Monday, August 20, 2007

The Power of the Internet

I don't mean for this blog to embarrass anyone so I apologize ahead of time to all my online friends. But I began thinking, as the summer winds down, of all I've done this summer (see my last blog). And I realized that the greatest accomplishment of the summer was making connections online. Now I know all of you understand the power of the Internet when it comes to making connections. Social networks, Skype, instant messaging, and Twitter, among other apps, have all dramatically increased their clientele (and revenues) in the past year.

But what I am amazed about is with whom I am able to connect. For so many years, I read my teaching magazines and my educational technology magazines. Over and over again I read about incredible people creating collaborative sites, amazing websites for children, speaking at conferences, writing books. I dreamed about hearing them at conferences, and occasionally did. But, this summer, I connected with - actually conversed with - many of these people. Mostly we talk about education, but sometimes about more mundane issues like our children, homes, the local weather. We go skating in Second Life, chat in Skype about Harry Potter, share blogs, Twitter messages back and forth.

And, through these people, I meet others. Durff and Alice Mercer invited Wes Fryer to a webcast and I got to be in a chat room with him! In Second Life's Blogger's Cafe I sit with Jen Wagner and Colleen King and along comes...Bob Sprankle! And we talk. Like real people. Only in a fake world.

Now I know this sounds a bit like hero worship (and to be honest, it is) but these are people I read about in my magazines and books...Jen Wagner of Technospud, Colleen King of Math Playground, Durff, who shows up in all the blog comments with so many intelligent things to say, Alice Mercer, who I viewed in ClassBlogmeister first. I was inspired by them and learned from them.

And, now, after the summer, I feel I can call these people colleagues and friends. I meet them in various arenas, chat with them comfortably, and laugh about daily life with them. And that, I believe, is the ultimate power of the Internet. That I can connect with everyone on an equal footing. Imagine what we can learn from each other!


Cheryl Lykowski said...

I totally agree with you. It's amazing when I think about the connections I have made through blogs, wikis, Second Life, Webcast Academy... I feel that the 'professional development' that acquire through these connections is not only valuable but well worth my time. It's been a great summer of learning for me.See you around in Webcast Academy and Second Life.

Colleen said...


I am just awed by what has happened this summer. I've gone from a network of 3 to more than 40 people I can now chat with, ask questions, and share ideas. The community has been so welcoming and made it very easy to be a part of it. I have a strong sense that this school year is going to be nothing short of amazing.

See you at TBC in SL, OK? LOL

Jennifer W said...

And what is truly amazing is -- it isn't really FAKE anymore.

My Second Life has merged into my Real Life -- and though I have not everyone yet Face2Face -- I have met them Heart2Heart or Perhaps Educator2Educator -- and in some ways, that has made it all the better.

I am glad you had fun. You have blessed me mightily too.