I used to sign up for free magazines. There were a lot of them — Technology & Learning, Network World, Presentations, Electronic School, Computerworld. When I was teaching, I’d encourage my students to sign up for them too. I was never at a loss for something to read, and they did a great job of keeping me current with new ideas, trends, products, and technologies. They were my primary source for keeping up.
But times have changed. I learn from my network now. I subscribe to blogs, and use Twitter and Digg and Delicious and EdTechTalk to keep up. While I used to grab a magazine while eating my lunch, now I’m more likely to fire up the feed reader or listen to a podcast. So I stopped subscribing to the magazines.
But that doesn’t stop them from coming. Over the last few years, my standard practice has been to put magazines in a pile in case I want to read them later. I typically glance at the covers. They have great content. They’re probably very valuable. I see articles on RSS, developing professional learning networks, making global connections, the risks of using social networking tools in the schools, 1:1 programs…. The content is undoubtedly very good. But I’ve moved on. So every year, at the end of the year, I take the pile of magazines that I’ve been meaning to read and move them over to the recycling bin.
This year’s crop was smaller than usual — only 22 magazines, with six different titles. But it still makes me feel bad, both because I don’t get around to reading them, and because the publishers keep sending them.
Next year, I’ll start another pile. Or maybe I’ll just recycle them as they come.