Through this mapping process, I have visualized my individual network/personal community. However in order for my individual network to benefit me as an English teacher, there are a few characteristics Rheingold states that it should posses. Therefore, I am going to do a self analysis on my network based on Rheingold’s standards to see in what areas I need to improve.
The first trait Rheingold describes is being able to “act as an agent to cultivate personal learning networks.” As I look at my already established network, I can’t really say that any of those relationships were established because I went out and sought to improve my personal network. The majority of them are relationships that were handed to me through a circumstance and developed from that point. To further improve my personal community I should seek for more communities and be active in them to make me a more effective English teacher
The second trait Rheingold addresses is the size and diversity of networks. He states that the bigger a network is the more diverse it will probably be which will allow for a wide range of support to solve problems as a group. My personal network is not very big but is extremely diverse in all aspects. My ‘connections’ range in age, socioeconomic status, level of education, race, nationality, etc. I can work towards making my network even bigger and more diverse.
The third trait discusses the ability to work within different context and embracing the diversity as a positive aspect rather than an obstacle. The faster we understand the differences in other people the more effective our communication and ability to problem-solve will be. In my personal network, most members are flexible and can work within any context.
The fourth and fifth points address the ideas of trust and personal management. Essentially, for any group to function their needs to be trust. This may apply to the information they provide or suggestions they may have. However individuals also need to be able to manage what information they want to be public or private and which networks they want to share information with. My personal network does vary in terms of what type or relationships I have with the people; some are professional and some are casual. However I am very aware with what information gets to which people and effectively manage my relationships.
The sixth point addresses embracing technology. This is probably my weakest and most undeveloped trait. I do use technology to contact my established connections. However, it is not a tool that I use to find new networks and develop my own. In order to be a more effective English teacher I am going to have to make myself more familiar with technology and embrace the online communities.
Lastly, the ability to multi-task and manage personal time is important. Once I am able to manage my attention and use the internet as an actual resource and not simply browse, I will become a more effective networker and eventually benefit my students.