Open? Private? A reflection on streaming #WalkMyWorld2016.

Picture by Stephanie Loomis, Magnolia Plantation, South Carolina

There is a discussion under way about whether #walkmyworld needs a dedicated sharing stream on Known, an open source tool. In the past, the stream has been on Twitter, using the #walkmyworld. I like the simplicity of that. Twitter is familiar, tutorials are plentiful, and truthfully, I don’t want to juggle yet another site with my students. I understand the idea of FERPA compliance and privacy issues, which makes a Known site appealing. However, I think those issues can be handled best at the local level.

The thing I like best about #walkmyworld is the fluid, organic, and simple nature of it. It is adaptable for multiple age, skill, and professional levels. I worry that making it too specific (with Learning Events that start to look like school projects) or too complicated (dealing with multiple publishing venues), we lose the beauty of simplicity.

For my students, I address the privacy issue by using my course LMS, Haiku, for student blogs. They can share their work on my own public blog (mrsloomis.wordpress,com) which is tweeted upon publication. This affords them to be truly open in their work, but protects them if they do NOT want to share publicly. My students follow the #walkmyworld hashtag on Twitter, so they can interact with other participants as they determine what they want to share. For me, this is the best way to balance privacy and participating.

Teachers know their students best, and are best able to protect their privacy without needing to add another level of complexity to #walkmyworld. Just as teachers will moderate the Learning Events to meet their curricular goals, so should they be able to individually determine which publishing tools work best for them and for their students.

I vote for keeping it simple. Twitter works.