I’m Heading Back To The Shallow End Of The Pool

From the get-go of my “ed-tech” existence, I have been in the deep end of the pool.

In 1995, I purchased my first computer — 5 weeks later, I was a tutor in the AOL Tutor Room — TchJen.   — Deep End Of the Pool

In 1999, I hosted my first project — 5 days later, I was enveloped in learning mail merge, html, excel, and more.  — Deep End of the Pool

In 2005, I presented for the first time at a tech conference (GAETC), as a spotlight speaker — Deep End of the Pool.

Being in the deep end of the pool became my pretty much my comfort zone — true at times, I would head to the edge to hang on, grab a floatie to rest on occasionally,  and other times I would dash happily to the HIGH board to dive (okay — to jump) right back in.

From Diigo to Delicious, From Twitter To Plurk, From Wordle to Tagxedo, From Animoto to Voice Thread, From Edmodo to Ning, From Skype to Google Voice, From PBWorks to Wikispaces, From….. —– I don’t need to continue, I know you get my point.   I was in the deep end — but sometimes WAY over my head.

But I realizing that there are basically 4 kinds of teachers that are existing in education right now…..

a.  The ones that are comfy in the deep end of the pool.   (This is pretty much anyone within my twitter network, the people who write the blogs I follow, conference speakers, the DEN network, etc)

b.  The ones who are comfy in the shallow end of the pool.  (This includes most (but not all) of the people who participate in my projects, many of the teachers on my campus, and a majority of people I speak with through this blog and at conferences.)

c.  The ones who are sitting in the lounge chairs near the pool.  (This includes the lurkers we all know who are seeing what is happening in education, but are still quite comfortable where they are sitting.)

d.  And the one’s who refuse to exist that the pool even exists.   (no more needs to be said here.)

And I have realized, and I have decided, that I am heading back to the shallow end of the pool.   I think it is much more important for me to be in the shallow end of the pool.   I know I have stopped being effective when all I do is holler “come on out, the water is fine” when indeed what I need to do is head back to the shallow end and work with the MANY there to help them get to the deep end.

So from now on, I am going to exist more with the group #2 and #3.

And then, as they are ready (and sometimes when they are not), I will encourage them to move to the deeper end of the pool.

Pointing them towards:
Kathy Cassidy and Maria Knee — two elementary teachers who are blogging with their students.
Paula Naugle — a teacher who is using skype so productively in hers (and many classrooms)
Lanise Jacoby — an elementary teacher who has brought her classroom to her website
Kathy Shields — an elementary teacher who is exploring all her options to make them work creativity in her classroom & pursuing her PhD with thoughts of ipads in the classroom.
Brent Coley — a former upper elementary teacher who was creating podcasts with and for his students
Brian Crosby — a teacher who is not only expanding the walls of his classroom but knocking them down completely
Clarence Fisher — a high school teacher who is working hard to redefine literacy (and is also the mayor his town!)
Robert Pronovost — an elementary teacher who is being a light on his campus regarding new possibilities
and many other teachers and educators who experts at what they are doing….and will be there in the deep water to help any and all who come.

And don’t worry — Of course, I will be looking to the deep end and wandering back and forth as necessary.

….I just feel it is much more important for me to be working with teachers where they are and encouraging them forward than yelling from afar for them to come and join me.

Just my thoughts
Comments are always appreciated.





  1. Wow, Jen! What a great way to start my weekend. Thank you so much for including me in this post.

    You are one of the reasons why I like to play in the deep end of the pool. When I started participating in your projects, I had been pushed into the deep end a few times by my administrator and district. I was doing my best to stay afloat and I developed a passion for tech integration. Your projects allowed my to go to the shallow end of the pool and learn some “basic strokes”. You know how I feel about your mentorship over these past years, and I am truly honored to be one of the educators you point others toward.

    Thank you for being there and for all that you do for all of us in the pool – whether in the deep end, the shallow end, or sitting in the lounge chairs. You are truly inspirational.

  2. Patti Duncan says:

    Welcome to the shallow end. I spend most of my days there helping teachers get their “sea legs”. Some are working on getting their feet wet, some trying to give up their “floaties” and some practicing breathing under water…. It is a great place to spend time and effort. The more folks we guide through the waters of Tech Ed…. the larger the pool will need to be!!

  3. Melissa says:

    Thanks for sharing Jen! You have articulated what I have been going over in my head for weeks now. I guess, I too will be swimming back to the “shallow end!” 🙂

  4. Hi Jen,

    First of all, love the name 🙂 and second of all I have just come across your site in my search for help setting up a classroom literature blog with my second grade students. I love what you said about the shallow-deep end of the pool and I am not sure where I fall in that pool but I’m glad I’m not afraid to jump on in.

    Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated as I begin this new form of reading/writing with my students. We are focusing on response to literature right now but are leaving our options open. Thanks for your great stuff! I will be back many, many times.


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