Just Keep on Swimming

   “Doing things together gives us more power than doing things alone.”        

   – Howard Rheingold – Attention and Other 21st Century Social Media Literacies

So, the quote above certainly isn’t brand new earth shattering or mind blowing stuff but sometimes we need to be reminded and shown the power that comes from making connections and working together. In the Networked Student video we hear the speaker talk about how connections provide learners with opportunities for growth. So why do so many in education decide not to embrace change, not move to a 21st century approach and engage the students that are in classrooms in the world they are living in? I have been twirling this thought around more than usual lately and I think it stems from listening to and reading about the power of connections. It was refreshing to read the Anya Kaminetz post about what is happening in some Science courses at University of Colorado Boulder. They have chosen take away the traditional “sit and get” method that happens in so many university classes and lets not forget grade school classrooms, in order provide students with a hands on approach. They have students talking, asking questions and working together – connecting. How great is it to see this happening in a University setting? Why doesn’t this happen more?

I feel that there is so much power and potential behind embracing the connected age that we are living in. As Rheingold shared, there are many facets to what connecting looks like and it’s important for us to engage our students in the entire process. I think he highlights the importance here:

“You need to learn how to exercise mindful deployment of your attention online if you are going to become a critical consumer of digital media; productive use of Twitter or YouTube requires knowledge of who your public is, how your participation meets their needs (and what you get in return), and how memes flow through networked publics. Ultimately, the most important fluency is not in mastering a particular literacy but in being able to put all five of these literacies together into a way of being in digital culture.” – Howard Rheingold

As Rheingold explained in the article we must teach our students these literacies so that they can effectively participate and engage in the digital culture of the world we live in. I can’t say enough how important I feel it is, that we are having conversations about what literacy in the 21st century looks like. I keep wondering though, how do we move this conversation into schools today? Change has to start somewhere and what a great opportunity to have the chance to take this class and grow as an educator but what about those teacher who aren’t connect through social media? There is so much to learn and discover. There are times when I feel a little bit like the red fish in the picture below. So much potential and growth to be had and I am loving learning about it but how do I encourage others to start “swimming” the other way? Please excuse the corny play on words!


Photo Credit: noyshira via Compfight cc

I feel like since I have started this class my mind is going in 101 directions all the time and in the best way possible! When George Siemens talked about chaos in his article and that “everything connects to everything,” I could instantly relate to what he was sharing in that moment. Right now I feel like my thoughts are going in so many directions that I can’t quite keep up with them all. In the #saskedchat last night I had a little mini conversation with @mrsmatichuk and @ErinCBenjamin about something similar. There is so much to learn in this class and the awesome part is that we can connect all of the spaces we are learning in, together. I am so happy to have a space such as this where I can share my thoughts, although maybe still a bit jumbled and work on making connections of my own.

The best part of all the pieces of this class? It’s all relevant to what we do everyday. We are going to leave this class better for it because we were given the opportunity to jump in head first to connect and learn with people on the same path that we are on. Along with having a better understanding and set of knowledge to share with others the importance and effect of connecting.



  1. I couldn’t agree more Nicole. I am normally a very easy sleeper and since taking this course, I find it difficult to calm my mind and get to sleep. But it’s exciting things flying around, and yes the connections we are able to make are so meaningful. What we are learning is transferable and I have already tried many new things in my teaching relating to social media and technology. I feel I’m learning more to transform my teaching into 21st century teaching, but am now struggling with seeing how entire schools can make the shift.

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