LRNT521 – Unit 3, Activity 1 – Reflection of Unit 3 Readings

Networks make me think of rolled-up chain link fence....

Structures such as groups, nets and sets have a significant impact on my plan for the creation of my digital presence and digital identity.

Our MALAT group has already helped me to better understand my digital presence and identity and how I can develop them to best suit my needs. As much of our program content is new to me, I appreciate the “traditional group oriented institutional instruction” (Anderson and Dron, 2014, p. 151) and believe our MALAT group and learning community will provide me with invaluable opportunities throughout the program’s duration and beyond.

As networked learning is “as much about acquiring meta-skills in learning as it is about the learning itself” (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 136), I plan to be more of a “prosumer” (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 141) or “resident” (White & Cornu, 2011) by producing content and collaborating in my LinkedIn and Facebook networks to take greater advantage of the diversity and knowledge.

I also plan to collaborate and produce content on Twitter (with appropriate hashtags) as “the act of tagging… is a metacognitive tool…, embedding reflection in the process of creation, and thus enhancing learning” (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 181).

In summary, I plan to share content and collaborate with my MALAT group, LinkedIn and Facebook networks, and Twitter hashtag sets to create my digital presence and identity, and play a greater role in what and how I learn.

References

Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01

Rollo, J.  (2007). Free Wire Mesh Stock Photo [Online image]. Retrieved May 12, 2019 from https://www.freeimages.com/photo/wire-mesh-1183365

White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171

Unit 3, Activity 2 – Visual Network Mapping

Unit 3, Activity 2 – Visual Network Mapping

Image 1: My Network Colour-Coded By Application Type

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image 2: My Network Colour-Coded By Where/How We Met

I created a visual of my network by creating an Excel spreadsheet and importing it into Kumu.  In doing this activity, I discovered that I am connected with others in specific online networks and in very specific ways depending on where and how we met.  The vast majority of people in my networks are people I first met as work colleagues offline.

As my visual illustrates, I am firmly situated in Facebook and LinkedIn (yellow and green in image 1).  The majority of the people in these networks are people I met as work colleagues over the last 15 years – in Qatar, Panama and Saudi Arabia – but primarily in Qatar (green in image 2) where I worked at the same college from 2005 to 2013. This was no surprise to me because it is the longest I have spent in a country (or a job) and all my colleagues were Canadian, like me, so there was a connection with shared culture and a shared language which I have not had in subsequent work experiences.  I visited my colleagues in Qatar for a week last December and I was reminded then how important these people are to my network.  In fact, it was in reconnecting with these members that I finalized my decision to apply to the MALAT program.

There is an obvious division between my WhatsApp network and my Facebook and LinkedIn networks.  Despite the large number of ex-colleagues from Qatar in my Facebook and LinkedIn, only 2 are in my WhatsApp network.  I wasn’t using WhatsApp in 2013 and have interestingly not carried members over to this ‘new’ network. My WhatsApp network is very large, however. It is the network I use most often to speak with those family members and friends geographically close to me and who are part of my day-to-day plans. The majority of people in my WhatsApp network (many of whom were not included in the data for this map), however, are students and colleagues from my current employment in Saudi Arabia and local businesses in Panama as this is the network they prefer to use.

Instagram and Twitter are networks I have never developed despite having joined Twitter in 2011 and Instagram in 2017.  I quickly amassed over 80 followers on Instagram when I started posting upon moving to Panama (and baking creative sourdough bread), but when I moved to Saudi Arabia, I didn’t have the time (or an oven) and I rarely posted or even opened the application to comment.  I found that the people I was following often posted the same content to both Instagram and Facebook, so I found it redundant.

Although very small in number, I was interested to see that I still have people in my networks whom I have known longer than 15 years – from high school (WDHS), my undergraduate degree, my job in Taiwan, and other experiences pre-2005. These people are long-time friends with whom I still share similarities of interest.

