Total Perspective Vortex

Apologies, it’s been a busy week with the end of half-term and a trip to see the family.

I’ve spent most of today and yesterday looking at the K12 Online Conference (http://k12onlineconference.org/), an online conference (surprisingly) which seems geared to introducing and discussing the possibilites available with Web 2.0. A conference at which blogs, podcasts and Wikis are considered ‘old hat’ is bound to be full of bleeding edge ideas and possibilities.

Many fellow edubloggers are already well aware of the conference, and some are involved (you can join Anne Davis and Ewan Mcintosh for a ‘fireside chat’ this Saturday afternoon [4pm UK]).

You might have expected something like this to leave us, that is practising (practicing?) teachers, full of enthusiasm and drive. Inspiration from the forward thinkers and early adopters. What I found is that I now feel more disillusioned and exhausted than ever. The sheer scale of the Internet is just too overwhelming. Imagine stepping into Douglas Adams’ Total Perspective Vortex and being shown your place in the Grand Scheme of Things – the range of tools and resources that are being developed, and added to on a daily basis. We already have Moodle, ELGG, Flickr, YouTube, Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis, Writely, Google Spreadsheets and Delicious to name but a few of the most successful examples. New tools and resources are being developed so often that it’s just too much, and I feel obliged to research and then use them all.

After a bit of reflection I’ve come to the obvious conclusion (the half-hour sitcom conclusion, if you will – obvious for an objective audience) – that of course I can’t use them all, I can’t even research them all. There just aren’t enough hours in the day, and I’m busy enough with the ‘real’ work of lesson plans, Schemes of Work, marking, filing, after-school clubs, etc. (oh, and did I mention my wife and children? and eating and sleeping?). What I need to do is find time to read through and pick on those items that interest me. I might miss some fantastic resource (“We don’t like their [the Beatles] sound and guitar music is on its way out.”), but the great ones will resurface in blogs and forums again and again. Think of it as a publisher’s slush pile, akin to the A&R guy touring pubs and clubs around the country. If I’m determined to catch them all then I’ll be burned out inside a year.

My point? Have a look for resources and fresh ideas. Have a look for practical ideas for implementation. Don’t kill yourself trying to find (and then use) all of them. And when it becomes a chore, perhaps it’s time to stop and take stock at everything you’ve achieved so far.

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