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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

I feel both frustrated and saddened.

Frustrated because I don’t know how to change the situation I’m faced with and saddened because I know that unless change happens, others are not only missing out but those they teach are missing out too.

What happened?

Yet another professional colleague gave me that irksome, fixated, glazed stare as I rattled on about the joy of learning and all that I have learned by talking, reading, writing, listening and sharing along with the immense pleasure I constantly gain by acquiring new knowledge and knowing that I am part of an amazing never ending chain of knowledge.

Why doesn’t everyone get it?!   Why doesn’t everyone understand that all educators – young and old, experienced and less experienced – need to continuously learn?!

If you’re reading this blog, you’re already hooked.  You already know how important it is to constantly reach out for new thoughts, ideas, pedagogy and technology.  It’s something you do on a regular basis.  It’s something that feeds your joy of being.  It’s something that helps you grow and perform as a better teacher.

Unfortunately though, not everyone feels the need for ongoing professional learning.

How can we change this mentality?   How can we excite our colleagues who haven’t yet discovered not just the need to continuously learn, but the inherent joy derived from learning?

What processes are we putting in place to bring others on board, to make them recognize how important it is to stay fresh and to maintain their relevancy in the eyes of their students and their work colleagues?

A shift toward centralized teacher registration in Australia is attempting to formalize this.  VIT registration renewal now requires each of us to complete 20 hours of professional learning each year.   But, it can be argued, forcing people to learn doesn’t necessarily translate to learning and growth actually occurring.

It’s the learning culture we need to change!  

Just as we aim to instill a love of learning in our students, so too we need to instill a love of learning in educators.   Just as we grow weary of the many students in our classes who complete the bare minimum to prove competency has been gained, I grow weary when I see professional colleagues just step through the ropes to earn that ‘Certificate of Completion’.

Just recently I was telling my son about an awesome online program I had recently ‘attended’.  In between sharing details of the course, I mentioned that while I enjoyed the weekly readings and took the opportunity to play a little with some of the tools to which we were being exposed,  the weekly assignments were not to my liking, so I didn’t complete them.   In saying this out loud, I realized that this is the first time I haven’t actually completed all those ‘required tasks’ which I knew would disqualify me from receiving my ‘Certificate of Completion’.  And, furthermore, I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt!  The many hours I had spent poring over readings of websites and the comments and thoughts exchanged by all of us participating in the program was sufficient for me.  As this realization popped into my mind, I realized that gaining the certificate was not the reason I had even enrolled in the course!   And then, I was blown away when my son’s response came swift and clear:

We learn what we want to learn, not what we have to learn.”

Funnily enough, just last week,  a senior member of our teaching staff popped into our workroom confessing that he had never been interested in learning details shared in one of the mandatory sessions conducted by our eLearning teachers, never, that is, until now – because now he needs to know how to apply that learning!   A brief exchange between us deduced an eerily similar comment to that of my son:

Successful learning most often occurs on a need to know basis.   

So, could it be that herein lies an unexplored path to ignite a love of learning among the teachers in our schools?  Could we perhaps create instances in which needs are manufactured, needs which would compel teachers to step into that glorious world of learning so that they could reap the rewards and experience first hand the joy of learning?

As I said earlier, my learning is constantly propelled by

  • talking: predominantly on Twitter and face-to-face with work colleagues
  • reading: thoughts, comments and links found on social media and the blog posts of others
  • writing:  reflecting as I write posts for my two blogs
  • listening: when attending conferences, workshops or meet-ups with other professionals
  • sharing: by presenting at conferences which encompasses much thinking and planning

So, is it possible to bottle some of the experiences and dividends I’ve described as being inherent in my style of learning to create situations from which our work colleagues could gain much.

So …..

