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"Online Relationships Give Us Easy Access to Vast Quantities of People"

Kevin Jarret wrote a thought provoking article in his blog. He questions: Hooked on technology? Or, on relationships (and learning?. He paraphrases Kimberly Young, a leading researcher at St. Bonaventure University, investigating the addictive nature of online technologies and the effects they can have on people’s regular lives.

Here are his questions:

  • Do you frequently form new online relationships with teachers outside your district?

  • Do colleagues in your district question the amount of time you spend using technology in your classroom?

  • Are you more likely to e-mail a distant colleague or use Twitter to seek an answer a question than ask someone in person?

  • Imagine you’re engaged in an online activity and a colleague stops by. Are you able to immediately break away and give them the attention they deserve?

  • How much more likely would you be to choose to spend time exploring ideas and issues online via your personal learning network rather than interact with your local colleagues?

"Online relationships provide like-minded educators with a free, 24/7, all-you-can-eat buffet of knowledge, but because WE define it, the selection often isn’t very well balanced. Most people tend to load up their PLNs like oversized plates at the local buffet, piled high with the stuff we enjoy the most – people who do the same kind of work, who work at the similar schools, who think the same way we do, or who like the same things. The result is a lack of variety in terms of intellectual perspective in our PLNs. It doesn’t mean the information is flawed, it just means it’s not as balanced as it could be. And it exacerbates the tendency to overconsume, and therefore, appear 'addicted,'" writes Kevin.

I have been always concerned about what many call echo chamber or closed circuit. Aren't we leaving precious information out when we decide to solely follow our own personal stream on Twitter? Depending on what your answer is, you'll have to confess how able you are to handle the constant flow of information as much as the quantity. Once you put your anwerr on perspective, then drop me a note here or Kevin's post.

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