When you watch children play on a playground for a while, you soon can tell those who are at the center of the play groups and those who are on the outside. Those on the outside would really like to play and take part but they know that no matter how much they try to get into the main group of play, they won’t be able to unless someone from the “group” invites them. Now, once in the play group, they are not really part of the group. As soon as they do or say something that upsets one of the “group” they again join the outsiders looking in and usually someone else takes their place. This continues over time as the main group remains pretty much intact, unless someone moves in and can meet the criteria. Those children on the outside desperately want to play and be part of the group. So much so that, at times, they’ll turn on other children on the outside just to prove they can be like the main “group”.
Now this type of thing doesn’t stop as the children get older, it just morphs into other types of “playground” settings like the hallway, the rink, the park or any place that children gather and then places where adults gather. As an administrator, I’ve been involved in a number of scenarios similar to the above that have created hard feelings and problems. It is very difficult when a parent comes to you to discuss their child knowing that the child isn’t one of the “in” group but just wants others to leave them alone and treat them with respect. As a parent, I’ve had to watch as one of my own children has played on the outside and not been included. Thank God she has an incredible sense of something because this has not altered her love of school, feelings for other people and her genuine love for others. She seems oblivious, most of the time, to what the others are doing as she and one of her playmates play together. We hope that as she grows older, she’s now 10, she’ll not lose that gift of genuine caring.
Making a leap to the adult world, we seem to kind of experience this phenomenon in the blogosphere. It’s not exactly the same. People are not “excluded” on purpose. No one goes around telling people they can ”blog today.” There are a few major names that come to mind whenever the conversation begins about education and web2.0 this is not wrong or any different than any group of which I have been a part. A reference by them or a link will send others your way. Of course, you have to have the writing and the content to keep them.
When I first began blogging, I was hoping to see my contacts and conversation grow by leaps and bounds but that didn’t happen. In fact, it has taken a long time to build relationships with a few bloggers and share in the mutual blog reading and commenting. I still try to visit the blogs of people who comment because, well, there aren’t 100’s of them and so I figure I should give them the courtesy. Of course, I wanted to be one of those who was at the forefront but, somewhere along the line, it didn’t happen. I didn’t become one of those “name droppers” that were mentioned and joined. In hindsight, that’s probably good.
Through the summer I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to post every day. I have a big job ahead of me as I try to introduce the staff and students to the usefullness of these tools and try to enhance the functionality of administrators through these tools. I can write for myself despite the fact that it will sometimes rub others the wrong way. I can always comment back to anyone commenting – there aren’t that many!
I will continue to post as a teacher and administrator who doesn’t just find the tools fascinating but as someone who uses them daily in order to save time, delineate information in an expeditious manner, ensure contact with parents and students, communicate with staff, students and parents and improve my teaching and administration capabilities. I will continue to work with my teachers, I’m the IT person for the school, in developing and enhancing their use of these tools to help organize themselves and enhance the learning of students. I will assist the teachers to build their programs using new tools in order to help our students develop 21st century skills. I will continue to look for teachers who are interested in making connections using these tools and try to bring students together in unique and educational ways.
It’s not that I won’t join in the great conversations that take place but I won’t be tied to my reader or worry about “the one that got away” because there will always be another one. Right now, I’m working on renovating our house. I’ve spent 4 days repairing and repainting and have a few days left. I enjoy this as it is something totally different from my usual work. After nearly 2 weeks of no technology, I’ve realized that, like tv, which I don’t watch, I can still do my job and completely function without being locked into the various “tools” that are being used. I’ve been able to spend time doing other things, knowing that life is full of choices and it’s not the talents or gifts we are given but the choices we make in using them.
To those who visit regularly, thanks for your comments and input. I hope to continue sharing comments and ideas through the year. For those who visit, thanks for visiting. Maybe sometime soon, you’ll leave a comment and we can begin a new conversation. As for “playing” with the others, maybe some of us will be invited but, if not, we can’t lose the gifts we have and we can share them with the few who visit.
Image 1 – www.dexh-es.eu.dodea.edu Image 2 – http://kaslovisitorguide.com/pics/winter1.jpg Image 3 – http://www.olegnovikov.com/gallery/whatsnew/summer.jpg