Hyper-connected learning – using Diigo to share reflections on a post reflecting on another post

Photo http://realidadestatica.tumblr.com/post/21361359191/roads

So I’ve been using Diigo for quite a few years now – especially to save and annotate what I’ve found online and want to keep, and to be able to find it again later and share it easily.

What I haven’t done very much is use the annotation tool to share with others in a group. I’ve shared things with groups but – you know how it goes, you’re in and out of groups over the years, so you’re not really a part of the group in a meaningful or ongoing sense.  I admit that I try to engage in too many things on too many platforms at the same time, and recently I’m feeling the loss of a network of people I connect with in a deep way.

Since joining Connected Courses, the excitement of finding so many interesting people thinking and writing openly in blogs and on Twitter has blown my mind a little, and I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know people in this way, saving their blogs to Feedly, following them on Twitter (#ccourses) while growing a larger network, and reading their blog posts about the why of teaching.

Today, while reading Maha Bali‘s response post, Why read this, why read that, to Mimi Ito’s post, Connected learning = abundant opportunity + terror + hard attentional choices + productive tension (brilliant title, don’t you think?), I was happily disappearing  down the rabbit holes of her hyperlinks, when I stayed a bit longer in her link to the Diigo group for #ccourses, and I had a forehead slap moment. I was reading and getting excited by what I was reading, highlighting what spoke to me, and annotating my thoughts in Diigo – to myself! D’oh! How absurd was this scenario? I was part of Connected Courses, reading the same things as the very large cohort – why wasn’t I annotating to the group?

Okay, so that’s been said and I’ve added some annotations to the group for this post. And now I wait until I feel a tug on the line I’ve thrown out, bearing in mind that most participants live in a different time zone, and the interaction may not be in real time.  But potentially, Diigo is another way to feel connected in sharing ideas about a post or article – apart from Twitter, of course.

So I’m thinking that it would be very cool if we could use Diigo for something meaningful at school. Although I’ve tried a couple of times to get teachers interested in Diigo,  and nothing came of it, I might have another go following my renewed enthusiasm. And I’d also like to use Diigo for a class of students to analyse a text in small groups. That’s the kind of peer learning we need more of.

In the meantime, I thought I’d use my highlights and annotations as a way to populate this post, to share parts of Mimi Ito’s post and my thoughts as I’m reading. So what I’ve done is opened the Diigo annotations tab in my annotated version of the post, and copied the transcript of what I’ve highlighted and commented on.  A pretty easy way to throw content into your blog post if you ask me.  I think it should make sense – if you realise that I highlighted phrases and not whole sentences, and in some cases just words.

Here it is – my highlights of Maha Bali’s post about Mimi Ito’s post. This kind of reading and annotation practice is very rich even though it might seem complicated. To give a bit of background, Maha Bali is remarking on Mimi Ito’s statement that she finds reading books easier than wading through tweets and blogs. My annotated comments are in green. There are too many highlights to include all of them, so I’ll be selective. I’m going to add some thoughts as I go and these will be in red. You would probably have to read both posts for the following to make sense.

  • that she found reading books (quickly, i assume?) easier than wading through tweets and blogs; whereas I clearly did the tweets/blogs things quite comfortably but found reading books “too much”
    • I feel the same as Maha, easier to read and respond to blog posts than read a book on my own – with nobody to talk to and no way of sharing my thoughts. Claustrophobic.comment byTania Sheko
  • Anyway, it made me reflect on why I, someone who LOVES reading by all accounts, have a strong preference for reading blogs/tweets over books/academic articles in MOOCs. There are many reasons,
    • This is something I’ve been thinking about for ages but feeling like I’ve failed in that I’ve lost the enthusiasm for reading books, or maybe don’t have the focus stamina any more. Thanks for writing this out, Maha, I might do my own blog reflection.comment byTania Sheko
  • Mimi’s point that a connected learning experience “welcomes people with different dispositions and orientations to learning”,

I love this aspect of online learning – it often reveals surprising treasures from students who are too shy to have a voice in class.

