Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Blogging Has Helped Me Build My Personal Learning Network

I’m often asked why I blog and why anyone would even want to blog. The reason is that unlike previous generations I am able to connect with thousands of other educators, parents, and students around the world who share my passion and interests. I call these people, my personal learning network and we were brought together in large part as a result of my blog. Born in March of 2008, The Innovative Educator (http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com) is the heart of my personal learning network with Twitter, Facebook, discussion forums, and Face-to-Face connections serving as life blood that runs through it. While my main thoughts and ideas (educating innovatively, thinking outside the ban, passion-based learning) reside in my blog these other venues allow me to disperse and converse about them. As a result of these connections I’ve had opportunities to have powerful conversations, make meaning and deepen my thinking. While that is fantastic for my personal learning growth what is even more powerful is that as a result of my blog posts, and the connections I’ve made because of them, I’ve been able to help affect positive change in education.

I’ve connected educators working to harness the power of technology, lift the cell phone ban in their classrooms, schools, and districts. I’ve encouraged and motivated educators in supporting the authentic publication of student work and establishment of their own and their student’s digital footprints. I’ve found and connected teachers and educational leaders interested in harnessing the power of social media to positively impact students. I’ve helped schools and districts save thousands by learning to avoid unnecessary purchases and instead accomplish the same outcomes for free using tools like wikispaces, blogger, and Google apps or not purchasing unnecessary hardware like interactive whiteboards.

I feel fortunate that unlike my parent’s generation who screamed at a deaf TV/radio, or waved a newspaper at unseeing eyes, I have a digital voice and a means to share it. Today, through my blog I can speak back to the TV or radio, the newspaper, the corrupt business owner, or a policy maker through my blog and magnify the message, and sometimes call to action through my personal learning network. Unlike the frustrated adults of my parent’s generation and those that came before them, if I want to start a movement, share an idea, or convey a message, I do so on my blog and tap my PLN on the shoulder through digital and face-to-face (which is sometimes virtual) means and ask them to join me. As a result, we do indeed have the means to spread a message, affect change, and make the world a better place.

1 comment:

  1. I love the metaphor of being able to talk back to the TV or newspaper, and it is so true. We all have a voice. When it can be heard beyond those in our immediate surroundings, wonderful things can happen. Moreover, when we know it can be heard, we can experience the reality that our voice matters. There's nothing like authentic audience to, well, give purpose to voice. The real tragedy is in folks who never find their voice or authentic audiences with which to share it.