Posts Tagged ‘professional development’

that was the comment challenge

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

It’s now June 1, and that means the 31 day Comment Challenge (for May 08) is over. :-(

Michele has set the final task as one of reflecting on the top 5 lessons those participating have learnt. While I wasn’t able to complete all tasks for the ‘challenge’ (there’s something to be said for the discipline of making some priority to do the tasks), I’ve been able to see the value of having a structured task/activity to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and into their learning zones. It reminds me of the Learning 2.0 program (that originated at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County) and the ‘23 things’ activity as another great example of a learning initiative to get people actively engaged in experiencing a range of Internet and Web 2.0 applications. I’d definitely participate in something like this again. :-)

What I’ve learnt (amongst other things) is that:

#1. There are a lot of great people blogging out there. Through the activities I’ve come across many new bloggers and I’ve subscribed to a number of new blog feeds that I hope will add value to my learning and help me in my role in supporting the use of technologies in higher education.

#2. I’ve got something to contribute through my blogging. I realise that have my own experience and perspectives to bring to the educational blogging community and that others may find these useful. So, through the last month I now feel confirmed, particularly that I’ve only been writing my ‘professional’ blog for two months!

#3. I can comment on what other people are writing. I’ve enjoyed being able to confirm ideas, suggest/provide other perspectives and help develop ideas and stories on other people‘s blogs. It’s still early days for me (as a blogger/commenter) but I’m now thinking more about what I might be able to share with others that could add value to what they do.

#4. Commenting can help build relationships and make stronger, deeper, authentic and lasting connections. The network building through this activity has been very valuable I look forward to it continuing as I meet more people online. I am looking to meeting some of these people face to face and will look for opportunities to do this.

#5. I’m very happy to have people comment on my blog. There’s a sense of engagement, support and validation when someone makes the effort to leave a comment. It’s even been fun to comment/reply back to the comments left on my blog – I’ve come to see this as an important aspect of being part of the blogosophere as it maintains and enhances the interactions.

…and just because I can – I think I’d like to add a sixth…

#6. That being involved in this activity has helped strengthen me as a blogger and developed my understanding of the possibilities of ‘the blog’ in education. I’m now much better situated to provide informed advice and recommendations on social media in my work context and elsewhere.

Finally, a huge personal thanks to those people who managed to make this happen; Sue Waters, Silvia Tolisano, Michele Martin and Kim Cofino (with sponsorship by coComment and Edublogs). I’ve really appreciated the time they’ve invested to guide us through this month of learning – they can be assured the investment has paid off!

Now I need to pay it forward – will you?

I’d like to recommend

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Three weeks into the Comment Challenge and I’m way behind on the tasks that were set to help the participants learn how commenting is an important part of being participant in the blogosphere. I was challenged by this task (Day 21, Make a recommendation) and thought I’d be able to make a contribution that may provide some value to those who read this blog.

Have you ever found yourself trying to explain a new (and often complex) concept to a colleague and wishing there was a resource in a format that could get the message across? I have.

I’ve often wanted to get my hands on something that was accessible, not too long, and a perfect overview that used words/audio and pictures to help clarify a new idea, model or application…

So, my recommendation is to visit the Common Craft website to check out the work they do to ‘present subjects “in plain English” using short, unique and understandable videos’. You might even do a search for ‘in plain english’ somewhere, to find some of the most popular videos, many of which can be found on on Google or Youtube (these links will take you to the results of such a search). Topics covered include: Twitter, RSS, Wkis, Blogs, Social Networking, Social Bookmarking etc. I’ve found these resources very useful and they’ve provided great support in getting the message across about some of the new technologies and applications that are part of what we call Web 2.0.

Have you found anything like these that could be used for professional development activities in a teaching and learning context?

the challenge

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

I’ve decided to participate in the 2008 Comment Challenge! which is about challenging bloggers to become better blog citizens. I can see that this will need some energy and commitment but it’s something I’m prepared to invest in. I see it as personal and professional development.

I would class myself as a novice with regard to blogging and I’m only just beginning to understand the networking potential/possibilities that are afforded by responding to what I read on other blogs. I suppose I’ve been grazing for a while, dipping into a few places to read what I find interesting and informative. I see the value of doing the comment challenge in engaging with what I read (other people’s ideas/opinions/rants etc.) and having to think about how I respond to them. If I think I’ve got something to contribute, I’ll write a comment.

I’m hoping that after the month I’ll have a much deeper understanding of how the blogosphere works and where I may fit in this connected community. I hope to meet people and make authentic connections with those of like mind and having similar interests. These potential new relationships will be the BIG pay off. Proverbs 27:17 comes to mind when I think of how we need to interact with each other and bounce ideas around to come to deeper understanding of each other, ourselves and the world around us.

One of the other aspects of the blog/ger/ing learning curve is the need to choose from a range of application/technologies to maintain the connections – keep the lines of communication open if you will. I’m still discovering lots of things (as well as realising how much I don’t know) that will support and enhance my blogging and look forward to trying things out to see how well they work and how they might be put to use in an educational setting. I do subscribe to RSS feeds (using NetNewsWire for Mac) and have worked out that it’s important to also subscribe to comment feeds as well as the post feeds. If you’re not up to speed with RSS check out the and you may even find this video useful RSS in Plain English. [* note to self – must find out how to embed videos (I’m writing my blog posts in MacJournal) so I can post to the blog with having to edit the post there.]

I’ve also dived into Twitter and have had wonderful support from Sue Waters to get going (I’m using Twhirl to aggregate my Twitter ‘tweets’). This ‘instant message’ platform/technology/service is also starting to make sense in that we’re able to ‘keep connected’, and ‘in touch’.

How connected you keep is all up to you (and me).