August 11, 2015
August is a week old and Digital Pedagogy Lab—the event that was once a lifetime away—officially began this morning. As befitting a fellow, I’ve completed all my pre-reading (even for tracks beyond my own!), sent out appropriate encouraging and excitement generating tweets with the proper hashtag, begun a list of potential blog post topics for future writing, and volunteered above and beyond to work as an on-site buddy with my sister for the Virtually Connecting initiative. Though all of the previous items are exciting in their own way, I will confess I am most excited about the last item…being an onsite-er able to do my part to extend in a small way what we all at DPL will experience over the next week.
I first participated in Virtually Connecting by acting on a random tweet about hangouts during et4online. Following a conference feed remote is a good way to get highlights, watching a recorded feed of keynotes is a good way to get content, but both can feel a little too sterile and removed. Virtual Connect provides a great venue for conversations to unfold in real time with a kind of raw frenetic quality that felt very true to what I know of random face-to-face conference chatter.
After my et4online experience I sent Maha Bali and Rebecca Hogue lots of encouragement and told them I hoped the idea would take off as it provided access on a whole new level to people I, as a student, had long considered to be mentors and a conference I’d heard lots about.
My own design and philosophy in the teaching/learning/pedagogy/life sphere is to work in ways that promote abundance and humanity—open and lavish as opposed to guarded or closely held. Connecting with new people is always worth it (despite what the scary, awkward, intimidating voices in your head might say…if you have introverted tendencies…like me.) These ideas fit well into the framework of Virtual Connect. Though I have no idea how it will be to engage in the “messy iterative” from the space of the interviewer (as opposed to the passive watcher) I’m excited this week to do my part to be a good host, opening and welcoming all, whether near of far, to the wonder that is connection. Perhaps the best ending is stay tuned for learning in process which in the end…is perhaps where it is all about!
To find out more about Virtually Connecting follow @VConnecting on Twitter here.