I love to get on Plurk and Twitter connecting with my personal learning network (PLN). I am always amazed at the things I learn from people around the world. The more I interact with others, the more I realize how much many our challenges are similar. I had heard that the Georgia Educational Technology Conference was going on and wished that I could be there because I love tech conferences. Over the years I think we have moved past learning about the specific tools as much as learning how to apply the tools in specific situations.
Someone asked me if I would be willing to Skype in so they could show the audience how Skype works. First of all, I was thrilled to be asked to contribute something to a conference that I wish I had attended. Second of all, I was thrilled to be a part of something bigger. The more that people learn about using the tools, hopefully, the more people will actually apply it in their classrooms. It seemed like many of the people in the audience were thrilled to see how easy Skype worked and how clear the sound and picture was.
Just being able to contribute something made me feel special. At first it is a scary thing to do because of course I had to get out of my pajamas and fix my hair! Then it is the thought about how dorky I sound or look in front of all those people! But once I got past those scary feelings, I felt amazing. Without people who contribute to things like this, it would be really hard to show others how things work. It is the contributions that people make which make the interactive part of networking worthwhile.
I’m been holding our Council for Exceptional Children Chapter 877 meetings on Flashmeeting. I love the platform and the ease that we have holding these meetings. The problem is getting people to attend the meetings. By being there online, whether they use a microphone, web cam, or just text, they are contributing. They are adding their ideas and thoughts. Maybe people don’t realize how important their contributions are and think that just watching the recording is all that they need. Contributions are what make this a much richer experience.
I love blogging about my teaching experiences, beliefs, and ideas but it is a one woman show. I am usually throwing out ideas and hoping there is someone in the great beyond who is listening to me. Yet, when I get comments, I am thrilled. I’m not sure that people realize how much their comments mean to me. By commenting, I feel like they are making the discussion a much richer environment. Instead of being a one woman show, it becomes a conversation and conversations are important.
I started to join wikis so that I can add information. I also joined Nings so that I can be part of the community. Not only was I contributing to other people’s pages but people were contributing to mine too! The wealth of information that is out there when we all join in the conversation is astonishing! This is a way to corral everyone’s strengths towards a specific purpose. No wonder these people seem to be so successful in their professional lives.
I have noticed that some people are doing presentations on building a personal learning network and I think I will jump on the bandwagon. By being a part of a personal learning network, I think teacher’s professional lives will be so much richer. I’m hoping to create a presentation so that I can offer this to teachers in my area in order to help them because they can tailor their network to their needs and interests. It doesn’t matter what grade level or subject they teach because it is the interactions that are important to being successful in the classroom.
Do you contribute to others so that you have an interactive network? If not, take the first step. Offer a comment on a blog, or join Skype, Plurk and Twitter. But don’t just lurk (not saying anything). Join in the conversation because I promise you, once you start, you will be amazed like I was!
Original image: The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray... by addicted Eyes