I appreciate the spirit of this time of year – looking back and giving thanks for what we have and what is important to us. Reflection is always a major part of the learning process. And, at our table on the Thanksgiving holiday, we give thanks out loud, each of us around the table names as many people, events, even things we are thankful for. It doesn’t matter that we are of different religions, nationalities, personalities, sexual orientations, political parties. We unite in appreciating our lives, each other, the food, and our blessings.

Here at the Studio, I am so thankful for my founding partners Doris and Lyn, their friendship and leadership. I am thankful for all of you reading this blog, the opportunity to get to know you online, and the possibilities and new learning we have created and will create together. I am thankful for our beta testers this past summer, whose careful comments and attention helped us re-launch the Studio as a better, more welcoming and user-friendly learning spa!

I am also thankful, and I can’t believe I am saying this, for some of the technology I use. Remember when they told us that technology would simplify our lives? I do! Was it true? My immediate reaction is no! They lied! But, I do have to admit that it is true sometimes. And although I do complain about being tied down by technology, I also have to acknowledge being lifted up by it, too.

So here goes:

My 10 Techno-Thanks for 2013:

  1. My high speed internet. Although I had a lot of technical difficulties when I switched to broadband cable internet recently, now that it works I am not frustrated by slow loading and interrupted video feeds. I purchased business class and get great service. Best of all, I save $50 a month!
  2. Online professional development. From MOOCs to online courses, webinars, slideshares, and YouTubes I’ve learned about personal knowledge management (PKM), cooperative vs. collaborative learning, being net smart, e-marketing, social marketing and social media, search engine optimization, online learning theory and practice to name a few. There are so many quality learning opportunities out there now at no or low cost by experts in the field, groups with similar interests, communities of practice. Visit our Learning Directory to get an idea of what’s out there.
  3. My Mac products (MacBook pro, iPad, iPhone). They are reliable, trouble free most of the time, and the tech support is amazing. I do buy the extended support and have found it so worth it. They will walk me through anything! Disclosure: They did not pay me for this endorsement. My internet, computer, tablet and phone allow me to access online professional development from pretty much anywhere with wifi.
  4. My online learning networks. I have several that I highly value. Some people I have never met, and others I have, but the community of learning that happens with people all over the world compels me to read more, think and reflect more around topics such as online learning, connected learning, professional development, learning dialogues and conversations, being net savvy. I gain perspectives from all over the US, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada. My networks ebb and flow with the topic and my learning needs and desires and have opened up a whole new world that I create, grow, and join. I am still learning to do this, putting my toes in the water, wading into this ocean of possibility and learning.
  5. Facebook. I know. But, I have reconnected with people I like (and do ignore those I don’t) and lost touch with, keep up with family, view and sometimes drool over trip pictures, and can go on when I like and as often as I like (or not) without any remorse.
  6. Twitter. I am not tweeting yet but hope to more regularly soon. I have to say it is a valuable tool to follow people whose work I admire. It is like getting tidbits from very good conversations, and then I can go to their sites and read more. I have come to think of it as flirting that can lead to an actual learning date.
  7. Remote printing. I do admit that I still print out quite a lot (so much for the paperless life!) to read later, make notes, cook from. With a wireless printer, I can print from anywhere in my house from any compatible device. When I reach the actual printer, it is like there are presents waiting for me in the out tray!
  8. Netflix streaming. We don’t have regular or cable tv in our house, but do watch movies. Now, and this is another thanks for our high speed internet, my husband and I stream videos through our wifi blueray player. Best, we can watch separate movies on separate tvs, computers, or tablets. No more arguing over who gets to watch what. I can retire to another room with my hankie and a good chick flick without the comments and eye rolling, and he can watch his action flicks without my derisive comments about gratuitous violence. We do watch a lot together – I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, but the separate but equal rocks!
  9. Video chatting such as Google + , Google hangout. I love the special effects you can use while on a video call – from a beach background to wearing a mustache and crown at the same time! Skype is easy and most people know how to use it. Adobe Connect for more people in a video conversation. I have gotten so used to video conversations that sometimes the phone seems disembodied to me – a voice without a body. It is so nice to see who you are talking with!
  10. Pandora. I don’t want to endorse specific apps or products, but I really love this free music program. I have created channels for my favorite artists, been introduced to new ones as a result. I can go classical or folk or blues or jazz or indie or show tune. I have Pandora playing in the background while completing tasks that don’t require concentration or quiet, or just as background music while I am cooking, doing laundry, or driving. I have no desire to ask Pandora to put the lid back on the box!

What are you techno-thankful for? What technology has enriched your life?

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