Posts from the ‘virtually connecting’ Category
June 7, 2016
To continue this season of firsts…tomorrow is my first foray into the world of being a remote panelist as part of the Virtual Connecting session at the T3 Conference. Two weeks ago I led my first panel in person at the UCDA Graphic Design Education Summit and had two remote panelists as part of my panel so…it’ll be an interesting experience to be on the other side and see how it feels.
As I’ve been both on vacation and pre-occupied (or perhaps obsessed) with what feels like the never-ending quest to write my dissertation proposal I had thought a bit about what I will say about Virtually Connecting, my questions for the others, etc. but I hadn’t yet visited the conference site to know the larger context for the panel. This morning I thought perhaps that would be prudent so I logged in, read a bit, and eventually found the following image:
Apparently the panel will be composed of three amazing ladies who do cool stuff like teach and write and start things and one name who is basically a blank space–an empty circle of nothingness. Though I know this lack of information has everything to do with the fact that I’d not updated my conference profile and was in no way a prophetic reflection on my own identity, in darker moments (which as a doctoral student who is, as mentioned above, on the never-ending quest to write a dissertation proposal seem to happen like clockwork) this feels exactly the right descriptor of me: blank, empty nothingness nested between people who are parsimonious and winsome—generally way more grounded than I am and probably ever will be.
Which, crazy as it sounds, is a perfect segway into why I am such a fan of Virtually Connecting.
As someone with very limited income, being part of Virtually Connecting has given me access to events that I otherwise would have no chance to attend. With this access comes pretty amazing content but even more comes invaluable exposure to the “human creator” that is behind behind every idea. This latter element is admittedly what I love the most. Three years of being a doctoral student means I am getting the hang of how you write as an academic, engage with ideas, etc. but…I’m still super curious as to how one actually lives as an academic.
One of my favorite parts of Virtually Connecting is its casual immediacy and spontaneous insight. Seeing the kind of “unplugged” version of people I’ve previously only encountered in highly polished + edited perfection is so refreshing. Perhaps it’s just me but…I think this modeling of open sharing and community amongst participants as all are willing to jump into an experience that is fully unpredictable and emergent is so inspiring because it reminds me that behind all of these ideas are humans who actually aren’t all that different than me. If they’ve done it…perhaps someday I too will find my way and be able to help others along.
And so tomorrow as I am a panelist amongst three amazing ladies who do cool stuff like teach and write and start things, may I model open sharing, be willing to jump in to an experience that is fully unpredictable and emergent and remember how amazing it is to share being human as…we all find our way together.
March 28, 2016
“All these borders and boundaries are porous but we all pretend they’re not porous.”
Just finished the first installment of my efforts to weekend binge watch DigPed Lab Cairo. I was part of the first DigPed Lab in the States. As someone new-ish to the world of academia/pedagogy, it was hands down the highlight of my year and the ideas and engagement from that week have become foundational in how I view pedagogy and my own responsibility as an educator in the world. Cairo, Egypt is admittedly a completely different culture than Madison, Wisconsin so I am curious to learn more about what happened there – see how the ideas translated and even more see if any participants, like me, experienced a fundamental shift in how they view pedagogy and their own responsibility as educators in the world (spoiler alert: found a total DigPed kindred spirit in @NadinneAbo and so excited to learn more from her!)
I’m hopelessly behind making it through all the things over the weekend…apparently being talented at binge watching Project Runway doesn’t correlate to conference watching. That said, I’m dazzled enough by these ideas so I’m fine with a meander rather than a binge—more reading a novel than cramming for an exam.
So for the first chapter, what follows is a very brief reflection on the first super sized Virtual Connect hangout video with a room full of on-site and online participants who were discussing a piece by Lanclos on the the death of the digital native , a further elaboration on the Resident + Visitor idea for digital engagement. All quotes in this post are pulled from the video.
