Back From The Cutting Edge

Been a while huh? You still there? How did you end up here after so long? Is RSS still a thing? I don’t know about you, but I haven’t read a blog post in almost six months. Have you? Did you follow the Twitter trail here? Are other people still blogging? Are you? Did I miss anything?

I am not even sure who you are, and to be honest, these days I am having a hard time knowing who I am, and what I am doing here. Blogging. Writing. Sharing. It has been so long since I did any of those things that I feel I have lost what it was I wanted to say when I started. Have I turned my back on whatever audience or community I spent so much time and energy cultivating? Do you care? Does it matter?

Yeah, I am and have been having a bit of an existential crisis since the end of the school year last year.

What have I been doing you might ask? I have been spending my time reading every Young Adult book I can get my hands on. I’ve been falling in love with #TCRWP (Reading and Writing Workshop), to the point that I even have grade eight kids writing in notebooks. Pen and paper old school. Pages and pages of it. And it feels great. I am hand writing charts on flip chart paper for goodness sake. And to be honest, I feel I am doing some of my best teaching in years.

What else? I spend some of my energy on the plants in my classroom. I’ve also been playing open mics in the hope that I will be able to sing a full set of songs without tabs and lyrics by Christmas.

Not sure how or why I fell into this new territory. There was no conscious choice to turn my back on ……What do I even call it? What exactly have I turned my back on? Is there anything at all to be named? My PLN? Blogging, Ed Tech? These labels seem so simplistic. Have I turned my back at all?

My thoughts have drifted I suppose and my priorities have shifted, but what really happened is that I have grown bored of my own shtick. Digital stories, sharing, sharing, sharing and networks– round and round left me dizzy, till I just had to get off the ride. I have forced myself to name what I value and why? In short, I know that I still value open networks and community learning. I still value expression and stories and the magic of the web. But what that looks like in my classrooms these days? Your guess is as good as mine.

Things have been feeling stale for me for a while. After a decade of being on the cutting edge, I need a break. Maybe, for the time being I need other people to be the innovators. I need some time to reassess what I value. What felt new and transformative when I started, feels stale and unimaginative.

This re-evaluation reminds me of the value of having people on campus who sustain the momentum when some of us lose it. Every school needs people on the edge, so that when the rest of us need to move back from it, they can push us back where we need to be.  I’m talking to you Digital Literacy Coaches and Tech Facilitators. Thank you for the work you do, to keep the rest of us on our toes. So that when we hit a rut, like the one I have described, you can rejuvenate us and remind us of what we value that we may have forgotten.

Which brings me to Learning 2.014. Feels like I have gone full circle in the last decade. I feel like the doe-eyed n00b again this year. I am very much looking forward to seeing what everyone is excited about this year. I have no role to play at this conference other than open-minded learner. I am looking forward to having energizing conversations. I am hoping to creep back to the cutting edge, or maybe share the view from the way back.


9 thoughts on “Back From The Cutting Edge

  1. avatarJulie

    Love the way you are thinking Jabiz, whether it is digital learning or pen and paper it is what we value in the end that comes forth… open networks, community learning, expression, magic and stories. Sounds good to me!

  2. avatarPhil Hart

    I also was once seduced by the allure of all this new technology. Perhaps, with your new approach of being an open-minded learner, you can now harness the best that both the old and the new technologies have to offer?

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  4. avatarPatrick Rhodes

    This is a great article. It really lets you know how technology really develops over time. Technology reallys help in teaching.

  5. avatarSarah Glenn

    Awesome post. I loved reading this. There can be times when I feel that technology has taken over my life. I feel obligated to check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media for the latest updates on the world. I don’t spend the same amount of time outside or communicating in person that I once did. I feel that technology has its place, yet it shouldn’t take over our lives. In a world where people see technology as the most vital part of their lives, I see it as a way to help instruct and entertain. I want to use technology in my classroom, but I don’t want to make it the only teaching tool.

    Twitter: @SarahGlenn310

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  7. avatarLeslie Evans

    I love this blog post. I feel the same exact way with technology today. I actually love to read books and try not to look on social media, but it always tempts me every single time. I also agree with Sarah Glenn. Technology shouldn’t rule our lives and we should be able to use it in the classrooms as well to interact with the students.

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