1. When I first saw your tweet about Socially Learning, I was hesitant to join another social networking site. Do I have the time to check something else? After following along with your conversation with @flourishingkids, @kellypower, and @KMP444, I quickly became swayed to join. I've spent some time tonight trying to figure this website out, and I'm excited to spend some more time on it too.

    I don't necessarily think that there's a harm in signing up for a site like this, and then deciding if you're going to remain an active member of not. For me though, when I choose to do something (be it tweeting, blogging, or joining Socially Learning), I don't tend to make this commitment unless I'm serious about sticking with it. To me this commitment is important, and that's why I often don't "play" unless I'm serious about wanting to "work" with the tool.

    This is a "me problem" though, and I don't think that it's a reason not to jump in, play around, and see what the site offers. So today, I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance on something new, not knowing if it's something I'm going to want to stick with or not. Thank you George for being one of the four people that encouraged me to take this risk. Maybe this is what "playing" is really all about!


    • George

      I seriously have no idea how many sites I am logged in but I just always add new sites I sign up for in my "subscriptions" folder on gmail. That way if I forget that I signed up for it already, there is that track record (I love gmail).

      The "me problem" for myself was the perfectionist bit as well. Don't do anything unless I do it great. My philosophy now is that I need to take risks and try some of this stuff out if I am going to expect students to do that. If a student wants to sign up for prezi in a teacher classroom and try it out, they should be able to play. They should not be held to the standard, "If you sign up, you better use it." Let them play! If we want them to do it, we need to as well 🙂

      Thanks again for your comment!

      • Good point, George! This "playing" part is important (I know it is), but the perfectionist part in me too doesn't want to sign up unless I'm going to use it well. Maybe I need to sign up simply to see what it offers. In this case, I'm glad that I did, and I'm having fun playing around on a new site. Thanks for being one of the people that encouraged me to take this risk!


  2. Kelly Power

    George, this is so true. There is no harm in trying anything like this as long as we give it a good shot and look at it as a way of learning. Being like-minded as you and Aviva have shared, the perfectionist in me was hesitant to just "try it" and explore. What if I'm not perfect at it? What if I can't keep up with it? What if… What if… What if…. However, knowing that I had the support and encouragement of my twitter colleagues, I knew I could "muck about" and we could decide together how to make it work for us. Thanks for the nudge.

  3. Anne De Manser

    This is the first time I've commented on one of your articles George, but I have become an avid reader of your blog (along with countless others that I discover that I just 'have' to follow every day!)

    My husband ( also a teacher ) confronted me with this question last night while I was overwhelming him by trying to give him a 5 minute overview of why he should use Google reader and what marvels I have discovered while 'playing' with it.He said I was giving him information overload and he needed to digest some of it before moving on. And then he asked, "How do you keep track? You are the Assistant Principal, the chorus director of the school play, you're studying for your Masters, our Yr 12s are getting close to exams, we have 3 pretty demanding children of our own let alone the 200 at school and now you're reading 25 different blogs every day, tweeting, facebooking and talking about writing your own Blog! When will it be enough? How can you do justice to all these things?"

    I don't know the answer to his question. I just know I have to keep playing with it all, trying stuff out and discarding what doesn't fit.

    Heading of to join up to Edudemic now 😉

    • George

      Thanks for commenting Anne. I think that a lot of learning from a blog comes from the comment section and selfishly I enjoy it because I get to read other people's viewpoints and thoughts.

      When you talk about reading other blogs, is it any different than taking a course while teaching? Many of us have done our masters degrees while still being in the classroom, but I hope one day that what we do online is considered as important (if not more) as pursuing a degree. You spend time learning from books, articles, and people in your class but here I am learning from a ton of people on many different things. One costs more and gives you that piece of paper that many schools need for you to move into administration, but I am wondering right now which is the more valuable way to spend my time?

  4. Karen Szymusiak

    I appreciated this post. When we start judging the worthiness of a network we are in trouble. I see this as another opportunity to collaborate with others. When I choose to join I am opening doors for thoughtful conversations. No one knows the potential for learning from those who join. If we truly believe in the power of collaboration, we make decisions to join groups because we have something to say or something to learn from others. Joining or not joining is a personal decision to broaden your PLN. I worry about the twweets I read yesterday that were critical of this and other networks. It defies the collaborative vision we need in education.

    • George

      Thanks for your comment Karen. One of the things that I actually got out of joining was that I met several different people that I had not been able to see their work on Twitter or anywhere else. I try to add as many educators to my Twitter feed as possible so that I have the opportunity to learn from them. If I spent one day on that site and connected with 10 new people on Twitter that are educators, was it not worth it?

