Play #9 – Do you know the difference between networks and community? Are you currently a member of any online communities?
Until a week ago, I had no idea what a Ning was and was not involved in any professional learning network; however, as we know in the information age, things change quickly in a week!
I have now joined three online communities that will allow me to network with educators from all over the world:
What do I do now? Have I suddenly become too connected? Managing all of these online relationships will take work and I don’t want to join something without being able to fully commit to it. These are valid questions that people need to work through when developing an online community.
Developing an online network is as important as developing face to face networks; however, the goal isn’t about having a network of 300 people around the globe because you will never be able to engage with that many people in a meaningful way. You have to find a healthy balance.
Last night I participated in my first session of The Connected Educator’s Book Club. Signing on to Blackboard/Elluminate I was able to engage with the 3 moderators and over 75 educators from all over the world. It was a new experience for me and an exciting one at that. Over the next 10 weeks we will be able to explore the book and participate in a number of DIY activities where we can explore our understanding of connected learning.
My advice to new teachers like myself: Get started, get connected, join some networks, explore the resources that are available within the community, interact in a meaningful way with other members, and begin building an online community that meets your own learning needs. Soon you will have developed a great support network, one connection at a time.