Sharing Vulnerability

It was with great interest that I read Jeff Pulver’s entry in his blog this morning.  It’s been making me spin on things since then.  I’m still not sure that I have it right in my mind but thought that I should at least jot down my current thoughts on this.

Whether it be online or face to face, you meet all kinds of folks with all kinds of personalities.  Such is the joy of the variety of people and it’s something that you can definitely celebrate.  Some people rub me the right way and some people rub me the wrong way.  Definitely face to face, you get more social clues about a person than you do online.

I find that my reaction is the same to both online and face to face acquaintances.

It is the person who knows everything, has no room for flexibility, when things fail blame someone else, talking in the abstract, never produces anything except opinion, … that rub me the wrong way.  Perhaps it’s because I know so little that I resent these overbearing personalities.  Ultimately, they will hit the wall or just run into someone more overbearing than they.

In Jeff’s post, he talks about sharing your vulnerabilities online and exposing what is probably the most human side of you online.  Now, I’m sure that we don’t want to get into the act of exposing everything but, if you truly believe that you’re a life-long learner, then consider it.  Think of your first day in a class in high school.  Chances are, you were a clean slate, about to embark on some serious learning.  Why can’t the same thing apply today, in whatever context you choose?

I believe that it’s the notion of shared learning that makes for the best of friends and relationships.  Knowing that you’re all in the same life raft rowing together towards knowledge creates the best possible learning group.  Perhaps leveraging each other’s vulnerabilities will yield the greatest return in terms of learning and satisfaction.

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Make Yours Personal

The personal computer has been around for quite some time.  The original naming was designed to be able to distinguish it from the big business computers, mainframe, mini, …

The promise was that you would be able to personalize it so that it was “yours”.  For some folks, this means putting pictures of the family dog and putting it on the desktop.

Sometimes, it means changing colours or themes, but these are mainly cosmetic and do personalize the appearance at a cursory level.

You need to be able to dig a little further to cash in on the promise.  While this applies to most applications, the most important of all these days means your access to the web.

Until recently, this meant using Firefox as your web browser.  As a browser, it features the ability to have add-ons to provide additional functionality.  When I talk to some folks, they still question why any additional functionality is needed.

I think it boils down to the level of sophistication and protection that you want when you’re online.  Yeah, but what would I want it for?

How about installing adblock plus and blocking advertisements that websites would send your way?  How about installing Scribefire as a browsing editor.  How about installing a button that gives you quick and easy access to Delicious bookmarks?  How about a plugin for weather conditions?  How about a plug-in that gives instant access to your RSS feeds?

The browser Opera has had this functionality for a while now.  Ditto for the many browsers based upon the Mozilla Project like Flock.

But, not all browsers have traditionally offered this flexibility.  Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome, or Apple’s Safari haven’t followed pace at the same speed.  That, too, is changing.  Microsoft’s Internet Explorer now has a release candidate with access to a large collection of plug-ins.  If you’re a Chrome user, version 2 in developer beta is headed in that direction.

If you haven’t tried these alternatives to the one that came with your computer, you’re doing yourself a real dis-service.  The mere fact that you’re reading this blog indicates that you’re looking to the web for more than just “looking stuff up”.  If you haven’t done so, I would strongly encourage you to take a look and weigh all of your options.

You might not switch and that’s ultimately your choice.  But, you owe it to yourself to at least take a look.

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Webnation Interview with David Warlick

As noted earlier in this blog, the keynotes at the Western RCAC Symposium 2008 were David Warlick and Amber MacArthur. Both are noted Web 2.0 strategists in their respective fields.

So, what happens when they’re both in the same place at the same time with photojournalist Christopher Dick?

Why, they create an episode for Webnation on CP24.

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Into 2009

As we head into 2009, the world is aflood with resolutions and promises for a better future.  That’s great and I wish the well wishers the same back.

I am truly blessed in my personal life which I try to keep out of this blog.  Everyone should be as happy as I am with family and friends.

Success is what you make it.  A turn of a calendar page doesn’t make things all go away or turn around.  I’ve found that it’s the result of persistence and hard work.  For true success, there is no low hanging fruit.

