2013: A year of learning

Hard to believe that 2013, a year of incredible growth for me, is in it’s last days. I’ve learnt so much, connected with some tremendous people through various MOOCs, starting with MOOCMOOC and ETMOOC, participated in Open Spokes and DS106, brushed by people in passing and truly bonded with others.

I was already participating in the world of MOOCS prior to enrolling in MOOCMOOC, delivered by the brilliant people at Hybrid Pedagogy and ETMOOC, created by Alec Couros. And I was learning in those 2012 MOOCs. But the true connected power of the Internet and social media was yet to be unveiled for me until this year. This experience has been like watching a flower unfurl, moment by moment just becoming more stunningly beautiful. Like a flower, it has withered and faded, waiting for the next cycle of rebirth. As the pressures of my non-digital life grew, I have had to take a step back, rethink what, when and how I interacted online and how often. I have had to put my non-digital life first, dis-engaging from some courses and groups entirely, not because they are not worthy but because there was just not enough time in the day to take care of both my “real” and my “digital” life. And I have learnt that that is ok.

And this step back has allowed me to understand how positive my online relationships are to my growth and sense of self, but also to understand that many of them are fleeting, and I need to become comfortable with that. Not superficial, because some of the most brief brushes against the ideas and thoughts of others have been a catalyst for a change in perspective, resulted in an outpouring of creativity or refinement of my ideas about learning and education. I’ve remembered how much I love to teach, how much I love being creative, and how much I enjoy new ideas and challenges. But in the end, what will always takes precedence is my relationships, both face to face and virtual. To be true to myself, I nurture my relationships, which in turn means nurturing and pacing myself so I don’t burn out in either venue. Yet another lesson I am trying to learn.

I have met so many people this year who have been supportive, caring, engaging, entertaining, creative, clever, and challenging. Because of my interactions with you all I’ve been a radio show chef, a killer zombie, a poet, an artist, an author, a teacher, a rock star, a video star, a movie maker, a documentary director, a toy maker and a friend. It has been a pleasure. To all of you within my Professional Learning Network I say “Thank You.”

You’ve helped me become a better teacher, a better learner, and enriched my life. May 2014 be a year of positive growth for us all, where we continue to kind, playful, thoughtful and engaged, supporting each other as we travel along a learning journey together. Blessing for 2014.