Dean Shareski recently shared with our EC&I 831 class his personal journey into becoming “connected”. Having worked with Dean for almost two years now, I have been privy to many of his “connections” – as he’s constantly forwarding us links to blogs and information he comes across that is pertinent to our work. We’ve had skype conversations with Ewan McIntosh, and I’d heard of many of our guest speakers (Clarence Fisher, Darren Kuropatwa, etc.) prior to this class as Dean is constantly sharing their work with us. Dean is very passionate about his work, and he is eager to pass on the contagiousness.

 Having said that, he is very cognizant that Web 2.0 is not everyone’s passion, and so he’s often taken the approach that people need to have valid reasons for engaging with the myriad of tools available. I felt he reiterated this again last night when he gave us “5 Big Ideas”, the first of which stuck with me the most – “Get Personal and Selfish”.

This really hit home for me, as I’ve been feeling like I need to start using all these great tools we’ve been learning about in this class IMMEDIATELY. In fact, I’ve been quite guilt-ridden over our class collaborative wiki, as I’ve been very tentative to add information, as I’m unsure whether I have enough “expertise” to really be sharing, let alone adding a topic myself. Silly, but true.  

So when Dean mentioned this big idea, that we can’t get caught up in tying things to classroom applications right away,  a light bulb kind of went off for me. I realized that I don’t need to pressure myself to incorporate EVERY tool we talk about into my work, nor do I need to be an EXPERT in any of these areas. As with anything, my needs will drive what I really begin to engage with – which will ensure it’s meaningful and useful. Right now Twitter isn’t useful to me, and I don’t see how I’d use Animoto, YET…even keeping up with my blog is still a challenge (although I must admit I find myself reading alot more). However, Moviemaker has been extremely useful as I recently developed a Guided Reading video as requested by our teachers. I’m hoping to use Adobe Connect early next week with some teachers to have a short information session on Writing Benchmarks instead of them driving to use our polycom. I’ve also dabbled with Camtasia to put together a screencast to share with our teachers around Writing Benchmarks.  

I realize that while only certain tools will be useful to me at certain points in time, the exposure to the range we’ve discussed is imperative, as are the networks we are creating to discuss the use of these tools. It’s great to be able to see and hear about what’s worked for people, the successes and challenges they’ve faced, etc.

So…I’m going to continue to get personal and stay selfish…