Wednesday, 29 January 2014

BYOD4L: Communicating

Day two of BYOD4L mini course, and I'm still here, though a little late to blog about it. The theme was communicating and we had a very intense twitter chat on that topic.

The first task, which I completed over lunchtime on my iPad, was to

create a representation of yourself as a communicator in your private and professional life

The directions suggested that I find a free app that would help me with this. Some mind-mapping apps were suggested, but eventually I decided that iBrainstorm looked fairly easy. This is what I came up with.

Me, as a communicator
Me, as a communicator
Interestingly, in retrospect, I focused on me (as a communicator) rather than focusing on the tools that I use - though some are mentioned.

I also chose to reveal an aspect of my personality, that I am an introvert. This was actually the first thing I pinned to the board, because I feel that it does define the way that I prefer and choose to communicate.

The Videos
I did look at both video scenarios. I reflected a little on them, but I'm not going to write anything here, because I felt that both student and teacher needed to establish some connections (theme of day 1) before they could worry about communicating.

The twitter chat was more interesting to me. The first question was about what does communication mean to you, and my response was about listening. This turned into a conversation about lurking and the value of lurking. Somebody asked if shy people are also shy online, and I responded that I am shy, but not so much online. A number of others admitted the same thing.

Chrissi Nerantzi (@chrissinerantzi) asked me "what helps you open up online?" and "what helped you make the first step?". I've been thinking about this for a little while. My answer is not straightforward, but is relevant to the topic of Communicating. Here goes:

People are different.And they have their own preferred ways of communicating. I don't mind chatting with people on a topic that I know - but don't ask me to make small talk. I hate the telephone. I dislike large meetings. Going to an event (conference, meeting, party) full of people I don't know is a nightmare. But online communication is fine. Email is no problem.

When I first started teaching online, 10 years ago, I realised that I quite liked discussion boards as a discussion tool. I felt that everybody had the opportunity to say their piece, unlike in a meeting. Some people may choose not to participate, and it's difficult to tell the lurkers from those who are absent. But the platform suited me.

Blogging took a while. I started with short pieces of information, but doing a lot more reflection now. It's a personal thing, but I get a great buzz when somebody comments and it might result in a conversation.

I've written previously about my identity on twitter. I still find it the most useful tool in my own professional development, and I try to share that with others.

More recently, I'm very positive about the possibilities of online collaboration tools, I regularly participate in webinars, and have presented talks by webinar. Today I had a meeting using Collaborate, and realise that I'm much happier using the chatbox than the mic.

But that's all just about my preferences. We each have our own individual preferences about how we choose to communicate. Sometimes we are forced to use tools/platforms that we don't like, and sometimes we force ourselves to use tools that we don't like - I do attend conferences full of people that I don't know (I've never minded presenting at them - strangely).

So, keeping in mind that people have their own preferences, how can we encourage them to make better use of online or mobile devices? I think all we can do is demonstrate good practice, show them the value, help them to try (in a supported environment), share our own enthusiasm. But we can't force people to use a tool they don't like or aren't comfortable with, if there is an alternative (there are lots of alternatives to the telephone, luckily, most of the time).


Louise Woodland said...


That matches my own experience too. Like you I am an introvert and know exactly what you mean by the phone, meetings and liking webinars with a chat box! I am a listener and find it both fascinating and extremely beneficial to read other peoples' blogs and watch the conversations rather than post something myself - at the moment anyway. I agree with your summary about not forcing technology on people but to lead by example and share enthusiam. People need to see something working well in order to be convinced it adds value to their already busy schedule.
Louise Woodland

Sharon Flynn said...

Hi Louise,

thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot to me to know that there are other "listeners" out there.