1 year and counting

So the Thinking Stick turned 1 years old on Sept. 19. I meant to post something then but time just hasn’t allowed. So seeing that The Thinking Stick is 1yrs old. I thought about how blogging has affected my life.

  • First comment on post #10. One by a friend that I asked to comment. 🙂
  • Today 478 comments on about 300 postings

That alone amazes me, and then I think about where I was a year ago. Sitting in a technology lab teaching traditional technology classes for Kindergarten, 1st and 5th grade in 40 minutes blocks of technology time.

I remember first reading David Warlick’s, Will Richardson’s, and Tim Willson’s blogs back in September and being hooked. I remember loading WordPress not knowing anything about php scripting, or databases and not really sure what I was getting myself into.

I remember reading a post by David and thinking to myself that I wasn’t alone. I can’t remember what post it was, but all I could think about was that I wasn’t crazy, that others believed technology was changing education and that education needed to change to take advantage of these new tools. That was the beginning of the end for me. From that point on I was hooked. Will does a good job of capturing what blogging is all about in his recent Edutopia article.

Today,

  • Can hack up a WordPress theme pretty good
  • Learned how to use Flickr to mange my photos. (Just bought the Pro account earlier this week)
  • Use del.icio.us to manage all my bookmarks
  • Believe RSS is a gift from God.

I never imagined that The Thinking Stick would become part of who I am, part of what I do, and part of my daily life. In those early days I didn’t really understand the power of these social networks. The power of blogging, and the power of being connected to like minded people, which being in Shanghai China, was probably my biggest WOW moment.

This blog led to amazing conversations in San Diego at NECC. Where I felt comfortable walking up to David Warlick, David Jakes, Will Richardson Tim Lauer, Tim Wilson and others and introducing myself. The weird part was, although we’d never met they knew who I was. I also had 3 people at the conference come to me and introduce themselves saying they recognized me from this blog. Something that still creeps my wife out ;). The NECC Edublogger meet up was by far the best part of NECC for me. Chatting with people that up until that moment I only knew through their blogs (face to face still counts!). That also led to discussions with David Jakes and being a guess blogger on the Techlearning blog.

All of this in a year. Not to mention that my administrators are now regular readers of this blog and I am no longer teaching K,1,5 in a traditional lab. I was moved to a position that put me on both of our campuses helping teachers understand the power of these tools, and just a couple weeks ago made the K12 Educational Technology Leader. All of this possible because of interactions with you, the edublog community pushing me to rethink education, rethink technology, and come to a new meaning of what we need to accomplish in education.

As of today there are 148 readers to this blog (According to feedburner). I remember waking my wife up early one morning with “Can you believe there are 20 people who care what I write?” Then it was 50 and then in August 100. I don’t want to say that’s why I write, but it amazes me, and encourages me to keep writing, knowing that some of you actually read this stuff.

There is another reason why I find this so amazing…and I’ll tell you it’s taking some courage to write this. But there is a deeper more powerful reason why I find this whole blogging thing powerful. It’s personal and I’ve debated for awhile now whether to post this or not, but what the heck it’s my blog.

I am mildly dyslexic. Mildly meaning I have a family member that is struggles with it more than I am, and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. My dyslexia affects me most in language. I spell at probably a 5 or 6th grade level. My students use to (and still do I guess) tease me when I misspell things on the white board. A couple of years ago I had a spelling bee champion in my class and everyone laughed including me. There are days when I frustrate my wife because I can’t remember how to spell simple words and I can reread something a million times and still not catch typos. I still struggle with quite, quit, quiet (my goal for the past couple of months). They all look the same to me and I can’t, on a moments notice, tell you which one is which. I was a resource kid starting in 2nd grade. I cheated my way through every spelling test in elementary school, never finished a book except for How to Eat Fried Worms in all of my schooling and have always hated writing. I scored 700 on my SAT…total, and then turned around and scored a 27 on the ACT (believe the scale is 31) as a senior in high school. I was excepted to University on probationary terms and instead opted for a baseball scholarship to play at a community college for two years.

So where am I today? I’ve learned that spell checker is my best friend although you still need to know how to spell to be successful. When I started writing on this blog my posts, according to Microsoft Word’s Flesch -Klincaid Grade level scale, were around a 5th or 6th grade level. I now routinely hit 8th or 9th, before my wife gets a hold of them (Not all but some…you and can probably tell which ones!). I count on my wife as my chief editor and she deserves a MS degree just for helping me get mine, as I know she put in as much work as I did those 18 months. I now guest blog for Techlearning.com which I consider a major website and makes me nervous to the point that I’m sweeting and shaking so bad when I hit the post button that it freaks me out (Pushing myself is a good thing!). I can only think of one teacher in my 13 years of education that wouldn’t be surprised that I actually enjoy writing now and do it on a fairly regular basis. I  have read more books since starting this blog then I did my whole life prior. I’m a slow reader, usually having to read things two or three times (audio books are my best friends) but I managed to finish reading The World is Flat in 4 months last year. A 569 page book that is my reading accomplishment to date.

So that’s what this blog has done for me in a years time. Where will it take me, where is this all going? I don’t know. Life for me is about experiences. Whether diving with Great Whites in South Africa, skiing in Bulgaria, or celebrating New Year’s in Venice, Italy. I just try to take it all in and enjoy life. My wife has a shirt that says “Live it Like you Love it” which has become our saying as we travel the world and live our lives. Experience life in every way possible. If that means blogging then do it, if it means playing with your kids, do it. If it means siting on a street corner and people watching, do it. Just experience life, and enjoy every minute of it!