A while ago someone on Twitter (identify yourself and I'll be HAPPY to give you credit) posted this picture and info about Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe which is basically a game within a game. I wanted to have some laminated game sheets available in my class for use during indoor recess. We're an ECO school, and trying to not waste even scrap paper. I have ESL students and Tic-Tac-Toe is one of those universal games which makes it a great activity to have available during rainy lunch days. Thanks to whomever shared the game. The instructions mentioned Ben Orlin as having discovered the Ultimate version. For anyone interested, the blank game sheet I made with the instructions is below.
25 years ago, I regularly marveled at the technical expertise of others. It seemed liked everyone, even students, seemed to know more about technology than I did, and I felt like I'd never EVER reach a point where I could enjoy independence. And so, I just kept on listening and watching, asking and trying and failing, and trying again and again and again.
After countless hours with Apple User groups, ECOO conferences, hundreds of magazine articles, and subscriptions and manuals and innumerable courses and workshops and PD weekends, tutorials and webinars, edcamps and chat sessions and time spent geeking out with fellow enthusiasts.... I realized JUST TODAY, (when I was writing some help instructions for a colleague) that I have finally reached that tipping point where, more often than not, I can figure stuff out, and make technology work the way I want it to. There's a great quote the sweat of hard work is not to be displayed. It is much more graceful to appear favored by the gods but it almost doesn't apply since my journey never really felt like hard work. It was so much fun and continues to be so incredible learning to create and imagining how to use technology to help students learn. I can only shake my head when I remember how tough things were; learning to write computer code for a choose your own adventure story, or using a spreadsheet to generate a random number to select my students without needing a can full of Popsicle sticks. One year I spent an entire summer trying to figure out how to output a video from my computer onto a VHS tape. (It was one small checkbox that I'd missed checking!)
It's been one heck of a ride and I know it's not over, but I now realize that I've put in enough hours to make the remainder of the journey quite pleasant. I know they say 10 000 hours is the magic amount, but I think I"m way beyond that... and now there's research saying 10 000 hours might not be enough -
It is a great idea to take time to reflect on how far you've come... sort of like scaling a mountain and pausing in your climb to look back and admire the scenery of where you've been... there will still be more summits, but for a brief moment, enjoy the view.
The low battery picture is there because I often start to play with a new app or read some RSS feeds or Twitter posts on a device with a fully charged battery, and then I don't stop until I'm down to 5% battery life. And in that moment, just before the device shuts down, and forces me to take a break, I realize how fully I've been "in the flow" of the moment, and just how much fun it is to have arrived.
What about you? When did you reach your comfort level? Can you remember your own arrival on the land of "I can figure it out" or did your competence just sneak up on you unexpectedly? Regardless of when it happened, congrats. If however, you're me, twenty five years ago, don't sweat it! Those experts are not nearly as genius as they appear; they just never stopped learning and neither should you. And if you need any help... I might even be able to be of some assistance or I can at least point you to some great mentors.