(This is step four in the free Teacher 2.0 course/"experience" at Mightybell - participate at https://mightybell.com/experiences/3ff5259e1c4d9948-Teacher-2-0.)
How has the Internet has impacted your own personal learning?
I keep an iGoogle page with the Google reader front and center. I subscribe to several, and read them regularly. I also use twitter and, lately, Google+. Favorites are Silvia Tolisano, Kim Cofino, Vicki Davis, Will Richardson, Alan Levine, Wes Fryer, Lee Kolbert, and Steve Dembo. I like following the blog as well as twitter and G+ posts.
I certainly get distracted. I find myself in the inch deep mile wide mode far too often. I find it difficult to go DEEP now, which is a horrible place for an academic to be! All those links, all those voices, all those databases (half of which are locked up tight) can be overwhelming. And, I think, Google has taught me to accept "good enough" because it doesn't seem possible to actually get to the "end" of information anymore. I am, of course, an old geezer. When I wrote my dissertation, you could actually choose a topic where you could become an expert. With the explosion of content (and I am talking about academic content as well as more informal content) currently available today, I am pretty convinced that the old days of owning a topic are far behind us.
So I spend a lot of time figuring out (for myself as well as my students) just what it is that I want to accomplish, and try to keep my eye on the goal instead of becoming paralyzed by the "noise". I let my context help me narrow my focus. And I try to use socially oriented technology tools to bring a steady stream of jewels to my desktop, which I pay attention to when I can.
Sometimes you just need the wisdom to know when to disconnect! Nothing is the right tool ALL THE TIME, is it?
Oh man, where to start…??? Like I said in a previous post, I mostly regard the Internet as a giant school for ME … because really, all I have to do is go online for a few minutes and then WHOOSH, I am swept away by all these things I want to learn about.
I am a voracious user of Google Reader. I am EXTREMELY excited about Google+. And, most of all, I LOVE GOOGLE BOOKS. One of my blogs, in fact, is called exactly that: http://ilovegooglebooks.blogspot.com - I blog about one book each day but I will never ever catch up to myself since in any given day I usually find several new treasures at GoogleBooks … and as for reading, of course I will never catch up to all of it. But that is the great pleasure of learning: it never stops.
I love reading these PDFs from GoogleBooks on my iPad. I can blow up the font REALLY large (I am super-nearsighted, so that is a big help to me), and I use GoodReader to scribble all over the pages of these Renaissance books. That still feels like magic to me - being able to run my fingers over the (digital) pages of a 16th- or 17th-century book, circling and underlining in all the colors of the rainbow. AMAZING.
When I meet people who are resistant to the new possibilities provided for by this technology, I am rendered kind of speechless. I mean, I love books - any kind of books. My house is full of books. But my computer is full of even more books that my house is now - because I have downloaded literally thousands of books from the Internet, including rare Renaissance books that I never thought I would get to see in my lifetime…!
In a word: WOW. Here is a book I just found this weekend that I am really excited about - a 17th-century edition of Polyhistor Symbolicus, an amazing collection of emblematic stories by Nicholas Caussin! There's no bookstore in the world where I could just walk in and buy this off the shelf... but GoogleBooks gives it to me for free. Yes, WOW is the word.
In a BbC session tonight on Social Media for Educators we discussed some of the facets surrounding these questions. We had a look at The Big Four (facebook, twitter, ning and google+) and of course covered Skype and BbC. My favourite place to look for new learning right now is in the Scoop It publications and the I also sprinkle in some leads from those I follow on Facebook and Twitter. I use Hootsuite to organise my streams coming from twitter....
I follow you Steve whenever i can and I follow the wisdom from many other American colleagues who use blogs or googlesites for distributing their knowledge. I follow a range of my Australian colleagues and like to find out what fields of fascination they are into and whether any of their links and resources may be of use to me. The web has become a much friendlier place for me to collaborate, collate and curate and believe it or not gmail is still the central space for receiving important information. I like the sites that send notifications to your gmail when something new has been posted e.g. Ning, Moodle etc. This helps me to 'manage' my web work.
Technology for me is a godsend and I personally believe that it is the best thing for learning that we have. My iPad for instance is my new BFF. My phone and camera travel with me everywhere and if I take a bigger handbag I can fit my iPad in too. This mobile technology enables, empowers and engages.
The internet is where I spend a large part of my day - it is my friend, my confidante, my teacher, my collaborator, my audience and my mentor.