Unexpected Sights (or, Learning Junkie)

One of the fun things about travelling places includes the unexpected sights. On my way to Texas A&M, flying down the highway in the middle of the night--I'm not sure if the best approach included driving at night to avoid the 100+ degree heat wave that side-swiped Texas yesterday--a stunning likeness of what appeared to be a 15 foot tall squirrel dominated the side of the road.

As I pointed out the sight of the squirrel to my daughter, who groggily peered at it a moment before collapsing back into her seat, I couldn't help but reminisce about the unexpected sights that I've encountered as an educator using technology in schools. For example, my 5th grade students in Cotulla sitting at Apple //e computers, cranking out their writing from writing workshop, warts and all.

These days, I have to ask myself, what are the unexpected sights I hope to see in classrooms? I've found that meditating on new technologies, while fun in itself, leaves me hoping to see it, not in pictures and videos from other districts, but in the places I spend the most time in. These days, I often feel I've stepped out of time and place, watching the flurry of activity around new technologies in schools, but myself, I am untouched. Although I use these technologies for myself, I find the task of convincing others of their benefits to be a bit tedious.

Tedious. It's a dangerous feeling to find tedium in what once was fun. When I stop to reflect on my first few years of blogging, or when I was learning something new in a particular area every day, I realize that the feeling of euphoria is gone. I'm no longer interested in education reform, writing about it or speaking about it. True change is an unexpected sight, a pose affected by schools and reformers, then gone in the next moment. I don't wish to seem pessimistic...change that results in transformed practices happens, I just question the wisdom of being an evangelist for twitter or some other transitory tool that finds its way on your device (mobile or otherwise).

Rediscovering "fun" is now my aim, getting back to that simple joy of learning something new, of being more than a learning junkie. With claims of personal vs personalized learning, I find a truth I can cling to--education must be more than turning us all into learning junkies, seeking unexpected sights as we journey towards some destination that always lies beyond the horizon.

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