Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

Does it ever happen to you when you read, that lines in the text jump out at you, making you stop short and think?  For some reason this seems to happen to me lots!

Just recently, when catching up on some journal reading, a chatty little article about the exciting challenge of e-Learning piqued my interest.   While nothing very revolutionary was mentioned in the short column, just one line jumped out at me!  It hooked me in, sending my mind into a spin of thoughts!

Often teachers are sent to conferences but rarely are they given time to process and reflect on their new knowledge or share it with colleagues.”

It’s happened to all of us, hasn’t it?   You sit in the conference or workshop, enjoy the words of the presenter all the while mulling over new, interesting ideas being presented.  You take copious notes, are first in line to grab the handouts, and perhaps even buy ‘the book’ or ‘CD’ which expands on the talk.  The notes you took take pride of place on the ever growing pile on your desk.  Often the notes travel back and forth with you from office to home and home to office for days and days, waiting for the perfect, interruption-free, not too tired moment to be re-read or mulled over some more.  You try to find time to share new information gleaned with colleagues or perhaps you even try to edge your way into presenting at a staff or department meeting.   Then somehow, the days slip by and the enthusiasm you had gets lost among the never ending tasks that must be completed.  The fire goes out and the professional learning experience gets filed away, relegated for future action or forgotten altogether.

How sad, no?!  Is this how our professional learning experiences should pan out?

Thoughts that spin through my mind run like this:

  • Group attendance: A minimum of two teachers should attend the same professional learning session.  Apart from being able to share and discuss ideas presented, each teacher will provide an impetus to the other to share acquired knowledge with a wider audience.
  • Feedback:  Attendees should be required to give written feedback on the professional learning session attended.
  • Presentation:  Provide opportunities for teachers to share knowledge and insights gained with their colleagues at full staff, department or subject based meetings.
  • Time: When time release is given to attend a professional learning program, a block of time should also be designated for teachers to process and reflect on their new knowledge.  Clearly the amount of time would be determined by the nature of the session being attended.
  • Blogging: Many of us who have taken up blogging have marvelled at the incredible value of ‘reflective blogging’.   Being able to write about and reflect upon experiences had, knowledge gained and thoughts expanded by attendance at professional learning sessions via personal blogs is awesome.  Publishing one’s thoughts in a blog invites discussion and input from others.   By creating a School Professional Learning Blog, the amount of sharing by and with staff could be enormous.
  • Backchannel: Instead of stifling the conversations whispered or notes shared during the presentation of professional learning sessions, give teachers permission to share by activating programs such as TodaysMeet.  At the end of the session, a valuable ‘behind the scenes’ conversation will be available for further perusing.
  • Social Networking:  Instant messaging, which by definition is brief and to the point, is a powerful way for teachers to share ideas.   Sharing knowledge gleaned at professional learning sessions or discussing how new ideas can be implemented is an immediate and powerful way to benefit from sessions attended.
    • Twitter: Sharing thoughts, links, comments in 140 characters or less is immensely powerful!
    • Facebook:  Subject related ‘Groups’ – either closed or open – could be created to allow teachers to share and discuss issues of common interest.
    • In-house Social Networking:  A platform such as Yammer, a secure, private social network will inspire teaching staff to collaborate and share.

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Never heard of Kina Grannis?

Get with it and start paying attention to YouTube – a powerful visual medium by which information is shared both globally and instantaneously.  And just in case you doubt its power, just have a listen to this interview with Kina Grannis.

With more than 6 million links to date, her self made video, using 288,000 jelly beans – yes you did read that number right! – In your arms – is not only a delight to listen to, but a delight to watch.

The relatively new term to hit our vernacular – gone viral – most definitely applies to the video clip Somebody That I Used to Know.   The half page  spread on the front of Sunday Age newspaper about the stop motion video created by Natasha Pincus, a local Melbourne girl, has helped propel Gotye and Kimbra’s song to the top of the charts.

The video is sprinting towards 200 million views on YouTube. It’s already hit 171 million and is clocking about 2 million views a day. By the time you’ve read this article, 10,000 more people will have seen it. (She made Gotye somebody we all know, The Age, April 22, 2012)

Join the craze …… add to the hit count and have a listen to the song.

