A couple of days ago, I was channel surfing looking for something interesting to watch on television to kill some time. We had company on the way so it couldn’t be too time consuming. I also had my laptop open to the left of me and had half an eye on new Twitter messages flying by.
I noticed a few in a row from Brian Aspinall in my Ontario Educators stream. (@mraspinall)
It looked like he was as bored as I was or was doing some research.
He was retweeting messages about Scrawlar. It’s one of his babies in the digital world – a combination of word processor / whiteboard built with collaboration and no data collection in mind. A lot of people like the approach that he’s taken. I reviewed the product here.
It was actually interesting to see where he was digging up the resources. I stopped looking for something on the tube and watched him. I thought I would help his cause and retweeted messages as he sent them. It’s probably a futile effort because earlier that week we came to the agreement that we probably have the same community on the social network. Oh well.
There was one that was of particular interest to me.
It was a short tutorial, written in blendspace. This was a service that I’d never heard of before. But, I retweeted the message knowing that would somehow, some day, reach my radar for a little more research.
A couple of seconds later, my half-eye noticed that my Twitter message had been retweeted. Brian?
This wasn’t a terribly unusual occurrence – this is how Twitter works, right?
Then, again and again and again.
I looked yet again and there was a retweeter that I’d never seen before. So, I checked her bio.
She was from Italy.
I did a little mental math time conversion and realized that it was very early in the morning, her time.
Two things crossed my mind.
- I wonder what wine region she lives in?
- Is she camped out at Monza at Curva Parabolica waiting for the Grand Prix?
Am I bad because the two things that I think of when I think Italy are wine and Formula 1 racing?
In reality, she’s probably a hard working teacher preparing for a new class, looking for good resources and certainly Scrawlar fits that bill.
I thought Brian might get a kick out of the reach that his project has so sent him a private message to check the source.
We had a little back and forth about the humility of all this. We’re just a couple of people doing some learning and sharing in the evening.
The fact that someone half a world away wants to join in just blows you away. As Brian noted, he’s just a guy sitting on a living room couch cranking out code on his laptop. Yet, his work is being appreciated so far away. But, when you think of the reality, it could be a first year teacher two blocks over looking for good resources.
There’s something about this shared learning that is so impressive. For how many years have school boards tried to engage teachers with official memos sent from central office and failed?
Yet, the connected learner has that – and so much more.
For me, this moment never gets old.