The past week has given me some perspective on the tasks I am facing with becoming a connected educator. As usual, it is the "soft" objectives which often mean the most in our learning journeys.
I realized that the frustration, fear, and overwhelmedness that I am feeling is likely the same as my student feel when I throw them a new challenge or task outside of their comfort zone. I see them become too overwhelmed to start, too disconnected to see the relevance, too afraid of failure to even try. I truly feel their pain right now as I have to admit feeling all of those things when trying to figure out how to create and leverage an effective PLN (in addition to keeping the rest of my life on the rails). So from this moment of empathy and sympathy, I gave myself the same "lecture" I would give my students, perhaps even a little more sternly as I should (and do!) know better.
So pity party aside, I began to focus on my genius hour project and how I can leverage connectedness both as a teacher and facilitator of these projects. I have a clear vision of what I want and hope the students could do, but getting there is going to be another challenge. I know from experience that I am walking a tightrope of structure and freedom, requirements and possibilities. With too little guidance, students will get lost; with too much, I kill the essence of the task.
I initially turned to my comfort zone of internet searching, and while I did find some ideas and guidance, I knew I needed to go beyond comfort and familiarity. So starting simple, I found the Twitter #geniushour and added it to my TweetDeck. I also posted a tweet (cry) for help on how to implement genious hour in the high school because so much seems to be geared to elementary and middle school. The first Thursday of the month is that hashtag's chat, and I think I will give it a try. I just might lurk, I might jump in, but I can honestly say that I am feeling better about the potential of finding a mangeable way to be connected but not be consumed.