Monday, 6 October 2014

FOMO - or How to be a connected educator and (try to) stay sane

(This post supports my presentation at Connected Educator EducampNZ on 7 October 2014, 7:30pm)

I sometimes have to LOL about all these abbreviations, +Kathy Scott put it really well in her recent post The Tyranny of Acronyms. In German we used the term "AbK├╝Fi" to describe this (German has a tendency to use compound words within compound sentences, so abbreviations are common). FOMO needed a translation though, thanks to +ariaporo22 for educating me on this a few months ago - Fear Of Missing Out. This is something very common for connected educators...

Let's take it a step back: Why do we want to be connected educators in the first place?
Our New Zealand Curriculum has a Vision
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What applies to the children applies to the adults in my opinion (ako in action). "Connected, actively involved, lifelong learners" is a phrase that gets quoted regularly, but there are many more points in the vision that relate to being a connected educator "members of communities",  "international citizens", "participants in a range of life contexts", "active seekers, users and creators of knowledge" to name the ones most obvious to me. To sum it up: To be an effective partner in the learning of our students, being a connected educator is no longer optional.

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The problem is that a lot of us connect in addition to our regular work. The more we connect, the more we feel we are missing out on when we don't connect - until you could find yourself trying to be connected all hours of day and night. How many of you have (like me) heard from your partner "get off the device, I thought you were {insert not-connected activity of your choice} with me?". How many of you have (like me) replied "I just quickly have to..."



I had this conversation with colleagues many times - where does work finish and life start? Do we live to work or work to live? How are we managing our connectedness? What example are we setting for our families and our learners? What do we want to be remembered for?



Connected Educator Month CENZ14 is a perfect opportunity to be connected, online, take PD into your own hands. However, it is also a perfect opportunity to consider when to connect, and when not. I love this little poster by Common Sense Media:
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It shows clearly that to be a (digital) citizen your need to balance your time online and offline [more on the topic digital citizen later this month]. However, that's where FOMO comes in: What if I am offline when an important question / link / resource etc. gets shared???? The answer I have to remind myself of over an over is that if it is important, it will still be there when I get back online. If it is meant to be, it will happen. There is no point in having your life completely ruled by what ifs!

To (try to) stay sane, here are some tips that seem to work for me

Time Management:
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  • Be selective about what forms of connecting work for you. You don't have to be everywhere all the time. Trial and discard if it is not worth your time.
  • Try to set yourself certain times when you check your Social Media, e.g. for me it seems to work to do this in the morning and then again at night. [Note: When procrastinating over an important task, I find myself checking a lot more often than that!]
  • Don't think you have to have seen every post in all your streams every day. If people want you to see something, they will learn to tag or mention you. Many people tend to post at times that others are most likely to view.
  • Tag your own contributions with the names/handles of people you want to see the post and/or use a hashtag that connects your post to a conversation.

Set up Notifications:
Use the Notification functions of your selected platform, here are a couple of examples:
  • For VLN you find them under Settings - Notifications 
  • For Google+ go to Settings and customise your notifications there. 
Outlook Rules / Gmail Labels & Filters
Use rules (Outlook) or labels and filters (Gmail) to keep your inbox clear from notifications until you have time to view them:
 

FOMO still strikes me regularly, but these little tricks help me stay sane. How are you as a connected educator trying to stay sane?

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