|Human Embryo Day 3|
|Pic kindly shared by Simon Ensor|
This summer, I jumped in to Making Learning Connected, nearly ego-less. I was first struck by the lack of pretension in what was being shared by CLMOOC-ers. It was a beautiful thing, to share one's process, messy as it was, torn at its edges, sometimes ripped right down its middle, and most of us (as coined - I think- by Terry Elliott) #flailers. It became joyous to for me to join a community of self-professed flailers. Showing your vulnerability gives others the chance to feel comfortable sharing theirs, perhaps luring in some lurkers/samplers/watchers/observers/worriers in the process. This is what CLMOOC-ers did for me - helped me feel connected to something much larger than "an online class."
Speaking of which, my prior experiences with online classes were comparable to boxed macaroni and cheese, with most of the Required Online Discussion Board postings filled with pro forma powdered cheese. I craved Asiago and Pepper Jack, or at least real cheese of some kind, but instead faced postings as benign as imitation American. I wasn't looking for pretension, or even brie, just something real to respond to.
Why were/are people so disengaged in these required online courses, the ones they are doing just for credit, just to maintain certification? Certainly time is an element, or rather lack of time. But I think it is primarily a result of the combined crush of low expectations from the instructors pressed into complete lack of any awareness on the part of students that it can be different/better/fun. In the last online class I took (Common Core Formative Assessment no less), I went so far as to put ridiculous titles on my Discussion Board posts just to try to engage people - titles like Pigs and Beer - basically I was yelling "Come over here! Here, come see this! Connect!" Results were meh.
What I have seen in the weeks since CLMOOC ended is that CLMOOC did not end; the connected learning had a life of its own. I have never been led down so many wormholes, rabbit holes, into so many thought tornadoes, never before jumped into ponds that were way deeper than I thought when I jumped in, found dark crannies and cracks in windows that delighted and confused and astonished me.....so much real cheese that I never even knew existed. I had never before taken a class that I couldn't wait to engage with.
So my question is, what are the requisite conditions for such living-loving-learning to occur? It feels often that this is a unique group of learners, these Connected Learning People, the curious, the intellectual, the profane, the questioners and answerers, the organizers and the break-apart-ish, the great writers and poor spellers and people who respond when you need them to as if they can read your mind.
|fulgurite (formed when lightning hits sand)|
Basically, can this happen with any group of people? And I know the answer is yes-at-some-level-or-another. That's just not good enough for me.
Here's what I feel (I was going to say, "here's what I know") - it just seems that if anyone could get a glimpse of what true connected learning feels like, they would be converted instantly, as I was, like when lightning hits sand. I was a fulgurite. I was instantaneously melted and re-formed (reformed?) with connected "roots or branching tube-like structures." A true reformation.
Connected Learning, you leave me hungry for more. How do we make this appetite go viral?