Six people who influence my thinking #TwitteratiChallenge

BirdAfter the flurry of #28daysofwriting, things have been quiet around here. A rich timetable always fills me with ideas to discuss. Sometimes this causes me to write often, others it diverts me away from blogging for a while. Once out of the habit it can be an effort to return to, so I do so with a meme post to kick me back into the writing habit.

Doug Belshaw very kindly tagged me in his post of people who influence him on twitter. It’s funny that we don’t very often get people to write about us in this kind of way. I recently did a letter of recommendation for Doug as he’s gone into an exciting new direction working as a consultant. It made me think that soliciting people’s opinions of you more often could be really valuable. What Doug wrote about me really made me think, understanding how other people see you is one of the hardest things to do.

I gather the rules are to feature people without replicating those already tagged. Below are mine, but without this (and no limit to numbers) I’d have included all the people Doug did, and Doug himself, as people to follow and learn from too.

Tony Parkin

Tony ParkinTony is an essential part of the UK education scene, especially if you are interested in technology. He is at the same time one of the warmest, approachable people in my network and one of the most outspoken and direct, always getting the balance right (well almost always… =) ). Tony shares lots of useful content and commentary, and has given me invaluable advice for some time. One of those wonderful twitter connections that is both a professional influence and a valued friend.

Laura McInerney

Laura McInerneyWhen it comes to UK education current affairs, news and policy Laura really knows her stuff. Follow her feed alone and you will end up pretty in touch with what’s happening in UK education, informed about where it has come from, and entertained by the background and colour she adds to the whole discussion. Follow her paper @SchoolsWeek for even more.

Ewan McIntosh

Ewan McIntoshEwan has a really diverse range of experience that truly brings out of the box thinking on learning. He’s been a big influence on me for a long time, and I really value the way he bridges the learning gap between the different worlds he works in. He also brings a very international perspective to what can sometimes be an insular education discourse in the UK.

Keri Facer

Keri FacerKeri is one of the most insightful thinkers on education and learning I know. Her book, Learning Futures is a must read. In a discourse full of unqualified assumptions and fixations on issues of economic growth, Keri’s work is a welcome reminder that education is about the deepest aspects of how we think about society and how we choose to live our lives.

Carl Gombrich

Carl Gombrich

Carl is building the undergraduate course I wish existed when I was choosing my studies. His BASc in Arts & Science takes on the fascinating challenge of how to provide an undergraduate experience that allows people to explore the complex, deep and contested nature of learning and knowledge that underpins the modern world. Carl’s thinking mixes insight into interdisciplinary approaches and research with a really healthy dose of pragmatism and the importance of application.

Simon Breakspear

Simon Breakspear I met Simon through the Oppi festival, and since have been following his thinking on global educational change and learning design. I’ve been making a deliberate effort recently to frame my experience and thinking on education more internationally, and Simon is an important influence on that.


Some people noticed I had a big re think of how I use twitter recently. This was part of a re think of how I use social and online media more generally, reflecting on Tim Ferriss’ thinking on ‘low information diets’ and Paul Dolan’s on allocating your attentional energy for happiness. The only technical and manageable way I could find to do this was to unfollow everyone, then re follow people I wanted to. Re following is a slow process, I’m no where near there, but it’s organic nature works well for me. I’m currently enjoying re engaging in more depth with the thinking of many people, and re discovering that of others.

It’s made me realise the network isn’t just the ticked boxes of ‘follow’ or ‘un follow’, it’s a sea of people and ideas that different people swim in in different ways. There is no ‘one way’ to exist in such a place, indeed there are different ways for the same person at different times. The important thing is to keep adjusting your stroke to take you in the direction that most benefits you, and to encourage others to do the same.
Photo Credit: Phil Romans via Compfight cc

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2 thoughts on “Six people who influence my thinking #TwitteratiChallenge”

  1. Really good point about unfollowing Oliver. I need to get my self into a calmer position. 100WC feels like a monster I have created & using social media means I’m never free of it!

    1. Thanks. The only way I could find that wasn’t going to take forever was use a tool to unfollow and then let developing conversations and thoughts to find people re build things. I’m not sure we talk enough about the attention challenges of existing in such a highly connected environment. It’s good to be well connected, but it’s better to be able to focus on making the differences you want to make, and staying sane while you do. Audrey Watters blog post on blocking made me think a lot about that, not that I have the problems she has obviously experience with harassment.

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