Dancing with #dlrn15

Let’s get the wishes/regrets of #dlrn15 out of the way up front.

I wish the questions would have come earlier – maybe instead of the streams as topics we could have had them as questions. I wish the search for truth, or Truth as the case may be, could have been teased out just a bit more (that would’ve been a good fight). I wish there was more conversation and less presentation (to be fair there was a lot of conversation but this is the meat of it for me – more later). I wish I would have asked more questions. I wish I wasn’t so socially awkward. I wish there would have been a little more alchemy. I wish there would have been more dreaming. I wish there would have been more art, music, creative endeavors, etc. 

I have publicly stated that mostly, I wish there was more dancing. Let me try to fix that here.

Breaking down the Looping Intrapersonal Communications Barrier – Dancing with Myself in Relation to Others

A huge part of this conference was social for me. I’ve been communicating with so many of the people at this conference online for months and getting the chance to meet them in the flesh rather than on the screen was this mixture of amazing and terrifying at the same time. My own internal dialog got in the way sometimes.

It’s tricky hanging out with established community when you’re the new girl and it is one thing online and another on the ground. Especially without your supernatural time/space bending powers, when you only recently fell, and you think they like you but you’re not sure. Especially when you look so different depending on the light… Brokenhearts are guarded and reluctant. 

All that said, I think that dance went well.  I enjoyed it and I think some others did too.

Half of the people can be part right all of the time
Some of the people can be all right part of the time
But all of the people can’t be all right all of the time
I think Abraham Lincoln said that
“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours”
I said that

~ Bob Dylan ~ World War III

Breaking Down the Interpersonal Multitudes Barrier – Dancing within a cluster

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ways that we communicate/teach/learn when we are face to face at the same time. I know somewhere in an introductory communications class I must have studied the research behind the dynamics of exchange when you start adding people to the conversation. It is back there somewhere but I can’t remember the specifics. Common sense tells us that once you start adding people the loud voices are going to win out. So we pass the mic but then I get shy again.

Presenting with the Virtually Connecting crew got me into the pre-conference dinner which was a world cafe style conversation. Small groups working to define problems then a moderator at each table staying with the problem to continue the discussion while everyone else rotated from table to table to pick the problem apart. I think this might have been my favorite part. I’m a big fan of talking to people one on one – I’ll take small group if that’s what I get – I think this is why VConnecting is an important part of virtualizing a conference for me. It is the part that virtual participants often don’t get.

In terms of session formats we break into pairs with “pair and shares” all the time and breaking out into small groups is common too. However, I’m a little board with these. I like conversation and I wonder how we can get creative with conversation and turn it on it’s side?

This dance went well but it was my first night and I ran out of steam early. So did most. We ended early and never reported out. I am still wondering what came out of those conversations that were not at my “home” table/topic.

Breaking Down the Informal Fallacy of the False Dilemma – Dancing with Ideas and Personal Struggles

The dance that took place between we’s and them’s before the conference continued for some. Somehow, I started asking questions about I’s and You’s.  I think that this reflection on scale was my big take away to tell the truth. Many were calling out false dichotomies but I never found those arguments oh so compelling. I’m not so versed in this rhetoric so forgive me here if I’m oversimplifying things.

I’m a big fan of talking about the other side of the coin but I always see that in the scope of a heavy purse. It seems silly, for me personally, to see these dichotomies in isolation – it is just a given that there are other relationships as well. For instance, I’ve been thinking a lot about self-efficacy lately but this also makes me want to look at fear because I see a relationship there. This does not mean it is the only relationship, self-efficacy is also related to internal dialog, encouragement, and past experiences but to deny the relationship with any one of these because the situation is more complex seems just as bad as getting lost in that complexity. Does calling out a false dichotomy neutralize the argument? I would say no. I would say all it does is point out that there is a bigger picture. But that seems obvious to me; there is always a bigger picture. It reminds me of those SNA graphs but with nodes representing ideas rather than people or hashtags.

Then there was all this talk on non-traditional students and it really got to me – the dance got personal. It was hard for me to not get emotional to tell the truth. Because I am non-traditional but I’m also first-generation which brings a whole other set of complications. This may be an area of further research for me – I’d like to help here. I’m specifically interested in stories and perceptions within families surrounding what it means to be educated.

Breaking down what this was for and what comes next? – Dancing with the idea of the conference

Now things are over and the reflection posts are coming in it is really interesting to me how many of them reflect on a profound experience – an emotional experience – but I am also sensing some bits of disappointment.

Personally, I don’t think that #dlrn15 was about finding answers or even asking questions. Those things were going to happen regardless. I think all those things were expectations of #dlrn15 but not what it turned out to be. I know some were wanting a big powerful, bang-up, transformational, kind of change. However, I think the power of what this conference ended up being was more subtle than all that.

In hindsight, I actually think it was more about planting a seed.

Let’s see what grows.

4 thoughts on “Dancing with #dlrn15”

  1. I love the honesty in your reflection. And the metaphor of a dance with self and others. Maybe, hopefully as your thoughts settle a bit in your mind, something interesting might grow from this seed. I also wonder if sometimes social media hypes up an event so much that it becomes more difficult for it to live up to expectations. TBH, when I was a grad student, I was doing conferences one after another. When I graduated, I looked forward to returning to particular ones because of the people and the friendships I had formed, first, and then the flood of new ideas that would confront me, giving me a conference headache.

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