What inspires me?
(I started an experiment by asking some of my edu-blogger friends to write a guest blog for my site, in exchange for a guest entry for their site. Dean was nice enough to bite, so here is my guest blog. I hope you enjoy it.)
I often wonder what are the things that inspire the other writers out there in the blogosphere, especially the incredibly prolific ones? And since I started wondering about what inspires them I thought I would write a little piece about what inspires me. What is it that inspires me to write blogs, create podcasts, and share what little knowledge I have with my fellow educators?
Some people think that my writing is okay, some people don’t care for it all, and a lot of people have never read anything I’ve written.
I certainly don’t have the audience that a lot of the famous edu-bloggers have and that’s okay because the edu-bloggers that have a large audience are the ones that inspire me. I get ideas from them and then create mash ups in my mind. So the David Warlick’s of the world, the Ian McIntosh’s of the world, the Wes Fryer’s of the world, and the Kevin Honeycutt’s of the world all are doing something that they probably don’t even realize they’re doing, they’re inspiring me to write, they are inspiring me to podcast and they are inspiring me to publish my ideas.
I get inspired by the blogs of people that you’ve never heard of, the teachers that blog just for their class or their schools, the principals that do blogs just other principals in their district. These people inspire me because these people are in the trenches they’re the ones that are actually doing the work that are actually putting the pedal to the metal and testing out in real life all those theories and all those ideas that I write about. They’re the living part of the conversation of this big Web 2.0 experiment that’s going on in education.
I get inspired by my professional learning networks on Plurk and on Twitter because people on there are always posting things about a how something works in real life or asking “Have have you seen this website?” I love clicking on those URLs. I collect them, and I go back to them, and those websites inspire me.
Some of the websites are really cool and have really good education related activities and some of the websites are just terrible and have absolutely no worth in whatsoever. So I collect the good ones. I’ve even started writing reviews of all those websites that are on Plurk and on Twitter and I’m trying to keep the reviews less than 144 characters long so that I’ll have Plurk reviews. So all of those websites are inspiring, all the people that are suggesting the websites are inspiring, and my professional learning network which grows on a daily basis inspires me.
What else inspires me?
Conferences inspire me. The big conferences, the little conferences, there’s always something to be inspired about; whether it’s the people, the presentations, the keynotes or something else at the conference, they are all very inspiring. Now personally I’m beginning to think that the large conferences are beginning to all look the same so I am kind of headed toward a smaller conferences. The most inspiring conference I went to this year was a conference which only had 1000 people at. It was on a topic that I was not used to. I learned so much at every session because the topic was new and exciting, the speakers were exciting and I became a human sponge. If you want be inspired, seek out of little conferences like NACOL, or Kevin Honeycutt PODSTOCK.
The media inspires me as well.
Sometimes I’ll be listening to the radio and start yelling back at whoever’s talking because they don’t know what they’re talking about. As soon as I hear people that don’t know what they are talking about, it inspires me to write a rebuttal and post it on my blog site. There’s this guy that rights in education column in the El Paso Times who is consistantly so wrong on so many levels so I always write a rebuttal and it never gets published and since it never gets published I post on my website instead. (Now I know that I certainly don’t have the circulation of the El Paso Times but it certainly makes me feel good and his bad writing certainly inspires my writing.)
What else inspires me?
My family inspires me. I have a wife that’s an incredible teacher, and every once in awhile she’ll come home and she’ll wonder how to solve a particular problem that’s going on in her classroom and that will inspire me to look up an answer. Of course, I will then write about it.
My children inspire me because I can see how technology actually works when they use it. They’re my own living laboratory of Web 2.0 and mash ups and gaming and movie making. They do it all, so I can see through their eyes what works and what doesn’t work.
Teachers inspire me. When a teacher calls me asking for help and I can give it to them, that inspires me. If I don’t know the answer right away it inspires me to go find it. Sometimes their questions beyond my capacity so it inspires me to seek out and find help on my PLN because I know that if I help that teacher, that teacher can end up taking my words and my suggestion and using it with her students, so I’m actually helping the students.
What else inspires me? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s a billboard that I see, sometimes it’s an article I read in the paper, sometimes it’s something that Apple computers might be coming out with, sometimes it’s just an idea that hits me as I’m driving along. I guess the point of the story here is that anything can be an inspiration, anything can be fodder for your blog site, for your podcast, for you to share with your fellow teachers.
Inspiration comes in so many different ways, that there is no one single thing that inspires me or inspires you or inspires anybody.
I guess that’s why we have to start teaching our kids not just to look in the classroom for inspiration, not to just look at home for inspiration, not just looking a magazine for inspiration, but to look everywhere for inspiration. They have the ability now to look everywhere for inspiration. They have at their fingertips the world, the universe. Unlike any other time in history our students have the ability to be inspired like no other children ever before them.
I hope that all of you will be inspired to inspire others because you can and because you must. Our future depends on how well we inspire our children. Lead on.
Tim Holt’s Education Blogsite: www.snipurl.com/ic