So what have I learned so far? At this time, I have two rooms running. While one has just started, there has been activity in both. I have learned that my vision of what might happen with the rooms was not quite right. The timing for developing this community has been much slower than I would have imagined. Especially in room 1 as that is a group that already knows each other on some level.
One thing that I tried there was to meet with one of my teachers face to face and show him a little more about TI. I also knew that he had some wonderful things going on in the classroom and encouraged him to share. This made a difference with him as he is now posting as if this was his blog. Very cool stuff being tossed up on the way by this teacher. I have taken the role of holding my response until others might have a chance to respond. However, that has not happened yet. Therefore, I make a response to try to keep the conversation going or through the response, elicit another post or response. I will have to look at this more after spring break as there is no activity at the moment. However, I think I will make an effort to visit two of the schools that are in the group as soon as we return as I feel that this may help to stimulate dialogue. This tool is new to most and the idea of openly sharing may also be new.
One of the major differences between the two rooms is accessibility. The second room is open (except for Pepperdine campus- problem there with location of my account). I now have two members in the room that just joined because they found the room and have similar interests. One of them left her profile in the profile discussion while the other did not. The one that posted also knew Madre- what a small world.
The personal touch seems to have an effect. I have not tried the personal touch online but with the face to face, there was movement. The building of community is far more than people of common interests coming together. The freedom to share does not mean that people will automatically do so. I believe that by visiting ESD and Hockaday, I will stimulate additional conversations in the room. Through those personal face to faces, personal online contact may be easier as I will have a better idea on how to move them toward active participation.