I am in Salem, Oregon (our state capitol) tonight getting ready for a state advisory board meeting on assistive technology tomorrow (you will read this while I am in a meeting today - I am writing the night before).
I usually share posts on my day, the students I see, the issues I face with them, but today was mainly spent in the car and a mexican restaurant drinking a couple of margaritas and watching ESPN before retiring to my room. (This only happens 2 times a year - the rest of the time I am at home drinking margaritas and watching ESPN! ) - sorry mother in law who reads this all the time - just kidding...if I were, I would never get my work and all my daily online projects done.
While I was relaxing, I read a post by a blogger my wife follows. She had just concluded a contest for a new digital camera and had over 14,000 people enter sharing their favorite post. I thought how fun it would be to hold a contest, contribute some of my own program/software as well as find a sponsor from a company to donate a CD or piece of AT.
Since I hadn't had a real "experience" to blog about today, which is unusual, because my life is a three-ring circus (and the truth is, there are things I COULD tell you about , but I can't because they are too confidential and loaded with politics - by the way, Bill Clinton was speaking in our town Sunday because of Oregon primaries) I started to cycle through the blogs I read daily and pick up some ideas, themes or issues surrounding them. WOW! There were a lot of raw and real posts out there over the past day or two-and I empathize with the issues some folks had.
I am beginning to feel like the people I know, their blogs I read, and the folks that comment, are a family of support for me and I must say, I have felt very fortunate. Six months ago I would have never believed that I would be networking with so many wonderful and incredible people, but it is true. Many of you reading are those people that I hear from in emails and comments. I wish more people could experience this.
So here is the point of my rambling tonight...the posts these people share are created with a huge investment on their part. The vulnerability and openness that is shown through their sharing on personal disability is an incredible thing. And then to have it "critiqued" by an insensitive commmenter can be hard, BUT, it is worth the occassional headache because...I have learned so much from the posts of others and the comments they share on my posts. It is truly an awesome thing to have a window on the lives and experiences of others that can contribute to our understanding of the world and make it a little bigger than it was before.
I can say that I have experienced the biggest personal and professional growth I have ever known since I committed to blog daily and read and comment on other's blogs. I would encourage you to start one if you are reading and toying with the idea. You might think you have nothing to contribute - but you do. We need you to share your unique perspective.
So...I am starting a contest. I am going to give a valuable piece of AT software - brand new - to a person that starts a blog over the next 30 days. I know a few CEO's and reps from companies that would like the free promo, so I will be finding a donor - or I will do it myself. I am not going to judge the best blog - I couldn't begin to think I am an authority on that! I am going to let a random integer selection generator pick the winner. The selected winner will receive a free CD in the mail from me and a free link to download some valuable interactive activities I am working on.
Here are the rules:
1. You must be starting your first blog - ever.
2. You must share at least 2 times a week from the start of your blog - or over the next 30 or so days- You will have until June 15th.
3. You must email me your link to your blog to enter it in the contest.
4, It must share on assistive technology and/or disability and contribute positively to the community.
5. The winner will be posted on my blog with a link to their blog for everyone to visit on June 16th - my last work day before summer vacation! So it will be a double celebration of sorts.
You don't have to be an expert. you can share on your experiences, opinions, sites and blogs you like, struggles and joys as a parent with your child and disablity, reflections as a teacher, on and on...the sky is the limit. The secret? Be You.
You can set up your blog free here on blogger. I have a Wordpress blog as well as this one and three others - the other three are all Blogger based - so what does that tell you? You can do it. AND...if you have a struggle starting and need help, email me and I will help you if I can - or steer you in the right direction.
My email to contact me with your post link and to enter the contest is: firstname.lastname@example.org Please indicate "blog contest" somewhere in the email title so I can separate it from other emails, AT Blog Carnival sudmissions, etc.
The link to set up your blog on Blogger is: http://www.blogger.com/
I want to see more sharing and wealth of information and experiences. You have a contribution to make, so lets hear from you. I want this to be fun!
As soon as I have a sponsor, I will let you know who and what. I just had this idea today so you will have to give me some time. In the meantime - get blogging!
All the best to you!