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WOW!  How amazing is this!!

Just yesterday, I happened to glance at the site stats for this blog.   As fascinating as it is to read the various tables and listing on my WordPress Dashboard, I admit that I only very rarely spend time looking at these details.  But yesterday, lo and behold, I found a table listing ‘Referrers’ which gives an insight into sites through which others have located posts on your blog.

To my amazement, I discovered that a NovaNews blog post I’d published late last year had made it onto the ‘Top 50 Education Tweets of 2011’    Commenting on the difficulty of sifting through the near trillion tweets posted over the year, the authors of Distance Education.org reported spending countless hours scouring through a long list of tweets that have made them laugh, think and feel inspired.   The top 50 list they have published encompasses, they say, the whole of education on Twitter in 2011.

While I am overcome to find reference to my blog post on this list (it comes in at number 46 if you are looking) I take pride in noting that the content of my post was about the valuable role that Teacher Librarians can, if given the chance, perform in schools.   My post: 10 Learning Paradigms that can be implemented by Teacher Librarians was written from the heart and is addressed not to those of us in the profession, but to those who administer schools and would do well to take note of the very valuable skill set that Teacher Librarians have to offer their school community.

That this post in particular was found to be worthy of mention on a list of the top 50 tweets of 2011 is indeed affirmation to all Teacher Librarians.   I feel proud to have contributed a little to advancing our place in the ranks of our schools.

And ….. as I’ve said so many times before on this blog ….. the power of Twitter is immense.   This micro blogging social networking platform, as it is often described, has an incredible ability to share and disseminate the words, thought and ideas of us all across the world in an instant.   To know I’ve contributed to collective global thinking is indeed a powerful honour.

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This has been a week of realizations for me…..

Having written about my frustration in trying to keep up with all manner of social networking over the last few months and feeling that I was just not coping with it all ….. I discovered that all I needed to do was to step back and think.   Thinking and then responding to the one comment posted on my last blog about social networking seems to have set me on a ‘coping’ path.  In reply to titus321 I wrote:

Like with Twitter a few months ago, I’m dragging my heels in exploring the social interaction side of some of the programs I’m using – Diigo, VodPod, Slideshare and others.  A fear of hitting that ‘follow’ button seems to ring bells in my head – ‘I’m hardly coping with all this now, so how am I going to cope if there are more people for me to interact with?!’  Maybe, I just need to bite the bullet though, explore the how to’s of all the programs I’m using and just jump in feet first.   Now … didn’t I write that a while back about Twitter?!”

I realize that I did indeed go through this process ‘back then’ when I was exploring Twitter.   So it seems kind of obvious to me now ….. Just go slow, take one program at a time, explore, and if I want ‘engage’ with others through the social networking aspects of the program.

The second realization I made this week was that by taking advantage of the social networking aspects of a range of programs I’m now using regularly, I am in fact constantly expanding my PLN.  Obvious now, but not so obvious when going through that process of feeling overwhelmed by it all.  Playing around with some of the cool tools out there, really lets you ‘see’ the size and vibrancy of one’s PLN.  Have a play for example with this cool tool – mentionmap – which lets you explore the PLN generated by your Twitter followers.

My final realization this week revolved around recognizing the depth of the thinking process that goes on in my head – even in the ulikeliest of places!   Being able to jot down thoughts while swimming – a regular daily habit of mine – or while desperately trying to get some much needed shut eye or in other unlikely moments when note jotting is just not a possibility means that all these wonderful thoughts and ideas that zoom through my mind are getting lost and forgotten.  It comes as a shock that I actually blogged on this issue nearly two months, but still haven’t really put my words into actions!   A new resolve has set in this week.   So ….. like our esteemed leader, I too must find some dedicated time in a day to think, jot notes, and constructively analyse new discoveries.  Without making this kind of adjustment to my lifestyle, those ‘great’ ideas that hit me in my ‘down’ moments, will continue to elude me and instead gather dust in that ‘forgotten’ pile of things to follow up on.

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