Sharing Other People’s Stuff

After school, Wednesday, in our staff meeting time, I finally stepped up and talked about the idea of Sharing using digital tools for the first time. I mean it's not the first time I've talked about using Delicious or any other social media tool, but it is the first time I've couched the whole thing around the premise of sharing, and the possibilities that sharing with a wider network of educators than just the ones at your site might open up. I've shied away from really talking in a formal way to my colleagues about networked learning - a mixture of not wanting to push my own potential zealotry and a worry that most won't have a clue what I'm talking about anyway. It's hard to get the message just right so that they can see that this is a way that regular classroom teachers can go, because after all, it is the techhead, laptop loving freak pushing the ideas. If they could just sit here in this spot and see the potential stretch out in front of them like I can ...

I chose to show the first seven minutes of Dean Shareski's opening keynote video for the K12 Online Conference, which has stoked the fires of inquiring debate in a number of places across the web. I will chat to a few colleagues tomorrow and see what they got out of it. My worry is that not that they won't see value in this form of sharing, but that they will see it as something beyond them, beyond what time will allow for them, beyond what their capabilities are as an online navigator.

What I struggle with as well is this notion of self-directed learning as a professional. I believe that participation in networked learning is ideally suited for this - tools like Twitter are subverted for educational sharing. But Twitter is mainly about sharing stuff that other people have created or found, and Delicious is the same. Neither ask the participant to put themselves "out there" like writing a blog post or adding content to a wiki or even posting a reply to a forum. So, why is that so many teachers find the use of social media for sharing to be such a step that they are unwilling to take? I find it hard to imagine their reluctance and need to be shown because I (like the majority of edubloggers I assume) have learnt how to use and manipulate social media through active participation. Workshops and PD sessions on how to use Google Reader and Delicious seem to run counter to the whole point of self directed learning through technology.

Also I feel that for a practice to stick, to become habitual, the desire to explore further must come from within. Maybe some teachers will never grasp the concept of online networked learning for their own professional improvement ... but I have at least raised their awareness of what it is out there if they choose to look beyond their own self imposed boundaries.

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5 thoughts on “Sharing Other People’s Stuff

  1. daibarnes

    This is a really interesting issue you have raised.

    Teachers often ask me about twitter or quip about how much time I spend on a computer. The answer to both these things is the same. I spend a lot of time online.

    Sharing is the key. Sharing means, for me in this context, learning and community. It is these processes that make being online human. But telling my colleagues this is more difficult than I ever expect it to be. For different reasons. Not sure that the answers or model of work I pursue are the same for other teachers. I can tell them what’s good for me and why but it is difficult to do this so it seems accessible to others. I think it scares them or at least turns them off. Maybe it’s the way I tell them?

    I’m very interested to hear how your staff respond. Please let me know? @daibarnes

  2. graham hughes

    I did the same thing at my place at the start of this term. Introduced Diigo as a way of sharing whole school and faculty resources. I ran weekly sessions for small groups and helped them set up faculty sites and initially there was a lot of interest. We have most faculties covered now and although few teachers have continued to share any resources they find, at least I have a place to put stuff that I come across. I did suggest that time-poor teachers could make use of resources discovered by others who had more inclination to search and they liked that idea, but as always once back to the daily grind all good intentions are forgotten. Maybe some of your teachers would be interested to see some of the faculty resources we (I) have collected this year ….. is our whole school site and any search within Diigo groups for bcsi will find our faculty stuff.

  3. Graham Wegner

    Thanks guys – I got quite a way through a lengthy comment back then unwittingly clicked on Graham’s link before completion, losing the lot. It’s going to take me a little bit to re-compose the response – but rest assured, you have both given some more to think about.

  4. graham hughes

    Sorry my link caused you grief. If you think it useful I can email you the direct links to our faculty sites …it would be great to have some of your people join in and good for my teachers to see that sharing is actually a two-way thing.

  5. Sue

    A true professional will be a self-directed learner. Using technology is a great way to share information. It amy take some training and getting used to for a few educators. However, if they are willing, they will learn. Hence the term self-directed learner.


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