I've been thinking about sharing. I participated in last night's etmchat -an interesting challenge as the tweets quickly scroll by. One topic had to do with one's PLN and sharing and I wrote
PLN like rings in the water - different levels get different contributions - links, blog posts, direct contactI started to think about my online presence and my PLN. It seemed to me that I am different things to different people and what I share is different in each sharing space.
There are overlapping circles each spreading their own ripples. I sometimes feel alone, but the experience of writing and sharing, whether photos, personal writing or thoughts on education has helped me grow. Will I ever know how far those ripples reach? Perhaps they barely reach out just to that first degree of separation, but perhaps a little farther.
I had been on Flickr for quite a while when, in 2009, I discovered groups of educators who shared a photo a day. As I am always up for a challenge I joined and decided to blog as well - a way to make me write (it has helped me explore a variety of genres of writing, even getting the courage to share some poems). Each step led to other steps.
Each foray into social media, whether Flickr or blogging has helped me build the confidence to share more. While my digital footprint is large and my online relationships have been increasing and deepening, I still haven't consistently added my voice to the education community. I have lurked. I have even interviewed people in webcasts through edtechtalk and been able to virtually touch some amazing experts - but I haven't really shared a lot of my thinking.
I think an issue with many educators is isolation. Many teachers teach behind closed doors. Sharing is not part of the culture. I spent 18 years as an ed tech teacher. I was not always able to connect with others doing that kind of job. Some questions I would like to think about:
- How do we get teachers to see the need for community - for a sharing and caring place?
- What should those spaces be? Look like? (surely not one size fits all!)
- Do teachers join more if they have colleagues who join? or when they feel isolated and need to find like-minded educators?
- How can an animator help grow a community without becoming too directive?