Sunday afternoon I’m siting in my apartment surrounded by many of my best friends. We all compete in a fantasy football league that just commenced it’s thirteenth season (for an explanation of what fantasy football is, check out my first annual FF & Edu address from last year). Each year we get seventeen weeks to crunch statistics, talk trash and fight to be the one to come home with the championship belt at the end of the season.
In our free time, we dedicate hours to researching trends, analyzing statistics and navigating through various forms of media to find the players that give our teams the best opportunity to succeed. As an educator integrating technology into my curriculum in order to enhance my students’ learning experience, I find myself reflecting on how the integration of new technology to my fantasy football league has enhanced my own learning experience.
When we started, many of us did not have Internet at home. We traveled to the public library every week to update rosters and make transactions. As the years passed, we soon acquired Internet at home, but we still had to worry about occupying our land-lines at home.
Fast forward another ten years. We sit here with our laptops and smart phones fired up. We follow live updates of statistics as they play out across the NFL. We follow experts in chat pages on ESPN.com and follow a variety of reporters on twitter. We know that the person who has the best information the fastest will step ahead of his competitors.
Last year, I believe I knew more about the various web 2.0 tools than most of my friends. This gave me a competitive edge that allowed me to win my league. However, as I began publicly reflecting on the powers of my web 2.0 tools, my competitors caught on to my tricks and have begun implementing the same tools.
As I move forward with fantasy football strategy, I revisit one of the most important lessons that I try to teach to my students. Acquiring knowledge and information is only the first step. To differentiate yourself from the crowd, you need to analyze your information and make decisions about how to apply it.
The information is out there for everyone to take advantage of. If you learn how to find it, you will jump ahead of many people. However, analysis and application of this information is where you make yourself. Application is what makes you stand out.
As Chris Lehmann proposes in an article posted on February 5th, 2010, my lessons need to come back to the basic question of “What do you think?”. This question will define the leaders of the future. Every fall, fantasy football reminds me of this. Good luck to all of you starting a new season and don’t forget that no matter what ESPN tells you, the most important piece to winning your championship will be answering the question: “What do you think?”