EC&I 831

Growth Through Making Connections

“… the Internet is a connection-making machine.” – Clive Thompson

Many times I have written posts or tweets and wondered if anyone actual reads them or finds them valuable. This week through our readings and an amazing discussion on #saskedchat around building a PLN, I was challenged to think more positively about why I connect.  I really enjoyed reading Clive Thompson’s piece about why even the small connections we make with our writing are important and as he argued,

“the cognitive shift in going from an audience of zero (talking to yourself) to an audience of 10 (a few friends or random strangers checking out your online post) is so big that it’s actually huger than going from 10 people to a million.”

I was reminded that although I might not currently have a large audience, that doesn’t necessarily matter. I need to find my voice and find a way to share my thoughts. Perhaps when one person starts to share others will follow along and we may begin to see a shift in pedagogy, creating a bit of a domino affect. For that reason alone, I will keep writing! I will write because I am quickly seeing how important it is to find and share my voice. However, I want to make sure that I am creating something that could challenge someone to think and grow. As Kay Oddone shares, we are all content curators but we have to figure out how to do that in the best way. I think I am a work in progress there!

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Photo Credit: Den’s Lens 2000 via Compfight cc

Steve Wheeler shared a post this week about the 4 Things Innovative Schools Have In Common ,he shares that he has visited many schools in his time and that many of them could be placed on one list or another of ‘great’ schools. So many buildings have wonderful things going on in them and I think he was spot on when he shares his belief about the 4 things an innovative school embodies. If we are going to create innovative schools, which in my perfect world I would hope that’s the goal of all educators today, we need people who are willing to share, connect, discuss and grow.As Alec suggested in class this week, to creator a richer experience we need to find the sweet spot that sits between technology, pedagogy and humanity. I think perhaps working towards an innovative school, as Wheeler discussed, we might be moving in the right direction.

Not only do we need teachers to be willing to share their own thoughts but we also need teachers who are willing to encourage,share and provide opportunities for their students to learn about the power of connecting. This week we read about Michael Drennan’s adventures in blogging with his class.  His students were able to connect beyond their classrooms and find a purpose. He shares about the lessons he learned and will take into his classroom as he begins blogging with a new group of students. Again, my thinking was challenged.

I have had a classroom blog for all the years that I have taught but haven’t always liked the shape that it seemed to take during the year. Simply put, we don’t blog enough! I am working on looking at my day and schedule to figure out how I make that happen more. After reading Terry Heick’s post this week I decided I wanted to know a bit more about what my students thought their purpose for writing was. A common theme around writing for others came out during the conversations. Although, one of my students use the words “to connect with others” and I was pleasantly surprised! How do I work to help my grade 2 students understand that someone isn’t going to read their writing because they want them to but that they have to make the reader want to read their words?  I really like the idea of having students, in my case primary students, comment on posts that I have made but I also think there needs to be a way for them to share something when and where they want to. We have a twitter account that we use daily, perhaps this is a place to start? I am not sure. I am considered switching to a new platform for classroom blogs but haven’t quite got there yet. I would welcome feedback about my class blog if you have any!

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2 thoughts on “Growth Through Making Connections

  1. Nicole, some great thoughts about connecting.
    One of the things that I encourage people to think about is not to worry about who the audience is or what will get them readership but to write about what is important to them. I don’t have a larger readership and I am not a “big time blogger” but that doesn’t matter because it’s not the purpose. As Seth Godin says in What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn)
    “It’s not your turn to be win or your turn to be picked or even your turn to be guaranteed gratitude. It’s Merely your Turn to Give a Gift!”
    Sharing our gift is so important and we can’t expect to get anything in return. Connecting, as you suggest,

    ” I need to find my voice and find a way to share my thoughts. Perhaps when one person starts to share others will follow along and we may begin to see a shift in pedagogy, creating a bit of a domino affect. For that reason alone, I will keep writing! I will write because I am quickly seeing how important it is to find and share my voice.”

    It’s not only about finding our voice but about sharing our voice even when we think no one is listening. As a parent, I’m always amazed how much my children “listen” when I don’t even know they are around. So keep on sharing, even when you think no one is listening. You’ll be amazed who is listening.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

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