Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Happens to the Content?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  I attend at least 4 or 5 tech conferences a year and I always see teachers and edtech specialists running around with various gadgets (cameras, video cameras, webcams, microphones, tablets and *gasp* cell phones) creating content. But where does it all go?  I've been searching for images and video from FETC 2012 and ICE 2012 recently and have been struggling to find anything.  My guess is this footage is out there but that it has been improperly tagged.  "Tagging" simply means giving the content keywords when it's uploaded.  Those keywords become meta data that is searched when someone does search engine lookups.  The easiest way is to include the conference Twitter hashtag such as #FETC2012 or #ICE12.  This way one someone is searching for content related to the conference it will be easily findable.

If you are keeping these great memories to yourself and not sharing - I'm curious as to why? Get uploading and tagging! Share the excitement that enabled you to create the content in the first place!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Crossroads

It's been a while since my last post and there are some good reasons for that.  First, and foremost I was busy preparing sessions for and attending the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) and the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) conference.  Second and partially a direct result of the first, I have been feeling a bit burnt out.  I seem to have a word missing from my vocabulary and if you know me at all you probably already guessed that word is "no".  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  It simply means that I am often too willing to sacrifice my well being and occasionally my sanity for "the cause" of education and technology.  In the process, I've been feeling my passion and energy draining away.  

Perhaps it started with last year's 365 project here at Zenodotus and really started to take root during the month following the projects conclusion.  Towards the end of the year, I was struggling to find tools that I thought readers may find valuable.  What I loved was suddenly becoming work; but, the reward was knowing that 400 people a month were visiting and learning from what I had to share.  When the project ended those numbers dwindled and it hit me, a blog is only as valuable as it's content and I was tapped out.  

I started a mobile vlog instead that was supposed to share my thoughts and opinions about education and technology and I got about 3 episodes in and realized the model was neither viable or sustainable for me.  Suddenly, because I wasn't sharing, I started to feel less valuable within the #edtech community at large.  I actually thought about stepping away for a while and wondered if my voice would even be missed.  But I didn't because the #edtech world changes so fast, I was afraid I'd miss something.

During the past few weeks I've been doing some serious introspection and have come to the conclusion that one of two things must happen.  Either I need to go back to school and get a Masters degree in Educational Technology which should bring some structure back to the chaos that is my passion or I need to change careers entirely.  Up until a few hours ago, I was heavily leaning towards the latter.

Then, earlier today, like I shimmering beacon of hope on a cluttered white board, I read something I had scribbled down some time ago: "I can. I will, I am".  I tweeted it out as a hastag #IcanIwillIam and asked people to Retweet if they figured out what it meant and liked it.  Then came the moment of clarity from my good friend Jen Wagner who I have mentioned many times here at  Zenodotus .  She would only share the hashtag, if she could add the phrase "I did", with the bonus of  "and begin again."  

Of course! At that moment, I realized I never had taken a second to reflect on or celebrate my accomplishments from last year.  I DID accomplish a nearly impossibly 365 blogging goal.  I DID orchestrate a successful 6 month Project Based Learning for Professional Development endeavor at my district.  I DID present more sessions and workshops at conferences this year than in the past.  I DID continue to learn and grow with colleagues and peers.  OK, so that sounds a bit trite and perhaps a little conceited, but Duh! I wonder why I'm feeling a bit burnt out?!  This last year has been a whirlwind to say the least and I hadn't taken the time to think about where I'd been before starting up again.

I still have decisions to make.  But, I can now make them with a renewed sense of purpose.  I still have a number of projects in the fire.  I am authoring a book about building professional learning networks, I am hoping to re-vitalize Webtopia.tv in the coming weeks and am hoping to get Teachertechacademy.com up and running by this summer.  

#IcanIwillIamIDid I love what I do and I am blessed to have colleagues who remind me of that once in a while, so that like a phoenix from the ashes - I can "begin again"!
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