Cross-posting myself from my blog at the EVO Multiliteraces page on Ning. Evomlit, for short, is a workshop I am taking at the Electronic Village Online (the TESOL prequel)
Or drowning in them. Sink or swim: coordinate or drown? I just clicked Vance's overload article. "How can teachers deal with technology overload?" at http://multiliteracies.ning.com/profiles/blogs/how-can-teachers-dea.... As an example of overload, I started this post early in the first week, saved most of it to drafts without posting. We are now nearing the end of the second week, and, after over a week of "I'm going to finish that post today." That was then: today is today. Maybe this "today" is the day.
Overload: it's not just for the classroom. There are also personal networks, non-classroom professional networks, community networks, special interest networks, and so on. Nor are all networks separate, discrete and clearly delineating entities. They overlap, some more than others.
Vance addresses the challenge teachers face when they "need to master so many new skills" but also reminds readers (including me) that "these competencies have been needed since the turn of the century" with skill sets continually enlarging in this one. In order to survive in these waters, like sharks, we need to keep moving and feeding.
What do we need to be familiar with? Let me count the ways, tick them off the list of skills and concepts that Vance adapted from himself (adapted from Stevens, 2008). Yes, you can read them in the article but repeating is aide memoire for me as well.
1. Web 2.0 and social networking
2. RSS and feed readers
3. Podcasts (harvesting and producing them)
4. Microblogging (e.g. Twitter, Edmodo)
5. Distributed and personal learning networks
6. Aggregation and tagging
7. Digital storytelling and applications of multimedia to new literacies
8. Communities of practice and connectivism
9. Informal / just-in-time (JIT) learning
10. Synchronous communication tools such as: instant messaging, online presentation venues incorporating interactive whiteboard, voice, and video
11. Asynchronous collaborations tools such as: blogs, wikis, Voicethread, Slideshare, Google docs, etc.
Do you see the most common thread? Not time or immediacy (live feed and synchronicity hype to the contrary) but sharing. If we don't share, it's not communication. Dissemination, exchange, collaboration. If there is no exchange or dialogue it is not interactive.
Let's examine the list for familiarity levels: know about, consume, distribute or exchange, aggregate or collect to share, create. They won't be the same for each. Classification would be another category ~ not just how but where or in which networks do we use them? Bloom's Taxonomy comes to mind.
Another consideration: which applications will we use, find most useful? Realistically, we won't use all of them, but there is no way to know without test driving them. Another workshop goal is to learn more about familiar applications... not to mention that app we installed but have not gotten around to using enough to become more than superficially familiar with it.
I'm going to manage overload by not expecting to do everything and letting myself go off on tangents that catch my fancy ~ an distinct advantage to being more or less retired. As an aside, I am also looking at and weighing these applications from the perspective of networks and computer networking in other contexts: local community and action networks.