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  • Cultivate Empathy: Empathy is the cornerstone of turning towards each other. It allows us to understand the feelings and experiences of others without judgment or defensiveness. To cultivate empathy, we must be willing to sit with discomfort and open ourselves up to the experiences of others.
  • Practice Active Listening: Active listening involves fully focusing on, understanding, responding to, and then remembering what is being said by another person. This means putting aside our own agendas or preconceived notions in order to truly hear what someone else is saying.
  • Embrace Vulnerability: Vulnerability can be scary because it involves exposing parts of ourselves that we often hide for fear of rejection or judgment. However, it’s through vulnerability that we create genuine connections with others.
  • Acknowledge and Validate Feelings: Validating someone’s feelings doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with them. It simply means acknowledging their feelings and letting them know that their feelings make sense.
  • Prioritize Connection Over Being Right: One of the key elements of turning towards each other is choosing connection over being right. This entails putting aside our need to win arguments or prove points, and instead focus on understanding the other person’s perspective.
  • Transitioning from Turning on Each Other to Turning Towards Each Other by Ian O’Byrne

    Replied to Communities and Conversations of the Past by David TrussDavid Truss (

    Now Bill is off of Twitter and I may leave the site too before the end of the year. I’m left wondering the same things as Dean, “Maybe online communities are a white whale. What is the best we can hope for in terms of online engagement and community for educators?“

    I read this post a few weeks ago David and have been left thinking. I like your point about the digital ecosystem of blogs, Twitter, video and podcasts, I wonder if that is often overlooked. It is never one thing, but I do miss those days. Not sure if or when I will ‘quit Twitter’, but in some ways I feel I already have. I cannot remember the last time I mindlessly scrolled through my feed. For so long I was consuming Tweets through my feed reader, until I discovered that someone took down the bridge, I then found another way via Inoreader, until that bridge was removed too. I was then faced with the choice and seemingly boarded up the house. I sometimes go there to search for something or post a reply to someone, but I never really stay.

    The problem that you and Dean touch upon is where is the community space for education? I have never been a fan of LinkedIn, in part that it is not public, but also that it feels too performative. Maybe the work banal ‘magic‘ that encapsulates my days just does not fit there, but then again, maybe I am just naïve to how performative Twitter is/was. I fear I have become a recluse in the woods living in the small hut that is my own website, just talking to myself as the local habitat walks on past wondering what I am doing.

    Replied to

    Sorry Bob for the belated response, Twitter can provide a way of connecting with experts and engaging in conversations. See @biancah80
    Replied to Call Me Naive: We are Part by Kevin Hodgson (

    I guess our choices are to either leave those places or work to make them better, or passively hope for the best. I’m naive in this, I know, but I think small actions and people connections still count and can make a difference (this is the teacher in me, for sure, with the faith of seeds planted now blooming later on), so I keep on keeping on, hoping a positive energy and a way forward, step by step, might improve the whole.

    I find myself still in these places/spaces, but far less active. I am still active and if people instigate conversation then I converse there. However, I have taken other measures to find conversations worth having. For me, this comment – syndicated on my own site – is an example of that. I no longer go around gatecrashing public conversations as I used to.
    Replied to #tdc2553 #ds106 Reach Out and Tweet Someone (The Daily Create)

    meaningful connections flickr photo by wonder-ing shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license Social networks are connecting platforms, or they should be. For today’s invitation, respond …

    The voices & ideas who have stood out for me this year as a part of my newsletter @kjinquiry @mrsfint @gregmiller68 @langwitches @BiancaH80 @Obi_Jon_ @davecormier @zephoria @twoodwar @wiobyrne @ChrisAldrich @antonyjfunnell @DrNomyn @ChrisWejr @austinkleon @LaTrioli

    #tdc2553 @ds106dc

    Bookmarked Pausing Twitter by Pernille Ripp (

    So for now, I will be on here. I will be in my classroom fully present. I will try to find a better balance between sharing and staying quiet. I will be in the Global Read Aloud community, the Passionate Readers community. I will be actually reading more of the fantastic things written by others whose work inspires me to be more than I am. I will be diving back into research. I will be looking at my own practices in order to grow. I will be by my fireplace reading a book. I will be at my dinner table laughing with my kids. I will be just Pernille, not Pernille that has a lot to say and doesn’t always know when to be quiet. If you see me on there, it is probably a cross-posting from Instagram or a very rare moment indeed. But until then, take care of yourself. I am trying to take care of me.

