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.

This week, as I begin to form my final summary for OLTD 505, I looked back at the resources our cohort has shared over the past five weeks.  In particular, I was interested in the visual shares, videos that I hadn’t had time to watch, or ones that I wanted to watch again and again.  I was having a hard time remembering where I saw a particular post, so I decided to collect as many as I could in Padlet.  I have also been overwhelmed (but very interested) in the variety of tools my classmates were using for their posts.  I have tried to collect as many of my favourites as possible, but everyday someone seems to find yet another tool that I want to try!  I do see some limitations in using Padlet; as the number of links grow so does the size of my wall, and I think I will once again find myself getting lost.  I think perhaps separate walls for each topic might be in order.

What was confirmed for me when looking back through the blogs and G+ posts is that we are an amazingly supportive group of people.  Thoughts and ideas are respected and celebrated, and people are quick to jump in when someone needs just a little boost to get them through the week.  Sharing is not an issue with our group; one question can grow into a garden of helpful responses on how-to, where-to, etc.  Many of our group have already taken the leap of sharing to the global community and showed us that it can be done (and that our work is amazing to others!)  I am very thankful to be part of such a wonderful group of educators!

For anyone unfamiliar with Padlet, to view any of the documents on the wall simply click on the tile.  You can go to the larger version by scrolling down the window and clicking on ‘Source’.  This will take you to the original URL.

canva sharing poster

I’ve been musing this week on how I share and how I might increase my participation in open sharing.  I really like the ‘idea’ of sharing, but sometimes I find it very difficult to do so.  Not because I don’t want to share, but I think I fall into the same trap as many of my colleagues.

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I’ve included the title of Derek Sivers YouTube video “Obvious to you.  Amazing to others” in my infographic to remind me that what I create does have value.

I do think that I have begun to share more openly.  For example, I actively share ideas with my colleagues (whether they want to hear them or not).  As VIU CAP campuses are spread out geographically (Cowichan, Nanaimo, Parksville and Powell River), I would like to create a space where all our science teachers can share content, question libraries and teaching ideas.  The vehicle for this is still uncertain, but since VIU uses Desire2Learn (VIULearn), that may be the way to go.

I contribute to the OLTD Google + community, both in original posts and responses to posts.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I came to the G+ party a bit later in the game than many in our cohort, but I am thoroughly hooked now!  Where I can improve is to branch out and participate in new G+ communities, such as one I signed up for last fall, “Social Media and Personalized Learning.”

Twitter and I have a love/hate relationship.  I find it challenging to communicate my thoughts in 140 characters or less, and often feel like I’m in some crazy version of speed dating when I try and participate in a twitter chat.  However, I have been making an effort to check my Twitter account more often, and have even sent out a few tweets asking for help in finding resources.  There is definitely room for improvement in this area, and I intend to spend some time this summer adding to the list of educational hashtags I already explore (#oltd, #literacy, #edchat).  I’ve also begun increasing my ‘following’ list…

cdn literacy

edutopia

nwt literacy council

I find it incredibly challenging to produce a weekly blog.  Personal writing does not come easy to me, but I intend to keep at it and stay committed to writing on my blog page.  I think part of my difficulty with writing is the openness of it; the fact that I am posting online where everyone, even people I don’t know, can ‘see’ my thoughts.  A little unnerving!  There’s that little monster again…”no one wants to read what I have to say – it’s not important.”Finally, I would like to explore Creative Commons content more.  I tend to try and ‘recreate the wheel’, but see the value in revising and remixing resources that are already out there.  I have never submitted anything for open use online, but would like to in the future.

The ‘How-to’ of the infographic:  I created the image above using Canva, an amazing free software that lets you create posters, slides and infographics. Super easy to use with lots of templates, backgrounds and images!