The personal learning network for educators
It has come to that time of year that we all sit back and reflect on what went on in our lives over the last 365 days. For some of us older folk this yearly indulgence has become more of a legacy measurement than just a checklist of what was done last year. At this stage of my life I find myself in a unique position to help connect and engage educators in huge numbers and using methods that were not imagined a few years ago. I might say that this is an assessment of my digital footprint. I guess that this post is more for me than it is for others, unless some people view it as a possible model of accomplishment in a second career after education. The open secret to all who know me is that I am not a Tech wizard, and it is only through the use of Social Media and technology that any of these accomplishments could have been created having the effect that they have had.
SmartBlog on Education
One of my proudest accomplishments this year has come from my affiliation with SmartBrief. SmartBrief launched a new Blog for educators this past August. I was given the task of recruiting the best education bloggers available to contribute to the Blog. I viewed it as an opportunity to engage educators back into the national discussion on education that in my opinion had been hijacked by politicians and business people. The blog has been very well received getting 25,000 hits daily. Contributions from many of our best educator bloggers provide one or two posts daily.
The Educator’s PLN continues to grow. It was conceived and constructed to offer sources and connections to educators so that each educator has a source to develop a Professional Learning Network. The Ning site is fully funded by a not for profit philanthropic organization. The membership now exceeds 14,000 members. We have added a number of additional Pages this year to meet the need for additional sources for the members.
My Island View
I am still astounded at the way this Blog has been received by educators. It is a project that was originally for my own reflections. I was micro-blogging on Twitter and I needed a larger platform to expand ideas and vent frustrations. This was an experiment. I never expected anyone else to take an interest in what I had to say. (So much for my insight)
Edchat has been a great force in education through Social Media for over three years now. Thousands of educators recognize Tuesdays as Edchat Day. Over the last three years educators each week have been able to discuss the issues in education that were close to them. The discussions often started in the Edchat discussions seem to spill over to education blogs in days and weeks later. Five Topics are presented each Sunday with the top two selected topics being presented for the two Tuesday Chats.
#Edchat on Twitter Tuesdays Noon & 7 PM EST
My latest endeavor is in the area of Internet Radio. The folks at the BAM Radio Network approached the Edchat team about creating a show for Edchat. Our idea was to analyze and comment on the Edchat discussions taking place each week. We are also going to invite participants from each Edchat to participate on the shows. Each of the Edchat team members will be featured on the shows. Steven Anderson@Web20classroom, Shelly Terrell Sanchez @ShellTerrell, Nancy Blair@Blairteach, Kyle Pace @Kylepace, Jerry Swiatek @jswiatek, Jerry Blumengarten@Cybraryman1, Berni Wall @rliberni, and Mary Beth Hertz @MBteach.
I was both fortunate and honored to be invited by the Qatar Foundation to attend the WISE Summit, The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). I attended this international summit in the company of fellow blogger, and friend Steven Anderson. This was an eye-opening experience for us to begin to understand the needs of education on an international basis. The worldwide need for education to reach all children in consideration of all of the hindrances and obstacles can be an overwhelming task. Through the efforts of many of the dedicated people at this summit there are inroads being made. I was humbled and proud to be part of this endeavor.
LINKEDIN: The Technology-Using Professors Group
I started my Social Media adventures as a user of LinkedIN.www.linkedin.com/in/thomaswhitby/
Today I have almost 1,000 connections, mostly educators. This has become my professional Rolodex. I started my first education groups on LinkedIn and they are all still up and running. The first Group I ever started was The Technology-Using Professors Group. It has always been an active group for higher Education educators. Today its membership numbers at about 7,000 professors.
The one thing that has enabled me to accomplish any of what I have done is TWITTER. It is the backbone of my Professional Learning Network. I have tweeted 44,475 tweets. I am following 1,983 educators. I am listed on 2,111 lists of Tweeters. I have 26,964 followers. I view this all as a big responsibility to all to whom I am connected.
Thank you all and Happy New Year!