Getting to Know You: How I make time for social, networked learning

By Liz Renshaw

“Ever wondered about the participants in Change11 and wanted to know more about them? I have sometimes pondered about these people from different corners of the globe? What brings them to Mooc- land at this moment in time? How do they go about managing their own learning in this open environment?

I floated the idea about doing participant profiles with the crew working on this blog calendar. The idea started to grow, and I tentatively approached some people in the Change11 network. With some guiding questions to help shape their responses everyone was willing to ‘give it a go’. Their posts attest to the rich diversity of life experiences that Change 11 participants bring to our network. They speak in open and honest voices and I hope that you find their stories as engaging as I have. A big thanks to all participants who have invested much time and energy in making these features possible.”

Today we welcome to the Blog Calendar world Brainy Smurf …………………..

Stressed out? Overloaded with information?  Never enough time in the day?  I am proud to say that’s not me and here’s why:

I choose to spend a fair chunk of my day wandering like a knowmad through the events and artifacts of #change11, #ds106 and #cck12.  I have no worries about juggling three massive open online courses at once.  I know that whatever I get out of each of them is exactly proportional to whatever I put into them.  A little taste here, more in-depth looks there, no problem.

Creativity through connectivity

Although I am a learning ‘designer’ in the public sector, I don’t think of myself as overly creative or artistic.  I tend to be more detail-oriented, linear and logical so reviewing The Daily Create assignments in ds106 is one way that I have purposefully immersed myself in the company of new people and new ideas, especially ones that seem like wild tangents from my own.  I am able to connect the dots in many new combinations now and that sounds pretty creative to me.

I find that connective learning repeatedly triggers serendipity that draws me back day after day: that delightful unearthing of little gems of insight that I likely wouldn’t have been exposed to by other means.  It’s the payoff for being open to learning and working as if I am sampling from a huge buffet prepared by dozens of chefs, not eating from a fixed menu.

Now that I’ve chosen to experiment with HootSuite and Diigo and live Twitter events such as #lrnchat, I find it hard to remember a time without these tools.  I feel nauseous at the idea of being restricted to email overload and cluttered shared drives as my only sources of knowledge.  How do people actually get anything done that way?  For me, a personal learning network that is driven by collaborative, customizable technology has huge Twimpacts on my week.  It’s like having a set of living encyclopedias at my desk that are always opened to a helpful page.