Before Coetail, I was a happy lurker, connected to a lot of social networks. I used them to find information, to stay in the loop. I was following people with the same interests as mine.
Tom Whitby explained in Okay, I’m connected now what?
For me a connected educator is one who uses technology and social media to personalize learning for both personal and professional growth.
The big picture in being a connected educator is the idea that you as the educator are first connected to the general flow of information, and then secondly, focused on specific connections to drill down to the detailed needs specific to you, or your students’ needs.
When first joining the Coetail community, my only preoccupation was to read as much as possible, to write my blog posts and to comment on others posts.
At that time, I didn’t feel like a consumer anymore but as an active participant.
As Jeff Utecht describes in Reach:
What makes it a network is when you start using the collective intelligence of others to find information, resources, and collaborate on projects. The interaction between you and the people you have connected with, or who have connected with you, is what creates a network. Once those connections are in place, you can start using your network to learn, hence creating a Personal Learning Network.
I also realized that commenting on others’ blogs help me in my learning because they faced the same situations as me and I felt reassured.
Then as my learning journey continues, I found out that my PLN wasn’t following the same path. I needed to work on it! Yes, a PLN is not fixed. It’s a network that I needed to nurture. And it takes time!
Be authentic and be patient
As Dr Mark Wagner advises that it can be tempting to game the system or to cajole people into following you.
The more you reveal your humanity the more people will trust you, identify with you, and respond to your reflections and appeals. More importantly, the more you seek out the humanity in others, the more they will want to connect with you – and share with you.
He explains It’s takes perseverance to continue when you receive no replies to your requests, and it requires patience to build up social capitol.
And that’s how it had work for me. I realized that for months I was mainly thanking people for sharing. And then I also started to share on twitter (on top of my blog). But then when I needed advices for my final project, I had encouraging responses.
And conversations started…
I found out that Google+ was also a good place to find like-minded people, if you know where to look.
Right now, I’m using the Genius Hour community.
I also had to give tips on subjects that interest me
Now I wish that they could all connect because as Tom Whitby says
as individual thinkers we may be good, but collectively we are better. Convince a colleague to connect and we all benefit.