PLN

#Rhizo14 knock, knock

Fractal

Fractal by Hermann Kaser via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Let me tell you a story. It’s the story of how I found you.

I found you while looking for myself. I found you via a very special network – my personal learning network.

Here’s how it went…

The Blue Bird Tweeted:

My dear friend and mentor, Carla Arena, shared this delicate gem via Twitter. A beautifully lapidated piece by a lady called Carolyn Durley. These words instantly struck a chord deep within:

Carolyn, being a teacher as myself, ventured into the universe of education and how ‘cheating’ may actually bring down walls and pedestals, from whose heights we – teachers – stand. We, teachers, the repositories of all knowledge. It might have been (and it most certainly was) through sweat and tears that we got to where we are in terms of acquired knowledge and experience, so our students should just endure the same hardships and be worthy of becoming – one day – knowledgeable. It was poetic. It was subversive. I had to pass it on to my personal learning network, among whom I was certain there would be those wo’d be moved/disturbed deep within. I RTed and I followed @c_durley down her rabbit hole. And then…

Enforced independence. Quite paradoxical, indeed, Carolyn. I was hooked and mesmerized by it all – the ideas, the sensations. We humans are naturally wired for movement forward, intrinsic motivation is in our very DNA. We, teachers, may foster independence, nudging our students forward, being role models of autonomy and independence ourselves. Not only as teachers, but as learners – as people. I felt compelled to jump in the discussion:

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Carolyn and I became co-followers and co-readers of each others’ writings. I had been entangled by the rhizome that stemmed from A Fine Balance, and Twitter, and the entanglement continued.

And I ended up – literally – stumbling upon yet another gem. Had to share it.

And so it was that, another rhizo prospected that gem, and also ran into me.

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I’d come full circle in the rhizome, just to find that it had spiraled into yet another branch, another rabbit hole.

I stared into its darkness, and asked rhizo-Dave: “Too crazy to leap, ya think?”

And then the next thing you know…

Rhizomatic learning is, for me:

  • non-linear learning
  • prospecting gems
  • ethnographic discovery
  • discovering how you’re wired
  • connecting with otherness and then with yourself
  • how I go about my professional and personal development in this brave new world of all things technological

Set sail for finding my Voice (Part 1)

This is the first of three posts in gratitude for the people who are making a difference in my professional and personal development journey.

“If you don’t know you need others, you don’t know much.”  – Dan Rockwell

For the last fifteen years, I have had the privilege of working at an institute that not only greatly values  but also fosters professional development among teachers and administrators. Even before becoming a supervisor, I’d been listening to Carla Arena, our Educational Technology expert, go on about the endless possibilities that technology offers us in order to optimize the learning experiences of our students. I can clearly remember the feeling whenever I walked out of her countless training sessions – a mixture of eagerness to engage, to productively incorporate technology in my lessons, and an awkward perplexity, a sort of ‘overwhelmedness’, which would then result in my ineffectiveness at putting any of those ‘tech’ intentions into practice.

Five years ago, I became a supervisor and I kept on drinking from Carla’s well of vast tech knowledge – via formal training sessions and via informal conversations between cohorts. Little did I know that the tiny seed Carla had planted over a decade ago would finally begin to blossom in me – and indeed it did – fifteen years later. It was another colleague and friend of mine, Ronaldo Lima Jr, who introduced me to the wonders of Twitter. I must say, however, that it did not sink in until about a couple of months ago, when it finally dawned on me that Twitter could actually be a powerful professional (and personal) development tool. It had been over a year since Ronaldo literally sat down with me and showed me the Tweet basics, going as far as even sharing with me a list of his own crème-de-la-crème followees, a handful of Tweeple he read and admired.

Flash forward 15 years… 

Let me add yet another layer to this story. It involves a feedback session on my 2013 self-evaluation as course supervisor, skillfully delivered by my academic superintendent Isabela Villas Boas and head supervisor Katia Falcomer, in which they went on about all of my managerial strengths and skills, thanking me for my dedication and effort, but also proposed a reflection: how active had I been as a teacher trainer? That brought up  questions such as ‘why didn’t I become more engaged in teacher-training projects of my own?’ and ‘what was I waiting to become a presenter in our institute’s annual seminar?’ and even ‘how engaged was I to my own professional development?’

Something’s gotta give…

I went home for my recess holidays with more questions than answers. I didn’t know where to start. I let it all simmer for a couple of days, and as I did so, I felt compelled to give Twitter another go. Little did I know (again!) that I’d be taking the definitive leap right there and then. There would be no going back after that. I was in it for quite a treat! I came across George Couros‘s blog The Principal of Change (part of Ronaldo’s crème de la crème) and after perusing it for a little while, I thought “what an interesting person! Let me watch his TEDx Talk.” It was as if he was talking to me. George Couros had finally helped me determine what was it exactly that I was soul searching for: my VOICE.

Way too many questions to my answers

‘Way too many questions to my answers’ by Németh Szilvia is licensed under CC by 2.0

Thank you Dan, Carla, Ronaldo, Isabela, Katia and George.

The Culture of Busyness

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Is ‘busy’ your middle name?

Read this… and think again.

Over the recess period, I spent loads of quality time with my family. Having decided not to travel, not physically at least, I took the time to connect with people who had something to say. I began by reactivating my Twitter account. And so my journey began…

On the second day of the new year, I came across this Tweet by @shareski:

The ‘anti-busy’ bit caught my eye. I decided to check it out. In his post “Let’s Stamp Out Busyness”, Shareski expresses his annoyance at the word ‘busy’ and how often it has been thrown around in day-to-day conversation. I instantly thought about – guess who – all of us, teachers. We are definitely a kind that has a lot on our plate, all the time, so you can imagine how it felt to read the following:

“I’m not suggesting your life isn’t full but for the most part it’s the life you’ve chosen. You can argue that sometimes it’s not, but you decided to have kids, you choose to work where you work, and you choose to be a good person and help others out.”  Dean Shareski

Shareski then argues that many of the people who constantly declare their busyness may actually come across as wanting to bring others down, as if not being busy all the time meant there’s something wrong with you, or you’re clearly not doing your job right, or even you’re just plain lazy.

I was blown away by Shareski’s honesty in this post. I wanted to read more on the subject, so I decided to check out his other suggestion – a great article by Tyler Wardis. In it, Wardis eloquently explains why busy isn’t respectable anymore, candidly admitting how being busy actually used to make him feel important, valuable, needed. I was compelled to read on.

According to Wardis, there has recently been what he calls “a widespread frustration with the perpetual busyness of life,” which has been raising more awareness of, as well as questions about the issue of ‘busyness’. He ventures into giving some answers himself, which for me turned his article into a must-read, but not before sharing a very interesting experience carried out by a friend of his, and finishing by proposing a challenge.
In the spirit of new beginnings, I invite you to read what these guys have to say about the culture of ‘busyness’. I will surely take on the challenge proposed by Tyler Wardis.
How about you?