Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week Three: Reflective Summary or Difficulty Building Bridges

I always feel like I am in a confessional when I write my reflective summary.  For those of you who read these, my apologies in advance!  This week, I felt like I was traversing a huge cultural divide between what I believe about information and knowledge and the practices that occur in many school districts.  We have tremendous power as educators to change our world for the better and yet there is a parochialism that is so invasive within the system which undermines the free exchange of information and the development of collaboration which has the potential to create new channels of understanding.

I believe more than anything else, this stifles human growth and keeps information in a very few hands rather than distributed in collaborative environments where change is truly possible.  I do not believe information should be a commodity.

On a more micro level, this week, I had some difficulty building bridges between the information I am working on for ILT5340.  I do not know if it was just me or if others experienced this week the same way I did.  The daily creates felt disjointed from the readings for the first time in the course.  I spent a lot of time thinking them through and working out the technical details.  In particular the plotagon was time consuming.  I felt the outcome was worth it simply because it is something I can use with my students and which is very engaging.  The video was easier to produce--but if I had to be honest, my children probably got more out of that experience than I did as they acted as my camera operators and technical support.  In retrospect, I would have used them as actors and done more of the technical work myself.

These activities felt a bit disjointed from the required readings WHICH I LOVED!  As a former homeschooler and someone who supports alternative education, the whole notion of DIY completely resonated with me.  I have watched so much of the backlash against the DIY movement play out as the professionals clamor to hold tightly to their proprietary knowledge.  The collaborative nature of building understanding through communities of practice is something that just rings so true to me and frankly, is something we should embrace across fields.  We need to build bridges and create on ramps for participation in these communities.  On this level, I was able to create some continuity between my own belief and practice.

I spent a good time this week on an outside reading, The Story Factor by Annette Simmons.  I was struck by a particular quote:  "People don't want more information. They are up to their eyeball in information. They want faith...Faith needs a story to sustain it - a meaningful story that inspires belief in you and renews hope that your ideas indeed offer what you promise...Story is your path to creating faith. Telling a meaningful story means inspiring your reach the same conclusions you have reached and decide for themselves to believe what you say and do what you want them to do. People value their own conclusions more highly than yours. They will only have faith in a story that has become real for them personally. Once people make your story, their story, you have tapped into the powerful force of faith. Future influence will require very little follow-up energy from you and may even expand as people recall and retell your story to others."

I have been thinking about how true this is in the digital stories I have chosen to review.  Ultimately, I am drawn to those very human stories which dig into issues of empathy.  These stories are high impact and they do create faith--faith in humanity, in the ability to change, in the power that is inherent in taking risks.  The vast majority of making meaning for me grew out of this outside reading this week.

Where I think I fell short was in building cognitive bridges for myself between the activities and the information in the course this week.  I wish I could have done this better.  I don't usually struggle with this quite as much as I did this week.

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