  5. George, I completely agree that educators need to get out and explore and play when it comes to technology. But, the site that Edudemic has created. Is it needed? The EDU PLN which has been around for almost a year and has 4000 members is virtually the same thing. Same format, same idea, same everything. The problem we are soon going to face (if not already) is Social Media Overload. There are all ready so many great places for educators to learn and grow from each other, yet it seems like everyday that someone comes out with a new site for them to learn and grow. At some point it is going to be too much and it will turn teachers off and then we will be back where were a few years ago. So play is important, but is "over stimulation" a problem? Do have have too many places for educators to learn and grow and play?


    • George

      Thanks Steven for your comment. I agree that the over stimulation can actually turn people and scare them off but I do not think we will moving things backward. It will just lead to people discarding things. I remember that I use to use facebook ALL the time but found more productive ways to spend my time and Twitter was the site that I had spent the most time. Looking at all of these sites I always wonder if there is something that will give me as much value as Twitter? Right now I can't see it.

      The EDU PLN ( http://edupln.ning.com/ for those who do not know where it is located) has been around for awhile and is established. It definitely has some great resources there and I think I may even be a member. The problem I had with the Nings were that there were so many of them! I joined several groups and the exact same stimulation you talked about before was basically why I really don't use any of them at this point. There just were too many of them! From your experience, is it better to leave an account dormant and just stay, or is it better to shut the whole thing down completely and just delete your account?

      I think that for myself, one of the learning experiences that I may get from this new site, that I would not get from the EDU PLN is seeing it grow from such an early stage. Our school is moving forward with our own type of "buddypress" site in September and I am curious to watch a site grow from the beginning stages. The learning environments that we create for ourselves should serve our own purposes as well because as educators, we have to grow for our students and what we are doing at our school. I am not sure where that site will go, but I think learning from the process and actually seeing if it will prosper or fail is something that I am curious of seeing and learning from.

      Thanks for your comment Steven 🙂

  6. Cyndie Jacobs

    Okay George. I've signed up and activated my SociallyLearning account. Now what??

    • George

      Too be honest Cyndie, I have no idea what to do now. My idea is that it is the process of playing around and learning that will be the best for us. This would be constructivism at its best. From Wikipedia http://bit.ly/aiypWN

      "Constructivism is a theory of knowledge that argues that

      humans generate knowledge and meaning from their experiences."

      Sometimes the process is more important than the end goal. It is WAY more fun though if we go through these processes together. I am going to use this experience so that I can see what I can do with these types of sites for my own school.

  7. Hey there,

    I've set up my account and played around with it (because i'm a geek and love playing with new things as well). For me it's all about fitting into my daily routine. When I can check something from my mobile phone/iPhone while waiting in line or from my MB while transitioning from one project to another, then it works for me. If I can tweet it out right from there, then even better. When all my social medias interact and work together then I'm sold and effective. What i'm not sure about is how this one is different than having a facebook page for Ontario Educators or Canadian Educators or Tweachers and tweeting it out to get people to join? I've yet to see the big sell. We've all seen many, many NING's and wiki's designed to bring groups together flutter and fail. If they aren't part of our daily routine, they just kind of flop. On the other hand pretty much everything can be brought into our RSS readers now… So maybe that's the key?

    Still not sold, but remaining open minded.

  8. Greta Sandler

    Hi George! I really like your post and I love the discussion this post has led to. I totally agree with you, there's no harm in playing around with a site. Not only do we get to learn, but also enjoy the process. I'm also curious about seeing where this site goes.

    I'm amazed by what's been going on since people started tweeting about the site. Lots of educators have already joined and I've also noticed that many groups have been created. I've even found some interesting people on it too! I believe that many people started joining the site, right after reading about it on twitter.This is another great example of how powerful a PLN can be. People are willing to jump into new experiences, learn from each other, and discover new possibilities together. This is absolutely inspiring and motivating.

  9. Great topic – don't forget that your digital footprint is not just what you say about yourself – it is also what others say about you ( on your content and else where) and also data that describes what you do and how you do it. Social media is just one aspect of the footprint

    best – Tony

    • George

      I think that is a great point Tony. My question to you would be what if you were nothing but positive, and then negative things were being said by you? What happens to the student who is cyberbullied with a ton of untrue information posted about them? What would someone do in that instance?

      Thanks for your comment.

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