The load can be lightened, however, with the assistance of others.  Finding the right people to collaborate with is the key to success that goes beyond the reach of a single person.  2008 was a year of unbridled collaboration for me.  I’ve run into so many people online who have made me more productive.  To them, I am so thankful.

More than that, many of the people that I work with daily have made major breakthroughs in what they do that have inspired me.  I have local face to face networks that are coming together and are growing together at impressive speeds.  I am so thankful to be able to work with them.  They’re known by acronyms like CIESC and ELTIP and are constantly making breakthroughs as their abilities grow.

There are road blocks and hurdles along the way that we all meet.  I find that those who are growing are no longer complaining about the challenges; they find ways to meet or circumvent them.  Their new skills and collaborations make them more powerful problem solvers.  The ones that complain are the ones that are stuck in a rut.

Between online and face to face, I am so thankful for the hybrid group that I get a chance to work with regularly. We Twitter and chat online regularly but periodically meet face to face to turn small ideas into huge ones.

These groups of people provide the inspiration to continue to work at whatever I do professionally.

I’m not about to make resolutions that I can’t live up to.  I do believe that the seeds are planted for great things to happen.  It’s just going to take effort and that’s always possible.

But, we all feel that we have a need for resolutions, so I’ll include one, courtesy of a Twitpic from Craig Nansen.

I wish everyone success in endeavours for 2009.

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We drove through Watford today amd saw the big signs about the Silver Stick Tournament. If you know hockey, you know that this is THE event in minor hockey. Teams all over Canada and the United States descend upon this area to be part of it. It is well scripted and there are timed games and rules and the whole thing comes off like clockwork. If you’re “on”, you stand a chance of winning. For all of the practice and planning, it all needs to come together perfectly. It’s a project planner’s dream.

Then, I’m sitting in the living room in Clinton browsing through the messages coming through Twitter. These are important things to the authors that can’t be broken down into periods or line changes. It’s ad hoc learning for just the right amount of time that it takes to get the job done. It’s a project planner’s nightmare. No rules, just a desire to get what is required.

It’s interesting to see how these two events have parallels in what we term learning in education. Is the timed event not what we go through at Teacher’s College and at most conferences? Is the Twittering for results what we do in the evenings when we need a just in time answer? What’s more effective? What’s more relevant? What will make immediate changes to the way students learn?

With all that’s to learn, should we not look towards the most effective method for us to get what we need? For some, it may be Column A but increasingly, we’re seeing Column B.

Will there come a time that evidence of a PLN that supports professional growth be accepted for certification upgrade?

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Let’s Talk: Online Educator Meetup Session 1

To all educators in Ontario, Canada: we need a place online to talk.  I’ve witnessed and experienced so many wonderful conversations happening between educators abroad but struggle to find these conversations here in my own backyard.  As a result, I’ve thought about setting up a place for Ontario educators to come together to engage in professional dialogue with local educators and other educators from around the world.  While this will likely have very humble beginnings, I’m hoping that it will grow into a place where meaningful dialogue will result.

After some deliberation, consideration and negotiation, here are the details of this first session:

Who: Educators in Ontario and beyond! (although Adobe Connect licensing restrictions currently limit
us to 40 individuals per session)

When: Monday December 29th 2008 at 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EST (click here for time zone information:

Where: Online in Adobe Connect:


  • Discussion of the vision and mission of this conversation
  • Discussion of a name for the PLN
  • Topic for discussion: Participating in an PLN online

Format for this first session:

  • 5 minutes: introductions
  • 10-15 minutes: presentation on an issue
  • 20-25 minute conversation about topic presented
  • 5 minute wrap-up

This totals 45 minutes and earlier I stated that this sessions would last one hour.  I’m leaving a 15 minute buffer in
case we need it.

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in attending or just show up on Monday (or Tuesday depending
on the time zone!)  To save on bandwidth, video capabilities will be disabled but please feel free to bring along a mic to engage in voice chat.  The room will be open at 5:30 pm to allow anyone to come it, install any required browser plug-ins and to adjust audio input and output settings.

Hope to see you there!

Cross Posted on The Mobile Learner.

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