Awaken the Dragon

I’m afraid I have awoken the dragon. I am visible, standing on a shifting terrain. But I don’t think I am alone.

This one scene from the movie The Desolation of Smaug connected for me as I become more engaged within social networks and communities. In my effort to model how a connected educator works and learns in digital spaces, the dragon knows who I am. The pile of gold under which the dragon sleeps brings forth the image of Twitter and other social networks – with it’s immense volume, rolling and shimmering, threatening to bury me in a landslide, while I search for that one nugget of something precious. I know, as Bilbo does at the end of this clip, that the dragon sees me now!

In a recent post by Seth Godin, there is fear in being seen, being judged in social media spaces and for the digital trails we leave. But Godin reminds us that this is the only “generous way to change your world”. When we stand for something, as Bilbo makes every effort to do in the movie, we can alter our educational spaces, one tweet at a time. By modelling and risking judgement in digital spaces, educators allow others to watch and learn, take that leap across the shifting pile of gold, and do it visibly, as Bilbo decides to do when he takes off that ring!

I found many nuggets in the pile of gold rolling past me this week. A post by Brian Szatabnki (Edutopia A Ticket to Ride) caught my eye. He shared how his ‘leap of faith’  changed his perspective and teaching practice. His five goals for 2015 include

  1. Honour my curiosities
  2. Break bread with colleagues
  3. Reflect on failures
  4. Focus on learning experiences over learning data
  5. Thrive on the enormity of the challenge

As I awaken the dragon, I can certainly envision the enormity of the challenge! But, I’ll keep these five goals in mind as I blog, tweet, share and engage in digital spaces. I will honour my curiosities by following people and organizations that excite my interests. I will break bread with colleagues as I engage in twitter chats, post comments, and share my thoughts around digital spaces. I will reflect on failures within blogging posts and comments. I will focus on learning experiences and share these with my students so they can learn with me. Finally, and toughest of all because this dragon is pretty daunting to look in the eye, I will thrive on the enormity of the challenge and be brave in my visibility.

How will you awaken your dragon? How will you share an idea to generously change your educational world for the better?

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4 Responses to Awaken the Dragon

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  3. Carrie Smith says:

    Your reference to ‘waking the dragon’ paints the perfect image for me to capture the intense feelings of engaging in digital spaces. It is quite overwhelming to grasp the enormity of the breadth and reach that interaction online may have, as well as the influences our online presence may generate.

    I find your post inspiring and an easy gateway to self-reflection. I have awakened the dragon in the digital literacy course by creating a presence with my blog, Twitter and Instagram profiles. I am excited and nervous to share, learn and engage but it is overwhelming to know that not only does the dragon see me, but he has friends in his den and all eyes are on me waiting to see if I move. I will take a deep breath and start digging for nuggets. I will share my experiences and ideas from my new platforms and make myself vulnerable because that is where the learning will begin!

    Now that you have such an extensive online presence where you have connected and collaborated with education professionals and students from all over the globe, how would you mentor your early self about digital literacy, online presence and how to engage initially and with meaning?

  4. HJ.DeWaard says:

    What a great question Carrie. I think one of the first things I’d do is write down more about my passion and purpose, to make it explicit, not only for my ‘audience’ but for my own reflective self. I come back to this blog post, and others I’ve written, to see where I have come from, which helps me set direction in my next steps. I would write about ‘being brave and fearless’, about sharing the best of myself and my teaching, and to keep reaching out to others. One last element would be to remind my early self that this digital presence takes time and intentionality. One small action, one small post or tweet, one small image or creative make, and keep putting my ideas and creative makes out for others to see.
    I’m happy to read that you’ve also awoken your digital dragon as a result of this course! Good luck with the small steps to come! Reach out anytime you need a ‘guide on the side’!

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