I was privileged today to have the opportunity today to participate in a PLN (Professional Learning Network) workshop at the SLV. It promised to be a ‘challenging and interesting exploration of social media and the role of networks in changing education systems’ exploring our ideas around collaboration, networking and education systems. And that it was.
I came away asking more questions than I have answers for. That seems to be the story of my life – I can explain why I don’t like the status quo, why I want to be part of the change, why I want to be the grade four girl at the top of the ski run – but I still struggle with what the alternative looks like, sounds like and feels like.
As someone who has been in education as a learner and teacher since the BC (before computers) era I am continually exploring and challenging the ‘way I learn’ and the ‘who I am as a teacher’. There are many aspects of social media and networking that I still find challenging, yet upon reflection they are often the same things that I find challenging in real life. I thrive on listening (lurking), being part of other’s conversations, I love the challenges to my thinking, the new ideas, or old ideas with a new perspective but I continually struggle with the best way to articulate my thinking. I don’t want to be the person that takes and doesn’t give – but I am still working out what I have to give. Because all I seem to have is questions and not answers.
We joke in our family about my husbands propensity to be a ‘problem solver’. He was much happier when he finally decided that our youngest daughter was not a whinger – she was just stating facts. Therefore he no longer felt that he needed to solve her problems.
This is how I have been feeling – that to be a networker I needed to be a problem solver, contribute answers, solutions and actions. My new thinking is that being a networker and a collaborator is not about having the answers, it is about ‘stating the facts’, about asking the questions. It is about the communication, the collaboration, the critical thinking and the networking as we explore our thinking. Is that where the answers come from?
I used to think …. that I had to have the answers, now I think … that the answers come from the power of the connections and the networks. And that the answers simply create more questions.
So what does this mean for ME …………
It means that I have to trust that what I have to say adds value to the network, it means that I have to tweet the thoughts in my head – because they have no traction if I don’t share them, it means I have to take risks online and it means I have to stop over thinking my half-formed tweets and just send them. It means I have to tip my skis over the edge and let them run …………………………..
Footnote : This blog has been my opportunity to reflect and explore who I was becoming as a learner/teacher – a change of school, a change of role has been all consuming – it is time to start reflecting again.