When delivering my first ever keynote in Wellington, I made a promise that I would reveal my baby steps as I began developing my own personal learning environment.
My journey began after hearing Dr Ross Todd speak about Guided Inquiry. As part of the seminar, he introduced me to a new term, Web 2.0. and thereby opened my eyes to an array of tools that I continue to use, promote and enjoy every day. He spoke passionately about the need for us to push hard against the expectation that students “power down” when they get to school. Librarians in general, but perhaps school librarians in particular, need to understand the importance of this notion, and leverage the opportunities it provides to be leaders within our spheres of influence. Every industry in the world is waking up to the realisation that we have to meet our people, customers, clients, students where they are – and that is online. For us in libraries, it’s about being relevant, engaging and timely.
And so my journey began. The following is a link to my first foray into the world of Web 2.0. In my first website, I attempted to keep track of the tools I was discovering, writing about the ways in which I might use them, or how they might be useful to teachers and/or students.
The power of my first web space is not in its beauty or organisation – that is truly terrible! The power lies in all that it taught me. I learned how to upload, embed, locate and use code (without ever having to learn too much about programming). I found out about other blogging platforms and website builders that were available and, more importantly, usable to beginners like myself.
I found wonderful tools, and was able to trial them in a way that was useful and relevant, and that gave me an opportunity to assess them and potentially promote them to teaching staff and students. This in turn positioned me as the expert within my school – I was the early adopter. This led directly to collaborative opportunities.
As I beavered away in this fascinating new environment, I read other blogs, found out what a PLN was, and realised to my astonishment that I was developing my own personal learning environment. I followed what I discovered was the classic pattern of early obsession, and wondered if I would ever reach the described nirvana of balance. I’m still wondering!
So, here is the link, do with it what you will. I give it to you not as an exemplar, simply as a record of my baby steps, and I hope that you are encouraged to take some baby steps of your own.
If you’d like to get an idea of what I truly gained from these early experiences, you might check out our newly launched library website – in which my role was research, choice of platform, project management, site architecture and content. Kudos to Plato Design for their web design and development skills in giving our ideas life, but more on that in another post.