The info shared on Twitter keeps astounding me! Yes, there are lots and lots of websites shared, but there are also lots and lots of thoughts shared.
Somehow when thoughts are condensed into just 140 characters they take on a deeper meaning. While some of the thoughts shared are fleeting, others are profound.
One that struck me loud and clear in the last week and kept reverberating around and around my head was one made by Heather when she said: “Can’t believe how some people can only see “more” work for them, instead of better way to work.” Many, including myself, re-tweeted this so that others coming along would ‘hear’ the comment.
My enthusiastic ramblings which seem to be seeping through my fingertips via my keyboard also come at a rate of knots via my verbalizations in which I effuse the wonders and values of self paced online learning – an addiction to which I am unabashedly quite proud!
While friends and colleagues humour me by reading or listening to my words, the most frequent response is that there is just too much information out there, it’s too much to take on board, or as Heather so aptly summed up in her tweet – it’s just too much work!
Why is this so?! Why aren’t all of our colleagues out there in the world of education as equally mesmerized by the world of information which today is so easy for us to access? Why can’t we all feel energized by the vast array of information that’s at our fingertips? Why don’t all our colleagues realize that there is so much to be shared through reading, exploring and playing? Why? Why? Why?
For those of us working in Libraries – be they located in educational settings or in the local community – we know the power of information. We are well versed in the values of learning and knowledge. But surely this is not the mainstay of just our profession. Surely the power of knowledge is shared by … well … just … everyone!
“Information Overload!” – Yes … several people I’ve spoken too over the last few months have stuck that tag onto a range of the online experiences I’ve been talking about: Twitter, Blogs, Websites …. hec … just about the whole gamut of online materials that I’ve been exploring have been referred to as way too much to process and take on board. But hang on …. let’s look at education. What’s it all about anyway? Isn’t education and learning a long term process? How often have each of us used the term: “Independent Lifelong Learners”? Tell me … do the “Independent Lifelong Learners” we churn out of our schools stop being “Independent Lifelong Learners” once they graduate? Don’t the “Independent Lifelong Learners” of today become the “us” out there in the big wide world?!
So what is it that is happening in our schools? Why can’t we all embrace information, learning, knowledge with the same level of enthusiasm that we expect of our students?
I’m not able to come up with too many answers here. Just two spring to mind: priorities and time.
Do our schools in which teachers today are so overloaded with pressures of accountability in the form of report writing and curriculum documentation in addition to endless meeting schedules, requirements to prepare, run and participate in extra curricula activities including school wide special events such as sports days, swimming carnivals and musicals … all of which come on top of the heavy demands of teaching day in day out, being there for yard duty, bus duty and not to mention the out of work hours of marking tests, exams and essays – do our schools enable time for their teachers to explore, play and learn? Is it any surprise that our teachers feel overwhelmed, rung out, exhausted at the end of a day and just look with glazed eyes at the thought of spending more time exploring, playing and learning via the wonders that are available to them on the web? Where does one find the time let alone the energy to explore further afield?
Yes – I am no different to the vast majority out there. At the outset of my journey into this virtual world, I too wondered where I would find the time, the commitment and the energy to engage, learn, explore and discover? At first I was overwhelmed by it all. Soon I was exhausted. But gradually a strange thing happened.
I felt myself becoming addicted to the joys of engaging, learning, exploring and discovering. Suddenly I found that the time I’d previously never had to spend on this kind of activity was being generated seemingly out of nowhere. What I didn’t realize then, but do now, is that my priorities were changing. Time I spent on other activities have, for the moment been shelved, shuffled, or limited to make way for the new. By changing my priorities, I suddenly found that I had time on my hands to engage, learn, explore and discover new horizons.
Go get a life … some may say. Yes – I am! My new life has taken a turn. I’m intent to take time to engage, learn, explore and discover. With an adjusted attitude, I’m unable to regard any of this as information overload! Perhaps our schools too need to assess or reassess their priorities so as to make time for the new.