Social Sharing, Discussion and Commenting – Reflecting On My Participation In OLTD 505

What Did I Do?

As part of OLTD 505, I contributed weekly to my blog, writing on topics suggested by Alec.  Expressive writing does not come easily to me, being more of the math/science analytical type, but I have found that as time goes on it does get easier (slightly).  When writing my blogs, I was always conscious of my audience, specifically my classmates in 505, but also a wider online audience.  I tried my best to write posts that would encourage discussion, and occasionally met with success!

blog 4 high comments

Responding to others blog posts or Google + posts is important to me.  I have blogged in the past about how I treasure every comment that comes my way, including short ones that simply let me know someone has read my post.  Throughout the past 5 weeks, I have made an effort to visit our Google + community as often as possible and read through new posts, commenting where I could.  I have shared a few links for new information via G+ with my cohort as well.

Twitter.  Well, what can I say that I haven’t already said about my relationship with Twitter?  I am always sure to tweet my new blog post, and try to pick my way through the bits and bytes that are fired my way, retweeting if I think it is something really great.  In addition, thanks to help from Graeme, I have significantly increased my ‘followers’ as well as my ‘following’!

conversation with graeme about twitter

What These Interactions May Have Done

I think responding to someone’s blog or Google + post shows them that what they have to say is important.  One common feeling amongst our cohort is (or maybe ‘was’ now) that what we have to say is not necessarily of interest or importance to others.  Even simply letting someone know that you read their words is an acknowledgement of their contribution.  On the flip side, sharing my thoughts with others through my blogs has helped me solidify my ideas around each topic, all the while feeling completely supported by our group.

Interacting with a larger online community via Twitter has probably been the biggest challenge for me, but also has provided me with the most surprises.  I had sent a tweet out asking for resources to teach adult literacy math, and after it was retweeted by Alec I began receiving notifications from total strangers offering me advice.  It was at this point I truly began to understand the power of a global community!

tweet for math resources

I have also been amazed when I’ve been retweeted, favourited and given positive feedback on blog posts from people outside our cohort.  Who knew…maybe Derek Siver’s “Obvious to you, amazing to others” is true!

Why Does Sharing Matter (In Education)?

Active participation is essential to truly be part of any community.  As educators, we can feel isolated in our classrooms, even though we are surrounded by people.  I have enjoyed a sense of community through sharing my thoughts with like-minded individuals online through my blog, G+ posts and tweets.Sharing as educators, whether it is a quick idea or a detailed lesson, comes with the job (or at least it should).  Prior to the web, sharing relied on face-to-face interactions usually within your own school (or department).  Not everyone was willing to share.  Connecting with others that do want to share via the internet has dramatically increased the number of resources I have at my disposal.  More resources allows me to see more ways to learn, which in turn benefits my students.  As a life-long learner, I also appreciate the opportunity to learn from others, as they share their thoughts online.
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