Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Open Door

I had one of those moments this week when I feel both the excitement and terrifying responsibility of my job.

We started a new semester with the Communications and the Media class. I've written a lot about it on my other blog. I enjoy it immensely. If only we had a class like that when I was in school!

So I came in the class to give my usual pep talk. I explained the importance of being able to communicate with video and how tech allows us to be creative and reach many people. 

I talked about opening the door of opportunity. I told them I'm waiting for someone from our school, possibly that very class, to accomplish something big. I want them to discover their talents and passions as they use digital tools to reach many people in ways they never dreamed. 

I assure them this has nothing about getting an English credit. It's about personal potential and being amazed at how much we can do. I think only in epic. 

After my short intro I gave them a survey so the teacher and I could divide them into different jobs by their interest. Before I saw the results from the survey I talked with her about a couple characters in that class that I suspected could be hard to motivate. One I knew, the other not so much. Already both of them had been resistant to something she asked of them the day before. 

I looked through the surveys. Both of those students indicated they were interested in being on a tech team. One picked the live video announcements and the other chose our roaming "features and on-site" crew. 

The thing is, for both of those teams I listed an option of "not interested in this group". They heard something in what I said or saw something in our previous school news program that sparked their interest. 

I find that so encouraging that these guys, both hardened by a routine of assignments and tests for credit, had at least an inkling of interest in creating something to show the school. At the same time, it is frightening that now I have to do my part with these two. I mean, they might give up at the first frustrating tech challenge. We always have some. Could I really help them see learning can be life changing?

I have to trust we were not brought together by accident. The job I have has always felt like a gift. I believe the things I told the class about the door of opportunity and their potential. I believe they have a purpose to achieve and the technology can make it happen. 

We will see how it goes. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Is It Worth Giving Up a Weekend?

"Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from." -Seth Godin

I've worked as an instructional tech trainer for ten years now. I've learned many people just assume technology should save us time. It's so obvious to them that it goes without saying. The automatic question in their mind is How can this thing help me save time or make my job easier?

When the tool looks complicated instead, or if the resulting project we could complete with it seems too daunting, well, why would anyone bother with that?

Of course, a lot of tech does make life easier and it gets jobs done faster. But for all those people using tech to save time and make it easy, there are a few who see what amazing things can be accomplished with tech plus hard work.

Why settle for average?

The most memorable projects I've done exhausted me. They surprised me with how much work they involved. Like the time I gave up most of my holiday break editing the music videos I made with fifth graders, they can make me wonder if I'm crazy.

But that's what it takes to accomplish something amazing.

And we do all want amazing, don't we?