15 May 2011

When the going got tough...

...to be honest, I wanted to quit.

Since Christmas Break I've been trying to get back into the running groove. Unfortunately, beginning about that same time, I began to suffer from painful IT band issues. In an effort to keep myself motivated to get out there and pound the pavement, I signed up for the 25K Riverbank Run. A little nutty, I'll admit. Yet I knew that if I didn't have that out in front of me, I probably would have quit. And boy did I want to quit.

On at least three occasions (and probably more), I came home and told Christa that I was done running. It was time for me to be content walking and cycling. She did a great job of just listening, and then usually suggested to take a few days to recover and then try it again.

Towards the end of March when my mileage was about half what it should have been according to my training schedule, I discovered that I had overlooked one possible contribution to my IT band pain: insoles. Even though I replace my shoes on a regular basis, I hadn't replaced my insoles for many (read: around 5!) years. Once I put new insoles in my shoes, the pain started to go away.
Yesterday, I achieved my goal: I finished my 25K run with a smile on my face. The run was great. Lots of energy, the rain stopped just in time for us to start, and the temperature was perfect. No record time, but I feel great about my effort.

Without going into too many details, I see so many parallels between my efforts to train for my run and the work of the ZPS TPIT. I was reminded of that as I finished up reading Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard yesterday afternoon. Two quotes from the final pages resonated with me:

Change isn't an event; it's a process. (p.253)

To lead a process requires persistence. (p. 254)
My run yesterday was certainly an event, but it wasn't the change. The change is my getting back into running. Likewise, handing our staff and students new technology in the coming months will be an event, but the technology itself won't create a transformative change. That change is going to be a long process, one for which we will be persistent.

03 May 2011

Am I Googleable?

That's the question that blogger and author Will Richardson would like us to ask of ourselves as educators. In an interview with Education Week from last October, Will shares:

...too few teachers have a visible presence on the Web. The primary reason this matters is that the kids in our classrooms are going to be Googled—they're going to be searched for on the Web—over and over again. That's just the reality of their lives, right? So they need models. They need to have adults who know what it means to have a strong and appropriate search portfolio—I call it the “G-portfolio.” But right now—and this is my ongoing refrain—there’s no one teaching them how to learn and share with these technologies. There's no one teaching them about the nuances involved in creating a positive online footprint. It's all about what not to do instead of what they should be doing.

The second thing is that, if you want to be part of an extended learning network or community, you have to be findable. And you have to participate in some way. The people I learn from on a day-to-day basis are Googleable. They’re findable, they have a presence, they’re participating, they’re transparent. That’s what makes them a part of my learning network. If you’re not out there—if you’re not transparent or findable in that way—I can’t learn with you.

If a student, parent, or colleague were to Google you, what would they find? How are you using online communities to learn and grow professionally?

Join in with us as we all learn what it means to say iLearn@ZPS.

Cross posted to the iLearn@ZPS blog.