st. I also learn well from listening to people speak about really interesting stuff. I learn the best when I take the time and digest the thoughts and synthesize them into another form. So I have to hear or read some ideas first, and then form my own opinion of the ideas through my (nearly) daily blogging.
How do you think about your own personal learning networks and the places that you go?
I go to a lot of networks. When I saw a lot, I mean A LOT. I have at least 40 or 50 different profiles on different learning networks, and I probably access each of these at least once a month. I'm fairly well connected as well. My "personal" learning network on Twitter for example has about 4000 educators in it. So I think of these spaces as serving different purposes, depending on what I'm looking for. In most of these networks there is a lot of overlap between the people I follow on Twitter, and the people I interact with in the particular network I'm in, but the context is different so we talk about different things.
I'd like the ability to aggregate my social spaces more. I'd like to be able to feed the several dozen Ning networks I'm in for example, to a single location where I could respond to posts, and be able to easily recognize the context the various things I'm reading are in. I don't think what I'm doing is ideal but it is meeting my needs. I have a voracious appetite for information about education as it is clearly my passion.
What are your practices around being a highly-connected professional educator?
First, I have my professional learning network in Twitter. This is where I go to get inspired, to get ideas, to ask questions, and to connect with educators from all over the world. My "department" meetings, when I discuss math education on Twitter (using the hashtag #mathchat), include up to 30 or 40 educators chatting at the same time. When we have a "whole school" staff meeting, I'm chatting with many hundreds of educators simultaneously during our weekly #edchat meetings. It can be a bit overwhelming but I've learned that I can read it all quickly, and then pick and choose the people to whom I respond.
Next, I have my other social networks, which I use much less frequently than Twitter. As I said before, these are context specific, and I'm often happy to leave a question up unanswered for weeks until I get a response. I'm not connecting on these networks for the immediacy that I get from Twitter, but mostly because they tend to be more specialized and include a slightly different set of people.
Finally, I have my blog. I would be lost without the ability to write down and connect with educators through my own personal space. It's not private personal space, it's very public, but it is primarily my space and I'm in charge of what ideas I think about on it. I use my blog to reflect, to consider, and to examine ideas. I love the fact I get comments about what I'm writing and see other people's point of view, and in some cases to even change people's minds about widely held beliefs. I use my blog to challenge the status quo in education.…
But nearly no one uses this feature of our system.
In my opinion it's more important to teach students what sites to access and which to avoid. We've got some basic rules (no nudity, no violence, no Nazi stuff and no games). Students are reminded of these now and again. Those who ignore these rules are banned from using computers for half a year or more. We've only had few threspassers in the past. Students know they can have all the world's content at their homes. They often ask whether they can log in to their social networks and we don't mind as long as they are busy on their tasks too.…
community development, teachers and community change agents, learning theories and methods with social change theories and methods, etc. A great and promising challenge. I would like to participate in it.
Somehow I have already been part of this conversation and experience for some years. Even if we have in Latinamerica some experience with Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich and others on popular and critical education, and with Orlando Fals-Borda and others on participatory action research, the linkage between both currents has not been easy. The school and University involvement on community based research and development has been difficult; change agents involvement with School and University work and transformation has also been difficult. Politics, policies, socio-economics, ideological debates and more are just some ingredients for a difficult interdisciplinary process. I would like to follow the British and other European experiences.
Just to facilitate our own learning and change conversations, I have organized a 30+ cluster of groups and resources at Twine covering different related domains. Please have a look if some may be useful for your purposes or add some resources from your own experience.
Social Learning Networks
Learning Theories and Methods
Local Community Development
Looking forward for a conversation, best wishes to you