Advice from Mr. Downes

Reading Adult Education and Technology, I ran across a link to an old video by Stephen Downes that I had never seen.  It is great!

I was struck by a lot of things he said.  One big thing for me was the idea of the personal nature of the web. “You are at the center of your own personal learning network.”

For instance, he said that we shouldn’t worry about how anyone else should tag something; the tag is to make it easy for us to find it again.  That made me feel better about my rather long list of tags in delicious.

Other ideas:

  • Create your own project pages to make access to documents or forms or templates easily available to YOU.
  • Put all your learning in one place. Summarize what you have learned on a blog or wiki.
  • Take notes in a blog.
  • Forward important emails to yourself at gmail.

Something else was the fact that email isn’t a chore. It is a tool that allows us to communicate with others; we should look forward to it and find time to do it on a regular basis.  I have a friend who hated to check email.  She finally opened a gmail account and found that she liked email when it wasn’t filled with meaningless messages from her employer.  She now enjoys email.  It’s great!

Stephen talks about filtering  what we read.  Don’t try to read everything.  Don’t save things because someone else tells you to; save it because it is important to you.

He talks about Web 2.0 being about how we organize information.

He has made me rethink how I want to approach my summer classes.  It is the idea of the learner making meaning, making connections. I need to think seriously about this.


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