Recently I had a job interview– yes, it’s that time of the year again that we all look forward to– in my interview, I was surprised by a question: “tell us about the various ways you stay in touch with professional learning communities.”
It was an easy enough question. The thing that surprised me so much was the fact that I was anticipating that question. Surely, faltering would mean that I wasn’t prepared to answer such a question or that I hadn’t truly thought about it before, right? It took me a second to think and I listed off a few ways. Later in the interview, I said something to the effect that it is something that I’m trying to develop. I hope that I can become someone who has more connections and is also more active in sharing within the wider ed-tech community both online and in person. I went on to say how much I value professional connections; by giving and sharing what I know and have, I get back more from others who are then willing to share from their own experiences. The interviewer told me that it was a great answer and that they felt it was one of my weaknesses (based on my CV), but my answer was exactly what they were looking for.
Time has passed since that interview and I am going through the introductory course on COETAIL which asked me to make a quick mindmap of my professional learning network. I have to say, that now that I have actually written it down and thought about it, I have quite a few connections with others around the world. This quick exercise shows me that I’m actually quite connected. That being said, I think that I could be more active in each of my various communities.
It’s almost like we live in a time of over-connection and over-communication and as a result, we end creating less and less quality communication that when regular, can sometimes be lacking in substance. Attending regular PD can be expensive and informal meet-ups can lack substance. So It seems that in a sense, focusing on fewer communities and engaging in them with more commitment and regularity can be a solution. What do you think?