Thursday, March 5, 2009


I am intimidated by technology and the internet. When Alec and others are discussing Twitter, Scype, Delicious, and other sites, I have to admit, I am clueless and lost. I do have a Twitter account, but I have to confess, I really don't understand what it is or why I have it. I am trying to overcome my fears and explore, but there are really two barriers for me.

The first barrier is self-consciousness. I am a confident person and I do not have trouble socializing or exploring my world. When put on-line, however, I am nervous and embarrassed at my ignorance. I feel like others will ridicule me and that I really have nothing to add to any technology-related conversation. There are times during class when I am tempted to take the mic and voice my opinion, but am paralyzed by self-consciousness. I know I have to get over these barriers, but I am finding it difficult. I believe there are others like me in the class who are feeling the same way, but I hope we can all get over it together.

The second barrier is time. Learning all of this new information and overcoming my feelings of inferiority require that I spend hours experimenting online. Being a relative rookie administrator and a father of a toddler and a newborn are demanding roles and are dominating my life at present. I have not, to this point, devoted the time necessary to really acclimate myself to these technologies. I need to find time to really attack this and stop procrastinating.


  1. Thanks Trevor for this very revealing post. This 'stuff' is not easy, and the technology and community can be intimidating. And I know, technology is not the only aspect of your life right now, and I can relate to your nervousness and time issues.

    Try to step out as far as you can in our discussions. I want you to be sure that these are safe zones, and we are here to help you get as far as possible. Technology is not and if/or proposition anymore, it's an inevitability of the classroom and of society. However, there is nothing wrong with a very cautious and critical approach to all of this.

    Thanks again for your post!

  2. Everyone was new at these tools at some point, Trevor. Do not expect to be a "pro" at them immediately. Some people take longer at certain types of learning activities. Take it one step at a time and you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Stick with it!

  3. I think it's great that you can acknowledge your fear. Time is definitely a big issue- for all of us. But if you talk with people, and investigate the things people recommend, you will learn about them without having to spend time researching it. This is also a good way to find out information about different sites- google them, and find reviews, or blogs that talk about different web2.0 sites. If you don't know about something just trying googling it or typing it into wikipedia! They always seem to have lots of information!

    Good Luck!

  4. There's a lot of time upfront to learn; then it all starts to fit. Be patient with yourself. You'll be amazed how much you learn and how quickly. It's exciting.

    Excellent of your to confess your intimidation; you're no doubt expressing what many others feel inside.


  5. Hi Trevor,

    I am an tech coach from Ottawa. My dirty little secret, 12 years ago I barely used a computer. Well, then, who really did?

    It IS intimidating, especially when you are in the company of experts, but we are all learners, and indeed, even more so, with the rate that this digital landscape changes.
    You will find your path on your time.

    I am confident that you are in very supportive community, and if you reach out on-line, in any way, you will find the same.

    One further note, for people who are reticent to speak out, Twitter and Blogging allow time to listen, reflect, and thoughtfully respond. Just saying:)

    Barbara McLaughlin
    barbaram on twitter

  6. Thank you for that post. I think the true power of twitter isn't realized until you have a large number of people with your interest or a similar interest. Along with all of that comes a handful of people who you will feel very comfortable with and will feel free to say things like you would a close friend or relative. Then you will find yourself following links to interesting sites or blogs and you will find people who you would NEVER have followed without someone's suggestion. Now, after about a year, I follow over 500 with over 600 following me. I rarely say anything insightful during the week but I try to be involved in conversations on the weekends. When there are times that I have a burning question, though, I am happy to throw it out there - no matter how dumb I feel it may be. But that has come with time for I, too, feel like I'm not nearly as qualified to be in the conversations I am "listening" to. Hang in there and stay the course. It will be worth it.

  7. I just looked at your profile. You're a vice principal. That means just double what I said in my recent comment.

  8. Trevor,
    Not only is it intimidating, but it's overwhelming and exhausting. Might I suggest picking one skill and giving it a try. Then when you are ready, move on to the next.

    Listening is great while you are getting your bearings in the online class, but give yourself a deadline for your first dive in. The water is clear, warm and the people are friendly and receptive.

    I am always anxious to hear new voices, so I'm looking forward to hearing your soon :)

  9. Hi Trevor,
    I just sent you a well thought-out note and hit the backspace button which moved me between pages and lost it!

    Essentially, I said that everyone has been where you are with regards to some technology (they're lying if they say otherwise), and especially on Twitter, people are very willing to share and help. It's the first place I ask when I don't know how to do something or what the buzz is about.

    Too, technology multiplies at a rate that makes it prohibitive to know it all. Further you need not know or use it all. Take what you need and leave the rest.

    I didn't know how to reply when I started on Twitter, and people immediately helped me out. Take the time to ask--it will significantly reduce your "figuring it out" time. Somebody already knows how to do it--ask. The whole idea of social media is to share that knowledge.

