Networks – establishing and maintaining them

So, how would you provide an insight into creating and maintaining a professional network, in 140 characters? This was a challenge I took up from David Walker this morning.

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Actually, once I included Twitter handles of David, Sue, and Sheila, I only had 108 characters left. This is what I said:

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Replies both David and I received include, from Sheila MacNeill, “the more you give the more you will receive” and  a PLN “takes time to cultivate but pays huge dividends as a forum for sharing/Q&As” from Sue Beckingham.

I’ve written previously on networks, and how they work for me:

Many of us are aware of our networks and the impact we/they have on others. For some, like me, the network has grown out of no real plan or long-term goal. For others it’s been carefully managed and nurtured to be what it is. Whichever your approach it is fair to say our respected networks are important to us, both personally and professionally. Therefore we must care for it, and how others see us through it, in order to maintain our position in other peoples network. If we don’t do we end up being removed from networks and getting ‘black flagged’ or a bad reputation?

What would you say, to David or anyone else, about how your PLN, your learning network?

Image source: Kristina Alexanderson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Book review: The Social Leadership Handbook @julianstodd

“What we know today will get us to tomorrow, but we’ll have to learn more again tomorrow to keep ahead … welcome to the Social Age, where change is constant and we live in constant beta.”

I’ve never thought about learning like this before, other than I know I get bored quickly so find new things to keep me engaged and entertained. But, with the constant bombardment of new technologies, new networks, new applications to old techniques, etc. we are indeed in ‘constant beta’.

And I mean ‘we’ in the context of learning professionals (which I’m exploring with my next book project: follow here for news -#EdTechBook) that we need to not only keep up with developments but somehow keep ahead of them. I know this is near impossible, but we can at least be proactive in how we approach the changes, reflect on our own experiences, and make suggestions and engage with each other (and the students). From this will come better understanding and a clearer picture of what could be used, how, where, why, and (importantly) by whom. 

The Social Leadership Handbook This is why Julian Stodd’s book The Social Leadership Handbook is another book that has found it’s way on to my reading list.

Whilst Julian has clearly aimed the handbook at leaders and managers I see it resonating so closely with those of us who work across disciplines, as we often need to exhibit skills more aligned to management than technical.

“The Social Age is about high levels of engagement through informal, socially collaborative technology. It supports agility by allowing many and varied connections and the rapid iteration of ideas in communities that are ‘sense making’.”

Julian’s NET model is built around three themes, or dimensions. These are ‘narrative’, ‘engagement’, and ‘technology’. You see now why I think this is such an important book for learning professionals? Just this concept could be used to explain the role of a Learning technologist – we need to curate to share our knowledge (‘narrative’), we manage our networks, reputation, and communities (‘engagement’), and we use social collaboration and reach to learn more than we already know (‘technology’). And it doesn’t stop, we keep cycling through the three stages, not spending the same amount of time in each phase, each time we reach it, but moving and shaping our own learning, and thus the learning of those who we encounter and interact.

“Technology facilitates the experience, it facilitates learning, but doesn’t guarantee it … you can control the technology, but you can’t control the conversation, and when push comes to shove, it’s the conversation that counts. Technology is transient and adaptable. I can just bring my own device.”

I have not had chance to read the whole book properly but I know enough already that this will have an impact on hows I think about myself, my work, and how I approach the different elements: “the [NET Model] circle represents an agile journey .. once we have mastered the skills, we continue to refine them.

Main image source: Julian Stodd / SeaSalt Learning