Nomad, migrant, lurker, blogger or networker?

This time I’ll put myself on a web participation map by using some blog posts that have touched me. First I take a post of Wolfgang Greller. He considers himself as a veteran moocer, a migrant that comes again and again, and seems to enjoy the way he participates. He sees happy participants around him, a respectful community. Wolfgang’s blog got me to think that why I am not as happy as he. What is wrong in my attitudes or are my experiences (I am a veteran, too) so different that I have not-so-positive feelings.

The blog post that got me to write was Alan Cooper’s answer to Jenny Mackness’s blog post about a selfish blogger (a concept coming from Tony Bates week in Change11 course). Alan told that he follows moocs through others’ blogs for instance Jenny, and this touched me because I behave in the same way. I have no need to subscribe to courses, I want to be free and follow everything I want. So the concept Selfish Blogger interested me, it is just what I am (and Alan and Jenny). Perhaps “selfish” is not a good concept, independent could be better?

A blog is an own place to gather everything needed, wanted, for reflection and evaluation. Discussion around blog posts was considered by Tony, Alan and Jenny. Tony saw that discussions of Change11 happened in blogs (he was a facilitator during one week). Is this a problem, was Tony’s question. Or is it a normal way of participation in moocs. Alan thought that” postings in small isolated blogs can be integrated into larger discussions. And he wanted to go further to add that if we believe in open, networked learning then we should strive to make that integration as effective as possible. One step in the right direction is to integrate trackbacks into the comment stream.” That is something I can agree with.

Still one touching blog post: Dan Pontefract describes variability of possibilities to participate digitally. His diagram gives interesting concepts: Access to digital world is not clear in all countries, it is good to keep in mind. Collaborative Learner got me to remember “visitors and residents“, that description of David White (Oxford University) which I appreciate greatly.It helped me to understand my living in web, sometimes as a resident and sometimes as a visitor.

It is time ” to re-categorize the foolish Prensky and Tapscott terms of Net Generation, Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants into a classification that encompasses all ages and takes into account the realities of access and participation level” – thanks to Dan Ponterfract for this sentence.

Willing Participant sounds suitable for mooc participation, not because of technical problems but lack of time. Almost everyone tells that I should read more and think more and participate, but I have my work and family and other interests.

What have I learned by writing this post? I need new concepts for understanding behavior in digital worlds. Autonomy is not a peace of cake, it’s hard work in which you have to find yourself again and again. Thanks to the bloggers I mentioned – I used you all as my critical, narrative friends in my learning journey. See you again!

Resident and visitor

I greatly enjoy the definings of residents or visitors in the web, given by TALL blog (Online education with the University of Oxford). It is not about academic or technological skills, it is about culture and motivation. I am not a digital native, I am an immigrant but I love the openness of web culture and I am motivated to participate online. I am an online teacher with no classroom teaching. So, am I a resident in the web?

The resident is an individual who lives a part of her life online. The web supports the projection of her identity and facilitates relationships. She has an persona online which she regularly maintains. This persona is normally primarily in a social networking sites but it is also likely to be in evidence in blogs or comments, via image sharing services etc   She will  use the web to socialise and to express herself. She is likely to see the web as a worthwhile place to put forward an opinion. In fact the resident considers that a certain portion of their social life is lived out online. The web has become a crucial aspect of how to present oneself and how to remain part of networks of friends or colleagues.

The Visitor is an individual who uses the web as a tool in an organised manner whenever the need arises. They may research a specific subject. They may choose to use a voice chat tool if they have friends or family abroad.  They always have an appropriate and focused need to use the web but don’t ‘reside’ there. They are sceptical of services that offer them the ability to put their identity online as don’t feel the need to express themselves by participating in online culture in the same manner as a Resident.

I am definitely a resident in my professional life as a teacher and developer. I have a permanent blog in Finnish and a network around it. I participate in Finnish networks of social media and follow happenings also globally. I have an identity as an online teacher, it is a part of me. But I am not a resident in my private life, I only follow my daughter and her friends in FB but I don’t tell about myself there. I recieved some congratulations on my birthday, it was nice of course.

I am open in professional questions, I allow others to learn about my mistakes and I don’t worry about criticism. It is voluntary to read my blog. I have no spam or nuisance in Finnish, we have a language  that nobody can follow 😉 My teaching materials are open to colleagues but the learning environment of my institute is closed, I cannot change it. My blog is open and I have nothing against open teaching. Freedom is important to me, I hate schedules and orders..

I am a visitor in Twitter , I haven’t found my role there, only follow CCK09 via Google Reader. I am a visitor in FB, I like to see videos that my networked colleagues put there but I am not active myself. I have goals and I select my tools, I do not live in the web all the time. My focus is in learning and educational culture, not in technology.

Transparency is related to openness. Openness is most often related to content. Transparency involves making our learning explicit through forums, blogs, presentations, podcasts, and videos. Throughout CCK09, George Siemens made the statement that “when you are transparent in your learning, you are teaching others”. He continues: Most people, however, are uncomfortable taking the risk of posting half-baked ideas publicly. Trust and personal sense of security is important for learners. Learning is an act of vulnerability.

Yes it is, I could say. When I began blogging two years ago I was vulnerable and I had stopped if I got strong critique but I recieved positive comments and continued. Now I do not bother myself with this vulnerability question, I analyse happenings and ask feedback if I need. Sometimes I ponder why it is so hard to build connections in for instance CCK09? All my friends are from CCK08 or real life, only Frances that I began to follow this year and some outside the course but links found there. This is normal network life, isn’t it?