Connect the Dots – Working in a PLN

“If your dots are not observable/visible/transparent, then it’s impossible to connect them.”

Brian Tullis @briantullis


The quote is from a really great book I’m reading at the moment – Show Your Work by Jane Bozarth. Reading this book now is really is a case of what I need to hear at a time when I really need to hear it.

Working in a group with my PLN for an assignment in my Edtech 543 course is me and my two colleagues “working out loud” as Bozarth puts it and creating “observable work” as Brian Tullis would define it (Bozarth, 2014). And doing this was surprisingly simple through a shared Google doc and commenting on the document as we added or subtracted ideas or phrases. The key thing is that we were explaining as we went along why we did something or what we were thinking when we added a set of criteria. And not once did we think we needed to meet synchronously to get it done. We let each other know when we might be contributing or working on the checklist and agreed to a day that we would have all our work done, reviewed and ready to submit.

So simple, and yet how many times do we go back to our educational organizations and have to participate in a confusing exchange of emails, attached documents, status meetings and more meetings to try to figure out what our boss was was thinking when she wrote that  “first final draft” of a report we were all supposed to be contributing to?   That has to stop.

If I learned anything from this assignment it was how incredibly easy it was to work collaboratively with two other professionals that I trust to do good work, using a simple, free tool to create a living document that we could comment on, and edit and update without special tools or being in the same room. It was so efficient, at one point I thought “Maybe we aren’t working hard enough on this? It doesn’t feel like a struggle. Maybe we are missing something. Usually there’s a lot of drama…”

Well, we didn’t have any drama and I’m beginning to trust Jane Bozarth’s process of “working-out-loud” to create content more and more.



Bozarth, J. (2014). Show your work: The payoffs and how-to’s of working out loud. San Francisco: Wiley