I don’t often write ‘inside info’ kind of posts, but in the last two days, I witnessed an amazing example of a learning network in action.
Twitter, a site I’m a huge fan of as many of you know, announced it would be going down for maintenance for most of Saturday. Since a number of us rely on twitter to keep us “in the loop” with a network of colleagues, a plan spontaneously hatched on Twitter for our whole network to “move” for the day to a different site, Pownce.
However, there’s one problem–Pownce doesn’t give unlimited access. You have to be invited, and each person only gets a few invites.
So, harnessing the power of web 2.0, a wiki was set up(I believe by Derrall Garrison), where you could post your email if you needed an invite to Pownce.
Once on Pownce, our learning network explored the tool and evaluated what they liked/didn’t like about it or how they could use it on their campus.
The amazing thing is that through the power of connections, and knowing a few handy tools, we literally MOVED a whole group to a new site within a day. We problem-solved, collaborated, and brainstormed in order to stay connected because it was important to our own learning.
This is the kind of a learning experience we would want for our students–for them to spontaneously identify a problem and possible solutions, to find the right tools to achieve those, to have the freedom to try out solutions, and to evaluate their choices. Even as an adult learner, it felt so empowering and energizing to be a part of this team approach. Imagine how powerful this would be for our students or other teachers on our campuses.
Do we give them enough opportunities to harness their own learning this way?
(P.S. By the way, Twitter didn’t end up going down, but through networking, we have a toolkit of ideas for “back-up.”)
One thought on “Lock, stock, and barrel”
This is exactly what I found amazing and empowering about the No Twitter Day experience. I found Pownce relatively more difficult to set up connections with others in my network. It’s a different kind of metaphor – more exclusive and elusive. Like anything, it would take a while to get used to. I like Twitter (maybe because I used it first), but Pownce is a great backup AND you can share files which is interesting. It is more like Myspace in that you have to swing from friend to friend to see who their friends are and then request an invite.
This whole migration story reminds me of a blog I read the other day (don’t remember whose) speaking about a bat flying in to a science room. While the bat was being caught, the class moved to another room where they spontaneously starting looking up bats. By the time it was caught, they hovered around the cage the bat was in and compared it to what they found online.
These are the moments that bring it all together.