  • what if teachers had to create a Twitter account so they could regularly receive shared information from the Principal?
  • what if teachers were then required to follow 10 thought leaders and share those they follow with their followers?
  • what if teachers had to tweet their response to at least 10 links found and read on Twitter?
  • what if teachers had to RT good tweets read?
  • what if teachers had to send an agreed minimum number of tweets a week?
  • what if teachers had to read at least six recommended blogs a week?
  • what if teachers had to view at least six videos (TED, Youtube) a week?
  • what if teachers had to create a blog on which they share reflections of their own learning journey?
  • what if teachers had to write at least one blog post a week?
  • what if teachers had to leave comments on the blogs of at least three other colleagues a week?
  • what if teachers were required to attend a school based TeachMeet where they had to present for 7 minutes?
  • what if teachers were required to attend one online learning program a year?
  • what if the above cycle was a professional learning requirement for a set number of weeks each year?
  • what if each teacher’s participation in this program was monitored by an experienced mentor?
  • what if learning time – at least three hours a week – was scheduled into each teacher’s weekly timetable?
  • what if schools underwent some rethinking and redesigning to overcome the kinds of situations illustrated here which saps the time and energy of the time poor teachers in our schools?!
The Point: Independent Education Union Vol. 4 No 6 November 2014

The Point: Independent Education Union Vol. 4 No 6 November 2014

Is it possible that by implementing these practices into our staff professional learning programs that we could, at last, instill a love of learning into the hearts and minds of all our teachers?

 

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As often happens when reading the post of another, I found myself considering, thinking, reflecting and inevitably weighing up the pros and cons of arguments being presented.

The post “What if school was more like Twitter?” by ASCD Edge: A professional networking community for Educators, presents an interesting discussion on the value of Twitter to educators.   As the positive attributes of Twitter are listed, the author contemplates how the ‘Twitter benefit’ could be duplicated in a school which uses traditional ‘communication’ methods such as school bulletins, email, faculty and full staff meetings.

It is not my intention to duplicate this discussion here, but consideration of just the positive attributes of Twitter listed in this article makes for powerful reading and thinking.

  1. A bulk of the information exchange available on Twitter for instance comes in the form of links, or URL’s.
  2. (Twitter provides the opportunity) to respond to ideas and have a general discussion about those responses.
  3. Reflection is very big on Twitter.  Many tweets cause people to discuss and reflect.
  4. Twitter offers a great deal of variety in opinion.  An obviously unique element to this is the fact that Twitter is a global effort.
  5. A big, big Twitter plus is the access educators have to education experts. Conversations are had between regular teachers and education luminaries on a daily basis.
  6. Twitter is a gateway to many free online webinars and online conferences.
  7. On Twitter there are constant discussions and references to pedagogy and methodology in education.

Sadly, the author of this post concludes:

“The idea of using technology as a tool for professional development has not caught on.  The idea of being a “Connected Educator” is too foreign to too many educators. “

For those of us already hooked on Twitter, there is no need to be convinced of the power of Twitter as a tool to share, to learn, to reflect and connect with educators worldwide.   Just recently, when presenting to a group of uninitiated teachers, I saw the surprise on their faces when I told them that I use Twitter only for professional purposes.   Even more surprise seemed to drift around the room when I told them that my day is not complete unless I check my Twitter account.

Why is it that efforts to convince fellow teachers to give Twitter a go is often met with either disinterest or disdain?   Why is it that our colleagues say they have insufficient time to reach out and explore?  Why is that trying to garner interest in this powerful tool is such an uphill battle?

Good questions perhaps.  Unfortunately, I don’t have good answers.

All I do know is that each and every day, through Twitter, my interest is piqued and my knowledge is extended by the many interesting and powerful tweets I read.  My wish is that all educators join this global community and that together we hold hands to advance our profession.

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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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Every now and then I feel like I’m floundering out there in cyberspace!  And like me, you probably have moments when you too feel that Social Networking has all but taken over your life!

So when I saw this latest video, which is bound to go viral, I had a good giggle.

To a novice onlooker like me, it seems that Facebook and Google+ are continually raising the stakes on each other.  It’s a bit like that old song

‘Anything you can do ….. I can do better!”

I’m left in the middle, kind of wondering why I need to use both of them, but then worrying if I don’t remain active on each of them, I may miss out on ‘something’ really important, interesting or essential.  And in between it all, I’m still trying to figure out how I want to use them.

Then there’s Twitter.  Fortunately though, I don’t have any lingering qualms about its value.  For me, Twitter stands apart from other Social Networking platforms.   It’s great, it’s invaluable and it’s a form of Social Networking which speaks to me in a totally different way to either Facebook or Google+.