  • In terms of learning: Is the MOOC about experiencing connecting? Or about reading about it?
  • the MOOC is about reflecting on connecting,
  • My first PhD supervisor was big on encouraging me to read diverse articles not single-authored books

It’s the diversity of the ‘chaotic’ stream of shared information and ideas in Connected Courses that excites me.

  • My second supervisor (who replaced the first) was big on me reading original works by e.g. Marx, Foucault, etc.
  • I also find reading translated works really difficult and find it a better investment of my time to first read more contemporary (or at least, more education-focused) interpretations of the “greats” works, before reading the original. It helps me read it better

Thanks so much for saying this! I always feel guilty when I don’t manage to read a challenging book list. What you do is a much more productive way of managing things.

  • I do not value the book-authors more than I value the blog-authors
  • can interact with them more regularly
  • more accessible, easier to read quickly

We should revise our separation of authoritative information especially as many authors are also bloggers.

  • 2. Attention issues
  • Philosophical approach to reading
  • This is particularly funny because I keep not finding time to read the”attention literacies” part in Howard Rheingold’s Net Smart, as I get ‘distracted’ into reading different parts of it (i’ve probably read half the book already, just not in order).
  • And that’s why I voice these things in MOOCs, because I am pretty sure that courses about connection want ppl to feel they can participate.
  • So basically, I hope to engage with these readings “my way” (so not deeply with each entire book, unless it draws me in, but with parts of it)
  • hope that blog posts by other people & the hangout will fill me in second-hand (you see what I am doing here, don’t you?)
    • Very clever. I think this method wards away the guilts and also sustains engagement in the course. The alternative would be to give up and feel defeated if you couldn’t do everything.comment byTania Sheko
  • P.S. some ppl may say that w blog posts u have no guarantee of quality vs a book recommended by the facilitators. However, there are many ways to gauge a blog’s quality, incl knowing the person, seeing it retweeted often or with many comments – and it takes v little time to skim it to decide to read deeply;

I think that evaluating blog posts is an important skill, and definitely, with all the information online, some of it from experts who also publish in peer-reviewed journals, or books, that it is important to encourage students to discover what experts and professional people post online, and evaluate these as they would anything else.

  • lovely quotes from Mimi’s post:
  • Connected Courses is a veritable cornucopia of ways of participating with no central platform.
  • colliding through a loosely orchestrated cross-network remix, immersive theater where participants are all experiencing a different narrative.
  • hybrid network, more like a constellation that looks different based on where one stands and who one is.
  • a site of productive tension that is characteristic of connected learning.

I agree with Maha; these are exquisite quotes. 

  • Connected learning is predicated on bringing together three spheres of learning that are most commonly disconnected in our lives:
  • peer sociability
  • personal interests/affinity
  • opportunities for recognition.

That is, for us in Connected Courses:

  • our personal interests and expertise
  • reciprocity and fun in the social stream
  • institutional status/reputation


Thanks Maha and Mimi for your insightful reflections. I’ve had fun thinking about things in this connected way, and hope to make headway into a more connected way of reflecting using Diigo groups.

7 thoughts on “Hyper-connected learning – using Diigo to share reflections on a post reflecting on another post”

  1. Here is a multimodal response to the Mimi Itoh’s blog post that I have been annotating with the group on Diigo: http://zeega.com/168031

    Emergence is not manageable or predictable. I certainly can’t tell you where this might go. I can barely sense where it has been. Yet…I am very excited. Thanks for the post. I will return.

    1. Wow. How did you do that? It kept blowing up my mind frame by frame. This kind of response triggers on so many levels. I need to learn how to do that, definitely. Thanks for dropping by, look forward to your return, Terry.

      1. Been doing zeega for about a year. Got frustrated with PopcornMaker and learned about this via KQED’s website DoNow. Let me know if I can help.

  2. You’ve officially out-metad my meta! Well, the diigo discussion had already done that but you took that one step further! I love your thoughts of how to bring into a classroom setting. I wonder if it would work with one of the readings for ccourses??? Thanks for getting the creative juices flowing….

    1. Haha, we are all so meta! I think it would work for so many things, and #ccourses is a gift in terms of rich reading/reflection/shared posts. I’ve enjoyed your posts/Google hangouts very much, Mimi, and will go back to reflect some more. Thanks for taking the time to drop by.

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