Worth Spreading Around

Firehydrant

Dean Shareski posted this photo recently.  Created by Will Lion, it aptly states what many of us have felt, and helped teachers and students deal with.

A while back, in the throes of a bout of information tsunami, I lamented the fact that I couldn’t keep up, and as Dean states, it really wasn’t me that was failing, but rather the structures that I set up.  Dina Strasser stated as much in the comments on that post when she said:

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.

It is now much more for me about making very quick decisions about what information I have time for, and just letting go of the rest.  Much like the changes in my department this year (we are no longer in charge of the IT within the district–more on that at a later juncture), it’s difficult to not have all of the answers or to not be the one who reads all the posts or links.  That’s what the filters are for.

Dean recommends using others to help you find out what is important–the re-tweeting aspect is one I hadn’t thought of, but will use now.  Each morning, I sift through both my reader and the links from the various Diigo groups I belong to.  Between those two sources, I think I am keeping myself abreast of what is happening within my sphere, or as Dean suggests, my niche.

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2 thoughts on “Worth Spreading Around

  1. I have been really feeling overwhelmed and left behind too. It’s intimidating to see other teachers “out there” so often. I feel a little less active in my teaching and reflecting. I like your point about setting up structures that you can live with. I do tend to migrate to certain forums for information and connections. But I always feel a nagging in the back of my mind when I glance at my google reader count on my google homepage. I’m glad I took a second to look at this post. It gives me reassurance that just dipping my toes in every once in a while in my own ways.

  2. Jennifer,

    I think Harold Rheingold has a great opinion about the number of elements in your Reader and how to deal with them:

    “RSS is for skimming, not for keeping up with. It’s a flow, not a queue. It’s not an email inbox or to-do list.”

    Looking at it that way, I have no problem deleting a reader that has a count over 500. I figure, if it’s that important, someone else will get it to me.

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