100 days of Daily Extend

100 days ago, I started an adventure with Ontario Extend and created my first Daily Extend. This was the beginning of building a Personal Learning Network (PLN) as an educator in the post secondary arena in Ontario.

Here’s what happened:

Three pictures showing a growing number of connections

In case you are interested, here is my first tweet.

Lurking in #HEdigid

Small child peeking around the corner of a wall.

On Friday, July 13, 2018, I participated in my first slow twitter chat with Higher Education Digital Identity (a.k.a. #HEdigID) Chat. Once a month, on the second Friday, the assigned host, in this case @SuzanKoseoglu, posts 6 questions and the conversation usually continues over 24 hours. A transcript of the first 24 hours is collected and posted.

I experienced my first slow chat and my first twitter storm. A slow chat, unlike twitter chats that are scheduled over a one hour period, is a chat aimed at a larger population, across time zones or where internet connections are spotty. A slow chat can can last 8 to 24 hours. A twitter storm is a sudden surge in a topic or around a twitter thread where you receive notification of every addition and every like or retweet.

The conversation did not end after 24 hours, it continued through the weekend and into the next week in part because of lurking. This aspect, the idea that people listen in but don’t contribute – in twitter chats, online discussions, forums, online courses, MOOCs and more sparked both debate and analysis. I found it fascinating to hear perspectives from around the world and from different viewpoints as HE professionals discussed their thoughts as both leaders and users of discussions and courses.

I am a lurker. I lurked in the #HEdigid chat, for the most part. I contributed 9 tweets. It was my first slow chat. I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I might have to offer. Maybe next time, I will add more. Maybe not. In this round, it was connecting to the discussion that was valuable to me. Let’s just say, I was applying the Educational Theory  of Apprenticeship to slow twitter chats. I posted something to be a part of the conversation and then sat back and learned from others on both the topic and the manner in which they participated in the discourse.

Here is what I learned:

Curiosity. Respectful questions for clarity and understanding are welcome.

Sharing resources. Does the discussion remind you of your own work or someone elses? Share it.

Building on others comments. “Yes and” thoughts make for a fuller discussion.

Agreement. Your comment can simply to agree.

Make it personal. Your antidote regarding your approach, your thinking and your lived experience has value.

Compliments. Building up others is good.

Feel free to mute the twitter storm.

The conversation does not have to stop.

Finally, I would like to share two blog posts from Sue Watling as she continues to explore the question of digitally shy and lurking:

Featured Image: Photo by Aaron Mello on Unsplash

It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood!

As I am growing my PLN on Twitter, I am breaking a known social convention. Just because you follow me, I am not following you back. In order to get my follow-back, you must have something worthwhile to offer me, unless you are a cat. Cats always get follow-backs.

I need there to be a reason to follow you (or your organization). You have to fit into one of my LISTS on twitter, you need to belong to a ‘hood! New people I am meeting through Ontario Extend belong in one list. These may be folks involved in #ExtendWest or folks recommended by Extenders.  That along with Education – Organizations is my Professional Development School of Awesomeness, if you will.

The St. Clair College list is my work, Vaping Advocates is my political interest and Chatham-Kent is my local news. Opinions of Interest is a group of people who are famous in some way but that is not why I am following them. Each has a different perspective on life and the world that they share that is beyond tabloid nonsense. I may be a fan of their work, but I follow them to read their ideas.

Finally, I think everyone should occasionally stop and pet the cats. Or smell the flowers, or run with dogs, or watch a sunset… a little lightness and humour give you some balance in your neighbourhood.

I want to shift out the noise and nonsense of twitter and keep it meaningful.

P.S. I used Snag-it from TechSmith to take the picture and add the monster stamps. I purchased this using their Student/Education pricing policy which was reasonable. I would recommend this tool.

Meet PLN Warrior

PLN Warrior’s  superpower is harnessing the web to create a personal learning NETwork of like-minded heros who will work to build and defend an open learning environment that seeks to benefit all! We are just a few days into #ExtendWest and I am already seeing the benefits of having a personal learning network with the tool of Twitter. It is energizing and nourishing. However, I am seeing that to benefit and to be a benefit to others, you have to go in with a superhero mind-set.

The superhero mind-set is this idea that I will use my gifts and talents, my skills and knowledge to help other by sharing and encouraging and I will accept others’ gifts and talents and encouragement to become better. A superhero works to make the world better, not just for themselves, but for everyone.

A superhero also needs a nemesis and I believe the nemesis is that the open learning movement is a privilege. As Amira Dhalla discusses in her blog post The Dangers of Being Open, “being open is actually elite.” And if that is true, we need to work to make it not elite and not only open to the privileged. I am just starting out, I am a baby or a novice superhero, so I don’t have all the answers. Actually, I don’t even have all the questions, but I am starting with committing to being open and inclusive and to face the potential dark underbelly open learning.

PLN Warrior was created with Marvel HQ Create your own superhero.

This post is a response to Ontario Extend’s Daily Extend #oext168 What does your superhero look like?

Changing my mind about Twitter

Twitter – I don’t know what to make of you! I have had an account since 2009 and sent maybe a dozen tweets in six years. I posted twice in 2012, twice in 2013. And once in 2016. The text of the post was: “It has been 40 months since my last tweet, don’t worry, you have not missed anything ;)” I didn’t get it and didn’t care to. When a tweet becomes news and what other people tweet about it becomes more news, it just seemed like a lot of reality TV style nonsense.

But there were a few things last year that I cared about and was asked to tweet about so, fine, I have an account and I can do that. I tweeted about vaping, tutoring services, and the Ontario Faculty strike. And then Ontario Extend came around and as professional development, I decided to join Extend West cohort. That was before I found out that I would have to tweet things. Ugh. But I have an open mind. So try I do and tweet I do and …. I begin to see a purpose, I begin to meet some like-minded people who respond to and follow me and I respond to and follow them. And it becomes more interesting and more like a community. I am starting to get it.

Steven Brust


I am checking my notifications to see if anyone new from the Extend West Cohort has followed me and I notice that STEVEN BRUST liked my tweet about Curation! Only three likes but one was from my favorite author. I quietly follow a few celebrities: Steven Brust (of course), Joshua Malina, George Takei and Emergency Kittens. I appreciate thoughtful social commentary and kittens.  But this was a little bit of a thrill. Steven Brust has seen a picture of my Taltos books and like it. There are people in my twitterville and that is pretty cool!