Saturday, January 26, 2013

Confessions of a Digital Hoarder: Encienda Educon

Here are the slides from my presentation today at Encienda Educon. Enjoy!

If you'd like some context check out the recent post below from my #etmooc blog:

      #ETMOOC colleagues, I have a confession to make. I used to be
a hoarder. No, I wasn’t the kind of hoarder that stored piles and piles of
pennies in peanut butter jars. I was something a little more covert: I was a
digital hoarder.

    Consider my experience with Pinterest last spring. It began innocently enough. First, I
pinned a few educational videos and infographics for work. Suddenly, six hours
had flashed by and I was still in front of the computer screen. I found myself
pinning recipes for green kale orzo smoothies and laundry whitening tips.
(Important note: I don’t drink smoothies and I don’t even separate my laundry!)

     In that moment I realized that I was no longer merely saving interesting things; I
was hoarding. There’s a fine line between storing and hoarding. In short, I
crossed it.

     Hoarders stockpile online information for their use ONLY. They have no intention to
share it, remix it or even think deeply about it. Such information isolation is unhealthy and unproductive. It’s not something to model for colleagues or students.

     However, all was not lost. I found redemption by beginning to store information with a
larger purpose: to share it.  

     A paradigm for describing this shift is called User Generated Learning.

Curation, reflection, and contribution are all equal components within this model. Curation requires learners to evaluate information and organize it. Reflection encourages
learners to unpack their learning in public spaces, such as blogs. Contribution
demands that learners “give back” to both digital and face-to-face communities
either through discussion or production. By engaging in all three parts of this
model, educators can ensure that they adequately synthesize and consider
important artifacts. This process is a far cry from simply storing and
organizing “cool stuff.” 

     After engaging in the User Generated Learning process for almost a year, I can attest
that it results in rich, social learning. I only save that which is aligned to
my goals and the goals of others with whom I connect. I have fewer links,
videos, and interactive sites, but I have more conversations and perspectives
to consider. I’ve joined this course as a way to increase my focus on
community, not content.
     Collect less; share more.


  1. I did enjoy it. Am now planning more efficient, focused pinning and diigo-ing. But I am saving my Christmas decorations board...

    1. Thanks for your kind words about my talk! But wait, a Christmas decoration board?!?! Ok, I MUST follow that! :-)

  2. Hi Dr. Swanson: I was in Rich Kiker's session at #EdcampLV yesterday, it was good (and he showed your UGL graphic :). It's great to see actual useful stuff come out of collaboration, like Wikipedia and Saylor, which I saw for the first time in Rich's session.

    I'm a part of the group that's organizing the hackathon at Kean on March 16. Google is one sponsor and is promising Google-quality schwag for the event. :) Rich had a simple Google form to get the digital citizenship course started, maybe a coder/teacher team could come up with something to make it easier to collaborate or contribute to online courses? Or maybe it already exists?

    In any case, if you know anyone who'd be interested to join us, can you send them our way? You're welcome of course, either in person or via interwebz. Sam Morra said she'd give us feedback that day which is great, it's crucial to hear from admins as well as teachers and students. Regards - Dave Z.

    1. Hi Dave,
      I'm glad you had a good day at Edcamp LV yesterday! I've also heard some pretty cool things about the hackathon on 3/16. Unfortunately I'll be at ASCD in Chicago that day, but I'll send anyone your way that might be interested. Thanks!

  3. Hi Kristen: I love your etmooc post, and feel exactly the same way (I'm in etmooc too). In fact, I have refused to use Pinterest and Scoopit because I know I'd just hoard. The only curation sites I've used are Diigo and Learnist. Diigo I like because I can really organize the sites carefully, and share just the ones I think are most relevant (plus, the highlighting, commenting, etc. are useful for my own purposes and sharing my ideas!). Learnist I like because you have to think carefully about how to organize the resources--they are listed linearly for a reason, so that one can teach something to someone else and think about the best ordering of steps to do so. Not everyone uses it that way (some boards are just random collections), but I try to do so.

    I really like the User-generated education graphic. Is that your creation? The only thing I thought might be missing under "contribution" is something about making critiques of arguments, theories, etc.--not just sharing resources, but offering arguments about their value/validity. I guess I was thinking this for resources that are more theoretical rather than just tech tools or something like that, but I suppose one could think critically about the tools too. And perhaps one could include creation of new things, new theories, new ideas under contribution too.

    But perhaps those things are encapsulated under "joining professional conversations"? I was just thinking that contribution could be even more robust than just finding resources and sharing them, or showing how one has used them in one's classroom.

    Thanks for the excellent post! I missed it when you posted it on your etmooc blog, but someone tweeted about this one with the #etmooc hashtag, so I found it this time!

    1. Hi Christina! I'm glad to know I'm in such good company here! I really appreciate you sharing your strategies. I've joined Learnist but haven't explored it yet. I'm excited to check it out based on your recommendation.

      Yes, the User Generated Learning graphic is my creation. It's from my book on digital PD. (You can check out more info here: I think you make an excellent point about critique. Perhaps that fits a little bit under curation, but I think it also fits under contribution given your experience. Thank you for refining my thinking on that!

      Thanks for learning with me in this crazy #etmooc! I look forward to continued conversations!



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