Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Image: 'How Small Can Big Be' - www.flickr.com/photos/8523711@N05/2182689585

For the past few weeks, I've been participating peripherally in CCK08 (Connectivism & Connective Knowledge), the massive open online course that is being facilitated by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. While I'm not nearly as involved with this course as I'd like to be, I do feel as if I've gained a lot through my participation. George and Stephen are to be commended for their efforts in pulling this off so smoothly - I shudder at the prospect of trying to coordinate regular uStream and Elluminate sessions with a potential audience of over 1900 students. While there have typically only been about 50 participants in these sessions to date, they've pulled it all off without a hitch :-) Kudos!

I have always been intrigued by the value of networks. Networking with others is, and has always been, a key indicator of success. I have friends and family members who are in business for themselves, and they all say that networking is the single biggest key to their success. Of course, networks take many different forms and have many unique functions.

Through my involvement with ManACE (the Manitoba Association For Computing Educators), I network a lot with some very well connected technology educators around the province. I have gained a great deal of knowledge through my participation on the ManACE board. I have also contributed a great deal through my involvement with this organization.

I value the knowledge I have acquired through my role in my various interpersonal networks. However, I'm only just beginning to develop and explore the learning opportunities that exist as a result of my participation within various online networks.

I've dabbled in Facebook and dickered with Second Life. I'm tweeting more with Twitter and can't get by without an RSS ticker. I'm well versed in all things web 2.0 and I see the potential that exists to glean knowledge from my online networks.

Over the years, I can honestly say that I've experienced an equal amount of give and take through my face to face connections with others. But when it comes to my online connections, I've been too much of a lurker for too long. I've lingered on the fringes of my online networks and I've collected a bunch of knowledge that I've really only been sharing effectively with small groups of people through my traditional networks. I have come to the realization that I need to find more ways to give back to some of the people in my online networks. It's time for me to find more ways to reciprocate and share some of the knowledge that I've been guarding.

Knowledge doesn't do anyone any good if it's locked away somewhere and is not being shared effectively. The time has come for me to focus on the maintenance of my connections and ensure that information and knowledge continue to flow through me. It's time for me to give back and strengthen my connections.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Raising Your Voice

Image: 'Me suena' - www.flickr.com/photos/40421323@N00/2875972610

If you've got something important to say, what's the best way to make sure that people hear it?
Easy... tell someone.

But let's say that you have an idea that you think could change the world... how does one little person get their one little idea out into the hands of everyone else in the great big world? Is it enough just to raise your voice in order to make sure that you're heard by more people?

I think not. This is where the title for this blog post originated. Rather than raising your voice, I think the real issue becomes: 'How do you talk so that people will listen?' If you're trying to really implement change, do you have to tell lots of people, or just tell the right people?

I think Google's onto something with Project 10^100. Encouraging people to share their innovative ideas in a public forum will lead to some amazing thinking. I can't wait to see the innovation that is generated from this venture. Of course, the ideas will really be brought to life when people start to talk about them and create some buzz. Ultimately, whatever Google sires through this project will be far greater than the sum of its collective parts.

Talking so that people will listen is a concept that I've been tossing around in my head for some time now. I don't like to raise my voice, yet I do like to be heard. So how do I get my message across?

I'm still trying to find my voice.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Identity. Identit(ies)?

Who are you? Who do you want to be?

Identity. Identit(ies)?

That's the allure of the internet for many people today. The fact that, through our online lives, we can be anyone we want to be. This is the reason that social networking sites have grown so entrenched in society today. This is also the reason that so many virtual worlds are thriving. The internet allows everyone to be who they want to be, even if it's just for a little while.

For a long time, I've struggled with deciding who I want to be. In real life, I'm lots of people. Those people close to me know me as a family man. Those people with whom I work may know me as an educator. Some of the people I serve on boards and committees with may think of me as an innovator. In real life, I am many different people and sometimes the boundaries can become quite blurred. For example, as a father of two young girls, I sometimes teach my children lessons as a teacher would do for their students. As an educator, I often try to tie ideas and people together to support mentoring and collaboration.

Online, I have a lot of identities that compliment my real-world identity. While some people create various online identities to fill a void that exists in their real life, I try to use my online identities to further develop aspects of my real life. But I don't think that I've been as successful with this as I'd like. I spend a lot of time managing my online identities - too much time. Managing your online identity is something that I think too many people overlook.

Managing multiple identities can be tough. All identities, real and virtual, need to be nurtured in order to survive and flourish. I've seen a number of my online identities flourish and then flounder because they haven't been given the attention that they deserve.

My identit(ies). That's what this blog is all about. I've dabbled in blogging for a few years and, to be honest, I don't think I've ever done it really well. I've never really stuck with it or been commited enough to it. In most cases, I've blogged as a way of documenting my real-life adventures. My blogs have each served a specific purpose for a fixed time and place, documenting and developing various aspects of my real life. I've always moved too quickly on to the next chapter or the next tool, prematurely ready to adopt new identities that haven't always meshed with my existing identities.

Enter TECH Talks. This is where it all begins for me again. You see, I've had some time to think about which identities I'm prepared to grow and nurture, and which identities are going to fall by the wayside - so long, and thanks for the memories.

This blog will be a place where I can play with my identities. A place where people can come to learn all about me. TECH Talks will be both a forum for me to share some of the things that I've created, and it will be a place to highlight some of the things that have been shared with me.

In establishing the TECH Talks blog, I'm not just creating a new identity that's on par with all my other identities. This is the one that matters. This is what it's all about.

TECH Talks is how I want to be seen.
It's the me I want to be.

My new identity.