MAKING THE ROAD BY WALKING IT....
GOALS FOR THE DAY
My intention for the conference
was to help build a community of
scholars and innovators who are
committed to creating learning
environments that foster
wholeness, authenticity and
integration. During the day, I kept
asking myself, "How can I learn and
grow as a member of this
community? What can I learn form
others? How can I contribute?..." I
can't say that I answered all these
questions during the conference, but I hope to as I continue....
WHAT I NOTICED & LEARNED:
Developing new language: I was struck by the lack of words I have to appropriately describe what is/was happening throughout the day - that which is/was unfolding and emerging collectivily. I sense that it is historical - all these Brilliant Beings Becoming in the same place - imagining, sharing and reaching together into an alternative future. The naming of this will only come in hindsight. I am acutely aware of how much my language must evolve if I hope to describe to others the direction I/we are moving toward. I need to spend some time with my etymology dictionary.
Using social media for reflection: I am embarrassed to say that until today, I did not really 'get' how Twitter (or other social media) could be used to enhance learning (yes, I'm now cringing). Althoguh I had a theoretical understanding (oooh, how academic of me :/) of how Twitter (for example) could be used as a way to build community, I actually had no practical instinct to use it to foster the very principles and practices I hold so dear: engagement, reflection, community and dialogue. I had a flash-bulb moment around 11 am when I looked at the tweets and saw how people were using it to capture both their 'a-ha' moments and to build shared understanding - community - with one another. So, this day changed how I think about reflection, community and technology forever...
Breathing through the tidal wave I was struck by how much I vacilated between excitement and exhaustion throughout the day. The engaging sessions were a bit like drinking from a fire hose - or trying to ride a tidal wave gracefully. I wanted to take it all in but could not drink/swwim (synthesize) fast enough. I kept having to tell myself to slow down, breathe - to let it wash over me - and that there will be other times and other places to learn from these Brilliant Beings of Becoming. I kept wanting to jumpt to implications for next year's AAC&U meeting - and then I reminded myself that is really not my business.
WHAT I WILL CHANGE OR DO DIFFERNTLY AS A RESULT OF TODAY:
I had many many 'a-ha' moments that will continue to gestate within me because they help to address the questions and issues that I /we wrestle with at Michigan; and/or they help me to continue to think through the "over-lighting" question that rules my life- "What is the Knowledge needed to change the world and where does it come from?". I've tried to frame my next steps as answers to questions:
- How can I foster educator Learning Communities on my campus? - OK the fact that I even frame the question this way is because of Nancy Pawlyshyn and the faculty learning communities she and her wonderful colleagues have created at Mercy. On Friday evening, three of my UM colleagues - Tiffany marra, Laura Reynolds Keefer and AT Miller - presented at our FIPSE meeting. I was so inspired by what they shared and yet sad sad that I had to travel to a conference to hear from them. So, I leave the conference committed to building learning communities back at home.
- How do we create a student-centered learning and assessment environment on our campus? Listening to Gail Ring talk about the work she has doine at Clemson - how she involves students in providing formative feedback through undergraduate research. Brilliant. I cannot wait to talk about this more with Tiffany Marra and my other colleagues at UM. This approach is defitnitely on our radar as we move forward.
- How do we continue to shift our collective gaze away from a focus on technology and toward a focus on pedagogy, practice and learning? A general a-ha (once again) was that using the word 'eportfolio' for everything is soo problematic and downright painful: it immediately reduces the multiple dimensions of learning and cultural change that we need to engage in to mere technology. Constantly using the word "eportfolio" HIDES WHAT WE DO, WHY WE DO IT, AND THE IMPACT WE HAVE ON LEARNING (I'm shouting at myself so that I can remember this point and take action accordingly)! So, I am committed to fostering and advocating different/better language. I also hope that focusing on learning and NOT the technology will also help us at UM find more/better ways to communicate what we are doing and why...which is always an uphill battle..
- How do I better describe the learning and theories emerging within me? So, in my keynote, I tried to provide a conceptual framework about learning that begins to reflect all the findings in 'new' science. I was delighted to have two neuro-scientists approach me after the talk with very encouraging words and some corrections for my presentation. I really want to follow-up with them but don't have their names. Does anyone out there know of any neuro-scientists who attended the conference?