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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Networking 101

The Topic:

Networking 101: Why bother networking as a teacher? How does networking affect your teaching? How does one improve your networks and networking skills? How does collaboration improve your teaching? 

The Summary: 

What a great way to start 2014 for #edchatNZ: a discussion about the value of collaboration and the creation and maintenance of online (and face-to-face) networks. We even trialled a new Q&A format, and there is the follow-up blog...which you are now reading.

The Questions 

  • Why is networking (online and in person) important for educators?

  • How can/have you use(d) networking to help your students learn/engage?

  • What new networking ideas are you planning on trying this year?

  • Tips/tricks/help for building a network for collaboration?

  • So much social media, so little time. How? What? When do we pick?

  • Networking tips? How can you extend your network beyond the online world?

  • So you tweet, you meet, then how do you make that connection useful?

  • What thoughts did #edchatNZ provoke for you tonight?

The Discussion 

Not surprisingly, the value of networking was already well-understood by the contributors to the online discussion. After all, if you are on Twitter, and if you contribute to #edchatnz, you probably already have an established online network of peers. What was wonderful to see was the drive to extend those online connections into the corporeal world. 

One of the key themes that came through was that networking was not all about “advertising” what you do, but also about asking questions and offering feedback. Equally important is to be involved - don’t just read other people’s ideas, tweets and blog posts; comment on them, reply to them and use them in a way that complements what you do and what you want to achieve. Many tweeters made a “pledge” to not just read each other’s blogs but to also give feedback. Many bloggers also vowed to ask a question in their next blog post to encourage feedback. 

A really valuable question posed during the discussion was about how to organise “favourite” tweets etc. so you can find them more easily later. As one tweeter said, there is some “real gold out there”, but how do we save it for later. I know that I am not the only person who has hundreds of tweets I have “favourited” for later viewing, only to forget that they are there. Nobody really came up with a solution for this, except “favouriting” tweets and following blogs, so please feel free to offer suggestions… 

I will leave you with this quote from @GeoMouldey, Creativity is a team sport - you have to meet up with people and bounce ideas.”
Thanks Matt Nicoll (@mattynicoll) for completing this week's summary for us!

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Please continue the discussion about Networking 101 here by leaving a comment. How do you network? Do you have any useful links or videos about the topic? What valuable lessons have you learnt in your career about networking?

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