My network connections
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Several years ago my supervisor introduced me to Delicious, a social bookmarking application. I started using my original account to bookmark web development sites at work so I could spend more time exploring them at home. At work I use two different computers, and home I now have three different computers I might use for homework as well as paying bills, writing, and socializing. This application reduced the frustration I previously felt when trying to find a site that was important enough to save, but I couldn’t remember which computer I was on when I bookmarked it. It also saves me hours of trying to find previously identified information. At the beginning of this class I started a new account specifically for Instructional Design. I will continue to add useful sites throughout all of my classes so I will be able to find what I need wherever I am.
Currently, Walden University Portal, Lynda.com, and U-Learn best facilitate learning for me. I am using the Walden Portal the most because this class is my highest learning priority. U-Learn is a collection of books and lectures available to me at work. We are allowed to download 15 chapters per month. I’ve reached my limit for February already; last week I downloaded a book, Preparing Instructional Objectives by Robert F. Mager, as I am working with subject matter experts (SMEs) to analyze web pages they have written to determine those that have a purpose and answer a need for our clients as opposed to those that just give information. Working from this book I am developing a list of questions for the SMEs that will help answer the question of “So What?” or, “Why is this module of pages important to our overall mission?” Last month I completed a Lynda.com certificate on Time Management, which has helped me be more organized. I expect my new Kindle to be on my list of top digital tools as soon as I get more comfortable with it. As of today Mager’s book is loaded on my Kindle, so whenever I have a bit of time I can work my way through the rest of it.
When I need answers I either go to my bookshelf, Delicious, or Google, depending on what type of answers I need. At work I frequently refer to my hardcopy Chicago Manual of Style and my hardcopy chemical reference book (I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s about four inches thick). If I’ve found the information on a website in the past, I go to my Delicious account to see if I was smart enough to bookmark it. When I Google information, I’ve found that using a combination of search terms is the most efficient way to ensure I have a valid source. For instance, if I want to see if a specific biological term should be italicized (such as B. Anthracis), I add “journal” to the search. Reputable journals are the most likely sources to provide me with consistent, accurate answers. I know enough to know that it probably should be italicized, but not enough to be positive, so I go there looking for confirmation.
If I want to learn more about how my family and friends are doing, I turn to Facebook or my email. I’d rather socialize on the phone, but time and conflicting schedules are a problem, so I use digital tools instead.
My personal network supports the tenets of connectivism as defined by George Siemens in this week’s video, “a learning theory that integrates technology, social networks, and information”. I use technology (my computers) to connect to various social networks (Walden Portal, Facebook, Delicious, Lynda.com, U-Learn, and Linked-In) to learn about many different things. In an online article “Connectivism”, Edmunds and Kelly-Bateman define the principles of this learning theory based on information from Siemens. The principle that resonated the most with me was “Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning”. This is especially true with online education.
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism