Friday, April 25, 2008

On fear and putting ourselves out there...

Bob Sprankle writes in "I'm Still Rezzing", about items left in books sold to a bookstore. They were placed on a display for all to see. Those who left the artifacts behind are unaware of the material being shown and he wonders about their objections. His post is very timely to me.

He states,

Like it or not, much of our lives are now like those walls, whether by choice, or by chance: open to review and examination on the Internet.

On the positive end of the spectrum, an example of this may be how many of us are now learning in public in ways that were never before possible, through tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc. Though this approach of putting your learning out there for all to see can be daunting and challenging, I firmly believe the rewards are enormous. As a personal case in point, I believe that I am a better teacher by reflecting on my practice in public, opening up my professional development to a larger network of participants —my learning network— for feedback, challenges, and even accountability.

I wonder if this acceptance of “evolution” for the technology is also allowed for the people using the technology. We welcome the revision of “Web 2.0” but are we also allowing for people’s “Personal Growth 2.0?” In a world where much of our learning and exploration is now carried out in public arenas, are we accepting of revisions and addenda of thought and understanding?

Ewan MacIntosh is quoted there too (and I will paste here because it is currently what I am feeling):

“I think we don’t know what we don’t know. So why should we be afraid of putting our views, at that particular moment, forward. If someone ridicules it in 36 hours, or in 36 months, or 36 years, does it really matter? Can we still learn from that experience? So is the fear that we’ll do something stupid justified?”

Now why do I want that quote here? To remind myself that it is okay to be courageous, forward thinking, and learning and trying everyday. What do we have to lose? Reflection of our practices will continue to make better practice.

It reminds me of students who continually try to learn a math problem and do it over and over again. They may lose less points all the time (and because of this actually be learning), but are not rewarded with doing better, instead may be failing because they are not perfect throughout. If in order to learn, change and grow we must first fail, this becomes a dangerous place to be. Does it mean I need to stop what I am doing? No, but I will be very vocal about what is definitely wrong.

As I just finished being interviewed by a reporter for a magazine, I am nervous about how all of the cutting edge technology plays out in the public forum. I know, it is not new, but it is new to me.

Tags: Bob Sprankle, Ewan MacIntosh, education reform, technology

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