This week we explored the impact of expanding our personal learning networks (as opposed to my personal learning environment). Until I started this course, I had not considered that I use or access any sort of formal (or informal for that matter) network from which I expand my knowledge base.
But in fact, even without the advent of digital technology, I used a series of tools to connect with colleagues, peers and others to help me increase my knowledge base for my own teaching and learning. This week, we discovered a number of tools that made this exponentially easier (I think – LOL!)
By creating digital connections and using specific digital tools, I can now access the power of the internet in a logical and systematic way – to reach fellow learners, others in education and experts in the disciplines in which I teach.
One of the observations that I am making as we go through these exercises, is that in some cases I feel an initial resistance – often based on an erroneous assumption about what a tool might offer – then upon exploring, I find that tools that offer so much more than I had assumed.
Mu initial response to Twitter was probably similar to others – what can you say that I would have any interest in in 140 characters or less? Further, I know a number of people whose (innocuous) Twitter accounts were hacked – so skeptical would be a fair assessment of how I felt. However, once again, upon reading and viewing our course resources (including Ribble, 2012, Chapter 4, p. 25, eversion), who catalogues some really good opportunities for using Twitter in education; I am forced to reexamine and change my perspective. Used in the ways that it is described for connecting groups, Twitter seems to have some amazing properties. Of course, like everything else, the long term applications and implications will determine if it is something with which I stay, or ultimately opt out. I am a fan of TEDTalks – I think that they have some excellent resources. I found this video clip of Twitter founder Evan Williams discussing the ways that Twitter users employ the tool – interesting as always. I also found Brad Flickingers’s YouTube guide to Twitter very good – realistic, short and good explanations to the steps that we might need to use.
Can I see connecting with my own students via Twitter? I am not sure – there would have to be some clear ground rules and I am already feeling a bit overwhelmed by constant communication, but perhaps when my formal learning is not so intense, I can explore new and highly relevant connections with them.
I do think that in a business context, Linked In might provide some very relevant connections, but my ever expanding digital footprint makes me a bit wary of continually expanding my web presence. If there are some compelling arguments by my learning colleagues I will rethink this position. I am going to have to go in and make sure that I am checking on my digital presence once we are done our courses to make sure that the digital markers that I am leaving are current and reflective of the impression that I want others to have.
BTW, did a podcast for my other course this week. Also very good learning so listen for a minute or 2 and let me know what you think. As part of that course we watched a very enlightening video clip on copyright and the internet – very timely and current in our ever-expanding online journey.
(I am following Chris Hadfield on Twitter – what a fascinating guy – so multi-talented – makes me proud to be Canadian)
Working next week on online collaborative assignments – another new(er) venture.