“I migrated to Google Plus from Moodle…During the revolution…I had to keep in touch with my students all over the place when everyone got evacuated.”
-DigPed participant whose name I didn’t catch but is at 20:46 in video
My big takeaway so far is that right now everyone is navigating the messy, imperfect, awkward growing pangs of what it means to integrate open or even online practices into pedagogy. The continuum seems to be less about who is operating in open versus closed systems and tool affordances but rather what responsibility do we have toward our students to model behavior and share practice? How do we creatively navigate and share—welcome others in and also allow others to welcome us into new spaces and ideas? How do we assess our options and be true to an ethos even as we remain nimble in the use of tools/practices/methods? It seems if one pushed these questions enough…ultimately the questions cycle into the realm of what does it mean to be human and experience connection and care within these networked spaces?
“We have a duty of care to provide our students with opportunities to practice…”
As a graphic design educator who knows I’m doing trailblazing work, I’ve tended to think I’m the only one struggling with these questions and everyone else has it all together…all the other disciplines have found the perfect balance and are constantly sharing thoughtful creative blog posts with the world while the design educators are hoarding their work and teaching yet another generation that ideas are scarce and good work is guarded work.
Turns out…these struggles aren’t the exclusive domain of art and design disciplines. It sounds a bit perverse but this universal struggle gives me hope. Hearing people who are brave enough to talk about these things and brave enough to conduct their lives in ways that aren’t easy but are so necessary gives me the courage to enter the dialogue too. At this point perhaps just being open to being open is the most important thing. Or…maybe installment two of the conference will reveal the magic answer. : )
October 17, 2015
I’ll confess my thoughts previously on being a remote conference attender resembled my thoughts on eating reduced-calorie diet food. Though the format wants to convince me otherwise…I can’t help but feel I’m missing out on basically all the good stuff and rather than satisfy, I just end up craving the real thing even more. Watching an often tech issue riddled live stream just makes me envious of all the people who are actually there and…makes me feel even more isolated.
I’m very happy to say that after day one of dLRN…I’m becoming a believer in the remote. There’s nothing diet about my experience thus far, indeed between the excellent live stream, abundant Virtual Connect sessions I’ve been fortunate to pop in and out of, and a robust Twitter feed it has been much the opposite—a feast of new ideas and even more, new connections.
Though I know there’s powerful magic in the transporting experience of “going to” a conference and getting jazzed about new ideas, I am learning there’s also much to be said for the somewhat subtle magic that occurs when a conference essentially comes to you. Its presence—like that of an out of town visitor—causes you to see your daily life with new eyes.
In the former “going to” paradigm, ideas spark thoughts, thoughts spark speculations, speculations spark reflections, and these reflections may or may not bleed over into my daily post conference life. In the latter “welcoming in” paradigm, the embedded context means ideas spark and directly ignite action. Part of me feels the immediacy is thrilling and the other part of me feels mildly schizophrenic, as I’m simultaneously assimilating two narratives.
The dLRN day one morning discussions of student agency were followed by an afternoon spent with actual students. An afternoon spent actually being an adjunct followed morning discussions of adjunct and casual labor policy. Engaging heady conference ideas while simultaneously living within the messy context of an average Friday created a beautiful (albeit somewhat inconvenient) weaving of experiences.
It will be interesting to see how the dLRN post-conference process unfolds for me. Have the ideas wound themselves deeper into me because I’ve encountered them in the context of my daily life rather than in a place far away? Or are the ideas more transient because I’ve engaged with them between dog walks and cooking—as background to running and doing laundry? How does the experience of physically leaving a place compare to the experience of closing a browser window and unfollowing a hashtag? How can the tension I’m experiencing help me empathize with my online students who are essentially doing something similar in the courses I facilitate?
But…those are all questions for later as day two is fast approaching. For now I am quite certain (and quite thankful) that in the right hands and with the right care…being a remote conference attender really can be an epic feast.
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.