And then there’s Blogging ….. and Nings ….. and Linked In ….. and GoodReads ….. and Diigo ….. and VodPod ….. and Flikr ….. and …. and ….. goodness …. the list goes on and on.  It’s not until I stop and think about it that I realize how many different Social Networking tools I’m using – all of them eating into precious time in a day.

But just in the last few days, I’ve hit upon more than one video which talks about us getting back to the real world and not letting Social Networking take over our lives.   I guess it’s important to remember that there are ‘real’ relationships out there which need nurturing if they are to be maintained.   As new Social Networking platforms come thick and fast, we need to take stock and remember that wise adage our parents used to say:

Everything in moderation”

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I know I’ve said it before, but Twitter is great!  I usually stop in and have a peek at Twitter on a daily basis.  While I don’t always tweet myself, I most certainly have a little look around to see what others are tweeting about.   Everyday ….. and I mean ….. EVERYDAY ….. I learn something new when I check my Twitter feed.

Today I happened upon a tweet which was RT’d (re-tweeted) several times by others.   When I traced back, I could see that the original tweet was in fact posted by @BrainPOP_UK.

I first ‘played’ with BrainPop when completing the VicPLN last year.   I found it to be a really cool tool that had much to offer educators.  When I discovered that it covered an enormous range of subjects including Science, Social Studies, English, Maths, Engineering & Technology, Health, Arts and Music I remember getting really excited.   Soon after, when I had a teacher asking me for some resources on reproduction, I remember jumping into Brain Pop and locating and sharing with her a really cool ‘lesson’.   I soon discovered though that a school license was way beyond our budget, so I kind of went cold on promoting this as enthusiastically.

But a check on Twitter tonight revealed that there’s a new iPhone and iPad App which has recently been released – and it’s FREE!  Within a minute I had it installed on my iPhone and was back to playing.  Different in format to it’s online version, the iPhone App lets you view a short video and then take a quiz to check your knowledge.   With a new video daily and an option that lets you look at past videos it really is a great way to learn. No wonder BrainPOP_UK were proudly sharing the fact that there was a really great review posted on iApps for the Educator just a couple of days ago.  It’s worth the read.

I also noticed on Twitter tonight that Judith Way was proudly announcing that some of her colleagues had just joined the Twitterverse.  A great achievement!  While these people may not realize it tonight, their lives are about to change markedly as they explore this new and wonderful world of knowledge sharing.

Just a few days ago, I came across this a makeuseof post which had one of the best explanations I’ve seen so far about Twitter.   Titled INFOGRAPHIC : How To Twitter Effectively I am reproducing it here in the hope that those who read this infograph will learn easily and quickly what Twitter is about.

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One of the first things I do when trying to decide if I want to follow someone on Twitter is to look at their recent tweets to see if the topics tweeted about are of interest to me.   When using TweetDeck, the tool I’m currently using to manage my Twitter account, I’m often conscious of the fact that I only see a few recent tweets.

But using Twitter Topic Explorer is a great way of seeing the bigger picture. By showing the main topics in a cloud format, with data in colourful bubbles that match up to the stream of tweets on the right of the screen, this is an easy and fast tool to use.   Just simply type in the Twitter username of either a person or an organization into the bottom left hand search box and within seconds a topic cloud such as this visulization of  The Age newspaper Twitter stream appears.



Clicking on any one of the bubbles displaying the main tweet topics highlights the term on the corresponding Twitter stream on the right of the screen.  The size of the circles is based on the frequency of the word in the Twitter stream.  Words found together in similar tweets are clustered together and are given a similar colour code.  Not only can you see what the person or organization has been tweeting about, but by being able to easily spot topics that are of interest, you can find others to follow.

Thumbs up to Jeff Clark, the developer of this neat tool.

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It looks fairly simple: a plea by someone and then a reply by another:

Thu 03 Feb 13:53 – Help librarians. I need to put together a 50 minute session for Year 12 IB students on Internet, research and study skills. #vicpln #edtech

Thu 03 Feb 14:20 – @megsamanda Start local, go global. So school resources, area resources (public libs),globalrescs (wiki, goog, worldcat) GL! #vicpln #edtech

Thu 03 Feb 15:45 – @MentoneMif thanks for your help…anything else you would recommend? #vicpln #edtech

Thu 03 Feb 16:42 – @megsamanda Goog wonderwheel for narrowing searches? #vicpln #edtech

If you still need to be convinced about the value (read power) of Twitter, then consider what happened to me this afternoon.

