Who would have thought you’d be able to learn anything from a message of 140 characters including spaces and sometimes an address. Certainly not me. So finding that joining Twitter has proved useful, has been a lovely surprise.
Just yesterday I did I search for a hashtag stream related to a hearing impairment and discovered information about new experimental software that has the potential to boost the output of a hearing aid. I’ve passed that onto my mum so that she can ask her audiologist about it, and also updated the Hearing Impaired Team with the news.
A few days ago I followed a Tweet link to the RNIB site and came upon a blog from a teenager with a visual impairment. I’ve recommended that link to a VI student and his family so that they can read about the positive experiences the blog writer had on a residential Action for the Blind adventure holiday. Hopefully it will encourage him to have the confidence to try the same. At the very least he’s thinking about responding to the blog writer – and who knows – maybe a new friendship will be formed.
Being able to create a list of Twitter users who are tweeting about issues to do with visual impairment (RE Vision) means I can now easily and instantly tap into current news and views about this issue.
Then there’s the discovery of the vast range of powerful online tools that are available. Because of this, I’ve been able to create a Symbaloo visual bookmarking webmix filled with 50 sites to investigate. It was only a few weeks ago, that I was aware of and just using 5 of the sites. Now I find I know of another 45 more and have already used 11 of these.
It’s also been integral to supporting my enthusiasm for the Load2Learn course – to have your learning horizons extended through the links to information and personal work tweeted by other course members (recent eg. Jane’s Talking Tins recommendation), to be able ask for advice and to receive positive feedback in real time – it’s really motivating.
And these are just a few of the myriad of examples I’ve found helpful, and which have become available to me seemingly overnight.
Not that Twitter is the only social media format you can choose to use to shape and broaden your Personal Learning Network (PLN). There’s Facebook, Ning and LinkedIn to name a few, and who couldn’t be but intrigued by the opportunities to mooc; drive; hangout; link; flip, bookmark, podcast. screencast, video, blog or be delicious.
It’s been fascinating how easily and quickly you can leapfrog the stepping-stones from one person, or thought, or idea, or recommendation to another and end up somewhere new, unexpected and often illuminating. And it’s especially powerful, because with this form of learning you can direct where you want to go, and for me (and I think for most people), that’s where and when you learn best – where your interest lies.
I enjoyed Michael Fawcetts clip below, who talks about how he developed his PLN and encourages others (in his own inimitable style) to follow suit.