A thank you note
This blog is about to turn one year old and I must say I’m rather surprised by that. I guess once we find out our true passion, it’s easy for us to keep doing things, huh?! But what exactly does that mean to me? Is it a landmark to be celebrated on its own? Not really. Is there a lot more behind this? I truly believe so.
I recently paid a visit to my very first posts, and I thought back about what motivated me to write the blog. What I had in mind is that this could serve as a nice place for reflection, and I believe this is still what I’ve been doing. I have shared lots of my personal beliefs towards language teaching and learning, and general education as well. I said once and I’ll repeat again: I believe I’ve “learned” more in almost a year of blogging than I did in 4 years of college. However, this doesn’t mean my education in college was useless. Much on the contrary. I don’t think I’d be able to profit as much if I hadn’t read and studied the basics. Would it be too much? I still remember Jason’s post referring to the sharing of information that takes place in blogs and social media in general as trying to drink from a firehose. And I can’t say he was exactly wrong. If one does not lean how to handle all this wealth of information, one is bound to be gobbled up by it.
However, how can one turn off so many interesting posts that lead us to reflections and to sometimes question our own beliefs? How can you simply decide you’re not going to participate in twitter discussions such as #edchat (I still remember the first adjective I hear to describe it was eye-ball spinning), and, more recently, #eltchat? The more we connect, the more we learn. I don’t think we have ideas because we have to be the very best at what we do at all costs. An idea, alone, can hardly ever be a great idea. It’s only through sharing, listening, discussing, changing our minds, and discussing again that big changes can occur. I recently heard an interview on the radio in which the interviewee was talking about a book whose author investigated the origins of good ideas. Do you believe in those ‘Eureka!’ moments? Apparently, none of the 250 inventions mentioned in the book happened that way. This is a short version of the author’s ideas:
I guess that’s pretty much in synchrony with what I believe in. My hunch is that in the near future people will start valuing informal learning a lot more than today. People have been forced to learn new skills, to collaborate, to think outside the box, to understand and tolerate differences. It doesn’t really matter if you know more in the class – information is easier and easier to find. The big question is: do you know how to look for the right answer? Is there anyone you can turn to?
How about your PLN? You still haven’t heard about this concept yet? There are just so many new ideas percolating on the Web these days that you can’t help but be a part of it. Learning is dynamic, and teachers have got to keep the pace. We’re trying to teach people to learn how to stand on their feet in a world we still don’t know what it will be like. But one thing is a fact, these students will need to be able to respond to change a lot faster, they’ll need to learn the power of collaboration, they’ll have to learn how to listen to one another.
This is what blogging for almost one yea has done for me. I started out following some of the tips I got mainly from Karenne, Shelly, and Burcu. I’m really happy to see that one year after I have started, these people are more and more responsible for my learning. I’ve made friends and connections I could only dream of in the past. All right, I have to say I’d love to have the chance to go to the US soon and talk to some of the friends I’ve made online, such as Brian. And what about going to Europe and getting to know many of the people in my PLN, some of which were people I really look up to and I never thought I’d ever have a chance to engage in conversation with! And I can’t forget the land down under, as Jason himself has been mentioned in this post. Luke, Herbert, Nick, Jason T., Kelly, Susi, Barbara, Cecília, Willy, Denilso, Sue… you know what, it’s just too hard to name them all, and it’d probably add at least another 1000 words to this post. Perhaps you should pay a visit to my twitter page and check the people I’m following. They’ve all been very important to me these days.
What have I got from blogging? A lot more than I could ever expect. Fortunately, I’ve never thought of it as a place to build me a name or anything like that. Truth be told, I didn’t really think I was going to get past the third post. But learning is fun, sharing is fun, blogging s a lot of fun as well. And the best part of blogging so far are the comments – which is why I’d like to thank each and everyone of you for helping me out on my journey of learning. I really appreciate each and everyone of the visits and comments I’ve had. And if there was ever anything that you disagreed with in one of my posts and you felt you’ve wasted your time reading it, think twice. You’ve helped this chump learn a bit more.
In case you’re interested in the full lecture given at TED by Steven Johnson, here it goes: