Friday Filter: Book “Personal Connections in the Digital Age”


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I read this book for my professional development goal. I was able to connect with a colleague that I met through the blog world, which was quite fitting for our first book.

Ellen and I would read a chapter a week and then emailed each other back and forth about our thoughts, observations, and reflections on that particular chapter.

Nothing about this book was earth shattering, but it did provide some good talking points for us to have some really great discussions.

The chapters were fairly short and very well organized (like an English teacher’s dream).

It was not overly textbookish, and had some great practical examples. She did include data and a lot of history in the book, but again, not in a way that goes over your head or puts you to sleep.

What I enjoyed about the book was looking back at how media and technology has evolved. A lot of advancement happened when Ellen and I were growing up. It gave us some great talking points about our childhood, college, and now our professional lives and how we have interacted with technology over time.

We also had some great discussions about what this means for our students. We have observed a lot of behaviors that stem from the use of technology and the availability of information. That was great to apply it to our work along with our personal tastes.

Throughout the book, the author talked about personal connections and how technology can help and hinder the meaningfulness of those relationships.

We were able to talk about the anonymity that it can provide for criticism on one hand. While on the other, it can provide closeness to long distance relationships.  We explored the idea of communities and individuals needing to create an online identity and what that means as far as connections, expectations, and consequences. We discussed such a wide range of outcomes over the couple months of reading, so it is hard to discuss it all here.

All in all, it was a good little book that gave Ellen and I some great things to reflect on. We were able to see how technology has morphed over time and how our usage has impacted us.

It was very interesting for us to talk about this technology driven book through email and having met through blogging and not ever in real life, which we both commented on every once in awhile. We would send each other little technology nuggets from videos to blogs from time to time too that would relate to whatever topic of the time.

Ellen and I are continuing our little book adventure again with a book on decision making. It was really great connecting with her and having the accountability to read a professional development book. I think we had some really great discussions about our profession, but I would also say we got to know each other really well too, even if it was quite random.

Have you read any great professional development books lately?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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