I was in a meeting last week and the small group of us realized that we had a question that someone else outside of our group could answer. The team leader suggested that he would email that individual after the meeting and let us know how he responded. As our meeting was in the same building–in fact the same floor– as the individual in question was housed, one of us suggested that perhaps the leader could just go knock on his door and ask while we were all there. A stunned silence filled the room. “I could,” he replied. And off he went. We chuckled after he left about what the reaction of that individual might be when the knock came at his door. If I were him, I probably would have been thinking “What the hell are you doing here? Answer a question? On the spot? To your face? Are you kidding me?” As bizarre as that sounds, it is becoming more and more commonplace in meetings that I’m in to do exactly what happened in the scenario described above. I believe we are becoming (if we’re not already there) averse to face-to-face interaction, and developing the same attitude to voice-to-voice interaction as well, because of our reliance on email to communicate. As a sample size of one, a quick comparison shows that in the last week, I received over 300 emails during the workweek, and about 60 phone calls during the same time period. I imagine the ratio is similar to the number of emails I wrote vs. calls I placed. It seems bad. It seems like we are becoming too isolated at work. But is it just that communication channels are morphing and this is just the result? 75 years ago, would someone have tracked similar stats for the increased number of telephone calls and decreased number of face-to-face visits in the workplace and proclaimed the death of communication in society? The rest of the story is that our fearless leader returned, having successfully cornered the individual, and secured a very non-answer to the question. So, we ultimately were no farther along than we were before, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Oh, and that individual is apparently going to email us when he has more information.
Wow– so hard to reconcile the use of Facebook groups described here with the typical “I got hammered at the ZTA formal” groups (not that I ever got hammered at a ZTA formal– oh wait. . . yes I did.)
One day out of class and I’m STILL posting links. . . is that dedication or what?
Just to have a laugh and sing a song;
Seems we just got started and before we know it,
Comes the time we have to say
Those of my vintage (and maybe younger, thanks to Nick at
Nite) may recognize this as the way the venerable Carol Burnett used to sign
off her show every Saturday night on CBS.
As I was reflecting back on this course, these lyrics popped into my
head and seemed appropriate to use for my final post.
We’ve stroked a lot of keys during the last fifteen weeks
writing about community,what makes one, what doesn’t, what maybe kind of does,
etc. And I think that it was during these
and other discussions that we in 597 became part of an official community of
practice. And though part of me wants to
say that some members of this community are more equal than others,because there
are some who were way more engaged and productive than others both in their
contributions in class as well as out., Wenger would say that “each participant in a community of practice finds a unique
place and gains a unique identity, which is both further integrated and further
defined in the course of engagement in practice. (75-76)”, which Lis
wrote about in her “Are you Living?” post way back when. I’m good with that. So even though there were some in our class
who did not sit at the table; some who skipped from time to time; some who went
through an entire 3 hour session without saying a word, the CI 597 community of practice is still
theirs to call home.
I truly enjoyed this experience,
even though there were certainly times when my head throbbed both in class and
out when I struggled to come to terms with a particular thread of discussion or
reading. 597 has spawned a multitude
of interests for me, and I think has really helped confirm for me the direction
that I want the rest of my PhD studies to follow. The fact that this could be done amid quick
wit, friendly ribbing, and lots of Twittering is a major bonus. I expect to never have a similar class
experience, but hope that I do, and will strive to create it in courses that I
lead in the future. I have a feeling that communities of practice
have a bit of a viral aspect to them.
Once one has been part of one, one might want to try to replicate them
in other parts of life, whether academic, professional and personal.
Thanks everyone for your
contributions to my learning. I hope I
was able to do the same for you. Good night! Insert
virtual ear tug here. . .
Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice
a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think
you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as
you want to see us In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.
But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain “
ANDREW (vo): ” and an athlete “
ALLISON (vo): ” and a basket case “
CLAIRE (vo): ” a princess “
BENDER (vo): ” and a criminal “
BRIAN (vo): “Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast
Though it’s over (throat constricting) TWENTY years old, I
think this closing speech from the Breakfast Club has a strong connection to
our discussions about identity this semester.
We have spoken at great length about identity over the last
fifteen weeks. Some believe that we have
but one identity and choose to show different sides of it depending on the
situation and who we’re sharing with.
Others believe we have discrete identities (work me, school me, family
me, friend me, by myself me) but it could be argued that is the same thing as
simply having different sides of one identity.
