Over the past few weeks, I have been blogging about Web 2.0 tools and lists of great resources for school, work, life, productivity and more. Exploring, reading blogs and learning about these wonderful tools can take a lot of time and I'm sure I'm not the only one who juggles between work, family, and just getting on the computer to Stumble Upon or learn new techonlogies. I'm sure many of you have either heard or said, "It's time to eat; get off that computer" or "The kids need a bath; I need your help!" You get the idea - there's never enough time.
So, I came upon this post from Mashable! by
How Is This Good For The Company?
Remember that wonderful movie Office Space, and that scene with Luhmberg and the Bob’s where they asked everyone at Innetech to ask themselves: “…for every decision you make, is this good for the company? Am I helping with the company’s strategic vision?”
Early adopters should be asking themselves a similar question as they try out new technologies and stay on the bleeding edge of the pretty, shiny tools we talk about every day here at Mashable. Failure to do so can result in being considered largely irrelevant, both in the calibre of advice and review the early adopter provides, as well as in general as a person (at least in the view of the average, mainstream Internet reader).
For instance, ask yourself why you take to tools like Twitter and Friendfeed. Is it because it suits your always on lifestyle and constant need to be in communication with other early adopters like yourself? Or is it because the tool has a genuine ability to make a normal person’s life easier, and you see the value in that.
As an educator and social community developer with WeAreTeachers.com, I often ask myself, am I blogging and using this particular Web 2.0 tool because it is cool or the fact that I like gadgets or is this relevant to my work and will it make my daily task more manageable? I will admit, there are some things I have dabbled into that have completely taken me on a tangent (JustLeapIn) with little results and little relevance that is apparent to me at that moment.
The challenge for me is that these tools sit outside the core business of what I do. For example, if I'm a teacher, the textbook, assessments, standards and curriculum guides are the tools I've been provided. As a teacher, if I go off and browse a bit to learn about Pownce or Plurk or Slideshare, that is not core to my teaching requirements. However, learning these tools, while they will take some time and I may not have an immediate understanding or thought on how to apply with students, they will help make me a more effective and engaging teacher. Posting my presentations or slides on Slideshare will allow students to access my content beyond the classroom or even allow students to post their own projects into their own post.
The same applies to my work environment. I often stay up late at night or wake up early in the morning, such as today, to explore and learn new Web 2.0 stuff. I often feel guilty doing this during the regular working hours, although I shouldn't. Nonetheless, it keeps me current and I am always finding ways to market and publish content and tie these components to the core structure of the social community we are developing. For example, learning about Ustream and other live video and chat tools, while not directly a part of the WeAreTeachers platform, will definitely provide a resource for members of the community to preview live events through a virtual presence online inside the community circles. This is something I am currently exploring and hope to implement in the near future. Again tools that are outside the realm of your current structure can have value. For me, it is hit and miss. Sometime I explore Web apps that have relevance and others that do not. And I guess, that's the way it goes - you take the good with the bad.
So whether you are a teacher, administrator, student or outside the teaching profession, the question is... Does this help me do my job more effectively? For me, the answer is yes. With the ever evolving world of the web, it helps me to learn what the latest technologies and applications are and it helps me to understand and apply Web 2.0 tools to the business of WeAreTeachers. And from the standpoint of connecting, collaborating and sharing, which is core to the business of teaching and learning, many of these tools are relevant both directly and indirectly.