much I nudge people, though. It's easy for me to get carried away and excited just imagining the potential for learning and sharing, experimenting and expanding for someone stretching how they use technology. 

I'm used to people widening their eyes at me or waving me away like an unwanted gnat in their fruit bowl. It doesn't phase me any more, what I've discovered and decided is that it's important for me to share my passion. By sharing my passion for connecting with technology and then integrating it, I'm showing how much is possible if you put a lot of energy, time, love, and excitement into it. Over the summer, Ruth shared a story with me about a friend who biked a lot one summer...I think the woman biked over 100 miles in one day for a race or a cause. This woman came back to school ecstatic to share her passion for biking and encouraging others to want to bike as much as she had. Ruth explained how for her, it was an example of how someone following their passion in a big way can help another person just take baby steps. I love this idea! I can't expect everyone to share the same passions as me. I can't expect everyone to love Twitter or love blogging or Pinterest in the same way as I do but by sharing my experiences and what I find truly works for me, I model for others how they can take a baby step into using technology and connecting through social media.

This notion makes me completely ecstatic. I might not be able to change the world overnight but I strongly believe that by sharing my passion, I might be able to help someone see how to take those first baby steps. And baby steps are just the beginning.

The more I think and talk about how teachers can be integrating technology and share my passion for it, there are a some things I have come to know about technology and helping people own those baby steps.

1. Technology is always changing and there's so much out there so there's just no possible way to know it all. (Which is kind of a relief...it's like a free pass. It's okay to not know everything about technology!)

2. Embracing technology is all about owning the growth mindset. You can't know everything about technology, but you sure can have an open mind and a willing-to-learn attitude when it comes to technology. And why not model this for students?

3. It's important to start where you are when it comes to technology. If you're trying something new, explore, check it out, try things, make mistakes. If you've been using something for a while already, share what you know and how you use it and see what others might add to your knowledge. But wherever you are, be happy to be learning and using technology.

4. Celebrate the baby steps! Hip, hip, hooray for baby steps! I'm a big fan of baby steps because eventually they get you somewhere. Someone reminded me recently that parents are hugely proud when their baby takes their first steps. Everyone should own their baby steps. Trying something new deserves kudos just for trying.

5. It takes cheerleading and support and time and commitment to keep those baby steps going. Really helping people see a why to their baby steps and then helping them create a habit to keep going is just as important as those first steps. Just like a parent nurtures and guides their baby, clapping and cheering them on, I see myself as a cheerleader and coach for others. I may have gotten them into these first few baby steps by modeling my passion, I feel a need to keep them up and going. 

I love that I get to share my passion for instructional technology with others on a daily basis. It's so fulfilling to model how I use technology because it is one of my passions. In thinking about helping others see how to use technology in new or different ways, it's exciting to think how being able to share my passion might truly help someone feel okay to take a baby step. 

What are your passions? How do you model your passions everyday? What are some examples of how you have seen someone stretch themselves after seeing how passionate you are? I can't wait to read your stories! Thanks for sharing!

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