I have been reading the commentary from others about the ideas which have arisen from the conversation that Steve Hargadon’s conversation with Will Richardson about blogging. Of particular interest to me are the comments from an old friend, Andy Carvin on his learningnow.org about avoiding the usual pool of thoughts and Jeff Utecht’s posting which led me back to Bud the Teacher and David Jake’s comments on some of the complaints that it is difficult to reach a critical mass of readership in the thoughts that we choose to share.
While walking the dog this afternoon, in between catching the afternoon’s football games (thank goodness for TiVo, since I am a one television family with two teenage daughters. I can catch a game within 45 minutes), my thoughts were divided into two distinct ideas.
The first is that one of the motivators that have gotten me to recommit to blogging once again, with more gusto this time, was the k12 Online conference. Through the encouragement of the conference organizers and others who participated in this conference, the various post conference events, I was motivated to recommit to blogging. It corresponds with my belief that not only to students have to develop the technology and communication skills to raise themselves above the white noise and make themselves unique and distinctive, that we as educators have to raise ourselves above the white noise that our students experience in the course of the day. One of the ways that this has to occur is that an individual has to participate and work at the skill, whether it be blogging, podcasting, use of wikis, skype casts, or whatever collaborative medium that we determine will be most effective for spreading the message that we want to share. We should encourage all to participate and not be exclusive. As a teacher, I am trying to encourage my students to contribute and collaborate, because through sharing and sometimes disagreeing, our ideas become stronger.
I can personally attest to the fact it is through these baby steps and the encouragement of others who are in the “club”, Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach, Vicki Davis, Fred Bartels, and Arvind Grover to some of the thoughts that I have shared. It has also been extremely exciting to find out the author of a book that I have blogged about, Greg Mortenson, somehow found my post and commented on it, half-way around the world. The validation of “me” is important in fueling the ego and providing validation of the thoughts and ideas that I have been publishing. Without this feedback, we would get discouraged and eventually lose momentum or not be willing to share those thoughts and ideas.
My second thoughts are related to what David Jakes shared in his post:
Those of you that have read blogs for a while will recognize these names. Stephen. Will. Miguel. Wes. David, Clarence, Dean, Darren, Vicky, George, Bud. You know who they are without even me adding last names, don’t you? Would you consider these people a group?
Thinking about one of my first loves, baseball, or thinking about the football games that I was watching, it occurred to me that there will always be a set of superstar bloggers. What we have to remember is that they may not remain superstar bloggers forever. As they age, they may lose their ability to capture the audience. They may tire or burn out. The aspects of their life may change. Every year, there are new players who start their professional experience. In the case of baseball, it is a long journey through the minor leagues, where players have to experience in smaller markets, gaining experience and maturity. When they are ready, they get moved up to a larger audience who is more demanding. Some will wash out, some will be happy with that level of engagement. Eventually, they will make it to the “major leagues.” Even in the majors, there are maybe 40- 50 superstars, but there are also 700+ others who are just as important participating at that level. Some of those will become superstars in time, some will be like journeymen ballplayers, the left-handed relievers or a Julio Franco, who seem to be around forever who make solid contributions, each which are important, sometimes more important for all the the advancement of the sport. In baseball, first there was Honus, the Big 6, Nap, Ty, Tris. They were later replaced by the Babe, Lou, the Rajah, the Big Train. They have been replaced now by the Rocket, Cal, Big Mac, Sammy. Each of those players have now been replaced by Manny, Big Papi, Derek, A Rod. The perpetual hands of time will bring others into the lexicon and history.
I know that I at this point in time, I am a minor-league blogger. I am comfortable with that. Reaching superstar status is not important for me. For me, right now, it is important to share my ideas and have the time to reflect on my teaching and on the leadership that I can bring to the teachers not only in my school, but for those whom I will present for, and others who are starting whom I can mentor. Some may be better than me. I am comfortable with that. But I will keep trying, keep stretching myself to become better and more skilled. But I realize that it will take time, energy, and effort to achieve.