A year ago I might not have known what the above comment meant. First of all, I would not have understood the symbolism. I suppose I still don’t really understand why # is used, really, but I know to use it to search topics or chats in Twitter.
Secondly, I wouldn’t have believed that the above comment would be describing me–typically quiet during a group discussion–being actively engaged and opinionated. This comment was tweeted to me during a scheduled twitter chat that I happened upon during my Planning Time earlier this week.
Meant to be working on my COETAIL assignment for week 2, I initially felt guilty for getting easily sidetracked by random Twitter posts on gender. I am a self-proclaimed feminist, and my husband will claim I tend to gravitate towards bias-supporting articles. Yet, I was intrigued by the rather neutral title, Gender Gap in Education Cuts Both Ways.
After reading the article and chat questions, but before committing to actually participating, I checked over this week’s topic and assignment. The Networking topic and loose reflection assignment about our changing thoughts brought me to the realisation that this was exactly the kind of thing we were meant to be doing! This is the networking in the form of active online participation that is so powerful that I am meant to be reflecting on (and therefore blogging about).
The public nature and digital representations of these relationships require a fair degree of maintenance.
Although this sentence comes straight from the article Living with New Media and actually refers to teens using social media to publicly manage and curate relationship tidbits, I thought it also applies to the development of an active and engaging online PLN. I am more recently aware that in order to really learn, it takes more than simply connecting digitally. Learning digitally (and publicly) is effort and maintenance.
So, I have been rather consciously proactive on Twitter activity this week, and I noticed that Andrew Grover, a fellow online 6 Coetailer had posted a visual map about learning communities.
After hinting to him that I may very well borrow this fabulous idea, and reflecting that it nicely complemented my exploration of what modern day networking is all about, I set about the task of creating my own mind map of my current Personal Learning Network.
Having earlier tinkered with Popplet after an In-service session at my school, I decided that would be the tool I would use to map out my network. Andrew’s original had created additional links, showing his University ties, but I decided I would only use current, or developing links, not severed links to the past…which sadly, is how I think of my university and early teacher training and professional development courses. Quickly, I came up with this:
(*Can’t seem to add a proper caption to my “Work in progress PLN” above without the formatting going all wonky…so this note will have to do.)
Looking at the “finished” product, I realise I could have continued to branch out and be even more specific: listing specific twitter hashtags or google groups. I could have listed blogs I follow or podcasts I listen to, but as these lists are growing and my time this week is not, I decided to save those for later and anticipate revisiting this map in the future, as I am curious to see how it evolves.
I want someone in my PLN who is going to give me constructive criticism and also accept it….I want someone who wants to learn, listen, and consistently share. I want someone who provokes my thinking. What I don’t want in my PLN is someone who is going to blindly re-tweet something I post. -Andrew Marcinek
After reading “Help Students Use Social Media to Empower, Not Just Connect” a blog post by Andrew Marcinek on Edutopia, I still feel I am my tweeting early years, and while I post the occasional blind re-tweet (with the full intention of referring to re-tweeted article when the more pressing need or interest arises) I also feel I have already come a long way in making sure to learn, listen and consistently share, both on and offline.