Research interests:
bilingualism, bilingual education, heritage language learning, identity, motivation

Knowledge dissemination in a connected world

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: academia, teaching | 1 Comment »

Gone are the days of the ivory tower, with its implication that what happens at the university, stays at the university. Bringing exposure to one’s work through conference presentations and academic journals is effective in reaching other academics, but providing workshops for the public, using of social media and being available for the press are avenues for reaching the world outside of academia. I have been providing workshops for teachers locally and nationally for over five years. These are very satisfying to conduct because I feel that, as a former teacher, I provide the right balance of theory and practical application to make the workshops immediately useful to practitioners. More recently, I joined Twitter professionally, but have often struggled with what to tweet. I started observing others, whom I follow, and noticed that some use Twitter as a way to communicate recent blog posts (which I will do with this one), conference activities and recent publications. So, in the last year I have also promoted my blog and when my last article was published, I shared the 50-free download link. I did the same on Facebook, which is my personal social media, because I wanted friends who don’t have access to university libraries to be able to take a look at the work that I do, perhaps removing some of the mystery. The one chance I hadn’t had up until that point was to connect with the press on an issue related to my research. Those aren’t always opportunities you create, but rather, ones  you respond to. So, when I was asked to put forward names of students to be featured in our university’s coverage of convocation, I didn’t see that it might some day lead to a newspaper article in which I was quoted. The student was featured as a part of a focus on graduating students on the day of her convocation. I retweeted the link when it appeared on the Werklund School of Education twitter feed. The original tweet was noticed by the Rockyview Weekly, which covers the rural area where the student lives and the student suggested me as a former instructor the reporter could interview. Long story short: I had my first telephone interview and the article came out the next week. I consider this to be a small part of my  goals for knowledge dissemination. Granted, I didn’t talk about my research, but rather indirectly, my work with students. Since this is such a big part of what I do, I was honored to be asked to talk about it and it was a great “first step” for future media interviews. You can read the article here: http://www.rockyviewweekly.com/article/20140623/RVW0302/306239981/-1/rvw/irricana-firefighter-prepares-for-life-after-fire-station-in-education