Funny story about feet:
For some reason, at the end of 7th grade, I wanted my feet to stay size 6 forever. I completely rejected and would not acknowledge the growth of my feet. When my mom took me school shopping and we realized that my feet had grown a whole shoe size over the summer, I almost refused to get new school shoes. I was so mad that my feet had grown that much and were now H-U-G-E! I laugh when I think about that now, because my feet, of course, have continued to grow.
I wanted my (smallish) feet to stay small forever, but they didn’t. They couldn’t. They were meant to grow, and so they did. As it turns out, my big feet have taken me places that the 7th grade me could never have imagined.
I’ve discovered that my digital footprint is a lot like that. When I began using technology as a teacher, I was very conservative (almost stealthy) when it came to my digital footprint. I was happy to browse for ideas and information for my classes, and I was glad to find so many resources I could use.
I was very wary, however, of maintaining my privacy, and tried not to leave any breadcrumbs on the sites I visited: no comments, no “likes” or “+1s.” Instead, I quietly “favorited” several “go to” sites in my browser bookmarks and admired from afar the amazing teachers who developed such great ideas for using technology with their classes, and who found the time to write about their experiences and post them on their blogs. I also admired their courage for putting themselves out into the world like that, but I never imagined myself doing it.
I have learned a lot over the past few months and have really grown as an educator, however. Several weeks ago, I created an “About” page for my blog. I had to complete the task as a class assignment; otherwise, I’m not sure I would have ever done it. Creating the “About” page made me think about my online presence for the first time and why it mattered. I have also had the opportunity to share learning experiences and insights through blog posts I have written and have written comments on other writers’ blogs. I have also shared great ideas I have found online with others and followed and participated in Twitter chats (and I’m still here!) 🙂 Even more than that, my participation has made me feel connected to like-minded professionals.
I understand now that I am part of a global community of educators who share a common goal of helping our students become empowered and effective participants in their communities – and in this world. Reaching out to others in the global teaching community, in a spirit of collaboration, makes me feel more empowered as an educator, too.
I thought keeping to myself, staying “smallish” while taking advantage of what others were producing was good enough. I realize now that I have something to contribute to the conversation, and I’m jumping in with both (big) feet!