Monday, June 18, 2012

Blog Post #2

My response (Michelle):

I agree that lurking is as important as sharing. Unfortunately, I find myself lurking too often. I really appreciate how you introduce Twitter without using Twitter so that a connection can be made. Connections are such an important part of learning and I wonder if I missed that connection within social learning. Even with my Facebook account, it is a very rare occasion that I contribute. Sometimes I just think, no one needs to know or cares about this.  But, I am currently enrolled in a class entitled “Educational Technologies” and I was forced to open a Twitter account. We opened the Twitter account without learning about it first and, I’ll be honest, that was a struggle for me. Our professor has shown through her constant connections the importance of shared learning and I am slowly stepping out of being a lurker and becoming more of a sharer! I think having that extra push from this class I am taking, though, has helped and I think many times an extra push is needed to move from lurker to sharer.

In response to Steven Anderson 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The Power Of The Lurker

Any one who knows me or reads my blog and Tweets knows I am a big advocate of social learning. The idea that we don't have to be the smartest or be an expert in everything should be a big relief in the classroom. When I started teaching I did everything I could to make sure I knew more than my students. Looking back, I know I wasted a great deal of time and many teachable moments with that attitude. I don't have to know everything. I have a network of people that I am plugged into that can help me, advise me, suggest for me and point me in the right direction when I am wrong. And for all of them (and you) I am grateful.

It's this idea of social learning, however that I have struggled with since I entered the space. I felt like I had to be online, all the time. I had to share something, all the time. I had to comment and react all the time. Over the few years I have been here and the many conversations I have had I know that not to be true.

I have heard rumblings, now and then, that the only way you can learn on Twitter or other social networks is to contribute. I might be making more extreme than it actually is but for some the mentality is that you have to contribute to learn.

Yes, it is very difficult to learn if no one shares. If we create new knowledge and don't share it is it knowledge at all? But if we are plugged in and connected to Twitter, or blogs or other social networks, do you have to be an active contributor to find value and power in the network? I don't believe so.

When I teach Twitter now I don't start with sign up. And many times when I do my Twitter PD people look at my like I have 2 heads. Why would I bother teaching Twitter and skip the sign up and the how-to? Why? because like anything we learn, we have to make a connection. There has to be some hook to draw is in. Rarely, I have seen, when it comes to social learning, is the hook the technical stuff. And even more rare is a true desire to want to learn socially. (Not saying there aren't those educators out there, because they are. Just saying its rare.) For many they have to first see the why. They have to find the value in these spaces to want to take it to the next level. Once they see the why, the light bulb goes off and they they are hooked. It just takes a little push in the right direction.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reflection #1

I'll admit, when I signed up for C & I 579 (Educational Technologies), I was scared! I'm okay with a basic computer and using Word, but all the extra technology is where I start to panic a little. My friends say I am still in the dark ages with technology as well since I don't have texting on my cell phone (AHHHH...I know!!). But, I'm going on week four of this class and I'm doing panicking yet! I've really started to change my attitude a little bit in regards to my fear of technology and I actually am beginning to feel pretty confident. At the beginning of this course I saw that we had to create a Voice Thread and I was freaking out, but after learning Diigo and Twitter with relatively few bumps, I think I can handle this Voice Thread. I'm actually getting really excited about using it because I am realizing that I can bring this back to my classroom and teach my students.
In this course we have had to create a PLN (personal learning network) by following ten educational blogs and ten educators on Twitter. I will admit Twitter is still a little much for me. There is just so much going on at one time, it's almost like I feel as if I'm in the mind of someone with ADD when I look at my Twitter account and I can only handle it in small amounts. But, it has gotten me to break out of my shell and post a couple things. I'm one of those types of people that was always taught to keep my life private and I rarely share anything about what I am doing, even on Facebook. After opening the Twitter account, though, I have tried to share more and I have also tried to get myself to share more on my Facebook account. I'm slowly trying to get that fear of the Internet out. Using the RSS feed for the blogs was really good for me, too, because I had used that once before a long time ago and kind of forgot about it. But, it is such a great thing to have because it brings the information to you and now I only have to check my email and I can see all these great posts without trying to remember a bunch of websites.
I have learned a lot so far in this class that I don't think I will forget tomorrow, such as RSS feeds, Twitter, and the importance of PLNs. The PLN information is probably the best thing I will take away from these first four weeks because I will be able to use that to become a better teacher. Before this class I would look up stuff on the internet to use in my classroom, but it was not a continual thing. Most of the professional information I got was from colleagues or professional development classes I would attend. With the Internet making information so easily accessible, though, I should be using it more. I will definitely continue building and utilizing my PLN to become a better teacher and to enhance my own learning.
Even though we are only halfway through this class I feel like I have learned so many new applications of technology and I am already so excited for school to start in the fall so I can apply them in my classroom (okay, maybe not excited for school to start again, but I am looking forward to using these new technologies in the classroom...if only I could do that without having to get up early. hmmm...).