Reflections on the EVO experience

reflections

How very frustrating to have to write this for a third time, but hopefully 3 is a lucky number.

I attended 2 workshops in this, my first, year at the electronic village online. One was about powerpoint presentations (PPt) and the other was about openweb publishing (OWP), also know as web2.0 if I understand correctly. The moderators in both workshops were excellent, supportive, motivating, and just generally very friendly and responsive. Both groups were very rewarding and I learned a lot. However, they were very different in the amount of time and intensity of attention that was required.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to complete the PPt sessions, not just because of the other commitments I had, but also because I was completely absorbed in what was going on in OWP. Whereas PPt was focussed on technical skills and pedagogical considerations, OWP was opening up a whole new world and way of thinking, which I had to get my brain around. We were advised to choose no more than 2 workshops, which I think was a wise decision, but I really think that some workshops hardly allow further ones alongside. I write this not just out of my own experience, but also my observation of others who also had choosen these 2.

PPt gave me an aim to work towards, with excellent examples and wonderful advice. PPt motivated me to experiment and improve my work with this tool.

OWP gave me a starting point for a new look at learners, learning, collaborating and growing. OWP gave me strong connections, ties to others and starting points in all sorts of directions. I have grown so much in the space of 2 months and will continue to grow, of that I am sure. And many people have contributed to this growth. There are so many names that it would be a long list, but here are a few of the people who have especially affected my thinking.

Bee Dieu (there is only one Bee!), such an excellent moderator, who patiently nudges others along to experiment and grow and is always there willing to help. Graham Stanley, whose blog I’ve been subscribed to for a while, for his EFL bridges and excellent blog contributions. Will Richardson, who coined the term ‘clickability’, and George Siemens with ‘connectivity’, are both inspiring people! The people who responded to my posts and who provided food for thought on their posts.

So, can a 6-week workshop on-line with people you’ve never met face to face affect the way you think? — to a certain extent, yes!

10 Responses

  1. I tried to do two last year (Podasting and WebPresence) and learned my lesson! This year I forced myself to choose only one –and the winner was OWP. I’m glad I did – it was all I could handle and well worth the trip!

  2. I agree with you comment but the OWP has not changed necessarily the ways I think but more like, opened new doors.

  3. Opening doors is a good term. I agree with you there, but I also see the change in my thinking. A small pebble dropped in a huge lake makes ripples. A butterfly’s wings causes small currents of air to move. Even just a small change in thought can have big effects on not just oneself, but those we teach, discuss with, etc.

  4. Opening doors is a good term. I agree with you there, but I also see the change in my thinking. A small pebble dropped in a huge lake makes ripples. A butterfly’s wings causes small currents of air to move. Even just a small change in thought can have big effects on not just oneself, but those we teach, discuss with, etc.

  5. I agree with the others that opening doors is a good term. We still have to choose to go through the doors, don’t we? I am sort of putting my toe in one or two of them and kind of want to throw my hat in the social networking to see what will happen, but I can’t think yet of how to make them work for my purposes.

    For me the challenge is to keep up the energy of these sessions as their immediacy fades under loads of paper, meetings, preparation, and planning.

    It was fun working through these experiences with people who were also interested in working through them.

  6. Hi John
    I agree with you that it is a challenge to keep up the energy from the sessions and I felt a bit empty once they were over. I am committed to keeping it up, and am always glad to keep up the discussion and keep sharing – but isn’t that the point?

  7. Hi Illya, I see you got to my Motime blog http://bleiva2003.motime.com/ and the presentation on Brain based learning. You can certainly use it any time, as long as you mention my university (Universidad Simon Bolivar) and Caracas, Venezuela. I guess it will make me prouder than simply my name (and also more “exotic” to users, perhaps).
    Very true, OWP certainly opened many doors to us and has changed the way we see publishing in the Internet, whether openly or not, according to the context and purpose.
    My strategy at EVO this year was to take a session I would dedicate my time to (OWP), another I will lurk in (BAW), a third one I will help out in (B4B) and another I just would like to have access to materials to check later (PPT). It was very hectic but I am happy I managed to stay afloat (although I am still behind in the SLE writing course I am auditing at the University of Toronto now). Well, it was worth it and I am not teaching right now.
    Let´s keep in touch, Berta

  8. Hi Berta
    Just a question about the EVO sessions. Did you ever sleep?
    It was definitely worth it and I sure feel a bit of an empty space, so I’m glad to keep in contact:-)

  9. I met a friend on the subway a couple of days ago. We hadn’t seen each other for a while, so we tried to catch up on what we had been doing for the past couple of months. I realized that day that the past couple of months (since September 2006 but especially the Jan-March period of time) were completely revolutionary and transformative in what I do. You express it very well by saying, “OWP gave me a starting point for a new look at learners, learning, collaborating and growing. OWP gave me strong connections, ties to others and starting points in all sorts of directions. I have grown so much in the space of 2 months and will continue to grow, of that I am sure.” It was the same for me: I read and listened to all the ‘learners’ in the OWP session and realized that they are not really learners but active participants, reflecting, agreeing, disagreeing, and questioning things. There is no ‘centre’ of authority from where ‘knowledge’ is dispersed, rather learning is in constant flux and negotiation between the learners. Because of this, I look at the students I teach in a different light now and my goal is to recreate the OWP dynamics in my classroom because I want them to get out of their learning what we have got out of OWP: the growth, the ties, and the starting points.🙂

  10. Thanks for posting my students’ video there! I really liked the vodpod tool. The videos look neat in the sidebar! Thanks for the tip!
    Erika

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