How do you keep up??!!

I get asked this a lot lately.  There are so many things to learn and keep up with… how do you do it?  The truth?  I don’t.

This is my secret – I don’t know everything.  And I never will.  Once I accepted that, the pressure is off.  The flip side of that statement means that I will always have something to learn and improve.  THAT is really the key!  Often times teachers ask me about things I haven’t heard of and it is a chance for me to learn more.  I get busy and figure things out and TRY new things constantly.

Sylvia Duckworth created a beautiful sketchnote explaining just how I think about things! It’s like she was in my head.   ciursjyukaafx-6


I can’t do everything…but I do take certain steps to keep up as much as I can.  Luckily, learning more and sharing it are part of my job AND something I love!  Here are my top tips:

  • Connect with folks on Social Media.  About 60% of what I learn is from links people in my Professional Learning Network (PLN) share on Twitter or Voxer.  I’m connected with folks in so many different roles in education that I get a wide variety of information.  Often times when I have a little down time, I scroll through my twitter feed.  Participate in Twitter Chats – my favorite is #NoVAedchat and #SatChat.  I commit to one a week (#NoVAedchat from 8-9pm E on Wednesday nights) and any others are a bonus!
  • Read blogs!  I follow hundreds of blogs.  That doesn’t mean I visit their webpages… each time there is a new post to those, it shows up in my Feedly account.  I have those sorted by topic so depending on what I’m thinking about at the time, I scroll through those and learn in little chunks of time.
  • Read professional books – I have made a goal to read a professional book each month.  Some months (summer and winter breaks typically) I read more or if I find something I’m really interested in I just can’t put it down.  AND talk about it with people!  The best learning happens when I read something and talk about it with other people who are passionate.  Join (or form) a book club – even an online book club like #TechCoachBC 
  • Curate what you find – figure out some way to collect the best resources you find! Pinterest, Evernote, Retweeting. Something that works for you so you can find and use these resources later!
  • Conferences – I like smaller conferences (State and Regional) better than really big ones (ISTE) and REALLY love edcamps! All conferences give me a chance to build connections with educators around the world.  This is the power of conferences.  I usually get a few ideas from sessions…but dozens from the real, in depth conversation that happens between sessions!


2 thoughts on “How do you keep up??!!

  1. If I may add one more idea: Instapaper. This is a “read later” service that also has outstanding mobile apps.

    Very often, when you run across an article, post, or resource that looks interesting, you don’t have time at that moment to read and evaluate it. Instead, toss it into Instapaper using the browser button you already installed or the share link available from practically every mobile information app ever created (like feedly).

    When you do have some time, open Instapaper (web or app) and everything is there. With the added bonus that it has stripped all the ads and other cruft from the page, leaving you with just the information you want. And on your mobile device, Instapaper will download everything so you don’t have to be connected to read, annotate, make notes, and search.

    Did I mention that it’s now totally free and ad free since becoming part of Pinterest?

    A big part of “keeping up” is getting organized, and Instapaper is outstanding for doing both.


  2. Thanks Tim! I’ll have to take a look. I use Feedly to keep up with new blog posts… so Instapaper would be for links I come across any other way that I want to hang on to? Very interesting!


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