When I think of the mindset of allowing and encouraging educators to make their work visible, I instantly think of Shelley Wright and her blog, ”Wright’s Room”( http://shelleywright.wordpress.com/ ). I first encountered Shelley’s blog when I was researching “flipped” teaching for a blog entry (http://jeanklearnsonline.weebly.com/where-do-i-want-to-get-to.html ) back in December. Shelley Wright’s blog has gained recognition because she makes her work visible. For me, reading her blog has connected me to a like-minded educator who is taking risks, passionate about student learning and engagement, and professionally sharing her successes and failures along the way. At the time, I am certain I had no thoughts of “sharing” my own learning or even believing I had worthwhile experiences that would benefit others on a global scale. After I viewed Dean Shareski’s video, Sharing: The Moral Imperative (http://blip.tv/k12online/sharing-the-moral-imperative-4216381 ), the “obligation to share” as an educator has taken on new meaning for me.
Dean Shareski refers to educators sharing online in the past with social bookmarking (“ anonymous viewing of everyone’s bookshelf”), as a relatively easy option. In the online environment today, Shareski points out sharing takes more effort as we decide what, where and how to share. “The sharing and filtering of information is tough,” states Dean, but essential for our online global community as we all are the beneficiaries of the learning. With educators all involved in the same culture of sharing, everyone benefits. Our learning network becomes an integral part of our growth as educators.
Rodd Lucier, in his Clever Sheep blog ( http://thecleversheep.blogspot.ca/ ), illustrates how he values his online relationships with this diagram. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecleversheep/6952908477/ Notice that Rodd rates his unplug’d (Bringing together networked Canadian educators, who through their professional practice demonstrated wisdom, passion and a deep concern about what it means to be a teacher, a learner and a change agent, http://unplugd.ca/ ) as the highest in intellectual and emotional connectivity. The amount of sharing that benefits all the members and the relationships that are built on that sharing puts his unplug’d learning community at the top. How is my learning network taking shape as I expand my online networks through OLTD, Twitter and blogging? How would you illustrate your own learning connections?
Making learning visible for educators means you are opening yourself up to what is out in the global community that is online. “Openness” is explored through Alan Levine’s True Stories of Openness (http://stories.cogdogblog.com/ ). What happens that unexpectedly comes your way because you were open with your learning? My thoughts on this draws me back to Shelley Wright and her blog entry dated January 11 2013 called, “The Problem of Student Engagement” (http://shelleywright.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/the-problem-of-student-engagement/ ). Shelley states she would like to do her PHD dissertation on student engagement using participatory action research (“seeks to understand the world by trying to change it, collaboratively and reflectively”) and the use of student voice. Her tentative plan is to use a method likePhotovoice, to empower students to share what school is really like. Where I come in would be using my photography students to photograph the everyday events that comprise their school experience. Even though I had read on her blog she was not quite ready to begin, I posted my interest in her plan and offered my students as storytellers. Whether I hear back from Shelley or not, I know I have put myself out there to be “open” for an experience of sharing. In reading Wright’s Room, I have not only learned new approaches and ideas to teaching, I also feel I have a professional and emotional connection, and, who knows, one day Shelley may be contacting me to collaborate with her on a project of this nature.
Educators who make their learning visible are opening themselves up to experiences and learning opportunities that can only enhance their professional growth. Thanks to my learning network in OLTD, my status as a “lurker” is long gone and I am officially in stage three as an “insider” and rapidly encountering stage four, of colleague (http://thecleversheep.blogspot.ca/2012/06/seven-degrees-of-connectedness.html ). The quote by Ewan McIntosh, “Sharing , and the sharing online specifically, is not the addition to the work of being an educator; it is the work” (http://blip.tv/k12o nline/sharing-the-moral-imperative-4216381 ) seems to sum up what being a visible learner and educator in the 21st Century is all about. Are you in agreement?
Image by Rodd Lucier http://thecleversheep.com/