    This is another insightful reflection from Pernille Ripp. It continues on from her apology earlier this year for stepping back. It makes me wonder what happens to the ‘edu-influencer‘ when they step back? As much agree with Joe Sanfileppo about the power and potential of being connected, what happens when those people stop answering?
    Bookmarked Digital Survival Skills by Tom Woodward (Bionic Teaching)

    The confluence of distraction and rapid change in today’s digital environment can result in confusion and frustration. We’ll focus on limiting distraction and choosing tools and workflows that will help you do more with less effort. The foundation will be a quick overview of digital productivity patterns (pomodoro, GTD, etc.). From there, we’ll move into successful patterns for getting work done in key workplace applications.

    Tom Woodward reflects on the skills required for living online. He discusses knowing how you use your time, checking your data, avoiding distractions, optimising workflows and knowing the ‘basics’. It is interesting to think about this alongside Doug Belshaw’s work with digital literacies. It also has me reviewing my ten step program to being a connected educator.
    Bookmarked Secrets of the Edu-Twitter Influencers – Educational Leadership by Tara Laskowski, Amy Fast, Larry Ferlazzo, Baruti Kafele, Pernille Ripp, Eric Sheninger, Jose Luis Vilson (Educational Leadership)

    Six educators who’ve become popular voices on social media share advice for developing online professional learning networks.

    This is a reflection from a collection of educational ‘thought leaders‘. What stood out was the intent of self-promotion that many started with. Most spoke about the rich possibilities associated with Twitter, however I feel the same benefits can be gained beyond. One thing that I found interesting was how much time different people spend:

    Ferlazzo: Far too much time. I need to get a life!

    Fast: I usually get on Twitter after my kids go to bed at night. I’m often on there for an hour or so. I consider it my professional reading. If I’m not on Twitter, then I’m reading a book or an article.

    Sheninger: We all can allocate at least 15 minutes a day to learn and get better. Why not make the time to do this on a platform like Twitter where we can personalize the experience? Balance is key.

    Ripp: I do the quick check-ins a lot as opposed to spending a long time at once. I do try to reply to every single person that tweets me specifically, but sometimes that is a losing battle. I am still working on the balance between my online learning life and the life happening right in front of me every day.

    It makes me think that being a ‘thought leader’ is something that needs to be maintained.

    via Ian O’Byrne’s TLDR

    Replied to Of giants and wisdom – Matthew Esterman – Medium by Matthew Esterman (Medium)

    We all stand on the shoulders of giants. Whether they have titles or honours or positions of authority, or have no idea that they have any influence whatsoever. I’d like to think that all teachers are giants to someone, at some time, which is an incredibly powerful role and responsibility.

    Congratulations on your award Matt. I really like your idea of thanking those little giants who help us on our way each and every day. Don’t feel we do it enough.
    Bookmarked i am sorry by Pernille Ripp (Pernille Ripp)

    So it is time for me to step back a bit. To do less work publicly, to share less, to not be so immediately available.  To be just Pernille, the person who doesn’t have all of the answers necessarily.  That only creates something because she cannot help it. That gives all of her when she is in a public space, but then steps back when she is private.

    Pernille Ripe reflects on life as a connected educator. She discusses the stress, anxieties and perceived responsibilities that come with being an educelebrity. Although we often talk about the technicalities associated with being (digitally) literate, what is sometimes overlooked are the social consequences. This is something that Austin Kleon also recently reflected upon.
    Bookmarked Open Web Stories – for DMLL @ Coventry (Reflecting Allowed)

    On the open web, we implicitly consent to more than I think we mean to.

