Why blog? Why keep a journal? Why tweet? Why subscribe to podcasts?Why read?
One of the features of my data gathering was asking participants what they were reading, who they were listening to and who they were following. The questions were posed as part of ongoing email exhcanges over the course of a school term. There were no restrictions or rules; no expectations. But the underlying idea was to uncover the extent to which individuals were able to negotiate their own professional learning and connect to a wider learning network, beyond their immediate school and a local community.
I wonder how you would respond. Do the words read, listen and follow resonate?
My research demonstrated that some participants were not in the habit of using social media or alternative forms of connecting with people and reaching out to them. Some participants interpreted the ‘listening’ component as quite literally what they hear in their everyday world – the family, friends, and colleagues that inhabit their space. Similarly, the nuanced meaning of following that reflects the broad world of social media was lost.
- I am reading New Boy by Tracey Chevalier. It is an adaptation of Othello and I am enjoying reading this alongside teaching the play to year 11 students.
- I am listening to Hamilton, the Musical. Whilst I do subscribe to podcasts I don’t find I have long stretches of time in the car or on walks alone at the moment to take in a whole podcast. Music inspires me just the same.
- I am following #educoachOC and #womenEd #womenEdAus. These groups on Twitter inspire and challenge my thinking every day. The ideas discussed via tweets, chats, blog posts and articles shared inform my teaching and learning, take my own research in new directions and consolidate an online PLN. I have great respect for some of my new ” colleagues” online. And my working week would not be the same without ‘hearing’ their voice and following their debates and discussions.
So why? Why read and listen and follow the world that is wider than the one I literally, physically occupy? Because it enables me to flourish. And at the end of the day, I am responsible for my own professional and personal development.
Tell me, what are you reading, listening to and who are you following?