As I reflect on this activity, I see that I have not kept up regular, direct contact with many of the members of my network and, as such, I may be missing great learning opportunities.  “As, seemingly, everyone is potentially connected to everyone else by a very small chain of network nodes and edges (Watts, 2003), it appears that someone not too distant from you in network terms may turn out to be the world’s leading expert on what you wish to know.” (Anderson & Dron, 2014, p. 147). It is, therefore, my plan to immediately start reconnecting, maintaining and expanding my network relationships.

In conclusion, this activity reiterated that I have unique and diverse networks and communities that stretch across the globe for which I am exceptionally grateful. This activity also made it clear, however, that I need to work on maintaining and expanding my network to maximize my learning opportunities. I know I have some experts in my immediate and not-so-distant networks and it would be a detriment not to embrace those opportunities to the fullest.

 

References

Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01

Unit 2, Activity 3 – Begin Assignment 1: Create, Cultivate, and Reflect on your Digital Presence

Overall Goals and Purpose for Cultivating my Digital Presence

My overall goals for cultivating my digital presence and identity include “connecting with [my] public voice and beginning to act with others in mind” (Rheingold, 2010).  I also aim to “participate in a way that’s valuable to others as well as to [myself]” (Rheingold, 2010).  To these ends, it is my intent to increase my online exposure and actively participate in social and professional networks in ways that complement my digital presence.

What is my purpose and why now? The same reason why I enrolled in the MALAT program: to assist with my desired career transition. I have taught English for over 16 years and want to transition to corporate or teacher training. As I work toward a career change, it is imperative to have a positive digital presence and identity which relates to my chosen field and helps to promote me as an optimal candidate for future employment.  According to a national survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll, “70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates…. 57 percent [of employers] are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online… (“Number of Employers,” 2010).  Employers may be looking to ensure that candidates know how to use technology appropriately and that their digital presence is appropriate and supports their qualifications.  This is especially pertinent in my chosen field of learning and technology.

Approach for Achieving this Goal

To achieve my goals, I plan to create and maintain an eportfolio with blog posts related to my profession. I will use my MALAT student blog to showcase my learning as I progress through the program.  In addition, I will work to be more effective in my personal learning network to learn from my peers and experts in my field and to share my experience and knowledge with others. I will also join and participate in online spaces that will give me opportunities to learn, develop new skills and cultivate my profile.

Strategies and Approaches to Address the Identified Gaps

Despite being a private person, I resolve to be genuine and promote openness as I cultivate and manage my digital identity.  As an educator, I believe I must move more firmly into the ‘Resident’ end of the Visitor-Resident map (White & Cornu, 2011) and contribute valuable content to the Web – not only to improve my digital presence for my own benefit, but to demonstrate a positive digital identity for my future students.

Measures of Success

To measure my success, it is my goal to be “Googled well, under [my] full name, on graduation day” (Richardson, 2012).  It will also be a measure of my success to graduate from the MALAT program on schedule while having obtained a job relevant to my new career goals.

In conclusion, “our digital identity, just as our own personality, is always in progress, and it is mirrored in the environments we co-exist online” (Costa & Torres, 2011).  By the end of this program, it is my intention to have successfully cultivated my digital presence and identity, but it is also my full intention to continue that cultivation throughout my career.

References:

Costa, C., & Torres, R. (2011). To be or not to be, the importance of Digital Identity in the networked society. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias-ISSN 1646-933X, 47-53. Retrieved from http://www.eft.educom.pt/index.php/eft/article/view/216

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literaciesEducause Review45(5), 14.

Richardson, W. (2012, October 25). Guest Post: Three Starting Points for Thinking Differently About Learning. The Learning Network. Retrieved from https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/guest-post-three-starting-points-for-thinking-differently-about-learning/

Number of Employers Using Social Media to Screen Candidates at All-Time High, Finds Latest CareerBuilder Study. (2017, June 15). Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/number-of-employers-using-social-media-to-screen-candidates-at-all-time-high-finds-latest-careerbuilder-study-300474228.html

White, D. S., & Cornu, A. L. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171