George Siemens, one of my favourite writers and speakers, tweeted a fantastic article the other day from Scientific American, on “How Networks Are Revolutionizing Scientific (and Maybe Human) Thought”. It discusses the nature of networks and how this adds meaning to existence. Of particular interest to me was the spread of ideas via social networks and the importance of having ties beyond our immediate network of friends, relatives and colleagues.
I have always promoted that we should develop our networks and the tools of today only make this easier. Twitter (where I am very lucky to read many of George’s tweets), among other social networking sites, all help to connect and ensure as a teacher, I can share and develop my ideas and maintain perspective in my very busy job. It’s so important to get connected with like minded individuals and stay connected with them. for example, it is one thing to join twitter, but we need to be brave to share ideas and mention others in tweets!
For me, these networks are important as I live in Perth, one of the most isolated cities on Earth, and the ability to get to conferences is costly. So by following certain people and reading widely, I am able to stay in touch with what is happening elsewhere. My own academic research is supplemented by reading of writings of those around the world to give greater meaning and ensure it remains in touch with what is happening in the everyday classroom.
So if you are not connected, try and get involved with those outside your regular networks. And if you are already connected, make sure you remain active!