Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Connections

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.

1 comment:

Brent MacKinnon said...

Nice post describing the space where you are considering expanding (hovering over) your range/type of participation. You are getting closer by the tenor and words in your post. I liked what you said because so much of your description resonates with my own hovering style. The sirens beckon..