Assignment 2: Part 3
As a part of the assignment, we, education students, were asked to start building a learning network. As well, to be more technologically literate and to try out many form of social media.
First, I started with Twitter. I created twitter account a year ago for ECS 100 class; however, I left it sitting after that semester. I did not really like the word limit and just did not get the ‘hash-tag’ meant. So this was my second try.
I learned the power of Twitter through the business research I currently am helping since fall.
Twitter messages are quick, instant and immediate with the current event. It can create the immediate response to an event or issue and it becomes collective powerful message which can change the course of the event.
As well, it enable students to engage in the lecture/class in different ways. I see this as both positive and negative. Because for me, typing or checking Twitter messages takes up my concentration and disengage me from the class and I miss some key points from a speaker. Moreover, I found that I just cannot keep up with the speed of conversation sometimes.
The one thing that I like about Twitter is quick and concise way to share information. I have been using Twitter mostly for this purpose. My hash tag use has been still limited to small group of #ecs210. However, I started to expand it by following people connected through lecture, instructors, and PD opportunity. Twitter enables me to get to connect with the people from far away or people of higher status without formality and restriction.
Second, I created my blog space: Side by Side. Until this assignment, I often visited many blog site for pleasure; however, I never had a gut to try my own. I was worried about being out in the open sea of uncertain territory, on-line space; as well, I was afraid to be judged and the possibility of bashing and rejections. My anxiety toward having personal on-line space came from the news of cyber bullying. This does not happen just for teenagers, it happens amongst adult, internationally. It is too easy to post negativity and hostility toward others when you are anonymous in the cyber space. Whatever you put up on the Internet stays in the space and it could come back and haunt you.
I had to be conscious about keeping it professional, which meant constant reflection upon what I think and post about. It has been a good practice of learn, unlearn, and relearn about many aspect of self and other.
Once I started the blog posts, I became more comfortable sharing myself openly. It was helpful and encouraging to have like mind people, seminar group, as a learning network to start. It enables me to be more assertive to discuss with others. https://blogsidebyside.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/images-of-teacher-education/
Though, commenting each others’ post is sometime hard for me. Perhaps because I was afraid to sound too critical or not enough, and I ended up commenting something general. This is going to be my ongoing goal to become comfortable having conversations, asking questions. (Comments I’ve made)The network was connected through Twitter and it enables me to expand my network to outside of seminar group.
I received comment from an Education student from fourth year. https://blogsidebyside.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/teaching-philosophy/
I started to follow her blog to get inspiration from her.
The thing that you cannot forget is to attend PD opportunity.
I attended 1st annual HOPE PD and I was inspired by some of the presenters.
Reg Leidle (PE Consultant for the Ministry of Education, SPEA executive) talked about importance of building relationships between teacher and student, as well as teachers to create their own learning network.
He suggested to find mentors when you enter a school and stick with them, surround yourself with people who is inspiring and working toward same goals. Because you cannot change everything on your own and you need helps and collaborations from others to bring in any change into school.
Naomi Hartl is another person who talked about having a network of people to work and support together. She talked about the power of Twitter to connect with PE educators from all over the world. She is becoming a hub of the people and information to help others connect as well.
As a learner, I was independent, in charge of my own learning, and I was responsible for myself and that is it, so I believed. Obviously this is due to the education system I grew up in. We were always compared with one another and marked individually. I really do not remember working collaboratively with others to be marked as a group from Gr.1 to 12 education I received. So when I started university, although I see the point of group collaboration and I have had pretty good experiences with group work in my university career; I always had some sort of anxiety. Perhaps because I was not used to work collaboratively and there was always concern of relationships, responsibilities and power play among the group.
However, as I worked with my colleagues this semester, I had a moment of epiphany: the power of collaboration and building network.
My burden of group work came mainly from countless face-to-face meetings for organizing a project. There were always interruptions of unrelated conversations and personal stories, it can be hard to stay on task and productive. Everyone was skeptical at first about the use of technology; though, it became so much more productive and effective by use of the technology and shared online space.
Google Doc and shared blog space enabled us to create, edit and share document from remote areas; especially for me who live in rural area. This opportunity gave me the idea of connecting classrooms from all over the world.
I cannot forget that my PLN experience was created by great passionate people with the help of technology.
It is important to find great mentor and colleagues for PLN and technology enables us to connect without boarders, moreover across over the hierarchy.