The last month’s new learning

Posted on: August 1, 2011

A couple of months ago I watched the Apple keynote about embedding Twitter into iOS5 later in the year. I asked the question “What is Twitter?” Had heard of it of course and then passed it off as one of those American – young thing – fads that I didn’t need to concern myself with.

The next day I read a journal article by @kassiaowedekind and @bluskyz about using Twitter for professional development in the education world. And I had to ask the question again, “What is Twitter?” and what was I missing out on?

It was time to find out – two mentions in two days for me is not coincidence, it’s a call. Scared that I was missing something huge I became a sheep, found the website, signed-up and then thought ‘now what?’ Reread the article. Taking the hashtag discussions listed in the article as a starting point I checked them out and picked out people who sounded interesting and had what looked like sound ideas to start following – especially people who had their own blogs or daily papers ( Yes, I admit that gave me more questions that needed to be answered, but I’ll get back to that).

A week or so later was the end of the school year with a lot of friends that I had leaving the school, and some leaving the country. On with the task of getting email addresses and phone numbers for their own countries right? WRONG! Sure, I got a few emails but with the statement of they were hardly ever checked. Now I know this one. I am great at checking my inbox, everything with me is Apple (MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone) so I have no excuse, I am great at answering emails if someone sends me one, but I am LOUSY at writing emails to get in touch with others. I’m not even good at making phone calls unless necessary. So what was the next statement I heard “Why aren’t you on FaceBook?”

You have to be kidding me? First, I had been avoiding that one for years scared by the hype of people getting hold of you that you did not want to renew any kind of relationship with, everyone knowing everything about you. Second, I had just started with Twitter, surely enough for one person to handle at a time.

Alas, I was wrong. Ok, so my first point was unfounded (well according to everyone else) and my beliefs were because I had not researched it. My friends then spent the last day of term, in school and in the pub afterwards, coming up with a hundred reasons why I should get onto FaceBook.

So what did I do? I became a sheep again. I promised to look into it!

Three days later I am not only enjoying reading about what is going on in the wide world of teaching on Twitter, but I am signing up for a FaceBook account cause I know there would be friends that I would lose otherwise. Some of my worries about the medium were crushed by ensuring that only friends could see or do anything on my ‘wall’. And this time I really lucked in. FaceBook scanned my email account and then wanted to scan Skype (yes, that was scary), found a couple of contact infos that it recognized and sent them a note to say I was around. Then I just sat back. It was amazing! Within an hour all the people that had been in the pub a week earlier were now clambering to be my friend on FaceBook. The weirdest thing ever!

Of course, I was also checking in on my Twitter account. There was I, who had only used my laptop for my Uni work and downloading movies, used my iPad for pretty much the same reason, sitting in a pub on holiday (cause they are the only places in our village that have wifi, oh and beer of course), giving occasional comments to those I was following on Twitter and hoping that the ‘if I follow you, will you follow me’ theory was real. Not that I was sure I had anything awe-inspiring to say and could therefore give back a lot, but I wanted ideas, needed to learn!

That was the reason for me starting my MA Ed, and that was the reason I took the plunge into Twitter. My old brain is getting worse by the day and time seems to be on fast forward. Everyone over the age of thirty-five will tell you that! So anyway, there I was reading tweets from a variety of people and wondering how they manage to get their opinions across with only 140 characters when I realized that part of the tweet was a link (yes, I am slow aren’t I). I had seen them, pondered them and finally dared to press!

And there it was. A third world that I had missed completely! Daily papers with a number of different contributors, personal blogs full of ideas. Of course I had heard about ‘blogging’, even been expected to contribute to one for my course but didn’t, but yet again I put it down to something that the younger set did. I’m too old for that kind of thing aren’t I?

Apparently not. Yet again, after lots of research into different blog providers and reading other people’s blogs, I have embarked on a journey into another world to see what happens next!

I can’t promise that I will write anything that anyone else would want to read. I can’t promise that I will regularly write anything at all. I can’t even promise that I will open up the site again! What I think I can promise, even if it is only to myself, is that I have opened another part of my learning and will make sure I learn something from it!


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