10 Years Of Learning

2007 was a huge year in my educational life.
I began a new job — not in the classroom but part of a HELP DESK at a Christian school/church…..where I would stay til 2013 then back into the classroom parttime/helpdesk parttime.
I became a Google Certified Teacher in Santa Monica, CA.   Learning some new stuff however I was already immersed with Googleness ….and met some remarkable people.
I attended NECC in Atlanta …  began using twitter…..and met some remarkable people!

So now — in 2017, I am looking back.   Not wishing to be stagnant….which sometimes is easy to do.  Here are some things I have learned.

1.  Choose your battles…….
As my friend Stacey says “not my float, not my parade.”
In 2007, I thought everything was a battle.   And everyone NOT using tech (as I thought they should) was the enemy.
I have learned to step back…..and relax a bit and not make everything #1.
There are some things I need to stand strong on….and not budge….but there are other things I can let go and just chalk it up to personal opinion.   Mac vs PC — opinion.   Office 365 vs Google — opinion.   Comic Sans vs every other font — opinion.   Etc.
Everything cannot be the most important — otherwise, nothing is important.
So choose your battles…..and don’t make them based on personal opinion.

2.  The loudest voice is not always the voice to be listened to.
I have found in the last few years what wisdom there can be in silence.   As I wander around conferences now, often I will just sit to the sidelines and listen.  I do the same at edcamps.   And I try to listen hardest to the person who talks the least….often who waited a while to share their point.  Some people….myself included….can easily fill a conversation with noise…..but often the quiet voice….can be the loudest.

3.  The sound byte is not always true.
I have learned to search before believing.   Just because someone posts something does not make it true.   Often things are misquoted or distorted or stated as fact when indeed it is just opinion.    I am learning to not knee-jerk to something I read but instead take the time to research it out.   A lot of times I find that what I thought might be true….is in deed false.

4.  Do not judge yourself against what others are doing
This is a hard one….especially this year.  Projects by Jen is in its 18th year and with pride, also comes a bit of weariness.   Something begun a long time ago that was unique is now commonplace.   I tend to stay slow and steady — and I am horrid at marketing.   So often, I feel invisible, inadequate, and ineffective…..and fall into a bit of a mope.   I honestly have to work hard to pull myself out of the funk and persevere.   I cannot let your success diminish my job well done.

5.  Watch for the sustainable, Watch for the authentic
Technology is changing so fast now it is difficult to keep up.   Things can seem like the “next big thing” yet poof, they disappear or are purchased by another company or ….. etc.
Free is no longer free……or won’t be free for long and reading the small print is so important now.
Some things that have stayed steady for me……Google Forms, Wordle, Keynote, WordPress, Twitter.
Things which have gone poof – Netscape Navigator, Ning, Google Reader.
Something I thought was important that I walked away from — Second Life.

6.  What matters is MY classroom
So many people are telling me what to do — so many people are writing books telling me what to do — so many people are creating podcasts telling me what to do.
But not one of those people work with my kids.
I love for you to inspire me — but I need to sift your wisdom through my classroom environment.
No matter how hard you make me clap — it has to work within my classroom to be the best for my kiddos!

7.  Keep a small core of great people nearby
In the last few years, I have narrowed down my field of influencers…..not just to people who are wise, but also people who are truthful and sometimes blunt.  Almost all have been in education for more than 20 years.  Almost all enjoy the opportunities of technology.  Several speak at conferences, a few have blogs, most I do follow on twitter.   If I need wisdom, I seek them out.    Trusted, true, helpful.

8.  It’s no longer a buffet
For many years, I got caught up in I HAVE TO USE IT ALL.   Every time something new came out….I had to conquer it.  Every app that was shared at a conference, every website that was shared at an edcamp, I felt the need to be in the know.
Now, I have pushed away from the buffet and work on pretty much getting very good at a few things rather than being okay at much.

9.  My voice is important
This last year has been a hard year for me.   Not going to go into much detail but I began to fill invisible……yet, I was in fact wearing the invisibility cloak myself.   No one put it on me….I had picked it up and put it on.
But my voice is important….and I need to share more.   20+ years of being involved in EdTech is helpful and knowledgeable.   One of my favorite quotes from West Wing is when President Elect Santos says to CJ Craig “Institutional memory is an invaluable commodity.”  I need to remember to include my voice in conversations.

10.  My blog posts are nothing without you.
I need to write in a way to invite conversations….to gain information…..to elicit knowledge…..to not just share my thoughts but to invite yours as well.   I guess that will be my “resolution for 2017.”




  1. Stacy Allen says:

    Thoughtful, well written post. Thanks for sharing your heart!

  2. Richard Cantrell says:

    Excellent post Jen! Thank you for your efforts for
    our youth

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