As I dive in deeper with the TLI team, I feel like I am in the Disneyland of technology. So much to see and try, while I am regularly distracted by all the attractions. I added three new apps to my phone in the last 24 hours. I suddenly have a list of tutorials and apps to become more competent using or at least try: Slack, Wunderlist, CI keys, Credly, Top Hat, Waze, VoiceThread, Headspace, Zoom, Spotify, Padlet, Google Drive, Storify, Populrme, Prezi, Canva, EMaze, Animoto, Eyejot, Screencast-o-matic, Adobe Voice, iMovie, Jin, Vialogue, Canva … and that is only a few. Some I have used; some I want to try.
I realize I haven’t had enough sugar or caffeine this early in the morning to manage my spinning thoughts, so I decide to reflect. How many apps are too many? How do Ed Tech experts manage all these tools? How many social media connections should I maintain? Do I need a “professional” versions of a social media avatar versus a family/personal one? Who keeps all this up in a time efficient way? Are these distractions or do they help manage life activities? How can I know more and learn faster so I know what works best? Do I need a new phone to manage all this data? How did life get so busy??
Perhaps reflecting is just leading to more spinning. I am suddenly at Disneyland riding the Tea cups but not able to grasp the wheel!
This leads me to think about what I have asked my students to do in class this semester. I have gently introduced new tools, and hesitated to ask them to integrate too much to avoid overload. However, isn’t this our current state? Lightening fast access to any knowledge; Opportunities to answer questions in seconds on a Google search; New tools to organize your day, schedule your appointments, communicate without ever speaking, and share anything you find along the way. Should I be pushing students to jump in regardless of the discomfort? The other question in the field of nursing is where do you draw the line between the need to have personal connect and simple hand-holding compared to diving into a digital wonderland.
I have decided the key is balance. For myself, I want to know what is available and learn it. Maybe today, maybe next week, or perhaps it ends up on my long list of “to do” in the future. I have been exposed. I will take the same approach with students. Show them the possibilities, even small chunks at a time. I will ask students to commit to the tools or tasks that match our course learning objectives or develop the necessary skills for them to be successful. Open their eyes to the possibilities and let them decide if they want to wade or jump in. For me, I usually just close my eyes and jump in anyways. But sometimes, once in a while, I just decide to ride the Carousel that day instead of the Tea Cups.