Monday, 19 August 2013

GETTING INVOLVED IN SOCIAL LEARNING - SOME PRACTICAL STEPS (1)


If you have read my previous post and are still with me in this summer series looking at some of the basics of modern, technology and internet enabled learning then now is the time to “taste the banana”!

In this and my next posts I am going to list some of the posts and books to read, clips to view, platforms to join, people to follow, conferences to track, chat sessions with which to get involved.  Because it is only by experiencing some of the dazzling array of “goodies” that are out there that any of us can make the necessary choices, experience the buzz that is learning today, and make decisions about where to take one’s own and our organisation’s journey in learning. So have fun…..

When I was a little boy I was scared of water so I took a long time to learn to swim and especially to dive. My mother saw my fear and allowed me for several days to sit on the edge of the pool and work out for myself what to do, gently coaching me from time to time. My father repeatedly demonstrated what had to be done but it was not until I was ready that I finally left the board for the first time. Why do I tell you this? Because however convincing the arguments have been, and how firmly the end point of “tasting the banana” is in your mind, it is not until you have the emotional energy to take the plunge that anything will happen – and we all need confidence to go into new places. We have to want to try – and have enough drive to do it.

So for those who need a little more assistance before taking the plunge have a look at Jane Hart’s Social Learning Handbook http://c4lpt.co.uk/social-learning-handbook/ , available on the internet or from www.lulu.com . Jane explains very simply and clearly what is happening in learning and the book contains chapters on “getting started with……” for several social media platforms.

We know that 90% of learning happens in informal environments.  Whether it is around the coffee machine or water cooler, through asking advice from a colleague in the corridor or via an e-mail, seeking help with a practical demonstration, the chances are in our modern world it will also be through using the media.  Everyone uses Google from young children onwards, but Google has no process of peer review.  What better way is there then to find information you need from a reliable source than to tap in to a peer network? In professional circles it is unlikely that poor or unsafe information will go unnoticed, critiqued and modified or removed, so joining professional circles – or even creating your own – is a fast and reliable way of finding what you need. Joining online communities will also provide you with an ever expanding and 24/7 available network of potential assistance. For organisations, the use of the social media to create learning communities and communities of practice is a really practical way of ensuring that tacit organisational knowledge is spread and retained in the business.

What better way to get started then than to get a Twitter account from www.twitter.com (Twitter has its own guide to getting started on the platform https://support.twitter.com/articles/215585#) and start following some people in the field to see what they are saying both on Twitter and on the blogs that many of them write? Twitter is one of the platforms most widely used by learning professionals to develop their personal Learning networks. Maybe when you are comfortable you will ask a question, write a reply or simply re-tweet a comment you find particularly valuable. Why not start by “following” me on Twitter @alc47 and then following some of the people I follow because they give me insight, share news and provide help. With no offence to the many whose advice I value so much, but where space here forbids, I suggest the following short list to get you started:

Jane Hart @c4lpt 
Jane Bozarth @janebozarth
Dave Kelly @lnddave 
Nigel Paine @ebase 
Charles Jennings @charlesjennings 
Marcia Conner @marciamarcia 
Clive Shepherd @cliveshepherd 
Steve Wheeler @timbuckteeth
Rob Hubbard @robhubbard
Patti Shank @pattishank
Harold Jarche @hjarche
Sumeet Moghe @sumeet_moghe
Donald Taylor @donaldhtaylor
Lesley Price @lesleywprice
Tom Spiglanin @tomspiglanin
Ben Betts @bbetts
Laura Overton @lauraoverton

Go to www.twitter.com and search these names – you will see their professional profiles there and you can decide for yourself! A more extensive (but in some places the profiles are out of date) list is at Bit.ly/hnfBma

You can even practice tweeting by asking me for more names!

Looking forward to seeing your Tweets…….


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