I logged onto Twitter to just have a look around.  I saw the reply from @MentoneMif on one of the hashtags – #vicpln –  I regularly follow.  Intrigued by the content of the tweet, I scrolled through my nicely organized TweetDeck lists and saw the plea for help from @megsamanda just 30 minutes earlier.  Satisfied that I couldn’t add much more to the succinct reply by @MentoneMif I continued scanning through #edtech.   Many tweets later I spotted the thanks from @megsamanda with the tag question of anything else recommended.  Just an hour later @MentoneMif suggests wonderwheel.

This is the point at which I very unexpectedly achieve a short powerful lesson about yet another amazing ‘tool’ that is out there in cyberspace just waiting to be utilized!  Wonder wheel is amazing!  A fantastic tool for helping to suss out resources for research or just general learning.

I found it a little convoluted to locate though.  Not sure why.   These directions should help.

Go to the Google page > Enter ‘google’ into the search bar > Select ‘More search tools’ from the left menu panel > Select ‘WonderWheel’

While enjoying the wheel of wonder be sure to look at the websites listed on the right hand side. They contain much info.  I ran three searches: cyclone > cyclone definition > cyclone verses hurricane

Cyclone 1

Cyclone Definition 2

Cyclone vs Hurrican 3

Little did these two people know that they were ‘educating’ a third along the way.   Because I enjoyed my discovery so much I of course re-tweeted @MentoneMif’s tweet adding my own take – Fabulous resource! To ensure a larger audience, I added additional hashtags:

RT @MentoneMif @megsamanda Goog wonderwheel for narrowing searches? #vicpln #edtech #elearning #edchat – Fabulous resource!

Who knows how many more people may now discover this resource.  Go Twitter!!

**Thanks @MentoneMif and @megsamanda for permission to publish your tweets.

Afterword:
Since publication of this post, Wonder Wheel was decommissioned by Google.  Fortunately though, due to popular demand perhaps, this great tool has been reinvented as Contextural Targeting Tool and is now available for users.

This post was the impetus for a longer article which was published by TLN (Teacher Learning Network) in May 2011.  While a copy of this article is no longer available online, the full text of the article can be read below:

The Power of Twitter!  Bev Novak

The truth is out:  I’m a recent convert to all things “Webish”!!  I’d never have thought it possible.   No way!!

Back then, in my ‘other’ life, I was busy enough.  I worked a full week in schools, attended PDs, tried to keep up with the latest by reading journals and constantly kept my ear to the ground.  Yes, like you, I read and  heard and listened to others speaking about ICT and how we should embed this into the curriculum.  I played with bits and pieces of it myself, but time was short and ….. well ….. I don’t have to tell you the rest.  You know how it goes.  There’s just so much to do and just not enough time to do it all!

But then – my life changed!  Midway through 2010, I enrolled in a 12 week online mentored PD which sounded interesting.  It seemed to cover lots of cool tools, ones referred to as Web 2.0.  Some of them I’d heard of, others were out of my league.  The program was to be self paced.  I could do as little or as much as I liked.  And best of all, I could log into this program from home which meant my focus wouldn’t be distracted by work related issues.  I read that the content of the program would cater for the beginner as well as the experienced.  ‘What did I have to lose?’ I thought.  Little did I know that my participation in the VicPLN program was about to change my life forever!  And now, for me, there is no looking back.

While it seems hard to believe that it’s possible to learn much by just sitting at your computer in your own home, the reality is that you can and you do!  While I’ve gotten hooked on a host of different and diverse paths over the last few months, one of the most powerful tools I’ve encountered is Twitter.

It’s amazing!  Really!!!  And best of all, it is one of the most powerful tools around for self paced ‘learning’.

Yes, I admit that it took me a while to figure out how to use this new tool.  It’s different to email and is nothing like Facebook.  I struggled, read articles and ‘how to’ manuals and asked others heaps of questions along the way.

