And Sometimes We Feel Like This…

I have not been a contributor to any of those whom I rely on for inspiration in quite some time.  This space, twitter, any of the Ning’s I belong to–all of them have been foreign to me.  While a good many of the teachers who find it difficult to contribute during the year have truly blossomed (I have been reading) in their comments and reflections during these summer months, there hasn’t been much for me to say.  Or, I haven’t had the motivation or the open thinking space in my days to make the effort.

See, I’ve reached a saturation point of sorts that I have been ignoring for a few weeks.  My influx of information is at an all-time high; more resources, conversations, and ideas come at me on a daily basis than I ever thought possible when I started down this road a few years back, but my ability to handle them has not kept up.  I need some pruning, and, actually, I need some tips on how to handle this overload.

Gasp.

A short time ago, I would have scoffed at the notion that I needed to figure out a way to handle all of the information coming my way.  RSS, Diigo, social networks, etc. was a rush.  Every day, sometimes multiple times a day I would gather the newest round of articles, links, quotes, or whatever my manual trolling brought in.  Not so any more.  I’ll admit it, I can’t keep up.  There are too many of you now that have great ideas.

So I ask, what is the next level?  I feel like I’ve just worked so hard to attain access to the Dragon Scroll, yet I don’t have enough inner knowledge to understand its message.  Can anyone point me to resources that attack this next level of information mastery?  Who has great systems in place for being discretionary about information?

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7 thoughts on “And Sometimes We Feel Like This…

  1. Find a quiet spot in the garden, or along the edge of the bay, or climb up a mountain trail.

    Breathe.

    We only learned to read a few thousand years ago, but have hundreds of millions, billions even, of years evolving on this planet.

    During a meeting, I stared out at a wire stretching across the window, marveling at the amount of information transmitted, but then realized that it could not compare to the “information” gleaned by studying the oak tree next to the wire.

    The web is a handy place to hide from reality. We all need a break from the bonds of words and images we create.

  2. Patrick asked:
    Who has great systems in place for being discretionary about information?

    I think what helps me, Patrick, is making a conscious commitment to keeping people OUT of my learning network!

    I’m pretty steadfast about holding at around 200 Twitter followers and keeping about 20 blogs in my feed reader, and while that means I might be missing out on some great thinking being done—and make me look like a bit of a jerk to the people who I don’t “follow back”—-it’s important to me because it allows me truly learn from—rather than just listen to—others.

    Does this make any sense?
    Bill

  3. My buddy PJ– I’m with Bill. The best resource for being discretionary about information is simply yourself.

    Consider the parallels to so much of our current curricula. Do our kids think better when we hand them breadth, not depth? So too with blog readers and other social media. You will not miss out on anything if you prune them. On the contrary, your thought will have that much more room to flourish, and seize upon the truly novel and challenging ideas that deserve your attention. Decide what your true upper limit of information is (ten blogs? fifty followers? more? less?)– in otherwords, how much you can take in at a sitting before feeling overwhelmed. Then make a commitment to stick to those limits. You may even wish to abandon some one or two media wholesale. Blogging and Facebook are it for me, for example. Twittering left me with mental caffeine-overdose-like shakes and I had to unsubscribe.

  4. Bill and Dina,

    It’s true, the greatest filter I have are those much like yourselves from whom I glean some of the finest reading material and links to even more referenced within.

    My biggest vice is that I am an information junkie of sorts–even if I don’t get to it, I feel as though its good to know that it’s there and I may get to it at some point. The issue there is that there hasn’t been any “some point” as of the last three to six months.

    For now, I am going to take Dina’s advice and begin the pruning process.

  5. Patrick,

    You’re absolutely right about with regards to the saturation point. Last year my students were doing an independent project on the Civil War and one of the problems I saw them having in their research was knowing when they had enough research.

    Back in our middle school days, we had only to exhaust our textbook and the resources at the local library to gain a sense of completion with regards to getting all of the information we could on a topic. Today, that endeavor is pretty much endless.

    As I told my students, you’re never going to have all of the information. It’s not about quantity of the information you have, it’s about the quality.

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