As I embark on a new job with a new school, I’m in search for new questions, new ideas, and new challenges. I’m hopeful and optimistic that COETAIL will help me along in this continuing quest. So far, I’ve already learned quite a bit about managing and organizing information with an RSS reader, and I’ve discovered the power of a PLN (professional learning network). In learning about the power and necessity of a PLN, I remembered reading a cool book called Too Big Too Know by David Weinberger where he writes:
Knowledge always has been social. We clustered experts into think tanks and academic departments because we recognized that they’re smarter when together.
I’ve been guilty in the past of relying too much on my own clustered, disorganized, mind to find answers and ideas. It’s clear that knowledge, creativity, and power of thought is right here with US!
With this idea of power and knowledge being potent with use of a PLN, I’m reminded of my friend and colleague Diane McKenzie. Diane stared a group on Facebook for International School Librarians. Diane is well known, and because of her name and experience, librarian flocked to this group. Here’s a link to the International School Library Connection FB group
It started out as a group just for librarians in Asia, but because people were eager to share ideas and give feedback, the group has become open to librarians all over the world. In my own experience, this past school year, I was able to make use of the group a few times, but the one that sticks out was for Roald Dahl day. Another librarian made all of her plans and templates for Roald Dahl day accessible on the group, and I used some of that for our celebration of Roald Dahl.
I should contribute more to the group, as I’ve read and used much of the helpful info people share. There were a few times when I shared throughout the school year, but I plan to be more of an active member in coming months and years.
While I reflect on my own experience with learning within network, I should also reflect on how our students do the same. In the research conducted by The John D. and CatherineT. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning in November 2008 it’s highlighted just how social adolescent and teen students were in 2008. It’s probably just as, if not more, true today. Odd to this 34 year old man, students hang out online, playing games, talking, flirting, etc. More than that, though, kids exchange information the same way, too.
I think of my 12 year old nephew with his YouTube station, demonstrating his knowledge of Mine-Craft for his peers to see. In a way, I think, this is his way of establishing confidence and identity for him. I should find out more from him about this…
And I think about my students’ obsession with their online games. I didn’t stop to think that there could be great value in sharing a common purpose with other teens from around the world.
Ultimately, in this first week of COETAIL, I’m beginning to see that the way we learn and the way information is passed, has changed, is changing, and will probably continue to change through globally connected platforms because of the creation of the Internet. Whether it’s online gaming, YouTube channels, weChat groups, it looks like WE ARE going at learning together. Communities, such as this one, are being created all the time in order to belong to a cause or a community that’s simply greater than themselves. In 2017, this is pretty cool.