The Bat Signal

signal by brdonovan, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  Photo by  brdonovan 

There is no delight in owning anything unshared. ~Seneca

I have been amazed by many people, events and experiences since joining the blogging and Twitter worlds but above all the one thing I keep coming back to is the open, gracious and giving culture of sharing. It often leaves me completely in awe. I am moved by the gratitude of strangers, and yet “stranger” is entirely the wrong word. The people in my PLN have never once felt like strangers because immediately, without any typical “getting to know you” preambles, they reach out, rallying around and share with abandon. What a brilliant, beautiful community!

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. ~William Butler Yeats

There have been countless times I have sent up the bat signal on Twitter and in no time people are leaping to action. Without hesitation they send ideas, solutions, options, and resources my way. They often will retweet the request as a way to get that bat signal shining even brighter. They don’t have to do any of this but they do, and that is what deeply matters. They actively choose to engage, share, connect. I feel emotional when my PLN answers my call, and as silly as it sounds I hope I always feel this way. I don’t want to take it for granted. I know I am part of something special. I know the sense of isolation in the teaching profession, and the desire to spend time with colleagues sharing and devouring new ideas. Developing a PLN has dissolved any feelings of isolation by fostering rich connections and the resources pour out of my PLN faster than I can digest. It is the most relevant, personalized, dynamic and progressive professional development I have ever experienced. And it is all thanks to a culture of sharing.

Sharing will enrich everyone with more knowledge. ~Ana Monnar

Not only is it remarkable how many people are sharing online, what they are sharing is equally as impressive. Many tangible resources are shared every day such as videos, websites, images, presentations, blog recommendations, conference experiences…the list is truly endless. It is challenging to navigate the volume of content available but when my PLN shares they help guide me through the maze. They often take me places I would have never discovered on my own. They are my sensemaking and wayfinding navigators.

Another layer of sharing that happens in a PLN is intangible yet equally, if not more,  valuable. It is the sharing of: support, enthusiasm, passion, inspiration, vulnerability, risks, journeys, celebrations, and challenges. When people are open and real, and they share these pieces of who they are, we all benefit. It creates a unity, a connectedness, a web. I really believe sharing packaged in humanity is powerful.

Dr. Howard Gimbel is a beautiful example of someone who shares knowledge gift wrapped in benevolence. He is an award winning ophthalmic surgeon in Calgary, renowned for his outpatient cataract and refractive surgeries. 30 years ago Dr. Gimbel started taping videos of his work for teaching purposes, and two years ago he began uploading videos to YouTube. The Gimmel Library on YouTube now has 100 videos available and they have been viewed by more than 55,000 medical practitioners and students in 30 countries. The comments in the video library illustrate the profound difference Dr. Gimbel is making for surgeons and patients he has never even met. And all because he chooses to share.

It’s so gratifying to share the knowledge. ~Dr. Gimbel

Thank you to Dean Shareski for passionately spreading the message of “Sharing: The Moral Imperative.” Thank you to my PLN for tirelessly answering the bat signal. And thank you to the countless people who threw their virtual arms around me when my spirit took a blow last week. Your support is incredible and uplifting, and I am extremely grateful.

I’m wondering: Where do you share? What do you share? Has your outlook on sharing changed? Do you agree that it is a moral imperative? Do you have a story about sharing that has touched you?

7 thoughts on “The Bat Signal

  1. I always wanted to share with people. In my school and as we worked on new ideas as a staff I repeated three words; congruent, concentric and collaboration. Many of our ideas have been a catalyst for huge shift in our school district. Sharing is essential, I see how Social Media speeds this up and sharing can then happen on a larger scale.

    Great post, and I just published mine this morning called Toe Tapping and Pedagogical Controversy.

  2. I have found it very interesting, as I’ve extended an e-invitation to my colleagues here in nursing education to share with me their educational innovations for the purpose of cross-pollination in a faculty meeting (and learning artefact, aka my final project), that some of those most on the leading edge have not responded. I have had to seek them out personally and validate that what they’re doing is different and important. Then they share. But they don’t think of themselves as innovators and don’t want to toot their own horns. They’re just really about wanting to springboard off tech to engage and promote learning. This leads me to think that I should include a reference to Dean’s “moral imperative” to share in my presentation as a big thinking prompt?!

    • I think it is quite common for people who are hesitant to share to equate it with “tooting their own horns.” I have been on the receiving end of that response and it really surprises me. When you see sharing as so valuable it is shocking when people react in a way that is counterintuitive. Good for you for persisting as I think once people experience the benefits of sharing and move past any fears and insecurities, they will be hooked!

  3. Love the analogy – Twitter really has become a bat signal for many of us in educaiton – here is to conquering the evil empires that conspire to protect and restrict learning to elitist institutions. Here is to the superheroes – the teachers and students who everyday are battling to empower the individual by being a a life-long learner.

  4. Pingback: Farewell to Our Forever Dog | Aspiring to Higher Tech

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