2 September 2011

Making Sense

I've sometimes been asked why I keep a blog which focuses mostly on digital learning tools - wouldn't simply bookmarking be sufficient?

Among the different reasons which lead me to keep a blog (as well as several curation sites), I have to highlight the ease it has become to log onto any computer, any system, anywhere, easily accessing links and sites which I consider relevant, interesting or useful.  

I was fortunate enough to have grown up surrounded by books, magazines and journals. All became part of my immediate day-to-day routine; initially belonging to the elders of the family who shared stories and  explanations with me, later these objects of knowledge also became part of my inner surroundings and routines. 

However, I have also lived in social settings where libraries either did not have the books I wanted to read or where there was no borrowing system as I had grown up with. In some social contexts, there were no libraries and the "bookshops" were places to buy stamps, local newspapers and lighters. Knowledge was restricted from above, beyond what or who I could access. 

Having experienced both ends of the spectrum regarding access to knowledge, and knowing well how costly professional training can be, we are privileged today to be able to access knowledge so much more easily. At the same time, one can be overwhelmed with the excess of information and sites shouting for our attention. 

Among the electric tangles of websites, web tools and choices, where can one really begin focusing on professional training and expanding professional insights? Who does one follow for information today? Where does enlightened transformation begin? How can one make sense of it all?

Let's consider the introduction of leadership change in the field of management.  Instead of a one person leading a herd of buffaloes,  leadership change is instigated by the approach of a flock of geese, where each person takes his/her turn to lead and inspire others. It is a flatter approach, more dynamic and consequently, more democratic as different voices are heard, while supporting the leader.  The flock of geese approach in management leadership is purely pragmatic and  synergetic. 

In terms of education, we too have options, many which are only a click away. Our choices today are easily more pragmatic and open. There are many leading thinkers and inspirational figures to follow; sharing reflections, points of references and contrasting views has become the norm. Sharing has become today's routine synergy.  

Professional development today is one's pragmatic choice. 

Below are some suggestions which may inspire further readings and professional development, helping to  make sense of entangled web sites and novelites. 

Educause is a great site to keep up-to-date with current affairs regarding higher education and information technology. Educause offers a rich bank of resources and podcasts among other areas of interest. 

Two E-journals worth browsing are IJeP and IRRODL, which is edited by Terry Anderson. The IJeP (The International Journal of ePortfolio) offers a practical wealth related to eportfolios,  while IRRODL is well known for being a leading journal in research pertaining to open and distance learning. 

Two other suggestions are the Adobe Education Exchange and the Research Gate, both offering networking and resources for educators. 

Kathy Schrock's site for educators is yet another place where educators (especially those working in K12) can find ideas to enhance curriculum and professional growth. 

These are some sites which help me make sense. Today, I still appreciate bookshops and libraries but am no longer strictly dependent on my social surroundings to access information and new perspectives for professional development. Today I engage in synergetic sharing, giving and receiving. Today my inner routines of knowing and knowledge are public and transferable. 

Life is good. 

How do you make sense of entangled sources of information for personal and professional development?


  1. Thank you for that quick primer on some of your favorite professional development sites for ELT/EFL folks seeking guidance on teaching with technology.

  2. Hi Eric,

    Thank you for visiting; these sites are some that I enjoy reading but as you know, there is such a wealth of sources and free journals that it is not always easy to make recommendations as each individual will have different needs/interests. Having said that, Educause and IRRODL are 2 of my favourite places to read and keep up-dated (or as much as possible :-)

    What other sites would you recommend/suggest?