I am not going to write my new year's resolutions here, because I don't have any......
Instead I want to write about a new learning experience I am involved in: http://digifolios.ning.com/
It's concerned with developing Personal Learning Portfolios/Environments - something I am keen to introduce to my students, particularly on the Virtual Teams Module. In fact I'd go so far as to say its essential in e-learning that students craft and develop such an environment for themselves in order to keep track of their learning resources.
I have blogged before about Netvibes and how it has made such a difference to my overall efficiency in keeping track of my surfing adventures....so it isn't the use of an aggregator that is new for me.....
No, what I am loving is the being part of a community and collaborating in learning tasks. There are some scheduled synchronous events (talks on WizIQ and Elluminate), there are blogs, shared presentations, discussion boards.... and yesterday we had an "ice breaker" in the form of a challenge to discover the Birth Order of each community member.
The fascinating thing about this was the ingenuity of individual members in their use of technology to discover the answers: polls on Survey Monkey and Doodle, use of Google Docs, Twitter and Gabmail etc - without any specific instructions from the coordinating team, people just got on with it. What is more, the results were fascinating - why are so many in this community eldest children - and is that significant? And the emerging stories even more so.
This is in sharp contrast with an e-learning conference I attended a few days ago where I felt I was talked at all day and only got to network in the coffee breaks - like that was somehow incidental?!
Whenever I ask students to tell me the best things about distance learning programmes I run, they say - the networking, hearing how other people manage these issues. When I think back to courses I have attended, I remember the people I met, the stories I heard, what I learned about myself in sharing stories of my own and having feedback and support from others.
And finally, this whole experience convinces me that it is possible to kick off a virtual learning experience from a cold start, to form relationships on line without benefit of face to face introductions and to collaborate effectively with others across distance using technology.
O brave new world, that hath such people in it!