May 12

Monday, the folks over at Twitter were working to fix an auto-follow-type bug and many people in the Twitterverse went into panic mode right away because their Following/Followers lists had apparently been wiped out to zero. Now for those of you that weren’t on Twitter at the time – your Twitter stream was still visible to you as a user so it was pretty obvious that you were still following everyone you’d chosen to follow. But there were still a large number of people that went into a panic that they had lost their followers.

I was simply amazed at the number of people that were upset AND how few mentions there were of no longer following those they had chosen to follow – meaning most people were simply concerned that people were no longer following them. Now granted I have just a little less than 300 followers and follow a little less than 200, but I just don’t see what the big deal was. If I’m saying things that others find to be truly meaningful and worthwhile won’t they find me and start following me again? And vice versa: I know who I would start following again because I know whose tweets I find compelling and interesting. 

So personal reflection time: What does it say about us if we are freaking out when something like losing our Twitter followers happens? 

Image courtesy of Twitter.

Mar 26

I was excited and flattered when an instructor emailed me to ask if she could interview me for a class she is teaching about being a technology integration specialist. Since it is a class early on in the program it mostly covers what it means to be an integration specialist – what skills are involved and such. So the questions were pretty much what I expected: What would you say are your major responsibilities? What is a typical day like as an integration specialist? (This was the hardest question to answer as no two days are alike.) What advice do you have for those looking to become technology integration specialists? It is this last question that was both the easiest and I feel most important question she could have asked. And these are the main points of my answer:

  • Expand your Professional Learning Network (PLN) – I learn SO MUCH when I take time to read my RSS feeds and just “listen” to the education talk that occurs on sites like Twitter
  • Be approachable, but not a door mat. – It is important that the educators and students you support know that you will help them when they need it, but don’t do the work for them. If needs support keep your hands off of their computer if at all possible. This may possibly be one of the hardest things I had to learn because “I can do it faster.” But, if you fix the problems for them, they will come back again expecting you to fix another problem and won’t ever learn the skills themselves.
  • Don’t let your work take over your life. – It is so easy to sit down “for just a few minutes” with your computer in the evening and then realize that two hours have passed. One of my favorite aspects of my job is that I get to explore the internet for new tools and exciting ways to use them in the classroom. But this can be very time consuming and can cause you to feel overwhelmed if you are not careful.

There were of course a number of other things I could have said, but I felt these were some of the biggest ideas that I wanted to convey.  And of course as soon as I publish this post there will be even more that I wished I had added.