The Internet Has Me

So much to know and learn. The World Wide Web, if nothing else, is so vast as to consider almost endless. Some of the basic foundations are explained in the flippable book format found at 20 Things I Learned, produced by the good people at chrome. In it you can learn the answers to your questions that you likely feel to embarrassed to ask out loud like, “What’s the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web?” This little ‘book’ actually proposed the idea that, because we can take care of so many daily tasks (shopping, banking, etc.) online, we are enabled to spend more time in the real world. I will be honest, I do these things but, with the introduction of the Internet into my life, I do not personally feel that I spend more time in the ‘real’ world!

The Internet has definitely empowered me, however. I can accomplish so much and, though I may complain when some piece of technology does not work exactly as I want it to every single time I use it, even my considerable commute has turned in to productive time (see my COETAIL unrelated post, Let’s hear it for productivity!)

Twitter is still a bit elusive to me. I get it, but the constant flow means I ignore it most of the time. This is one Internet tool that has not saved me time. It requires time to realize it’s value. Conversely, so many other tools I have learned to use have done nothing but add value to what I do immediately. As for hyperlinking, it makes everything immediately referenceable. Case in point below:

Online Tools, Varied Usage

Teacher Managed Educational Support
Moodle
Raz Kids
Mathletics

Teacher & Student Creation
Tumblr
Voice Thread
Story Bird
AVS Video Editor
Camtasia 7

Self-promotion
The Sharing Tree (google docs)
SeanThompson4 Hire (beta)

Continual Professional Development
Edublog (tonnes more!)
Twitter

Of course there are waaaaaaaay more but I think this makes the point clear. I tried a little experiment inviting people to share some resources by making and retweeting a list of online tools they had used. Follow me on Twitter @seansensei to find out how it went (I’m the guy with the kid not the egg guy).

Perhaps most importantly to me is the two-fold benefit that absolutely every part of my teaching practice that is improved through the use of the Internet is immediately publishable through the use of hyperlinks on Twitter, through email, on chat forums, on social-networking sites and on my own growing list of web-spaces.

My only worry is that I do not have enough time to properly brand myself to get into that wonderful school that gets the need for integration. I should be working on this full time for at least a month and will come April. I want to do it now however! This is what the Internet has done to me. Drawn me into its lair of possibilities to create and become involved in an exciting era of change in the world. An era that I can get in on near the ground floor. And it’s fun!

So I guess that brings me to my final word. Yes, I still use the Internet to source information. The big difference being now that when I find it, it often becomes part of my own creations or inspires others. I am transforming from a consumer into a producer. It’s addictive.

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About Sean Thompson

Sean has accepted a position as the Director of Technology at The Early Learning Centre, City School, in Bangkok. He is excited to be working with Giovanni Piazza and the rest of the staff to raise awareness of digital-age teaching and learning practice in this Reggio Emilia inspired environment. Sean is also an Apple Distinguished Educator, an International Baccalaureate Educator Network Workshop Leader and a Google Educator available for professional development at your school.
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8 Responses to The Internet Has Me

  1. Ruthful says:

    I appreciated your blog post. The last paragraph especially struck a chord with me. Although in most self-sustaining ecosystems, there are far more producers than those top-of-the-food-chain consumers, we are accustomed to the modern mass media structure of having much more consumers than producers. That’s how all of those amazing block-buster, high-budget movies are produced, after all. The entertainment industry is sustained by the herds of non-migratory, couch-embedded consumers. But I can really identify with your metamorphic awareness of evolving into a producer.
    I find that I often become restless when on the computer, merely consuming information and accessing ideas. I want to produce something from the images and ideas that are tossing into my bubbling brain-soup cauldron. Sometimes I actually do something about it. For example, while viewing an intriguing picture posted on DeviantArt I wrote a story and then contacted the artist. We are now collaborating on a children’s book that will be completed next year. (See blogpost: http://ruth.ingulsrud.net/blog/2011/09/17/letting-the-flower-create-the-root/.
    I think that contemporary students are more ready than I was at their age, to launch into production mode using all of the amazing tools of technology that are at their fingertips. It’s so overwhelming to me, what could be done with an electronic book, that it tends to immobilize me. I am so used to being a consumer, that I hardly know where to begin with becoming a producer. My metamorphosis has begun, but for now, I feel a bit like Kafka’s bug, helplessly waving my legs in the air. I am initially overwhelmed, but once in a while, I am able to grasp a sturdy stick of content that allows me to get my feet on the ground and off I scuttle. I am hoping that this course will help equip me to be a more efficient and resourceful, teacher, librarian and producer.

