This is the time of year when better bloggers than I are reflecting on another year gone by. Selfishly, I love these "year in review" posts - I feel like they provides me with one last chance to catch up on all the really great stuff I've missed. For example, just today, I learned about Inkle Writer - a free tool for creating "choose your own adventure books" - thanks to a "best of..." post from Larry Ferlazzo. I cannot wait to give this new (to me!) tool a test drive very soon!
Anyway, I wish I had it in me to put together a great "best of 2012" post like real bloggers do. But the truth is, I'm just not organized enough to pull it off. Plus, as a lifelong teacher, December does not feel like the end of the year to me. Both my personal and professional calendars run from August through July and probably always will. And finally, (and perhaps more significantly), my crystal ball seems to always be pointed towards the future. I find it difficult to focus on the last 12 months when the next 12 are, literally, just around the corner! This year, that internal pull towards whatever's next feels especially strong. Call me an optimist, but I'm excited about the future of librarianship in the changing educational landscape. I'm no common core advocate, but I see an opportunity for librarians with this shifting curriculum. Plus, I'm excited about leveraging new technologies as tools for creating richer, more meaningful educational experiences for kids. I have no idea what the coming year will look like for me personally, but for librarians, I see opportunity for change, growth and innovation. In whatever role I can play, I look forward to being a part of it.
That's not to say, of course, that 2012 wasn't a year to remember - because it surely was. For me it's been a year of both personal and professional growth. I've learned so much this year and, thanks to my PLN, I've had the chance to share that journey in some extraordinary ways. I've traveled to too many states to mention, gave my first keynote address (with several more following), saw my work published and started an online bookclub with my professional wonder twin -who I will actually get to meet in 2013! Seriously, this has been a BIG year. (You'll have to forgive me if that seems like "shameless plugging" but there's just so much personal joy wrapped up in these experiences that I can't help but mention them).
That said, as one year flips into the next, it's only natural to set a few professional goals for the days ahead. I'm not much of a resolution maker, but I have been thinking about some of the things I'd like to accomplish next year.
Mostly, I want to start doing a better job of collecting and curating the resources I discover and create. I haven't figured out the particulars of how this will look yet, but I know I need to do a better job of keeping track of my presentations, publications and both created/discovered resources. To my credit, I'm pretty good at finding, making and sharing stuff - but I'm almost entirely rubbish at collecting, organizing and maintaining those same things - which is kind of ironic for a librarian. So... this year, I'm going to work on using this space (and others) in smarter ways.
To start this process, I've created a new page (*points up*) where I will start sharing photographs that I take and edit for professional use. Even though I would never call myself a photographer (I'm at whatever step comes before amateur) taking and editing photos is a personal passion of mine. I love it. It's a stress reliever AND it helps me see things in the world that I might otherwise overlook. Over the last couple of years I've participated in a 365challenge - meaning that I've taken and posted a photo every day for 365 days. (This year for 366 days!) And over time those photos have found their way into my professional presentations. Now, instead of trolling the internet for CC licensed images to use in my work, I first search my own images - and to my surprise, I often find exactly what I'm looking for!
That said, part of what I'd like to do this year is start sharing those images in a more intentional way. Currently, I post my photos on Instagram and (less consistently) on Facebook/Twitter. Starting tomorrow, however, I'm going to start sharing those images that I think might be useful for professional use on my new Flickr page. (Believe it or not, I've never had a Flickr page before. Perhaps I'm getting on this bandwagon late - but as far as sharing CC licensed images, I don't know of a better resource). Anyway, all the images there are licensed with an Attribution, NonCommercial, Share Alike CC license - meaning you can use anything there as long as you don't make money from it and you give me a nod in the process. I think that's fair. Plus, teaching kids to license their work through Creative Commons is another passion of mine, so I figured it was high time I became more intentional about doing the same with my own creations. (An aside, I find teaching kids to license their own work creates a culture of sharing that is far more effective than trying to scare them with copyright laws. When licensing their work is part of the creative process, they are far more mindful/respectful of that process when it comes to using the work of others. But I digress). Again, this is just a start, so I've only got a few images posted so far, but I hope my collection will grow as the days tick by.
In the meantime, let me use this unofficial "year in review" post to thank my PLN for continuing to follow my adventures, share their wisdom, challenge my beliefs and cheer me on. 2012 would have been far less interesting and meaningful without all of you. No matter what the next 12 months bring, I look forward to the journey ahead. Here's to our continued (shared) love affair with learning!
Happy New Year!