In Jeff’s Utech’s book, Reach, he mentions making the Web and networks work for you. This changed my perspective and the role I play within the internet. It also allowed me to take a look at how I interact with the web, both personally and professionally. Then, I found myself reflecting on a few things; Why is it that I’m a prosumer personally but more of a consumer professionally? Could I get my specialized knowledge and personal passions to work for me to build a network, the same way Jeff describes?
The Connectivist Theory then got me thinking, is the pipe more important than the content within the pipe? To me, it’s the synergy of it all that is important, personal, professional, pipe and all.
Geeking Out, Professionally
Say if someone were to create a Youtube channel or a Tumblr profile as mentioned in Mimi Ito’s article, one would first need to understand and apply the skills needed to set up their page or account before they can start producing and creating content. I know this because I’ve tried it myself, with my own personal Youtube channel and blog site.
In my personal experience, I have learned a lot about apps, programs, and platforms such as Do Ink, Filmora, & WordPress, by tinkering with them for my own pleasure, before realizing the potential benefits that these tools hold when seen through a professional lens. Seeing them in a whole new light just reinforces the synergy of it all and proves that learning is learning no matter the time, place, or intent.
There is so much learning that goes into those foundational tinkerings, that they often get overlooked or worse get negatively labeled as “messing around.” This misconception might occur from parent and/or teachers who don’t realize that actually, these interest-driven, passion provoked projects are far from negative. As stated in article, Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project “messing around is largely self-directed, and the outcomes of the activity emerge through exploration”. That statement echoes many of the common phrases uttered about 21st-century learning and classrooms. Messing around in this sense is personalized learning in its purest form. From Makerspaces & genius bars to low-tech learning spaces like loose parts. “Messing around” occurs at all ages and involves the some of the highest orders of thinking and engagement. By understanding, experimenting, & creating, the students are owning their learning and already ascending Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy.
Final Wonderings?? Bringing it all together
As someone who is still quite new to PLNs, I feel more comfortable starting with my specialized knowledge with the hopes of sharing, extending, and eventually building around that. Does your PLN reflect your specialized knowledge? Do you have separate personal “Specialized Knowledge Networks” (SKN) or are they merged into your PLN by default? Wondering how to navigate through it all. Thoughts?