I’m often asked about the issue of “time”- usually during presentations/workshops about anything associated with blogging, wikis, microblogs, shared bookmarks, RSS feeds, etc.
“Who has the time to do this?”
“Why would I ever want to do any of those things? Where would I find the time?”
“All those things are great, but I have a life. There just isn’t time to do it all!”
As a rule, I usually note during those sessions that I don’t sit behind a computer 24/7/365. BUT… I wonder if the participants really believe me? My guess is that many don’t believe me (I’m a ‘techie,’ right?), or they assume that the nature of my job affords me more time to read blogs, share on Twitter, add shared bookmarks, and post to my own blogs every single day.
The fact is… my job doesn’t really afford me more time to do any of these things. Instead, I’ve made the decision that using those tools help me to grow as a professional. I’m connected to people all around the world who are willing to share their ideas with me, collaborate with me on projects and ideas, and learn with me about preparing 21st century learners for future success. Why would I NOT make time for that?
We know that young people are also using these tools and gaining extraordinary benefits- when the tools are used appropriately. Perhaps that fact alone would be the motivating factor for making time.
I’ve always been told that you make time for those things in your life that are your priorities. So… why should this be a priority?
- If you’re preparing students to be successful for the future, you need to understand the learning tools they have at their disposal. We all understand best by DOING.
- These tools should be used in schools. Period.
- You will see a substantial increase in your own personal growth. I learn every single day from someone who shares with me. If you follow others in your field who are positive, strategic, and visionary, it’s nearly impossible to find these experiences unworthy of your time.
Here is a sampling of some “web 2.0” tools I use- those that I use most often:
- blogs (I write two blogs, and I read hundreds)
- blog readers (RSS feeds), so that I can READ blogs easily and quickly
- iChat or other IM tools
- social networks (Ning, Facebook, LinkedIn)
- Google Docs
I don’t use every tool every day, nor did I try to take on all of them at one time when I first started. In each case, I found a tool, tried it for a while, then decided if it provided me any advantage or benefit. What I found was that each one serves a different purpose, and I go to them for very different reasons. Of course, there were some that I found weren’t useful to me, so I don’t use them. In some cases, especially communication, I’ve found these tools actually save me time!
Because I’m seeking balance in my life, I’m also very deliberate about how much time I spend using these tools when home. That tends to be more difficult, but it’s important to make my family time a priority, too.
Just like we all need to find time for recreation, for exercise, for learning, for SLEEP… I think it’s also possible to find time to blog, or contribute to a wiki, or share with others in your field through some other web 2.0 tool. Maybe it’s once a week or once a month, but the time is there if you make it.
Is it a priority for you?
You know, I’m getting a little scared at how much we think alike. Last night, I was making a comment on my blog with my grad class. And as I was navigating there, I saw this post in my Google Reader. I didn’t read your post until this morning…but it’s the exact thing I told them. The “time” excuse is beginning to become a crutch and increasingly not legitimate. Do teachers have time? Nope. Because they are too busy recreating the same project they’ve done the last 15 years. You are right on when you talked about how using technology can severely decrease the amount of time you have to spend on it later. We talk all the time about wanting our kids to be life long learners, but are we?
Great job. We should present together on a topic similar to this…oh wait, that’s January 🙂
I am Yvonne Osborn, Visual Arts teacher from Taylors Lakes, Melbourne , Australia. Thanks for your Blog which I discovered by chance among the Edublog Supporters.You are someone on my wavelength. I agree with you about “time”. I’m sure the majority of teachers at my school think I’ve got loads of time on my hands because I blog and am on Facebook. I also get the impression that they think that to Blog is a bit vain. I am fortunately slowly getting across the idea that blogging is relatively simple and an amazing communication tool. I am thoroughly enjoying my blogging experiences. I feel energised by them and thank people such as you who have the courage to share your thoughts and help us reflect on our teaching and learning.
I’ve just come across your article on making time and I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Writing a blog is a fantastic way of sharing ideas and resources and leads to great personal development. I am learning new things every day and this can only enrich my teaching.
“Everything in moderation” is a simple notion and I definitely think that blogging is a worthy activity.
You have taken my scattered thoughts and published them in a well-written, comprehensive, and in-depth post. I found your blog through a comment on Steve Dembo’s site and now have a new favorite to add to my list! Thank you for sharing!
@ Josh- great minds do think alike, right? 😉 It’s nice to be on the same page with those in my PLN, but you also do a lot to challenge some of my preconceived notions… and that’s a good thing, too!
@Yvonne, Janet, and Susanna- Welcome! I’m glad you found your way here and that you are finding blogging to be as useful as I find it to be! Imagine what our students could be learning about their world and about themselves through this same process.
Blogging is, indeed, opening up a whole new world for me! I’m not sure where to start looking, but our Science and Math Departments are planning a research project that we would like to conduct concurrently with students in another country. We have more questions than answers, so if you know someone who could help, please direct them to susannarobertson.blogspot.com. Thank you so much!