Identity – Comfort, Confidence and Creativity

In Christopher Sessums writing on Cultural Implications of Social Software:  Teaching and Learning, he talks about the three C’s – comfort, confidence and creativity being crucial to teachers taking on social software as part of their toolbox.  In my graduate studies work this year, I have decided to study new literacies.  One part of this study is exploring the world of blogs and blogging.  Thus you have this blog on your screen and I have been working at understanding the language, the community and the identity for a member of the blogging world.  I agree with Christopher on these three factors which inhibit the effective integration of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) by teachers.  I am affirmed in my recognition of the importance of identity in developing competence in  a new area.   This exploration of new literacy requires that I take on new identity – a confident identity with respect to technologies.  In this regard, I disagree with Christopher’s assessment of the three areas to be addressed.  Teachers need first to have confidence and then to develop comfort.  A strange paradox – in order to have competence, you must first have the confidence that you can be successful, even before you try! It is past success using other applications which allows me to even approach new technologies and new literacies.  I know I can effectively use word processing software, power point software, emailing, online databases.  I have the confidence to start to blog.  It’s just a word processor that publishes, right?  I need the confidence that I will have something to say and that others will want to read it.  I am aware of the sense of audience that is inherent in blogging.  I am more aware of my identity as “writer”.  I am keenly aware of my need to spell correctly and type accurately.  I am excited about the possibilities of blogging for my students and my teaching colleagues as I hope to empower teachers to use these tools.

Thanks for the tips and the confirmation, Christopher.  Congratulations on your blogging award.

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4 Comments

Filed under education, edutech, teacher training, web 2.0

4 responses to “Identity – Comfort, Confidence and Creativity

  1. Susan,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I hope you continue to share the results of your studies.
    I also enjoy when people disagree with me. You are helping to push our collective understanding further along of how to best use social software in teaching and learning environments.

    Looking forward,
    Christopher

  2. Susan,
    I like how you distinguish between the confidence factor and the comfort factor. The one thing I’m a bit uneasy about is the whole “I’ll have something to say” part. I agree that this is very much like word processing, except there is an audience, one hopes, that will be reading. Now, if you are new, like yourself and myself, you don’t get too many people who drop by to leave comments so it becomes difficult to ascertain whether what you are saying has any affect. In noting that Christopher dropped by to leave a comment, this validates your blog and encourages you to do more. However, with the number of teachers blogging rising and the discussion taking place on various blogs about “star” bloggers and such, it may be more difficult to make those connections, thus your confidence in what you are saying becomes eroded and the blogging becomes less important. So, for teachers who are just tenatively venturing into this realm of the blogsophere, it may become not a factor of confidence, comfort or creativity but of exposure and interaction. As a teacher, that is one thing that I look for when I want my students to post something. Will they get feedback? What is the likelihood of there being interaction? As for myself, it was quite a long time before I actually started getting feedback – which is not what I expected. I thought that I could just find a bunch of blogs, comment, leave my contact and viola, interaction. Not so. One must have patience and be willing to write to the blogosphere for a while. And most comments I find are very short which makes it hard to begin to interact. I saw your comment on another blog, linked here and read through your thoughts. As another Sask teacher, I would be interested in keeping up to date on your phd work. I think that these new literacies will be something that we have to look at closely and soon!
    Have a great year!
    Kelly

  3. Thanks for stopping by. I agree we need to work at the interaction part. Have you seen the tips in Cool Cat Teacher – how to blog? She talks about how to get traffic on your site. I found her tips useful. She is in my blogroll.

    Susan

  4. Pingback: The unending Web.20 « What Counts!

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