This week I heard Will Richardson speak at the Mohonk Mountain House.
I have to thank Will for putting the Web 2.0 social networking technologies in a context that opened my eyes to the opportunities they offer to educators. He asked us two important questions, “Who are your teachers?” and “Do your students know how you learn?” These are important if you believe, as I do , that becoming a life long learner is a key outcome of a public education today.
I felt pretty good about this since I presently have two incredible teachers in my life. The first, Thomas White, CEO of Profoundly Simple, works with me over the phone each week. Once a quarter I travel to Chicago to work with him in person.
I am also a fifth year student of Aikido. I began studying Aikido to improve my leadership effectiveness. I learned about Aikido and its relationship to leadership through Richard Strozzi-Heckler, founder of the Strozzi Institute.
My teacher for the last four years has been Douglas Firestone, known among some of his students as the “happy sensei”. Both of these teachers are at the heart of my success. They are tremendous teachers because they are exemplars of learning. They “do”, they “practice” and they”teach”.
I came home from the session at Mohonk excited about familiarizing myself with the Web 2.0. I set up RSS feeds from the blogs of people I respect and subscribed to De.licio.us and Flickr. But that was the tip of the iceberg. I found a social web browser Flock and the more I pulled on the thread the more I found:
I think what has really caught me off guard is the powerful sharing going on within these social networks. The Creative Commons really exemplifies what is happening on the Web 2.0 today.
This has tremendous implications for learning. Will gave an excellent example. As a learner, rather than read a textbook or an article from a master teacher, I can subscribe to that master teacher’s blog and keep up with what he is thinking and teaching on a daily basis. I can also see what he is reading by accessing his shared bookmarks in de.licio.us and his photos in flickr. More importantly, through his blogroll, I can access his teachers and their blogs, and their teachers, and so on.
The more I pull on the thread the further down the rabbit hole I go.