There are two places to be – immersed in Read/Write worlds and not. And never the twain shall understand each other. There are some things that cannot be explained theoretically.
Today a friend of mine, who is extremely intelligent and wise (I’m stressing this to support a point that’s coming) said to me in all earnestness that she never wanted to blog, didn’t see the point of it, and thought that a few years down the track, people would look back at blogging and say big deal. I’m paraphrasing loosely here. I told her that she didn’t get it because she didn’t do it. And that the only way she would understand it was if she did it. The same goes for other forms of online social networking and learning.
Now this friend, as I’ve already mentioned, is intelligent and wise, an extremely experienced and competent educator, and committed to her role as teacher librarian. So what keeps her in that other place when many of us have moved to the new improved place? And what will it take to give these gentiles an understanding of the transformative nature of the interactive, connected online world? Is it like convincing non-believers that Jesus actually walked on water? (I’m hearing you already, non-believers).
Following this discussion, another friend in the same business asked me if I had read many fiction books lately, and I said not many because there was so much to read and respond to online. Her brow furrowed, and with genuine confusion, she asked what was there online that took up so much of my time. Was it work?
Now here’s another prickly subject for me. Is it work when I spend most of my evening on the internet? Some of it is, and directly related to my job as teacher librarian, but much of it is self-directed reading and responding to the overwhelming mass of wonderful ideas, discussions and resources that are shared. A hollow and static concept – ‘work’. Do you mean, is it something that will be useful in your teaching and supporting role to teachers and students? Then, yes, it is. It’s that and so much more. It’s discovering gold mines many times a day, connecting with people and their knowledge and expertise, giving and receiving ideas, and surprising yourself with the ideas that are expressed by you – ideas you never thought you had, ideas you may never have known you had, if it weren’t for the blog or the comment box. If we’re going to justify the hours we spend online, then we must acknowledge once and for all that what we’re doing is valuable. It’s an ongoing learning process that feeds us so that we can feed our students and school community.
We don’t want to dry out. We must dry out if we don’t water. Networking feeds us, connects us to great minds and wonderful people from so many places. It’s not about the technology, it’s about people.