Have you ever thought back to what life was like before the Internet, before the completely connected world we live in today? The other day I was thinking back to when I was getting my undergraduate degree, back in the early 90’s. I was remembering what it was like having to write a research paper. I had to go to the campus library, sit down at one of the research computers (with a monochrome monitor), type in a search term, scan the results, and then hope the library had the scholarly journals containing any promising articles. For the record, the library did not typically have what looked like the really good articles -- very frustrating. If the journal was in the building, I’d have to find it, stand in line at the copy machine, and photocopy the article before returning the journal to the shelf. A very long and tedious process, not to mention expensive (at least for a college student).
Compare that to today. If I needed to write a paper, I wouldn’t be required to go anywhere near a library, unless I was looking for a quiet place to write. All of my research could be done from my dining room table on my laptop. Or sitting on the couch with my iPad. Heck, it could be done anywhere in the world using the smartphone in the palm of my hand.
How often have you asked a question about something and within seconds had the answer, thanks to your phone and Google? For example, while driving the other day, a Genesis song came on the radio. I wondered aloud who, besides Phil Collins, were members of the band. Within seconds my wife had the answer up on her phone. Amazing!
Miss that amazing play from the game last night? No problem. The ESPN website or app has you covered. Didn’t see the amazing American Idol audition everyone’s talking about? YouTube to the rescue.
We live in the Information Age, with the world’s knowledge and resources at our fingertips. The phone in your purse or pocket has more computing power than all of NASA at the time of the lunar landing in 1969. If you’re looking for some piece of information, chances are you’ll find it.
So my question is this -- Are you sharing what you have with the world? With all of the information and resources available online, are you a contributing member? Because the fact is, right now, somewhere in the world, someone is online searching for what you have. A lesson plan. A project idea. A teaching tip. A blog post. A picture of your classroom or school. An encouraging thought. What you have can be exactly what someone else is looking for.
My #oneword2016, part of the #YourEdustory challenge, is share. This isn’t my first blog post about the idea of sharing, and it probably won’t be the last. As much as I’m writing to encourage others, this post is also serving as a needed reminder for myself. It’s not about “My idea is the best” or “You need to do this if you want to improve.” It’s about putting it out there and letting others decide to take it or leave it. But what if that one idea, that one thought you have would make all the difference in the world to someone in need of some inspiration or encouragement? As I’ve written before, do not underestimate your influence.
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for 25 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
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