October 6, 2013
A stream. A real time, flowing, dynamic stream of information — that we as users and participants can dip in and out of and whether we participate in them or simply observe, we are a part of this flow.
John Borthwick As quoted here.
That’s a quote from 2009 and I don’t think the stream metaphor is big enough anymore. A river? An ocean current? Maybe solar winds? Sorry, I digress into earth science easily… The point is that social media, and especially Twitter, is massive and can be intimidating. That’s probably why only 218 million of the 1 billion registered users of Twitter are active.
I jumped into the Twitter stream around the time this quote was written but I’m a long way from being really connected. Although I do give and take from the Twitter River of Great Resources, I am in the infancy of building online relationships.
One relationship I have developed is with Sue Waters. Yes, it’s Sue’s job to support Edubloggers, but she goes way beyond. She and I have connected about the ins and outs of blogging of course but also about our kids, chocolate, roundabouts and driving on the wrong side of the road (Sue’s from Australia). We were hoping to get together the last time she was here, but it just didn’t work out.
I am teaching an additional qualification course for teachers on integrating Information and Computer Technology (ICT). One of the requirements of the course is to create a blog for class reflections. During prep I wanted the link to Edublogs’ 30 days of blogging challenge as a resource for my students. Instead of going to my bookmarks, I googled it. I found instead a link to Sue’s new, very comprehensive, Edublogs Teacher Challenges that guides you through setting up and using a personal or class blog. It even has sections on building your PLN and using Web 2.0 tools. Excited about this new resource, I headed over to Twitter to share the good news. Who should be posting at the same moment, about the same site, but Sue Waters.
Like the connected educator she is, Sue was asking for help with what should be in the video section of the site. Some teachers would call this “plagiarism” but crowdsourcing is a powerful 21st century skill! Sue pointed out the kind of detail she needed for video by linking to her photo section. Wow. That was just what I needed for teaching teachers about Creative Commons and finding and using pictures online.
At first I just watched her discussions with Alec Couros about YouTube copyright. In the past I would not have joined into/interupted two edtech gurus’ conversation but I’m trying to engage more and get over my feelings of “less than” so I asked a question.
In the end, I got clarity on next steps to support a teacher, Sue got some extra info she might not have solicited from Alec without my question and we all built deeper online connections. It’s something that probably happens often to truly connected educators like Sue and Alec, but it’s new for me. I’ve heard enough examples of the power of 21st century learning that I talk about it all the time in presentations. It’s good to have some more personal experiences!
While Sue, Alec and I chatted, David Cruz posted a link to digital citizenship week resources from Common Sense Media–something I needed for another teacher.
When I thanked her, Sue told me to say that she just checks in with Twitter to avoid getting out of bed and getting to work, but it often ends up with some productive work being accomplished. Sometimes it is a waste of time opening up any social media, but in the space of 10 minutes, I had 3 of my needs met through this dip in the river. I think I will head on over to Sue’s advice on building your PLN so I can have these experiences more often! Who’s with me?!