Virtual educational bonds

I had the amazing experience this weekend to meet up, for the first time face 2 face,  with one of my foremost gurus and mentors, Bronwyn Stuckey (@bronst).  Up to now, she has just been this person, far away, yet close, who helps me when I am stuck, points me in the right direction when I am stumped by googled multitude knowledge overmation. She has been my filter of “good learning stuff” and my way of keeping on the edge of the latest information in my field of passion, namely educational communities of practice. And all of this via twitter.
What makes this so amazing and special is the fact that she lives all the way down under in another time zone. Yet she is always there for me. She is an essential cog in my Personal Learning Network (PLN). There is just no better way to learn that this. I got to know her way back when I was doing literature research and discovered her devotion and inspirational work and research which provided me with a minefield of juicy stuff to chew on (so to speak- mindfood).
Where I found my own supervisors unavailable, unreachable and always to busy to have time for me, my omnipotent PLN made it possible for me to have access to the top minds globally in my field, including @bronst. And what is more amazing is that my PLN gives me unconditional learning opportunities -on demand. And all of this via twitter.
So if anybody tells me that twitter is an irrelevant silly tool, I present to you @bronst (and all the other amazing people in my twitter PLN). After 3 years of twitter learning and sharing and the occasional Skype sessions, meeting face to face felt like an emotional fusion of what we have already created online virtually. The other amazing thing is that we have created and presented a weeklong online workshop  during a conference, without ever meeting face 2 face. We just had that online learning bond that we created via our online PLN.
As she said, we could have talked for hours (and hours) but the fact that we just had a few hours to touch base F2F did not matter as we knew that our learning pathway is forever there via twitter and any of the other learning platforms that we run into each other across the learning landscape. We had this virtual educational bond and it felt that I have known her F2F forever.
So, teachers, find yourself a few learning partners to sustain you. Learn from them and maybe you will be blessed to meet up with them F2F  (or not) along your learning pathway.


Twitter motivation

A lot of us have the problem that most web 2.0 tools, that can assist in learning and teaching, are blocked by our school/departmental firewalls. In the proccess of keeping systems safe, a lot of good learning is also being blocked in the process! So, we have started a debate on our wiki at to see if we can motivate the realease and use of web 2.0 tools provided that we can adequately motivate the use of the tool in support of teaching and learning!

This morning my colleague has asked me to motivate the use of Twitter (and other tools) to be allowed through our firewall. With the help of my twitter network, I am planning to create a comprehensive motivational list to convince the “powers that be” to open up my favourite learning and sharing tool!

If you want to take part, read the listand

  • Add your motivation by commenting
  • Twitter it using the tag #twittermotivation or
  • Reply to me @maggiev in twitter

So far we have:

  • You can get instant Assistance and feedback, not only from your own network, but from a global constituency of practitioners in your field
  • It can act as a way to stay up to date in your subject field (lifelong learner roll)
  • It’s the ultimate resource for crowdsourced intelligence, opinions, and debate (from a twitter contact) (@woganmay)
  • You can “learn over the shoulders” of experts and specialist in your field
  • You can stay up to date on issues relating to your subject
  • You get instant notifications of events, workshops and conferences in your field
  • You are notified of the latest cutting edge resources and articles in your field