I just spent the last two days at an educational technology workshop, ETUG. Ed Tech professionals from around BC came to the UBC Okanagan campus in beautiful Kelowna, BC to connect and share ideas and technology. I’ve attended education events and conferences before, and I have left those events feeling energized, inspired and excited about what I could take back to my work. Attending such an events like the Tableau conference is inspiring. At Tableau, I’m surrounded by people who think like me, who are excited to use data to inspire change, to create awareness. I am always riding a high when I leave that conference.
This experience, however, left me feeling strange. I left this event feeling confused and unsure of my role in the Ed Tech community. Here I was, surrounded by my peers and colleagues, and I felt very out of place. I feel like I know nothing about what I do or what I am supposed to do as an Ed Tech professional.
There was a presentation on interactive PDFs, which I found to be very intriguing and innovative. It’s not a tool or technique that can work for everything, but it still got my mind working, thinking about new ideas of how to present information. I was excited. However, that excitement was soon diminished as my colleagues made sure to point that it was not an idea that was smart or sustainable. They had better of ideas of doing what I was wanting to create. I was quickly put in my place and silenced. Creativity gone.
I’ll have to admit, it hurt a little, causing that disconnect that I didn’t realize was there to be revealed. My background is in analytics, data visualization, not educational technology. Every one else is education. I am not an Educator, nor am I a Tech professional. I’m a Visualist. At first thought, it makes me want to give up, throw in the towel, go back to my numbers. Go back to what’s comfortable, what’s normal (for me).
But should I?
Honestly, I don’t know. Perhaps I am at a crossroads. Do I keep down the Ed Tech path, or do I return to the analytics trail I have been blazing. Or do I make my own road? Do I dare to not conform to either identity and make an identity that is unique from the others.
This workshop has left me to think about some things, about where I am and where I am supposed to be going. The journey is far from over.