Finding Your Comfort Zone…and Pushing Past It

twitter-loveI am a self-professed twitter fanatic.  So many of the resources, ideas, and inspiration that I have received over the years are a result of Twitter.  I love trying to keep up with fast-paced twitter chats, and I love having time to reflect with slow chats.  I love following my favorite hashtags, like #geniushour and #edtech.  I especially love following a back channel at conferences, even when I’m not at the conference! (#NotatISTE16).  Perhaps the greatest benefit has been building a global PLN and seeing the passion and commitment of educators around the world.

Naturally, as a Learning Coach, I have tried to spread my love of Twitter throughout my school.  But, even after 2 years of trying, there are only a handful of teachers who have jumped on board the Twitter train.  I just couldn’t understand why they weren’t “getting it!”

Then, I tried Snapchat.  My 12-year-old daughter loves Snapchat because it allows her to stay downloadconnected to her friends and celebrities around the world.  She loves it because it lets her add creative captions and drawings to her photos.  She loves it because it is all about what is happening NOW.  So, I asked her to help me understand…and I recognized the same look of disappointment and frustration on her face when I just wasn’t “getting it!”  I didn’t know what buttons to press, I didn’t know who to follow, and I couldn’t think of anything clever to add to my pictures!  I felt so overwhelmed and way outside of my comfort zone.  It has taken me weeks to really understand the app and how I might ever use it effectively.

This has helped me realize that everyone has a different comfort zone.  And it takes time and support to push yourself beyond it.  For many teachers, tweeting is stepping outside their comfort zone.  Pushing myself to try something new has reminded me of how scary it can be.  And I’m not giving up yet!  Next year, I plan to use Snapchat stories.  Maybe to showcase teacher and student learning or to capture school-wide celebrations.  I’m excited to see a NotatISTE16 Ignite session about SnapSmashing and look forward to getting some great ideas there!

If you have ideas on how you have used Snapchat in your school, please share!  And please follow me on Snapchat at espln.

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