    Best to you,

  10. Trevor, you know the wonderful part of learning all these tools is that it reminds you of your own past when you were scared of the notion that you can't do it. We all have been through this and to an extent still are tied to the idea and not the reality that we can't do it. So you just need to see the beautiful world behind the black curtains :) Welcome onboard.

  11. Hi Trevor,
    You are not alone. I already know you have a thick skin, since you are a VP ;) It is risky to 'put it out there', but everyone is a newby at some point, right? Without taking that leap, we end up sitting in our little boxes wondering...

    Time is hard. You need the balance. Your family time comes first. Your commitment to your school also takes loads of time. But at some point, things will click and you will see how being connected can save you time.

    My hubby and I are both in the admin world. We are both new to twitter, facebook and blogging. Would love to follow you and keep in touch as we go on the journey - I'm @shannoninottawa and he is @OttawaBrent - take care and feel the support of your network!

  12. p.s. If I can help

  13. Just think, you proclaimed your low self-efficacy about technology in a blog! :) Seriously, think about all of the tech you DO use on a daily basis...I mean, did anyone ever really figure out how to turn off the blinking clock on a VCR? Take those tools that you can use in your day and let the others rest and learn on an "as needed" basis. I had a visit with a teacher today via Skype-sort of against her will. She would have rather called me. But, I sent a little message, she typed back, I clicked the "call" button, she answered....and, in the end, she used Skype. Sometimes it's that simple...other times, well, let the light blink.
    Good luck in your learning!

  14. Hi Trevor, it's a sort of cathartic feeling putting this out there isn't it. In the past two years I have seen you take your "first steps" into the tech world and believe me it is daunting at times. Like you I still at times find it frustrating and confusing (even though I know in your eyes and Megan's I am somewhat tech knowledgable). This best thing I would suggest to you is play around on the computer when you can (remember the "cancel" button or "undo" is a good thing). It has taken me years, actually since Alec's ECMP 355 class, for me to become this comfortable with computers. Since I know you appreciate history (though not East Coast) I will say this to you..."The only thing to fear is fear itself." Explore whan you want to, take baby steps, go slow, but push on. The reward is worth it.

    PS: If you want me to show you Google Docs just give a holler.

  15. Trevor,
    Thank you for expressing my feelings exactly! I have been around technology in education for a while but am only just beginning to seriously explore the read/write web. I am bumping up against the same two barriers that you are.

    I recently took an online 6-week course called Multiliteracies for social networking and collaborative learning environments . Two helpful analogies were offerred that I found really helpful.

    The first is the idea of drinking from a firehose. If you try to take it all in at once, you'll drown. Just sip from the edges and enjoy.

    The other is picking berries. You can't pick every single berry on every bush. Sample from a variety of bushes, stop to indulge in the bushes that provide the best fruit, stop when your full or have had enough.

    When I remember these two images, it makes it all seem more manageable for me. Maybe they'll help you too.

    It's nice to know someone who's at the same place as I am. I hope you keep sharing your journey.

  16. Trevor: it is very easy to feel overwhelmed by technology, and those who "drink from the firehose" that is the internet frequently find their levels of participation wax and wane as "real life" and priorities take over from time-to-time.

    I also want to commend you for blogging about your experience. Many have and do feel the same way you do, and your post is an example for them that "they're not alone"

    It's natural to feel self-conscious about participating in online environments, especially when starting out. It's also ok to lurk until you feel you have something to say. I've found this to be the case for myself, and have the same feeling each time I've used a different media (text, audio, video) on the web. With time, and with each tool, I've become less self-conscious over time (however, I still not very inclined to post video of myself).

    It's hard to keep one's "performance anxiety" at bay while this is happening. You also have the added pressure of being enrolled in a course while exploring these spaces, which "raises the stakes" and no doubt adds anxiety.

    Try not to be too hard on yourself along the way, and keep exposing yourself to tools and communities. While all of us get overwhelmed from time-to-time, it is also true that as you become more familiar with tools and the "rules of engagement" in online spaces you'll be better able to make sense of individual tools and how you might use them in your practice.

    Good luck, hang in there, and don't hesitate to ask for help

  17. Sometimes the best thing to do with these new technologies that are around are just to listen to them and see what about them interests you. Don't worry about not being able to put in anything insightful to the conversations, just make the connections for yourself and then ask if those connections are legitimate.

    EdTechers are a very forgiving lot, so you don't have to worry about what you may or may not know.

    As others have said, good on you for getting your anxiety out in the open.


  18. Trevor, I am relieved to hear that you also feel as I do. You used the word intimidated to describe your on-line presence. I too feel intimidated by the anonymous social networking tools and feel like an outsider looking in. I see what is going on, almost like a spectator not a player. I love sports and I like to feel like a player not the waterboy. I have to admit though that I am experiencing the social value of FaceBook as I have recently connected with several people that I've lost touch with since high school and university. Maybe there is hope for us Trevor???