Sunday, May 10, 2015

Is Being a Connected Educator Addictive?

This post is cross posted in my other blog Integrating Technology and Literacy

Now that I'm using an increasing variety of tools to stay connected as an educator, I am wondering if the allure is addictive. Do I need to check each of these daily, or even more than once a day, and oh, sometimes hourly or admittedly even more often? Here are just s few I check throughout the day, and sometimes into the wee hours of the night, way beyond midnight.

  • Twitter
  • Voxer chat groups
  • Periscope
  • Instagram

With ease of access to all of these on my iPhone, I am wondering what is overkill, and I have named just a few of the apps I use daily. Each leads me somewhere else via posted links or live streamlining videos. A Twitter chat alone can be not just the hourlong, but far longer if I check all the links to resources shared or decide to do an archive of the chat with Storify such as this ones I do of a #Read4Fun Twitter chat, one I follow weekly on Sundays, 7-7:30 pm, or the #teacheredchat, for which I am an organizer.

Watching a Periscope and texting in comments is another half hour or hour shot.

Look all those hearts coming in from a recent Periscope I watched and did some screen captures from, tweeting out to the broadcaster my appreciation in this example.

In the short time I have had the Periscope app on my phone, I have watched live stream broadcasts of the National Parks in Utah, taken a tour of Rome and Milan, checked several live-streams of Paris, and watched streams of a class using GetKahoot in Hawaii and an AP Lit class in Queens, New York writing and research with school-issued laptops.

We say we want to be connected educators and it helps us grow professionally and connects us with educators and resources globally. We tout that we become better educators because we are connected and learn from many others and the resources shared that are at our fingertips.

But do we go through withdrawal symptoms when we need to disconnect?

Last week, I dropped my iPhone in a park when taking photos. The phone was lost for a few hours. I had used iCloud to lock the phone and put out a text message alert on the phone to call a number if found. At first, I was somewhat relieved to know my phone might be gone for a day or two while I waited to decide if I wanted to buy another one and upgrade to an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+. I almost felt a sense of relief to be without the phone, though I would still have my laptop and iPad to connect, but the phone really functioned as my quick 24/7 access, anytime, any place. 

Well, my dilemma ended when about two hours later I got the anticipated call my phone was found. Did I rush to get it? You bet. After all of this debating, I decided if I had to have one addiction (other than coffee in the morning) being a connected educator was the one.

Now another commitment I need to make is to do more blogging. But every time I look at one of my blogs, I am reminded they need a makeover. Look at all those Blogger messy "Labels" hanging out on the side (Index) and likewise all the accompanying, dated "Gadgets" that just need to go. But instead of spending time cleaning up my blogs, I am off to another online place to stay connected.

I thank my PLN (personal learning network) for getting me to this point increasingly over the time of being a connected educator 24/7, or at least almost 24/7. So is it a complete addiction when the first thing I reach for in the morning before the cup of coffee is the phone to check notifications!

Oh and I do promise to clean up all "Labels" and "Gadgets" on the sidebar if I can just break myself away from checking Voxer messages, tweeting on Twitter, checking Instagram posts, and tuning into Periscope broadcasts. Oh, and I did I mention Flickr, where I need to get to now to find a Creative Commons images to add to this post.

flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

So how do others feel about being a connected educator? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Do you take a tech sabbatical sometimes and disconnect?

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