The journey continues: networked learning

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.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 10.16.34 AM


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.




This entry was posted in Course 1 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The journey continues: networked learning

  1. Ryan Harwood says:

    I’m glad you’re excited about the COETAIL experience Mike. I hope you will enjoy it and learn from it as much as I have. I’d be interested to know how being in China effects your use of a PLN. Are there major obstacles or just different tools?

    • Ryan, thank you for the encouragement and sharing in this journey with me.
      Living in China effects my use of PLNs in a few ways. First and most apparent, is communicating with people through YoutTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Let’s just say I’m able to do so, it just takes me much longer here than it would at home in America. I spend a lot of time watching the wheel go round. I just accept that. Conversely, though, here in China, librarians and teachers use the social media platform that is widely used throughout the country and that is weChat. There are “groups” on weChat that share experiences in China and we help each other learn using this. Now that I’ve been here five years, I’ve, actually, grown to love weChat in a way. The major obstacle is time – watching the wheel go round and the major tool is weChat.

  2. Mike, I am interested to follow your journey with COETAIL, as well as share some of these new experiences together in our cohort. I am embarking on a new journey as I start a new position at my school. What is your new position? Do you have any suggestions for me to add to my RSS reader? As you stated from the book Too Big To Know by David Weinberger, we can both agree that collaboration and working together can create an increased opportunity for learning and growing. I am excited to see how COETAIL brings us new ideas and thoughts to share with our coworkers.

    I am also curious about Ryan’s question of how China effects your use of PLN. My school has many parents that live in China and I am not sure if they can access the program Seesaw. We will start using Seesaw for Schools next year. Do you use Seesaw? Do you know if it’s accessible in China?

  3. I can’t seem to figure out how to link with a photo. Inside the blogging software I first click on the photo and then click the hyperlink button and past the URL, but it never links. Anybody experience this with photos?

    • Ryan Harwood says:

      When you add the image via the “insert media” option, look on the right side of the screen. You’ll see an option under Attachment Display Settings ->Link to. Choose “custom url” and insert your link. That should work.

  4. Pingback: Week 2 | COETAIL Online Cohort 8

  5. Alex Bunting says:

    Being an Avid gamer I like that you used Overwatch as an example. Its part of a fantastic genre of shoot-em-up games where if you aren’t social and well organised you have no hope of winning. Its the depth of games like this which really win over children. If they had to do the same thing every time to win they would get bored (such as the fastburning rise and fall of flappy birds!). Ironically perhaps I wonder if this diversity in computer games might be having a detrimental effect on another aspect important to growing up, reading (paper or on screen – I often hear how students’ attention spans aren’t what they once were – no research to help though with limited internet currently!).

    Its cool that your Nephew is using Youtube to demonstrate his learning. Not only does it help him build his confidence, but it reinforces his own learning, and really allows him to grapple with how to communicate information to others. I tried making a ‘Clash of Clans’ youtube channel once for beginner adults, but failed miserably in trying to communicate. Maybe one day 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *