Recently I discovered an amazing social network for teachers called "Making Curriculum POP". Not only do all the teachers in the network share the same desire to utilize pop culture in the classroom, but they actually respond and help one another. I say this as if I am some expert on social network sites, or interacting with teachers - neither of which is remotely true. It is simply refreshing to go to a place where so many people are gathered together, working in a united way, and answering questions in a generous and open manner.
If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend taking a minute or two to set up a profile and start getting to know a few people on the site. Hopefully I will continue to form friendships and learn with the other educators who give valuable advice and share helpful experience. It is good for a youngster like me!
Yesterday I had the fortunate chance to visit with Peter Gutierrez who authors an excellent blog titled "Connect the Pop". He gave me some helpful counsel about my emerging crowdsourced-movieclips-in-the-classroom concept, which it turns out he had already done a great deal of work on a few years back. In light of his feedback, and that of a faculty consultant where I work, I feel that this project faces a crucial fork in the road (and potentially multiple forks). Right now I am trying to "nail" the concept in my mind in a way that others can understand and visualize it - and perhaps after using it to help the 7th/8th grade students this semester it well flesh out a bit more. Once the concept is truly pinned down then I think that is when I really need to start figuring out whether this would be a good non-profit model, small-business model, or something along those lines. But at the same time, the counsel from my digital culture teacher is important to keep in mind. He has taught me that we don't have to always think like print culture has taught us. You don't have to have a complete and polished concept before trying to move it forward and get feedback on it. I need to round out my idea more, but I have already discovered that I don't have to have a flashy product before experts are willing to give me social proof.
What I am learning and enjoying about this whole process is that I am entering a place in my life and education that is no longer moderated by a teacher or a professional. For the first time it seems that it is completely up to me to go out and make strong connections with others, learn what I need to do, and choose to act upon the things I feel are most important. It is very exciting, and at times extremely frightening. I mean, there is no right answer. This age of information, with all of the tools to consume, create and connect, provides an abundance of opportunity I feel I am only just rubbing up against.