    Maha Bali reflects on her open education story. This involves responding to three questions:

    • What does the open web mean to you?
    • Why should we care about the open web?
    • Who are you?

    She talks about the challenges of doing a PhD remotely, participation in MOOCs such as Rhizo14 and the creation of Virtually Connecting. She also shares some of the limits to open education, especially in regards to those who are vulnerable.

    Bookmarked Academic Outrage: When The Culture Wars Go Digital by Tressie McMillan Cottom (tressiemc)

    This isn’t an issue for individual professors. This is an organized effort. Sociologists may know a little something about those. Learn how to organize, then organize.

    Tressie McMillan Cottom discusses the challenges of being critical in online spaces. She says to learn how to organise and then organise. Some take-aways include:

    • Beware the hand-wavers and the hand-wringers
    • On the flip side, don’t be a hand-waver and hand-wringer
    • If you or a colleague is under attack, help your institution to help you
    • Take care of your family
    • Master platforms
    • Get long-term

    I wonder what this means for K-12 educators and the call for connected educators?

    Bookmarked Communities or networks? – Matthew Esterman – Medium by Matthew Esterman (Medium)

    The most useful network or community is the one you can build with your immediate team and colleagues in your school. They’re in the context and in the ‘know’. They’re accountable with you and they know the support structures — especially if it’s them — and can act on them. If you don’t feel you’re getting that support, find a mentor outside the context and learn to build relationships within. We need to be an active participant in those networks we choose to belong.

    Matt Esterman reflects on the place of associations. Beyond reviewing our assumed attendances to such communities, Esterman recommends forming local networks. I have tried this in the past. The challenge I found with ‘local’ is catching up and being proactive.
    Replied to Writing to connect: knowing the “other” outside time & space (Reflecting Allowed)

    Writing across each other’s blogs, I love how in some MOOCs, when people are focused on the same topic, one writes a post connecting ideas from multiple other posts, taking the ideas further, grabbing comments from elsewhere, and making something new, then recycling the ideas again. It’s a kind of “distributed” collaborative writing.

    This is an intriguing reflection Maha. I like your points about writing across blogs, as well as connecting beyond ourselves. The one question I was left wondering is whether you would right the same post now? I too have written myself about the benefits of connected education. With both posts written a few years ago, I wonder if anything has changed? Would you still have the same outlook?
    Bookmarked The True Power of Technology (

    the true power in technology is not just the readiness. The skills. The playing around with tools to create something impossible.

    It is the power to be seen.

    To not be alone.

    To feel that in the world, someone values you. That someone out there gets you.

    A like your point Pernille. My only concern is that connections are not always guaranteed. As Bill Ferriter explains in regards to audience, connections are not a given, especially when we expect them to have certain comments. Here I am reminded of Clive Thompson’s argument about it being harder to write for ten than ten thousand:

    Going from an audience of zero to an audience of ten is so big that it’s actually huger than going from ten people to a million.

    Although connections are powerful, it is important to not over-hype the hoped for outcomes. All that we can do is create the conditions for comments. A point Kathleen Morris makes.

    Replied to The path to Twitter is paved with … by IaninSheffield (Marginal Notes)

    Can you remember the route by which you came to use Twitter to support your professional learning?

    Ian, your post (and visual) raised many questions. I think my own experience of Twitter was somewhat multi-pronged. There was quite a bit of inadvertent nudging, during a course on thinking, while I also had a few friends on it. I have documented a part of my story here, as well as created a short video documenting it:

    I really wonder if it is ever one thing, rather than an assemblage of parts. This has me thinking about blogging as well and how the take up of Twitter might compare with the early days of educational blogging? Would there be similarities? Do these things change? Would someone starting out on their path now be different to yourself starting out in 2009? How does it differ from a wider discussion of connected education? Always so many questions.