Fine. However, I proposed in my
“Identity is in the Eye of the Beholder” post that it really doesn’t matter how
we define ourselves, because it’s everyone around us who really decides. We lead very busy lives, and though it would
be nice if everyone really took the time to know everyone else, more often than
not, like Mr. Vernon above, a label is assigned pretty early on so as to allow
for categorization and filing away, resulting in a “oh, so she’s one of those. . Got it. Next!” types of thought processes.
How society perceives us is dictated by not only our
direct words and actions, but also by how behave when we’re just going about
our business, i.e., (or is it e.g.?) are
we nice to the checker at the supermarket, do we throw litter in the parking
lot, do we yell at our children in public, do we recycle, etc. Our online identities, on the other hand,
are man-made. We have no online identity
if we never go online. How we present
ourselves to the online community is of our own making. As a result, it would seem natural that most
people would want to promote themselves in the most positive way possible
online. Blog posts are thoughtfully
written; tweets are witty and clever; podcasts are scripted or outlined. So if I’m reading your blog, do I really
have a sense of your identity? Do you
have a sense of my identity by reading mine? I would argue that you know what I want you
to know, and vice versa.
We as educators have different views on what and how to
share our identities with our students.
Some are all business: no
discussion or peek into life outside the classroom whatsoever. Others err on the side of getting too
technology can aid in communicating a teacher’s identity, and allow him or her to learn more
about students’ identities. Perhaps
if Mr.Vernon had been able to peruse the online musings of the Breakfast Club,
he wouldn’t have had to ask them to write an essay on who they
were. And he might have shown a
different side of himself if they were able to do the same. But to think that would give a complete
picture of the individual is unrealistic.
Only through putting all the pieces together,what we observe, what we
read, what we experience when we interact, etc.,will any of us truly get a more
complete & accurate sense of a person’s identity, and see that we are all a
brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Cue
Simple Minds here . . .
Very interesting– K-12 teachers, beware!
At first blush, the design segment of the course seemed like
it got the shaft. We were asked to
finish the Wenger segment on design, but didn’t have the opportunity to really
debrief on it as a group in class as we had with community and identity. We certainly had a field day talking in class about community, and identity has seen a great deal of action on the blog as well. As another indication, “design” is also the smallest of the three
main themes in the 597 Tag Cloud on Pligg. Is it that the other two themes are more compelling? Are the parents of these three themes having to listen to a whining Design in the den like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yZHveWFvqMUpon
further reflection on my blog posts, however, it’s clear that design has played
a role throughout the content during the semester, even though we haven’t necessarily labeled it as such.
Throughout the semester, we have discussed design in terms of purpose and appearance
of each of the tools that we reviewed. With Twitter, for example, I discussed in this
post about the fact that the design of Twitter
required me to think in very short & sweet phrases, and exercised my brain
in a way that regular blogging and emailing did not. I also wrote in this
post about Pea’s references to design way back in January when he wrote
about the evolution of learning tools over time and how 2.0 tools will do the
Believe it or not, I actually thought Wenger’s thoughts on
design were the most palatable and practical parts of his book. I agree with his statement that learning
cannot be designed, and that teaching does not cause learning (p. 267). It’s kind of like being the host of a dinner
party. You can plan the menu, arrange
the seating and set the table, but you can’t orchestrate the outcome. Things burn, wine spills, friendly differences
of opinion turn into arguments, etc. You do your best to anticipate what might be
an impediment to a fun evening, but once the first doorbell rings, it’s pretty
much out of your control. The same is
true to some degree with learning. We as
educators can do our best to plan, to utilize the tools and resources that we
feel are the most appropriate for the level of education and experience, as
well as the goals of the participants in our class, but countless other factors
will play a role in whether or not we are successful.
Interesting Twitter experiment
Interesting article on what is likely the harbinger of the Death of Texting for the teenage demo
I liked the piece on literacy–much easier to digest than Wenger. Figure 1.1 is a very helpful comparison of 1.0 vs. 2.0, and would be a good place to start to explain it to someone new to the concept. The research referenced on pg. 15 answers some of the questions that have been bubbling up among us, in reference to Twitter in particular. Nice to see Lessig getting some play here, too. I also appreciated her take on wikis, and wonder how Andrew Keen a.k.a President of the Hannah Arendt Fan Club, would respond to all of this.