As I have ventured into the online edtech community, I have been struck by both the power and the ease of making connections. Without these, my work in parent engagement would have been my egocentric view of the literature but instead has the chance to include many direct voices. What an opportunity to have the understandings continue to evolve beyond the initial collection.

A specific example over the last 6 weeks – I joined Classroom 2.0 and found Lorna Constantini who has done extensive work on Parent Engagement in Canada. She directed me to some other research. Through twitter and thanks to Vicki Davis I found my way to Educon 2.0 and met Matt Montagne who is doing some great work with parents in his school. Then Matt tweeted about a webcast he was involved in. So I checked it out, and it was hosted by Lorna! Full circle, and around the continent.

In our ECI831 session this week, Sharon Peters challenged us to examine our sphere of influence. Not only have I begun the early stages of building a social learning network around parent engagement, I have also been challenged to think differently about open source, open content and open access. I am interested in how we can find the balance between reliable environments and open access. My own blog entries have opened a wider network for this conversation, extended by Twitter announcements. Ah Twitter – it has figured prominently in many connections I have made or have been made on my behalf.

The learning curve has been steep. My sphere of influence is small so far, but rich. Each connection is meaningful.