I Have Much to be Thankful!
Saturday, November 24, 2012 By Timothy Scholze
I have very much to be thankful for this year. In past years, I have not really taken the time to truly reflect upon the things of which I had to be thankful of. The past three years have been the most stressful in my life. Ever since giving up my fourteen year teaching career so that my wife could get back into teaching, I have found it difficult to adjust to a life filled with working as a substitute teacher, to being unemployed for a period of time, to now working 40 plus hours a week for half of what I made as a teacher.
Being a learning facilitator is a profession to which I now know I have been called to. I am not happy if I am not learning, researching, and sharing the results of my learning and researching with others. This past spring I began taking online courses from the University of Wisconsin – Stout which lead to a graduate certificate in instructional design. In September I took the second course in a series that will lead to a graduate certificate in eLearning. This second course in eLearning has given me hope that one day I will be involved in the field of education again.
The assessment in eLearning course that I finished a few weeks ago has reinvigorated me to take control of my life and formulate new goals for myself. I was asked in this class to research a web 2.0 tool to incorporate into a class I would like to teach in the future. I had to research the tool and incorporate that tool into the assessment process at one of Bloom’s higher order thinking skills. In doing so, I was reintroduced to Kathy Schrock (@kathyschrock) and learned about a digital Bloom’s taxonomy and ended up using this revised taxonomy for my course. Kathy Rocks! Her website is just chock full of great ideas and methods for using and implementing technology in education. Thanks Kathy.
This then leads me to those who I am most thankful for in helping me to transform my life and to give me hope once again. I’m going to begin first with the person who was able to articulate what I was looking for, Dennis O’Connor (@wiredinstructor). I asked Dennis if he knew of any ways I could become involved in something related to the following questions: 1) How can a person harness the power of the Internet and social media to grow into a technologically literate citizen who can then leverage that literacy to benefit their personal ambitions, family life, and professional aspirations yet still stay grounded in the present? 2) How can an individual best use technological resources that are available to become a better person and citizen? 3) How can we tame the vastness of information available into a useful menagerie that can be leveraged to our personal advantage? 4) What do we as citizens need to know and be able to do in order to keep ourselves involved in an ever evolving technological world? 5) What can we do to make sure we are not left behind in the ever widening technological divide?
I am thankful that Dennis took the time to distill my questions into the field of information fluency. Dennis also introduced me to a web 2.0 tool in digital curation called Scoop.It which I ended up using as my assessment tool for the eLearning assessment course I was taking. I am also thankful for Dr. Datta Kaur Khalasa (UW-Stout professor) who challenged my thinking throughout the course in very subtle but powerful ways. Dawn Shelbourne (eLearning practicum student) deserves thanks for asking probing questions in group discussions that helped me focus on deeper thinking about the topics I oftentimes alluded to.
As I was researching assessment tools for the eLearning course, I came across a syllabus that Howard Rheingold has published on social media literacies. Howard bases his social media literacy course upon a book he has published titled Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. I am reading the book he wrote, I have studied his syllabus, and I have become a participant in his peeragogy project. I am thankful for Howard (@hrheingold) for many reasons but most of all for his willingness to share information and resources. Howard had never heard of me before I tweeted him asking who I should follow on twitter that would be helpful in the field of information fluency. His retweet included the following: @dajbelshaw, @ShellTerrell, and @kegill. Shelly added @hrheingold, @timbuckteeth, and @courosa. Kathy told me to shout if I have specific questions. Little did I know at this time that I was beginning to form what is called a Personal Learning Network or PLN.
Another person who I am thankful for because of what he researches and writes about but who is also very willing to share with others is Dr. Doug Belshaw (@dajbelshaw). Any time I have a question Dr. Belshaw is always ready with helpful advice or further questions that help me to understand at a deeper level. Belshaw is also working on an open badges project for Mozilla that is pretty interesting.
I am thankful for Dr. Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) another person with a passion for digital information fluency, social media, and the transforming power of education technologies. His blog always brings forth ideas that force me to think deeply. Steve is also very willing to share and provide timely guidance.
Kathy Gill (@kegill), Shelly Terrell (@ShellTerrell), Beth Still (@bethstill), Lisa Dabbs (@teachingwthsoul), and Kelly Tenkely (@ktenkely) have each helped me in various ways. Kathy has given me the strength to stand up for what I believe in and to pursue further studies. Shelly, Beth, and Lisa have helped me see things more creatively and have given me the support I need to continue to blog and tweet. Kelly has helped by asking questions and helping direct me to effective resources. I am thankful for the gifts that each one of them shares with me.
Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher), Nicholas Provenzano (@thenerdyteacher), Marina Kostina (@mkostina), and Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne). Have helped me by providing support, sharing excellent examples of superb teaching, and leading by example through both their blogs and their tweets. I am thankful for each one of them for their patience with me and I hope that I can one day provide them each with some nugget of knowledge that they can call useful.
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Tom D’Amico (@TDOttawa), CPG Grey (@cpggrey), Laura Gilchrist (@LauraGilchrist4), and Stormy Hickman (@stormyhickman1). Thankfulness does not begin to describe how precious these people are to me as they each add their own brand of specialness to my life.
I am especially thankful for all the people who have visited my web/blog site, provided feedback in the comments, and who have chosen to follow me on Twitter. I hope that I can continue to add value to your personal learning and to help in any way possible.
Last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for the ever awesome Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom). Steve always answers my questions quickly, provides feedback, if I ask him, and has been immensely helpful by helping me develop and fine tune my personal learning network and with my preparation for a social media presentation I will be giving at a teacher convention in February. If anyone has video of Steve in action, let me know privately via DM or E-mail.
If I left someone off of my thankfulness list, I am very sorry and I did not do this intentionally. I would like to end this blog with the following quote:
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”~~ Gilbert Keith Chesterton ~~