Our authentic self or an avatar?

Should we present our authentic self or should we hide behind our “avatars” in social media and network spaces?
That is a challenging one, especially for many networkers who are representing themselves as avatars, in the immersive learning environment like SecondLife, or as bloggers, visitors to blogs, or as educators in the web etc.
Are you interested in posting your comments with payment only?  Here it is.  Why paying?  Some medias are trying to see if such pay for comments service would influence the way readers would voice their views, and prevent or reduce spams and inflammatory comments be included in the discussion forum.
Why would one need to use avatar(s) to represent themselves in social media or networked learning?This could be a challenging and private question, isn’t it?
Ken has got good points here in his response comment: “Another reason was professional; sometimes it is difficult to offer opinions that might be construed to run against the grain of the organization that one is employed by, and I was overly-cautious about this and hiding behind anonymity made me feel better. Now I don’t worry so much about these things, so anonymity has helped my growth in this area.” That’s a concern not only for professionals, but educators, students as they may still have a long journey in their career paths, and don’t want their private and professional views be “mixed” and be exposed to their employer or potential employer for scrutiny.  This is both a rational and wise decision. Most of us would still need to have a “bright future”, but would like to establish our unique voice in the media, and may worry about how we present ourselves now may impact on our future career, study or learning with others.  This also explains why some educators or “networkers” would prefer to be the “visitors” (masked with fake name or an avatar) leaving with little or no trace in the digital and social media. This is a personal choice…
Ken continues: “We all wear different masks for different social settings.”  However, whether at work or in a personal setting, would this create a dilemma in ones persona, especially in the digital, social and virtual media?  Are our digital persona reflective of our authentic self? Why would we need to disclose ourselves in open space where we could easily be “exploited” by others?  How would we be able to “protect ourselves” without being accused of being untrue to what we say or do?  Can we undo some of the voices we raised in the digital, social or virtual space?  Would avatar save us? Would this be the reason why many educators are not willing to have their social media presence?  The reason for not having their own blogs, or their own voices heard….
For me, as a Catholic, I have nothing to fear, as mentioned in my previous blog post. I have nothing to hide, nothing that prevents me from expressing my true voices, and sayings… May be I am lucky, or may be I am overly confident. Am I wearing my own mask? No!  I am looking for a better future, in everything, by contributing, participating and engaging with social media and networks with my true self.
Here is my previous post on social media and its impact on organisation.
John
Photo: Flickr Trust me
How about your digital footprint?
In social media, it’s data about us..
How unique are our avatars?
How have we represented in avatars? What are your purposes of using an avatar?  Does it allow you to voice your authentic self in those spaces? Are avatars real?  Can we fully express ourselves with avatars – including your voices and emotions, feelings?
Is it also an important literacy for us – to learn how to identify an avatar that one would use to represent the persona, and understand what’s behind an avatar? Without avatars, or made up names, I wonder how many networkers would like to leave their digital persona or traces on the web.  Or may be most educators won’t be deterred to present their true self.  What do you think?
Just wonder!
Postscript: Enjoy this Welcome to Web 3.0.  Comments?

Accountability in Community of Practice

Interesting post on Knowledgeability by Katie. Crossing the boundaries is important for both educators and students in an educational setting, especially within an educational institution. Under the “concept” of accountability, educators often are expected to exercise risk control measures to ensure a duty of care for their students. It is legitimate to exercise such control in a classroom learning environment. Would this same concept of accountability be applicable in an online learning community? Is it rhetorical when it comes to COP at work especially when there could be conflicting views from different parties?
I love COPs. The challenge with COPs are however, the conformance and accountability associated with group’s expectations from individuals, and the associated reciprocity expected from the peers or practitioners, which may lead to tensions and friction amongst authorities, practitioners and students. So, how would one balance the “accountability” within COP and outside that of COP? What are some of the constraints that might be imposed with the accountability concept? How about the tension between accountability versus autonomy of individual practitioners? If an individual does not feel obliged to such accountability, what mediation and negotiation would be avaiblable or necessary in COPs? Is network an alternative to COP under such scenario?
Thanks for your wonderful insights into the community of practice.
John

Photos: From Flickr

Reflection on assessment of learning Part 1

I enjoyed reading Heli’s post here on how to assess learning. Another great post that inspires. I love the way you articulate the past posts and those learning reflections. It keeps me thinking: what have I learnt throughout the CCK08, CCK09, CritLit2010 courses? Your questions about expertise are also my areas of interests. I think many of us are experts in our own areas or domains, only that we seldom have the opportunity to share and exchange skills and experience, due to rare opportunities available before the Web 2.0. But how to “assess” and reach experts who would meet “our needs”? That may be a challenge, as technology may just be an enabler in the learning process, which means that the more techie or geeky or nerdy we are, doesn’t mean that we would be more like an “expert” in teaching and learning. I am wondering if becoming an “expert” is helping us or not in this sort of networked learning environment. How would people view experts? Have I understood your reflection deep enough? You are already the expert in the field….
John

Photo: Flickr

Leadership

Darcy writes in this Leadership Day 10.
“At our school we talk about, “who can I help, who can help me?” This is due to our belief that a sound approach for leaders is to have the fundamental responsibility to help ‘create more leaders’. We need more educators willing to take on formal and informal leadership roles” So true.
I am not sure if this would add to the leadership challenge: Is leadership about change?  About leading the change to improve and innovate…
Would it not just be the education leader’s “business”, but every educator’s “business” in the quest towards leadership “practice”?  Leadership by role modelling to our students, to our peers, to our superiors, to our clients, and to our fellow networkers?  Without such leadership by action, changes would easily be slowed down, and any plans of actions would be implemented in a superficial manner.
If every educator could take the lead in responding to such changes, would he/she be able to embrace change, and support others in the change journey?
Often we witnessed changes happening in education to satisfy certain requirements – be it the administrators, the customers, our fellow educators, students, and stakeholders, etc., but then the ego of an educator may often goes so deep into “leadership” role that  the leaders might have forgotten (a) the why, how and what, and who are involved in those changes, (b) the real needs of other “leaders” and “followers” in the change journey, and (c) the motivations and values associated people involved
So, would leadership need to consider the people involved in the changes too?  What do they think about leadership? What do they think about the changes?
How about this educational leadership? About focus, practice…
And this one on leadership and change management – How to deal with the change? Navigator, survivor or victim…
John

Emotions and their impact on adult learning

In this article on Emotions and their effect on Adult Learning or http://www.scribd.com/doc/35059133/Emotions-and-their-effect-on-Adult-Learning-a-Constructivist-perspective.
– Emotions are important in adult learning because they can either impede or motivate learning (Dirkx, 2001. p63)
– Entering the cognitive system, emotions are recognized and as a result alter thought patterns, affecting the experiences of how adults learn (Opengart, 2005).
– Learning becomes of value in relation to a student’s experiences and construction of reality, underscoring the adaptive behaviors of learning.
– If people are anxious, uncomfortable, or fearful, they do not learn.
A useful summary paper on emotions in adult learning.
The above article refers to the impact of emotions on teaching and learning in the classroom environment.
How about the impact of emotions on adult learning under an online or digital learning environment? How about learning in a complex social media ecology? Or a blended learning environment.
So, I have been wondering how emotions would impact on learning (social networking and networked learning, in particular) since I attended the CCK08. What would you think about emotions and learning from a connectivist point of view? What were your experiences (emotions and feelings) when involved in online courses/networks (e.g. CCK08, CCK09, CritLit 2010, or any other COPs, or Ning Networks etc.)? What are the connectivist principles relating to emotions and learning? How do these impact on adult learning?


John