Really Value Your Network

I’ve never met Vicky Loras but she has opened up so many doors for me.

I think I probably got started with social networking like most people  I was curious about Twitter or Facebook and started an account.  Then, I read a post “Top 10 People to Follow on Twitter” or the like.  You end up following the “A” Crowd which turns out to be a cadre of people flogging books or their next presentation and not much else.  I liken it to an elevator that doesn’t go to the top floor.  It wasn’t satisfying so I turned to the person next to me, found out his name and followed him.  It was more satisfying and from there, it just kept snowballing.

So often, I read people bragging that “I gots a PLN” and it’s always interesting to ask just what that means.  “You know, I talk to people on Twitter”.  Really?  What does this mean?

Perhaps the worse experience was one particular Ontario teacher who was spreading the evils of NCLB and how it was killing Ontario education.  Yeah.  I’d love to sit in on a class on media literacy with that one.

Back to Vicky.  I have no idea how we connected online but we did and share comments and thoughts almost daily it seems.

I’m intrigued by the Loras Network – a company she and her sister run in Zug, Switzerland teaching English in a very multi-lingual, modern city.

Courtesy, Loras Network

Things must be going well, they’ve recently moved to a newer location.  Congratulations to them on that.  A while ago, I had interviewed Vicky on the importance of learning English in her environment.  I re-read it before writing this post to put things in perspective for me.

I enjoy the blogs posts coming from Switzerland by her and her sister Eugenia.  You’re quick to realize that they have a passion for language teaching/learning and the entrepreneurial efforts that go into running their organization.

I suppose that the love affair could end there but it didn’t.  Making the connections there opened many doors for me.  It really struck me this morning when I read a wonderful post from Hana Tichá.  The post exposed me to a new term, the RPPLN.  (Reflection Practice PLN).  Left to my own devices, there’s a very slim chance that I would have ever run into Hana or her thoughts.  As a result of her posting, she’s got me thinking.  What better tribute can you give someone?  I don’t consciously go looking for bloggers from the Czech Republic but, thanks to Vicky, I did.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a Twitter list entitled “Over There” where I’ve tried to keep track and manage the connections that I’ve made outside Canada and the United States.  Even just the activity of creating the list was a reminder of how rich my learning has become because of the proper connections.  By connecting with Vicky, this has opened up access to a whole group of language teachers in Europe who think and share so much.  I even was interviewed by one for my thoughts about the use of technology in the classroom.

This is but one example of the value of connections and was made easier to start a blog post because it was inspired by Hana’s post this morning.  The true, valuable connections can be seen on a daily basis online “over there” or just down the street.  I could never begin to write a blog post entitled “The Top 1000 People That Have Great Ideas” but I wish I could to give a salute to those I learn from daily.

On this cold and snowy weekend, it surely gave me a great opportunity to sit back and just value where the connections have taken me.  It’s difficult to describe – sort of like explaining snow to a Martian – but you know it when you see it.

The best learning can start with just one valuable connection.

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6 thoughts on “Really Value Your Network”

  1. Dear Doug,
    What an honour! What a very kind post! We have never met either and do not experience the daily contact you have with Vicky. However, I feel very lucky to be experiencing this. I am connected online in a more distant way, through the Loras Network accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Only through WordPress and LinkedIn do I actually appear as Eugenia Loras. Vicky is very lucky to have established professional and even personal relationships with people she has met, has never met, will meet or might never meet in the future.
    I appreciate the value of social media on a professional basis very much and enjoy the joys of it on a more personal level in cases like this.
    Thank you for everything and truly hope we meet some day.
    Wishing you a wonderful day,
    Eugenia

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  2. Reblogged this on Vicky Loras's Blog and commented:
    Doug Peterson is one of the reasons I am delighted to have joined social media and will never look back – I lear from amazing educators like him, and I am grateful for the motivation I get from him. Thank you so much, Doug!

    Like

  3. Hi Doug,
    Thanks for another thought provoking post. You’ve said a lot of things that I’ve thought myself. I can’t remember how I connected with Vicky, but I remember that it was on Twitter. I may have told you this altready, so please forgive me if I have, I have had the chance to meet Vicky in person. We met in Istanbul at a conference, whcih we were both invited to by Isil Boy of Yildiz Technical University. That meeting and that invitation would never have come if it weren’t for social networking. I’ve also benefitted from the ability to crowd source that having a personal learning network allows. So yeah, I’m a big fan of PLNs and social networking. On the other hand, it can all be a bit too much as well. I had two Facebook accounts, one for family and friends outside my profession and the other was for my PLN and students. I’ve deactivated the later one. I got tired of all the self promotion, the cross posting and so on. I think I’m going to stick to Twitter for connecting with my PLN. Many people aren’t using Twitter anymore, they’ve switched to Facebook, so deactivating the account may be temporary, we’ll see. Anyway, thanks again for the thought provoking post. Cheers!

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