Drinking from the Fire Hydrant

Screenshot 2014-10-07 22.20.59

Fire hydrant spraying water

Photo Credit: Several seconds via Compfight cc

Tonight was another great night during #eci831. Michael Wacker visited the class and did a phenomenal job of showing the various things that have changed or are available with google apps for education. Michael is a google certified teacher and works for Ed Tech Team Inc. and was able to show us a variety of different things that are available with Google Apps for Education.

I really like Google Apps. As a teacher, I used them to build a google site for my courses to share materials and put up information about upcoming assignments and due dates. Students shared documents with me reducing the paper transfer and it was easier to mark and provide feedback. In the school, we used Google Sites for students to create ePortfolios and the staff used google docs for staff meetings and sharing of other information such as their PLC work. I’ve used Blogger a bit for blogging and our staff used the google calendar to share and organize the events for the school. In the short period of time, Jeremy Black put together a great post that covers most of the details about the presentation. His excitement is almost palatable as he describes the different things that took place tonight – the post is VIBRATING with excitement!

Drinking from the Fire Hydrant

I remember someone describing that the learning that is packed into a workshop about technology was like drinking from a firehose. Now, I think it’s more like trying to drink from the fire hydrant.

There is just SOOO much information and SOOO many things that can be done. I know that just tonight there were a couple new things that have just been rolled out with the Google Apps that I would have loved to have had as a teacher such as the drawings option and the different ePortfolio templates and the links in the documents to do searches and ….. and…. and….!  BOOM! FFFSSSSTTT!

Focus, Focus, Focus

You can’t do it all!

This post by Greg Garner at gettingsmart covers 5 key points that people need to remember about being connected. Each of them is important and sometimes are overlooked and forgotten in the rush to get connected and remain connected. I know that in my podcast about time management, I mentioned the post by Penille Ripp that deals with being connected and some of the downsides that don’t often get discussed. One of the things that I have to constantly remind myself is not to worry about what other people are doing but to focus on where I am and what I am doing. Why am I connecting? If you look at just the flow of educational information on twitter, never mind any other social media site, it is OVERWHELMING!

Like trying to DRINK from a fire hydrant.

Focus on what your goals are for your own learning.

Focus on what it is you want to do in your teaching.

Focus on the learning that the students are doing.

Technology does have the WOW factor. When introduced to something with as many possibilities as what is available in something like Google Apps for Education, it can be hard NOT to try and drink from the hydrant!

Refocus on the people that you are working with – what will help them?

Refocus on the students that you teach and their learning – why/how will it help?

Refocus on the goals you have for your own learning – why/how does it fit?

As Greg Garner says,

Why you’re connected matters. Be mindful of the amount of time you connect online versus offline. Are you connecting to escape the world around you? Or to augment and share it? Are you connecting for your benefit and gain? Or so that you can leverage your connections on behalf of your students and colleagues?

Don’t let the technology and being connected disconnect you from the people around you or from your own goals.

Learning isn’t is a  race – it’s a lifetime process of change.

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I am a husband, father, son.... I am currently working on my PhD in Education - Curriculum and Instruction. My focus is teacher professional development and social media integration. I have a beautiful, supportive wife who has been my partner for 28 years. We have 8 wonderful children who are amazing individuals. Together, we are exploring the world around us, sharing our stories, and enjoying the journey!


  1. Thank you for the blog post. It is good to remind myself and everyone why we use technology. I usually remember to remind myself that I can’t do it all. Thanks for the reminder:)

    • We can’t do it all nor should we. I think I need to filter way more and not worry about so much of the “noise” that is taking pace and focus. It’s tough to make decisions when there is so much out there but I can’t do it all.

  2. Another wise post! Thanks Kelly. At times during this course I’ve thrown up my hands because I just can’t keep up with all the posts in our eci community let alone attempt all of the things people are posting about!! Thanks for keeping it all in perspective:)

    • I don’t think anyone can keep up with all that is happening. I am reminded that this course is like a buffet with so many fine foods – you can try to sample everything or you can spend time taking a look at what is offered and then choose to savour a few choice selections. Yes it is overwhelming. Being caught in the euphoria of all the “newness and Wow” I think is like the rush of adrenaline from extreme sports or something similar – it carries you through the event but will not sustain you for a long endurance nor is it a way to teach, looking for the next rush, in my opinion. Sifting through the different things can be overwhelming – that’s when I find it’s time to take a walk. Or do something like play a game with my kids – get away and recenter.

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