Featured L4C Participant:Benjamin Stewart

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Wikieducator helps define who I am and what I know.

Education is the ability to meet life's situations. - Dr. John G. Hibben

My name is Benjamin Stewart and I joined Wikieducator in March of 2009, participating in the Learning4Content workshop #21. Not knowing much about Wikieducator, my initial concern was learning Wiki syntax so that I could at least develop a user page that projected who I was. But as I was learning how to use Wikieducator, I quickly realized the support system the community provides. As I learned more, the more questions I had. Between WE and the discussion forums, I found myself asking and receiving questions on a continual basis as I continued to learn more about both Wiki code and how to work with other educators in a more collaborative way.

While taking the workshop, I created the beginnings of an open educational resource (OER) for distance language learners. Feedback from other educators early on provided support and insight as I continue to remain hopeful that this pursuit will have a positive impact in the field of teaching English to students of other languages (TESOL).

Wanting to learn more, I signed up for the Learning4Content workshop #22. This workshop was brief but extremely helpful in answering my more advanced questions as I continued to gain confidence in getting around WE while at the same time extending my network with other educators within the WE community. It was during this second workshop that I decided that I wanted to play a more active role in the WE community, realizing that by assisting others I would also be contributing to my own learning as well.

Once I finished the second workshop, I teamed up with a workshop co-facilitator and with the help of other teachers from Mexico, helped develop a wiki page for Mexico. The collaborative process was quite easy and fast (the bulk of the page was completed in less than a day) as each of us contributed to producing a finished wiki page designed to extend the WE experience to educators working in Mexico. During this time, I also was communicating with former workshop facilitators in finding out how I could participate in future workshops. These conversations led to a facilitating role in three separate workshops: a blended introduction to WE at the university where I teach, Learning4Content workshop #23, and Learning4Content workshop #25. Part of my participation as a workshop facilitator also included sharing my thoughts on my own WikiEducator experience in a WizIQ online WE conference as well as my work at Educators 2.0.

In addition to facilitating workshops and pursuing my own OERs, I am also contributing to discussions pertaining to information and structural issues pertaining to OERs and workgroups. I find that my current participation within the WE community has helped me as a university professor, doctoral student, and a lifelong learner as I continue to find ways to improve my personal learning network that ultimately defines who I am and what I know.