Currently On Offer

If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that I put a fair amount of stock in Twitter as a useful platform for gathering information, opinion and also resources for a variety of interests. While the volume remains overwhelming, the quality of content I am able to curate, process and share continues to astound me.

In only a few days I have run across several articles which all got me thinking in both different and converging directions. Connections exist and probably not exclusively in my special world but also for others. Two articles brought up questions about who gets to teach, or call themselves a teacher. Another article challenges assumptions about our understanding of the root causes of poverty and the interests we may have in perpetuating those assumptions. And the final piece is a portrait of an educator, Samuel Delaney, whose simple example of empowering teaching puts so much of our heated discourse about methods, curricula and standards to shame.

What’s also important to me is by sharing the tweets and my retweets I can better illustrate the community effort of content curation. I would hardly encounter most of what I read were it not for the generous sharing by the folks I follow and the remarkable people and organizations they follow. In this community of curators I share in the tremendous wealth of high quality media resources and gladly redistribute it to whomever may find value in it.

I do wish I had cogent responses to these articles – wise thoughts and savvy connections for you to ponder and evaluate. Sadly, I do not. I only have the need and desire to underscore what I consider to be worthy topics for our consideration. Read what strikes your fancy and get back to me. I welcome the dialogue. Without the dialogue, my conclusions are only tentative and lacking the benefit of real exercise.

A Learning Timeline

Yesterday I needed help on a project so I put out a request to my PLN on twitter.

To which Sarah responded:

I did a little research on twitter and came up with interesting options such as paper.li, and this list (perhaps somewhat dated: 2012 (!)) from daily tekk.

Based on Sarah’s suggestions, however, it didn’t take long before I settled on Flipboard and began putting together my first personal magazine of curated content.

It is a source of surprise and amazement to me that yesterday I created this.

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Using Flipboard on my iPad proved extremely easy, intuitive and straightforward.  I had no problem locating and positioning the content I wanted to share.  I did not need to bother with formatting issues. The credits show up immediately as to who tweeted what, when and where they got it from and it is always easy to add more content or start a new magazine. I can hardly describe how liberating it was to feel competent, at ease and free to create without experiencing the  decisional overload that I typically encounter with publishing software.   At the end of the day I was blown away by the beauty of my first Flipboard magazine.  The content of the mag is what I feel strongly about and yet what resonated first with me was the highly professional and polished visual impression.

There’s more to this story.
While engrossed in my Flipboard project, this tip arrived:

So without much ado, once I finished the Flipboard, I moved on to explore Tackk.  And while Tackk offered a different user experience, I discovered a new resource I will gladly use and share with colleagues and friends.

There a few key points in this whole episode which are worth highlighting:

  • The process began with a clear and specific request for help.
  • Experience has been a great teacher.  I have used this technique before (ask the PLN, get a lead, run with it) with tremendous success.
  • I contacted specific people whose expertise I trust.
  • Throughout the process I received support, encouragement and positive feedback. (Sarah’s cheerleading was the bomb!)  And…
  • I surprised myself with my sense of adventure and willingness to risk confusion and disappointment. In fact, I got really excited about experimenting and sharing my work-in-progress with pride.

Once again, I look at my learning and think about what made this process a successful endeavor: positive relationships, a clear goal, an open mind, knowing where to look for help, acting on wise suggestions, time and space to follow through, and a finished product which can be evaluated and shared.

This is Project Based Learning on a small scale and it is real world adult personal and professional learning.  Are we seeing the connection here?

What does you personal PBL look like? I’d love to hear about it.