Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Viral Learning, Is It Possible?

Jennifer talks about viral professional development and some activities that she has done in her articles Viral Professional Development and Virus is spreading, No Cure in Sight. After her list, she also notes that she has not done any workshops, PowerPoint presentations, given any handouts or documentation. She did this by “shared resources, celebrated success, and encouraged others to do the same.” I think she has also done this by setting an example for others to follow. It is hard to convince others to believe in something if you don’t believe in it or you haven’t tried it yourself.

Since I have joined Twitter, I have met so many people who have so much experience. I am more willing to try some of the things that they suggest because they also give many examples of it. When I wanted to know more about Voicethread and asked my network, people started throwing out all sorts of examples on all different levels. Not only was I able to get an example but I could see how it is used in the classroom for all different students.

I know that doing presentations are great and I also learn a lot from them but they seem to motivate me more than actually teaching me how to do something. That is why I like Twitter so much because I can try something new and have immediate feedback. If I run into a problem, I have a support system. I am free to ask questions without anyone making me feel inadequate because everyone is so eager to help.

Yesterday for the first time, I was actually able to help someone else. A person asked on Twitter if anyone could help her test out Skype and I volunteered. Since I am so new at all of this stuff, it was kind of scary for me to offer this help. We connected and I was able to let her work out the bugs with the program so she could use it for a conference call. I was so excited that here I was in South Carolina, talking to a woman in Australia and at absolutely no cost! Maybe for some of you this isn’t as exciting as it was for me, but at that moment, I realized the potential of using Skype. Even though I have read about people using it and how they use it, it is different when you actually use it yourself. It is things like this that make me want to learn more.

I never went to any Skype presentation or was sent any promotional emails about Twitter or Skype but heard about both of these by reading other people’s blogs. The blogs led me to Twitter and Twitter led me to Skype. I have also learned other things through this connection and I realized that maybe that is how we will have to bring many teachers into 21st century teaching, just one teacher at a time. If each of us reach out and bring in one teacher at a time, eventually we will be successful in making an impact! Like Jennifer says, the virus is spreading, no cure in sight!

Photo credit: Image#94392 by ktsdesign


injenuity said...

Great post! I completely understand how awkward it feels at first to just use the resources of others and not contribute. It feels so great the first time you are able to offer up some help on Twitter! I love that you were able to reflect on how you learned while you were sharing! You have been wonderful helping me test things, so I hope you don't feel like you're not contributing enough.

Clix said...

How effective is Twitter if you use your cell phone somewhat rarely?

loonyhiker said...

Clix: I don't use Twitter from my cell phone. I use it through my lap top and Twhirl (twitter client). I also have Verizon broadband so I can have internet on demand.

Clix said...

How do you find people to "follow"? I don't have a network or neighborhod or whatever, and I'm not sure how to join or connect with one.

loonyhiker said...

clix: if you tell me your twitter name, I will follow you and you can follow me (loonyhiker). Then I follow conversations and if i agree with what people are saying, i want to follow them. I click on their name which sends me to their profile. Then I choose follow on it.