Thursday, October 1, 2015

Come on in, the water's fine...but it's moving fast!
Jon Sullivan, Public Domain
Today is October 1 and is the first of 31 days of  connected activities during Connected Educator Month and I feel like it's time to get my feet wet again. A couple of weeks ago I came across a post on The Learner's Way by Nigel Coutts titled Why Build a Personal Learning Network.

Highlights from the post include the usual: building a case for collective knowledge, finding value in your own contributions, and getting past the day-to-day dealings that keep us gasping for more time as if were precious air.

We've heard it all before. But, there was something different here. Something so simple, yet so wise I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. It was the the most straightforward explanation of the power of  building a personal learning through social media. Anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed, lost, or felt like they were going to drown in the torrent of information on Twitter, Google+, or other platform can's OK. Social media is not like a bucket for "collecting ideas that you will later sort through and make sense of". Instead, it's like a "fast flowing stream that you visit when you have time. You enjoy the ideas that flow past while you are there, you grab the best ones for use at a later date and you let the rest float by."

Yes, it's OK to let things just float by. We don't have to grab onto and feel compelled to hold onto and sort through every bit of information. We should, however, visit the river when we can to revel in the moment of a refreshing idea. There are times when we take a daily swim, but there are also times when we just have to sit it out and wait for another day.

As Nigel so elegantly states: "If you are not watching the stream you don’t think about it, you just know it will still be flowing when you next visit and most likely some new idea will float by." 

-- Liane St. Laurent

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