So what changed?  What got me hooked?  What brought me to the point that I now argue the case for Twitter with seasoned computer gurus who spend countless hours exploring all manner of information out there in cyberspace on a daily basis?   Some time down the track, I now recognize that my adoption of Twitter was three fold: readiness, a shift in my thinking paradigm and finally the virtual people I met up with along the way who now figure as invaluable members of my Personal Learning Network.  If interested I’ve written about this metamorphosis in some detail in one of my blog posts (yes – I’m now an addicted blogger too!!): Twittering to my heart’s content!

Just a few short weeks ago, when I signed onto Twitter, I was hit by a most powerful example of how valuable Twitter is as a resource for sharing, for assisting and for teaching/learning.

To understand the conversation I saw, you, the uninitiated, need only know that when you sign up to Twitter you are required to create a username.  Mine is novanews19.  When someone wants to ‘talk’ or ‘tweet’ to me or about me they add the @ sign before the username.  If those tweeting want to share information with others about a particular topic, a hash tag symbol – # – and the agreed or used tag is included in the tweet.  #edtech for example is comprised of lots of people who are interested in technology in education.

The conversation I saw on Twitter which blew me away, was an exchange between @MentoneMif and @megsamanda.  It  looked fairly simple: a plea by someone and then a reply by another.  As you read their conversation, check the times that the tweets were posted.  This will give you a feel of the speed with which information is shared on Twitter.

Thu 03 Feb 13:53 – Help librarians. I need to put together a 50 minute session for Year 12 IB students on Internet, research and study skills. #vicpln #edtech

Thu 03 Feb 14:20 – @megsamanda Start local, go global. So school resources, area resources (public libs),globalrescs (wiki, goog, worldcat) GL! #vicpln #edtech

Thu 03 Feb 15:45 – @MentoneMif thanks for your help…anything else you would recommend? #vicpln #edtech

Thu 03 Feb 16:42 – @megsamanda Goog wonderwheel for narrowing searches? #vicpln #edtech

This was the point at which I very unexpectedly achieved a short powerful lesson about yet another amazing ‘tool’ which is out there in cyberspace just waiting to be utilized!  Wonder wheel is amazing!  A fantastic tool for helping to suss out resources for research or just general learning.  (If you too are interested in exploring Wonder wheel, just open Google and select the ‘More search tools’ tab on the left hand menu.)

Little did these two people know that as they exchanged thoughts and ideas they were ‘educating’ a third along the way.  Because I enjoyed my discovery so much, I re-tweeted @MentoneMif’s tweet adding my own take – “Fabulous resource!” And to ensure that this information was shared with a larger audience, I added additional hash tags:

RT @MentoneMif @megsamanda Goog wonderwheel for narrowing searches? #vicpln #edtech #elearning #edchat – Fabulous resource!

Like many others, I too doubted the relevance of this communication tool and doubted that it had much to offer me.  Taking the time to explore, learn and discover though has opened a new world to me.  While I just happened to spot this exchange between @MentoneMif and @megsamanda on this day, this kind of interaction is frequent on Twitter.   The air of collegiality and support that is out there in cyberspace is quite overwhelming.

Information and resource sharing occurs constantly on Twitter.   It is common to see a question such as that posed by @megsamanda and to read several others responding with ideas, guidance or websites that will educate and explain.

The fact that tweets are restricted to 140 characters is a real plus.  Instead of rambling on, giving lengthy opinions or long explanations, tweets are short and succinct.  Being forced to focus on the kernel of the issue ensures that time poor readers are fed exact, precise and ‘on track’ information.

Twitter has grown tremendously since it first came on the scene.  Its adoption has been expansive.  Professionals in all walks of life have been drawn to the power of this form of communication.  Its use in the field of education is increasingly blossoming among both educators and our students both in and out of the classroom.

Taking a first step into cyberspace can be daunting.  Taking a risk and exploring the new is also scary.  But taking that first step and having a peek to see what is ‘out there’ can be life changing.

Take little steps at the start.  Go to the Twitter  website, select the ‘sign up’ tab and complete the registration.  No idea who to start following?  Find someone you know and have a look at who they follow.  Read a few of their tweets, then start following them. Start following topics that are of interest to you.  Read the tweets of those that follow these topics.  Follow up on links included in the tweets so that you start to experience the value of the sharing that occurs in the Twitterverse (the Twitter Universe).  Install TweetDeck a browser for managing your tweets.  This will help make sense of the constant stream of tweets that flow into your account.    Don’t forget: the more people you follow the more tweets will stream into your account.  You can only truly evaluate the value of Twitter once you have accrued a reasonable amount of ‘traffic’, so aim to follow around 50 as an initial target.

