I’ve been using Harold Jarche’s phrase, “Learning Out Loud” to describe my approach to learning. As a teacher, I consider myself simply the resident professional learner rather than the resident content expert. The idea of using social media to engage with colleagues both near and far appealed to my enthusiasm for technology and my passion for learning. Publically sharing work in progress, ideas, and experiments with reflections on the process as well as the product, I invite others to pitch in, offer their own experiences, ideas, and suggestions.
Twitter helped me find and follow some great people who talked about things I was interested in, or ideas that challenged my own notions. Often their posts would point to articles or blogs which, if I was interested, I would add to my RSS feed which pulled newly published content from my subscribed sources.
These articles fueled my interest and got me excited about changes in education in the 21st century. I would share these articles on my own Twitter feed, and engage with the authors or other readers in the blog comments area.
After consuming content for about a year, I felt the desire to reflect more deeply, to be more intentional about my engagement than the odd blog comment and to articulate my emerging understandings into something that I could build on later, but, more importantly, something that could initiate conversations with others all the time and everywhere. Articles published years ago on a blog can still fuel conversations long after I have moved on to other things and I appreciate being drawn back to that intellectual space to revisit old ideas.
My habits have changed over the last couple of years as I engaged more intensely with my coursework and my fellow students but I continued to share my coursework online for those who might find it useful. Normally, when we write a paper for class, it is only ever read by one or two people. By sharing that work online I get feedback and discussion from many more people who offer thanks (which is personally rewarding) or criticism (which is intellectually challenging) and it can take on a life of its' own.
So my George Washington University adventure hit a terminal milestone with the August 31, 2015 conferral of my Master of Arts in Education and Human Development (Education Technology Leadership). YAY! Now, just two weeks later, another adventure begins. I have enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Professional Inquiry at Queen's University with the intention of pursuing the Master of Education the following year. So... for the next couple of years, many of my blog posts will reflect the learning and engagement with people and ideas in that program. I'll use the tag #QueensPI for those posts. As always, I welcome notes, comments, critiques, suggestions, questions, ideas...