Take the Red Pill


Four months ago, I took Morpheus’s Red Pill and it has changed my life. In the Matrix, Neo takes the red pill and has an “awakening” to the perceived real world. For me this awakening was to a world beyond my classroom. To start, I grew up in a town of 1100 people and change, with a high school graduating class of 24. I then went to a smaller 4 year college with a graduating class of a few more than 500 students. So, I have led what most would consider a rather sheltered life. Right out of college I was married and hired to teach in the same school I student taught in. My professional life was set and I began what most would consider a “good” teaching career.


That is where the red pill came in. I made the decision to start blogging and become active on twitter about four months ago. This “awakened” me to a world beyond my school, my classroom and my community. I have seen how schools are working and classrooms are running all over the world. Conversations I have are opening my eyes to methods and pedagogy that were never on my radar. I am thinking about things in ways I would never has imagined were possible.

Resources I never thought existed are now my norm and benefit my students daily. My PLN on twitter are sharing more resources than I can consume in a day, week, or month. Blogs are piling up in my reader and I can’t keep up with all the new “stuff” that is out there waiting for me to try with my students. More than the resources themselves, but the potential they hold in unlocking even more learning for my students.

Beyond just the resources, I am having educational conversations about topics that range from standardized testing and grades to professional development and digital citizenship. I am no longer the naïve teacher with a narrow viewpoint and perspective. There are people that I am talking to that I never even knew existed. Had I not taken the red pill, I would still never know of them or their varied perspective and experiences. The myriad of people I have met and talked to have broaden my educational horizons further than I could ever have anticipated.

Some people may not see this as an awakening, but for me it was. As Morpheus said, “After this, there is no turning back.” This is so true. I have learned what is out there and I can’t go back. I have new perspectives and resources that are ultimately bettering the learning for my students. I cannot conceive going back to putting my head in the sand and focusing just on what is being done in my classroom. I know what is out there and I can’t deny the power and potential learning at my fingertips.

When the opportunity presents itself to you, I encourage you to take the red pill.

18 comments:

Miss R. said...

I can absolutely relate! I recently attended the 2011 ICE conference and was inspired to get on twitter to see what the buzz was all about. It's only been a couple weeks and I'm already overloaded with great ideas. I'm interested in expanding my pln and getting involved in ongoing conversations with like minded teachers. Any suggestions about where to begin?

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Check this out for starters: http://stumpteacher.blogspot.com/2011/01/twitter-102.html

Also, check out this site for some great chats that happen throughout the week. This is where you can find like-minded folks and follow them. http://cybraryman.com/chats.html

sandy said...

I discovered it "Tweeter" last week, and boy I am struggling doing my Uni work as the world has all of a sudden become just so much bigger, I was about to close the account as I could see myself getting taken to places that did not serve the "getting the degree" purpose bit, but served the need in educating me. This tweet and blog about the red pill came just in time, I will take the red pill and handle the big world of unkown as it becomes known, I just need to find balance, whew was so close to the blue though Thankyou.

Diane Lauer said...

I like the analogy. Since starting to tweet myself I feel like i am breaking out of the insularity of my town, my region - opening up my mind to a new stream of consciousness. Sometimes it's hard to figure how other folks survive without it ;)

Diane Lauer said...

Love the analogy. I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon twitter. It has expanded my consciousness ad introduced me to worlds outside my own small niche. Thanks for the post!

Tasha said...

You remind me of.. ME! I graduated hs in a class of 70. I lived in the country where it was a burden to have a fried stop by; It was a 15 minute drive to town! And dialup... ick.

We are so blessed to have the tools now and meet amazing educators across the globe. LOVE reading your posts! Super inspirational. :)

Anthony said...

This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have now started to follow you on twitter. Have you ever heard of Plurk? It is a social network for teachers. I have met many great teachers from around the world on it. I am always getting new ideas on there as well. Many great resources being shared all the time. Feel free to email me if you have questions about that. tplcmisterp@gmail.com

Teacher Trainee said...

I've been blogging since '04. However I agree that twitter has CHANGED MY LIFE.

Patti Jones said...

I am no longer in the classroom but serve as our technology director. My job does involve a lot of paper work but recently I started using Twitter and Blogs and now have a renewed sense of how to help teacher accomplish technology integration. We are going to purchase tablet pc for about 200 kids next year and I am pumped. I guess I took the "red pill" without knowing it.

Josh Stumpenhorst said...

Thank you for all the comments. To me the key has to be spreading the word. We know these things are good for us and our students. We need to get more folks to take the red pill...starting to sound like a drug pusher now!

Shirley said...

I am enjoying all your posts. I also feel this tech journey is changing my entire teaching philosophy and I've been teaching for 30 years. My kids are now creators, teachers and collaborators. I love my PLN on Twitter and just started blogging...how the world has opened up for both my students and me. My classroom has no walls!!!!
My blog... http://tinyurl.com/4lz7zd3

Laura Wilson said...

Encouraging to hear these great things... I am just beginning my journey with twitter and blogging. Hope to find some great new ideas for my classroom instruction. Going to check out your stumpteacher.blogspot.com and twitter-102.html. Wish me well... having a hard time sifting through all that is out there! Thanks again..

Kendra said...

Thanks for your post! I started actively developing and expanding my PLN at the first of the year. I'm reenergized about teaching and excited to get out of bed in the mornings and go teach my students again. I love that I'm able to connect to so many educators who are passionate about working with their kids and it rubs off on me. I've just (as in this week) started blogging about my experiences with a PLN and resource sharing, although I've had a blog for my reading over two years. Right now, I'm hoping to get some of my coworkers to join me in this experience.

Anonymous said...

Josh

My background is similar to yours, however, I've been teaching for 22 years in various subjects. I started blogging ( http://hublerg.blogspot.com/ ) a few weeks ago (no comments yet) and only started using Twitter last weekend. As I quickly found out, Twitter, that I had previously thought was a complete waste of time, turned out to be one of the best places to get up-to-date info. I found your blog through Twitter. Your blog post about Innovation Day 2011 got me excited. Why not base an entire class on this idea? I'm exploring ideas to present to my principal. I would be honored to hear more about what you've done or listen to your suggestions about my class proposal. A VERY rough idea is forming in my head.

Anonymous said...

Josh

I only started blogging ( hublerg.blogspot.com ) about a month ago and using Twitter about a week ago. I previously though Twitter was a complete waste of time. I couldn't have been more incorrect. It is probably one of the best places I can turn for up-to-date info. I found your blog through Twitter. After reading your blog, I decided to attempt to create a class modeled after your Innovation Day 2011. Any suggestions or feedback on my ideas would be appreciated. Check out my blog above. You've become a shaker and mover in education. Thanks!

Greg H

Dan said...

Wow, that was well said. Thank you so much for voicing what so many of us have found out. Now, if only our administrators could understand and support us in our quest.

Dan said...

Wow, that was well said. Thank you so much for voicing what so many of us have found out. Now, if only our administrators could understand and support us in our quest.

Morpheus said...

Hello Josh.

I would contend that taking the Red Pill is slightly more than getting a blog and Twitter account, but it's a good start.

Good luck on your journey.

Morpheus