My LinkedIn Connections continue to grow exponentially. Since June 21, 62,154 people have joined my professional learning network. That’s absolutely amazingly exponential growth. So let me repeat that number in words. Yes, I know you can see it in the picture above, but allow me to put this in words: Sixty Two Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty Four people have joined my professional learning network on LinkedIn – in the past week!
Why is this noteworthy? Why is this important?
This is important because LinkedIn is where I connect with like-minded professionals, sometimes loosely, other timess closely. I am kept current and up-to-date on what is happening in a rapidly changing field – education.
There may have been a time when an educator learned all they needed to know during their four or five years in university and spent the next forty to forty-five years teaching the same contents using the same methods to generation after generation of students. Quite often, research tells us, we taught our students the way we were taught.
Nowadays, that won’t work. Being a teacher in Chile, or in any other part of the world, has gotten complicated. In fact, I would call Being A Teacher in Chile the best job in the world, but the point is this: education is changing at a dizzying pace. We can’t close the doors and stand in front of the class and act like nothing is happening in the world of education.
In fact, nowadays, that approach is a recipe for disaster. For example, Connectivism, a theory of learning for a digital age, has taken its place beside Constructivism and Cognitivism, not to replace these two, but to embrace and enhance them in order to meet the needs of 21st century learners.
I am one of the few authors on the planet who has written books about Connectivism for EFL Teachers in a descriptive fashion, rather than prescriptive. To describe what Connectivism is like, a teacher must first have had the experience of participating in a MOOC. Oh, what’s a MOOC? A MOOC is a massive, open online course.
My #CCK11 Experience was an experience which showed me the potential of connectivism for Teaching EFL, and it was my desire to share that experience with you.
Hence, the book was written with my profession in mind, namely, what the current state of knowledge had to offer teachers who wanted to stay current in their profession. The books on connectivism have been well received, and I use this example of the value that being connected has for professional educators.
That is only one of many examples I could give you, but my point is clear. LinkedIn is a valuable tool for my ongoing, continuous, autonomous professional development. No education system is capable of teaching teachers everything they need to know for the next 40 years of service in the profession. Learning to learn, which implies connectivism for me, is absolutely necessary.
As you can see, dear reader, I’m celebrating something special: growth. The more people who connect with me, the more likely that I will be knowledgeable about the changes in the world today. Two thousand, two hundred and twenty two connections is a great number of connections.
Why? Those 2222 Connections link me to 14,648,372+ professionals.
Let me spell that out: Fourteen Million, six hundred forty eight thousand, three hundred and sevent two professionals enrich my thinking about what education in the twenty first century should be like, what education in the twenty first century currently is like, and most importantly, benefits the students in my classroom.
That’s a good thing, wouldn’t you agree?
Here’s a link to my LinkedIn page. Click on it and give me the honor of connecting with you too!
The PLN: Professional Learning Network. I am grateful and thankful for all the informal and formal learning opportunities I have had access to through the individual and collective members of my PLN, my Professional Learning Network. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are an “Iron Triangle” for current knowledge and news. This book shares with the reader a rationale and an approach to using a PLN.
Thanks to the 1,980 (now 2,222) members of my LinkedIn network. Through you, I have access to the collective wisdom and knowledge of 12,614,973 people. Let me spell that out: Twelve million, six hundred fourteen thousand, nine hundred and seventy three people. That’s an awful lot of people to have in a PLN.
Thanks to my Facebook PLN, all 1,985 of you. Yes, Facebook as a PLN. You guys have shared an awful lot of great information with me about education, learning, and teaching. You’ve shared links, videos, conferences, seminars, training opportunities, and current news, for all this, Facebook is the place to look.
Twitter, what can I say about you? There are 1,892 of you. One thousand, eight hundred and ninety two. Twitter takes persistence when you first begin. No matter how much info you have about Twitter, the early days are difficult, if you’re like most people. But if you’re really keen on being current, up to date, on the cutting edge of what’s new in your profession and in the world, then you must learn to use Twitter.
Let me be brutally honest: as a PLN, LinkedIn is fantastic, Facebook is spectacular, both are most magnificent social media tools, but they are not Twitter. Twitter is the social media I turn to most often. Having said that, again, all three, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn complement each other well, providing me with an iron triangle of knowledge and news…
Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.
He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.
Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.
Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty three (43) books overall.
The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.