The EdTech online magazine has recently released a list of 50 must-read higher education and IT focussed blogs covering the likes of MOOCs, cloud computing, mobile learning, social media, digital pedagogy and more. The list was chosen not by the magazine but by the readers who were asked to submit thier favourite blogs and then vote on the submissions. I recommend you take a look!
I was pleased to see a number of bloggers I follow, but especially so when I saw David Hopkins who blogs from Technology Enhanced Learning Blog and tweets as @hopkinsdavid.
This is someone I have had both the privilege to learn from and with. His blog is both informative and inspiring, but it was through Twitter that we first developed conversations on topics of shared interest. He encouraged me to write my own blog on social media, one I had initially set up just to demo blogging to my students.
Our paths have continued to cross and through Twitter and blogging I continue to learn from David and many other educators who are freely sharing resources and thoughts (often provoking and inviting to be challenged). Through our mutual interest of digital identity and the use of social media by students, David and I went on to plan and prepare a presentation on Digital Footprints for the annual PELeCON elearning conference in Plymouth in 2011 (an event I would recommend you keep an eye open for - Led by Steve Wheeler @timbuckteeth).
What has become clear is that it is through social channels such as Twitter, that have enabled our learning communities to grow. Because of the sheer volume of information passing through on a daily basis, I often come upon gems that interest me via those I consider as essential members of my personal learning network. It is these signposts that help to bring posts and tweets to my attention, alongside the serendipity of simply dipping in and out of the social channels. The use of re-tweeting and sharing tools to post links of interesting and valuable information, is one of the amazing positives of social media; creating a ripple effect that reaches far beyond your immediate connections. The use of comments within blogs enable rich discussions to both learn from and debate. Very often these have introduced me to new educators, increasing my network of connections. This in turn has highlighted opportunities to join webinars and MOOCs such as #ocTEL the Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning led by ALT the Association for Learning Technology.
Within the comments of the EdTech blog post sharing the top 50 list of higher education IT bloggers, recipients of the award paid their thanks. David Hopkins went one step further adding this in his comment:
I was thrilled to be included as one of the people David values as part of his personal learning network. I can also agree 100% with the other names he mentions, as they too are valued by myself. I have also over time had the pleasure of meeting each of these people face to face. Prior to I have followed their posts having been introduced to them virtually through my own connections. Developing conversations online meant that we had already gone though the intro stages of meeting new people, so on meeting face to face for the first time, our conversations simply continued.
The moral of this post? Value your learning community and share their contributions with others.
Had the likes of David and many others not shared information about their own networks, mine may still have been a very much smaller community to learn with than it is now.