A book club
The CLmooc community is sponsoring a slow month long chat on the Connected Learning focused book Affinity Online:
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An “Affinity Network?”
What is an affinity network?
I loved Ronald’s response in his tweet.
A puddle. A safe place. A gathering place. A fun place.
A puddle, safe and fun, yet getting things done.
When I think of affinity networks, I think of my children and their model cars. They loved building them and we’d hop over to the hobby store to pick up more paint, only to find the back room filled with intricate projects by all ages who gather there to create, discuss, inspire, and celebrate their hobby — their interest.
Where I live today, my boys would not have been able to hop over to see such intricate details or meet experts in their interest– we now live in a very small town– and I’m not sure we even have hobby paints anywhere anymore now that the Variety Store closed.
However, they could have discovered an entire online community of information on YouTube and probably other places where they could learn advanced techniques and connect with newbies and experts in a shared online space. This video comes with a link to a Facebook page and I found a Facebook group, although I would, for kids, find another venue.
Under my direction, we could have started an online community safe for kids and adults to share their passion for their hobby without any intrusion by those not interested. Open, but focused.
I think that’s what an affinity network is: an online place where the participants can join in at their level without fear and for support and feedback to learn and excel together in their particular interest area.
It is like one of many puddles, funneled into a separate space within the waterfall of information; we find our puddles, test out the waters, and jump in if it fits our interests and needs.
The participants become friends for that focus, a reflection of ourselves through which both grow in their interest area.
Each time someone in the community takes a step to share, to offer help, to critique positively, to ask questions– that extends out to others who see it — ripples of support for all. An online community is much more visible and open than the back room of the hobby store; it allows everyone in that interest a space to learn, anytime, any where they are connected to the internet waterfall.
Where is your puddle?
Photos by Pixabay as indicated
Stair Reflection and CLmooc by Sheri