  2. jamieraskin says:

    I completely agree with you Sean, and also with where Ruth took the line of thought. What I really love are the tools that allow me to sort of impulsively create while I consume. I’m pretty sure the more the boundary between those two fields blurs, the more I like both of them. But don’t call me a prosumer, it sounds far too… pro. Anyways, I’m with you. I feel like all the tools that I really am compelled to take on are defined by how they contribute to this give and take. This is certainly the case with blogging, diigo, voicethreads… facebook too I suppose.

    I also connect with your confusion around Twitter. I think I really have yet to latch onto the idea of letting ambient information flow over me and just picking out the golden bits I happen to notice. I definitely have no intention of reading everything that flows through that account, and from what I understand from most people who use it a lot and set great value in it, they don’t read everything either. They’re happy to expect the cream to rise and catch what they happen to otherwise. Somehow that’s not good enough for me. I feel like I don’t want to subscribe to people’s feeds, because I don’t want to feel compelled to spending more time reading tweets generally. I’m going to keep kicking at that particular pony for a while and see if it goes anywhere, but for now I’m a real fits and starts twitterer… it may just end there. Thanks for your post!
    Jamie

  3. iontravis says:

    Yes you are right Sean!! There does seem to be a rising tide of tech tools to use in our day-to-dy teaching but where does one find the time!!! I like how Jamie pointed out his ability to sort and create while he consumes. I`ve attempted to follow that line as well. I guess we can call it “Learning with the kids”.
    I find that with the ever changing tech tools coming along perhaps tose that are now at the the top of the Blooms Digital Taxonomy will be enhanced even more or may even fade into digital obscurity if they are not maintained/upgraded continuously.
    One of the highlights of Twitter is the ability to link images. Of course I`m no tweeting expert, but I always find myself clicking on those links to images – I guess thats just the way I am.
    II guess we just to have to understand that everyone is in the “infancy” (Where did I hear that word? :)) of online technologies and perhaps, at times, we all need to cut ourselves some slack.
    Keep blogging!
    Travis

    • Sean says:

      Thanks for the words of encouragement Trav. I am so jealous of you TIS guys. Holding a TEDx AND going on tour for tech in the new year. I wonder why Lorraine has no love for Canadians looking for work?

      Oh well, I will probably be getting sub work there in the new year anyway.

      Keep up the good work cohort!
      Sean

  4. Jean Hino says:

    Sean, I was able to connect to your comment from the 20 Things I Learned. I agree, that even if you use the internet to make mundane tasks less time-consuming, the internet consumes much of our time!
    I was able to work on my “brand” this week and although I didn’t feel that I had the tools or maybe the knowledge of how to use the tools to create a logo, I asked a graduate from our school if he would be interested in creating a logo from the ideas I wrote about in my blog(http://jhino2nd.edublogs.org/). I sent the request on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning I had some samples to chose from! It is amazing what people can produce in a relatively short time when they have the tools and the know how and the interest. I knew he had an interest in graphic design, he is attending an art school, and he wrote back a detailed explanation about the designs he created. Now I need to decide! I’m glad I asked him, but I know that I need to do more creating with the tools I have available and not just consuming.

  5. jpayne81 says:

    Hi Sean
    I too ignore Twitter most of the time. My Twitter timeline is 95% of the time comprised of links to articles and blog posts that I don’t have time to read. I’d like to find out how other COETAILers are using it. Right now, I just don’t see any value in it.

    • Sean says:

      Much of the feedback I have received from our cohorts has been like yours. I think that maybe, as newbies, we fret too much (just me?) about getting it right. Rebekha, who I consider a high-level user doesn’t seem to worry too much. She has tweeted about spending rainy days in the company of great, free PD through Twitter and maybe this is where I should e heading. Though as a good Canadian, “snow days” are hallowed gifts from on high and need to be exploited to their slack potential;)

  6. The information available can certainly lead to overload, but you’re actively identifying tools that can help you to manage this. There will always be more tools, more information, more sites to look at, so it’s important that you keep an eye on your priorities. Now that you’re an active contributor to the discussion, you now have an additional flow of information to manage in comment streams like this one, but hopefully the contents are a plenty and that’s a good thing!

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