Friday, January 25, 2008

The Power of the Network, Part II

Last Tuesday, I asked those who read this blog to comment on my post and tell me where they were from. I also told my Twitter network about the blog post. Before the end of the school day, I had 9 comments from various places. It is now up to 14. Not too shabby for a quick shout-out blog post.

Here is what this tells me. Slightly over a year ago, I decided that I ought to have a blog for my presentations, so that people had a site to go to when they had questions. This blog was created for the people in those sessions - all of whom were in Michigan. Of the 14 comments, how many were from Michigan? Two. How many of those Michiganders had been in my session? Zero. That's not to say that my original readers aren't still around, but it is intriguing to me how the readership of this blog has expanded.

Secondly, it tells me that my personal network of people has substantially grown. Several of the comments mentioned that they followed my blog in a reader, but others mentioned that they found me through Twitter. Very few teachers my age have networks outside of their own schools. It is definitely an advantage for me - and for the other teachers in my school, as I bring back everything that I learn!
Third, it is a humbling reality check. What we post - whether or not we think it has any impact - is being read by someone, somewhere. I've been thinking a lot about this lately. My psychology classes just completed an "online text" on a wiki. At first glance, I was so proud of them! In many ways, I still am, but they don't seem to understand that their audience is a global one. Four groups (that's 8 kids) blatantly plagiarized some/all of their wiki. How can we prove to students that people really are reading what they post - and that it could include the original author of the material? I'm still hashing out how I want to handle this with the next batch of kids - stay tuned for that.

As I begin my Masters project, I am keenly aware that at no other point in time have we ever had such power in our networks. Equally, I am aware of the discrepancy between the learning styles needed for the mass collaboration era versus the industrial revolution-style training that is occuring in our schools. As we are helping our students prepare for their future, are we showing them the "Flat World" that Friedman spoke of - where knowledge is the new global currency? Or does it look more like this:
To all who commented on Part I: Thank you. To all who read this: continue the dialogue.
Image Citations:
twitter_mosaic, "Moulin Rouge Mosaic." Twitter Mosaic. 14 Jan 2008. 25 Jan 2008
Clark, William A.. "The Human Network (part one) - "Gagged." Flickr. 26 Apr 2007. 25 Jan 2008
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Monday, January 21, 2008

You're On Notice!

I thought I'd share this, just because it cracked me up.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bucket List Meme

Oh my - I've never been tagged in a meme before. I feel so special! Now, to steal from Jen:
The Bucket List meme was started by Jeff Pulver and is based on the movie. It seems to have not evolved much and is still essentially a list of things you hope to accomplish in 2008. This is seriously not easy - there is always so much I want to do....but here, in short, is my 2008 Bucket List (in no particular order):

~turn 25....again.
~get through the Strasbourg Exchange...and then do it again for next year.
~attend NECC (probably won't happen, but a girl can dream, right?)
~use online textbooks (that are written by my former students) in all my classes.
~embed technology in all of my classes - every lesson, every day.
~do more presenting, AND more attending (of conferences, that is).
~finish my Masters degree (goal: April 2008).
~move and/or get a mini-van. Or both.
~enjoy my life and stop stressing about things that - in the end - don't really matter.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones that come to mind right away. And now, to tag people:
Liz, Vicki, and Darren - you're it! :) Happy meme-ing. And Happy New Year!

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Beyond Podcasting, Bucket List, Meme, Random

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Survey 2008

It is time for the Education Blogosphere Survey. Take a minute and do this survey - it really doesn't take very long, and I think that the data that we will obtain from it will speak volumes! Oh, and if you haven't commented on my last post, please do so - new "explanation/results" post coming soon!
Deadline (for the survey)= January 26, 11:00pm, (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)

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EduBlogosphere, survey, blogs, blogging, education, McLeod

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Power of the Network? part I

This is going to be a strange post, as posts go. I am curious about just how extensive - and global - the power of the network really is. If you read this on a Reader/Aggregator of some nature, please visit my site directly. If you read this post - for whatever reason, please comment and tell me what country you are from (if you are from North America, please give me state/province, too). I know this sounds strange, but it has a point, and I will tell you what that is in my next post.

I know this takes time and effort on your part, dear reader. Thank you in advance for taking a quick second to do this!

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Beyond Podcasting, network, blogging

Monday, January 7, 2008

Purposefully Disconnected

First of all, a very happy 2008 to one and all! May this be the year that real, measureable change occurs in our schools - not just with individuals, but across the board. (Hey, a girl can dream, right?)

My apologies for my lack of Twitters, postings, utterz, and so on. It has not been for a lack of things to say, but rather an experiment, if you will.

As many of you know, this is a fairly tough year for me personally. I have a new prep (which I LOVE), I'm finishing my masters this semester (we hope. Incidentally, my project will be called "French I 2.0: Using the Read/Write Web in the Classroom" or something of that nature. I will be creating a total web-based curriculum for my classroom. Stay tuned.), my father has been sick (and is *knock on wood* cancer-free. Thanks for all your support/encouragement), and so on. This has brought a fairly profound change in my way of thinking.

I decided in early December that - no matter what - I would not take work home. Period. Nothing. No lesson plans, no grading, nothing. This meant that, in order to agree to this, I had to remain focused on the "important" stuff at work. I cut out Twitter, I cut out Bloglines, etc. And here's what I found.

Nothing really changed. I still intigrated technology in my classes, I still read articles on new technology, and I maintained a passion for change in our education system. So why be connected, then? What's the point?

With all that I was able to get done, I did not feel like I accomplished as much as I did when I was connected. While I was more relaxed at home - and had more time for my family - I did not feel like I was fully doing my job. I felt like, in a way, that I was letting my network down. I wondered if they would still be there for me - despite my absence.

I conducted another experiment: I asked a fairly in-depth edtech question of my Twitter network. I had many people respond that they were glad to see me back, but no one answered my question. Here's what I realized: you get from the network what you give. I hadn't been around to answer others' questions, so why should they answer mine? That seems a bit harsh, but I think that's true of every relationship - there has to be a give and take.

I had let my network down; I wasn't there for them. So here is my goal for January. I want to remain connected - I want to be there for my network - but I want to leave my work at work as much as humanly possible. This time, I want to be disconnected at home when possible, but remain connected at work.

Stay tuned for a post on how that worked out. It is important for your family and friends that you are purposefully disconnected, but if we are to function in this new, flat world, we must spend at least some of our time purposefully connected, too.

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Twitter, Bloglines, Beyond Podcasting, (dis)connectivity