There is no one worse than a ‘lurker’. In education circles it is not great etiquette to take everyone else’s ideas and not share anything yourself. The power of feedback and collaboration has really enriched my learning experience this semester and has provided an excellent model for online learning collaboration that I will develop into courses that I am currently creating.
Earlier in the course in one of the forums we were asked to consider:
Based on your reading, identify three (3) principles of participation and engagement that you can apply to enhance the development, refinement, or expansion of your PLN.
Provide a brief explanation of how you can turn each of these principles into action.
I suggested that:
It has been interesting reading these articles and I am finding the a bit nostalgic. It is amazing how PLNs have changed in the last four years. I started mine in 2008 and for the first few years I spent alot of time working on them. In the last 12 months I have noticed a slight shift in my usual networks. Some people have dropped out a little and several of the chats I used to follow have folded up. What’s been interesting is that there has been more self promotion and marketing of educational companies within these networks to leverage all they can from these networks.
I know this is coming across as negative and there were times I needed to unplug as I was having edu PLN fatigue but in the last few months I have re-ignited these networks and funny enough it seems as though my PLN buddies are also coming back too. What was interesting was that we all took a 6 -8 month break and were busy with work and family and then all of a sudden we are plugging back in again.
Rhinegold makes the point that some blogs can be boring and comments take time to read however there has been many times when I have found them so helpful and they have challenged me to improve or to have conversations with colleagues that I might not have had. Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter and Facebook have been the places where I have been most influenced.
…” Culture populated by people who believe they have some degree of power” is an interesting thought. (Rhinegold, 2012) For those in my PLN I don’t necessarily seek to influence but more to collaborate and engage with others to extend my own thinking and encourage others in theirs. The power of sharing is what influences me and the richness of these conversations drives me to improve my own learning and work environments.
It was so helpful having Lisa’s response as it not only made me feel that I wasn’t the only one with this struggle but it was also important to look at things with a new perspective after a short break. Lisa’s blog is great and I love her practical ideas for teaching.
As Kathryn indicated, I also find my PLN to be a rich source of ideas and learning. Three key points I picked up from this module’s readings are:
1. Optimal participation requires contribution. As Rheingold and Weeks suggest, it is possible to start small with tags and shares etc and grow confidence in contributing. Nesloney’s experience resonated with mine – I have been surprised and affirmed when I have connected through my PLN with those I consider experts. Online PLNs do flatten the conversation and “small” voices can be heard, leading to empowerment and connection.
2. Create and maintain a reliable online identity. Rheinhold discusses maintaining an up to-date-profile, diluting any bad or regrettable content with good. The development of “crap detection” skills are a must here to promote a reliable voice and generate trust with others in a PLN.
3. Find a balance. The idea of Twitter as a “flow” is an important one. There is no way I can keep up with the contributions of my PLN – so I do sample the feed and try to check in with the most relevant/reliable contributors I follow. Kathryn, I love your term “edu PLN fatigue” and I agree, if the PLN is no longer energising it might be time for a break or a little PLN pruning.
(NB I am including this forum post as a reference for assessment task 2)
Throughout the course it has been great to have feedback from fellow classmates. Through Google hangouts, twitter chats, blogs and forum posts it has been nice to collaborate with others with no sense of judgement but of professional understanding to move forward. Just because we can’t meet them face to face doesn’t mean that there aren’t meaningful connections. The sharing is richer over time and I have really appreciated how we have been able to stretch our own learning and those of others.