Some of these sites may also be of value as you traverse this new world.

The remarkable power of Twitter  by Jeff Goldstein

Twitter – A teaching and learning tool 

Take time and enjoy!  And most of all, share your discoveries on Twitter so that others can learn from you.  Before you know it you will have a stream of tweeps (people who use Twitter) following you!

The author expresses thanks to  @MentoneMif and @megsamanda
for permission to include their tweets in this article.

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I know I’m repeating myself here, but Twitter really is wonderful! The little bits and pieces of valuable information shared is just invaluable.

It was a while ago that I freaked out about ‘what if I lost all the info I’ve put into my blog’ and found out how to take a back up. That was nearly three months ago.   A Tweet from Free Technology for Teachers reminded me of the importance of regularly taking a back up.  With just three easy steps that take less than a minute, I can relax again! Thanks guys!

Blog Backup 1Blog Backup 2Blog Backup 3

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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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It took me a while to catch up with the kids, but I finally did!   The mobile phone is now part of my persona.

I remember though, seemingly not all that long ago, thinking deeply about the impact of the mobile phone.  I’m not sure about you, but for me it was a worry.   I saw society changing – and that worried me.   Firm and established social mores were buckling and changing.  Why did it worry me so?  Well… it was different. Phone calls were suddenly intruding on the peace and serenity of the minute.   People could interrupt each other whenever and wherever they felt like it.   A conversation over a coffee or lunch was interrupted by a mobile phone.  Work conversations with colleagues would become disjointed as a phone call cut into the train of thought.  I remember sitting back regarding the idiocy of a group of us chatting around a coffee table with four of the six people at our gathering responding to calls on their mobiles.   Was this sheer craziness?   What happened to the importance of the social interchanges we had been so conditioned to having?  Why was it so urgent all of a sudden to be available any time and any place?

For a very long time, I felt I had no need of a mobile phone.   Even if family and friends were equipped with the latest technology, why on earth did I suddenly need to join the crowd?  If someone wanted to speak to me they could wait.  Why not?   They had in the past and all was fine.  If there was an urgent need for me to make a phone call, there was always a way.   Payphones in communal areas were always on hand and if I was en route somewhere, there were always plenty of phone boxes on the streets that would allow me the convenience of making a call.

The fact that a mobile phone could interrupt the face-to-face conversations I had with family, friends and work colleagues disturbed me.  It was out of the ordinary, different, not a ‘normal’ communication.   For a very long time I felt very strongly about the whole issue.   I often quipped that a study of the impact of the mobile phone on society would make a great research project.   It’s heartening that others acted and have completed such research!

So what changed for me?  Why did I join the crowd?  I must admit ….. there was no lightbulb moment for me.  I kind of drifted into it.  My first point of interaction was with immediate family.   I’d get into it for them, I told myself.   Ah ….. then along crept the convenience.  And in so doing, I caught up with the fact that societal values do shift and change and that we, members of society, need to adapt and accept change as a part of life.

So why on earth am I rambling on about mobile phones  you may ask?  What relevance does this have to my new found digital world?  It’s simple.  The two are analogous.   Just as I tried to dig my heels in and see no use for mobile phones in my life, so too did I dig my heels in and see no relevance of exploring the digital world.  Stubborn?  …..  perhaps.  Naive? …..  most certainly!

I’ve discovered so much in such a short time.  The depth and breadth of the Internet is only just dawning on me.  The immensity of the Blogosphere and the Twitterverse overwhelm me.  The benefits of Social Networking astound me.   Sometimes, as I while away time into the wee hours of the morning at my PC, I feel like I’ve only tapped a fraction of the vastness that is out there for me to explore.

Once, I’d have thought that I was doing this on my own, isolating myself at my PC.   But that’s not the case.  Being able to link with others, be it my PLN or strangers I befriend via Ning, Twitter, Diigo, VodPod or indeed other bloggers I meet through my RSS Feeder, continually astound me.

To be able to link across oceans with others and tease out my own thoughts is an opportunity too good to miss.  I’m so glad to have thrown off the yolk of ignorance.  I look forward to a continued journey of exploration.

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