Online Sharing: What’s Holding Me Back?

Benefits of Sharing

The benefits of sharing work professionally and collaboratively are well documented, and are pretty intuitive. Stories, like Ken Baur’s, on how he has advanced professionally and become involved in projects he would’ve never seen himself as being involved with, simply by putting himself out there, resonate with me:

Alan Levine’s story on how some simple sharing led to a once in a lifetime experience inspires on the potential power of unexpected connections:

Idea Incubation

I  understand what Steven Johnson is talking about in his discussion on where creative ideas and innovation come from. He talks about how we have this assumption that ideas are a single, stand-alone concept that occur in a flash of genius.

He instead proposes that great ideas have long incubation periods, where they germinate and slowly come to fruition. Some of the greatest ideas of our generation were not intended at all, but came as unintended benefits of efforts being made in completely different directions, such as his example of how GPS technology developed from cold war efforts decades earlier.

The World War Two discovery that microwaves bouncing from radar equipment could actually cook food is another example of an idea that came about as an unforeseen application of development in a totally unrelated field. You can find an endless number of examples of major innovations that have come about as a result work done in other areas, like this list of innovations stemming from NASA research

Do I even share? I do … but …

Ok, so sharing is good. It leads to wonderful things personally, professionally, and is great for humankind. I fully subscribe to Dean Shareski’s idea that it is the “obligation of educational instructions to teach not only the students in the building- but beyond.”

So why am I not gung-ho to lay myself out there, be an open book and let things happen?

Being perfectly honest, I have always been open to sharing with colleagues. As a Learning Resource Teacher, I collaborate with eight or nine teachers on a daily basis. Inevitably, there is a lot of sharing that goes on.  I know that I bring value to these relationships, and I have learned a great deal in watching teachers I work with adapt for their students in need. I am confident enough to really enjoy engaging in co-teaching, and it is those shared teaching experiences that I love most about my role as LRT.

I have also presented at Regina Public School and Catholic School Board Ed Camps and offered smartboard files I created to supplement the Power of Ten mathematics resource. The experience was rewarding, and has helped me to build up some professional contacts and personal friendships I would not have otherwise. I don’t think face to face collaboration, sharing, is not my issue.

So, What’s Holding Me Back?

What’s holding me back is a recurring theme for me over the course of the Fall. I have discussed my lingering distrust, and perhaps fear, of having a clear online presence here, here, and here. I have certainly shifted and now incorporate a more positive view of social media and digital identity into my schema. But for me, it is a big deal to simply being opening everything up for public dissemination. I totally understand the sentiment conveyed by my peer Ryan when he talks about sharing leading to unwanted scrutiny. The idea of being scrutinized by people I don’t know, or cannot see face to face, is where I find myself hesitating. For me, this is a big deal. Yes, still….

via GIPHY

Even with all the discussion we have had, as a class, on the benefits and drawbacks of having an identifiable online presence, there is a point where this is just going to have to saturate. In his blog, Dean Shareski talks about the best teachers being ones who are willing to share, especially online. THat rings true to me, to a point. I beleive there are other meaningful ways to share, but I get it. Those who share online will naturally be able to reach more people and have a greater impact.

Meaningful change of something as ingrained as my attitude towards social media is not going to change overnight, at least not for me. But it has been changing throughout the Fall. It is for this very reason that this experience hosting a personal blog, as well as maintaining a twitter account in ECI 831 has been so meaningful. I know how important it is to scaffold experiences and learning for my students, and the same goes for me.

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