DigPed to DigPed

I’ve attempted to write a reflection of my first Digital Pedagogy Institute on Prince Edward Island more than once. My intention was to document my learning, share lingering questions and prepare for going down the rabbit hole of ANOTHER DigPed in Virginia starting tomorrow.

But the DNC happened and it got personal. And the RNC happened before that. 

When an hour or an evening came to write said blog post, my heart consistently sank. My thoughts become vastly irrelevant when yet another surrendered black man was shot and recorded live on a phone, or another mass-scale terrorism attack filled my digital feeds. Grief takes time and so does meaning-making.

The conventions were spectacles of power. Bonnie Stewart, Kate Bowles and Audrey Watters write astutely about it. And my best friend Melissa Rae Panurak, a Marine Veteran and fantastic educator, was there as a Bernie Delegate. She provided first hand accounts of what really happened on the convention floor.  In those 5 days what felt unconscionable occurred: unapologetic and downright mean disregard for the rights of the delegates, spying, silencing and justified corporatization of a process that should have been an open and transparent dialog – who am I kidding? Our system has been broken for a very long time - it should be no surprise, but somehow being so close to Melissa, hearing of her disenfranchisement broke my heart.

On my way home one night during the DNC, I found myself gripping the steering wheel and weeping as I listened to a Muslim American Lawyer denounce Trump in a moving speech about his son who died in Iraq. Then days later I watched a despicable retaliation of disrespect towards his wife and family.  At that moment the circus got more real – it’s not about a face palm anymore or a shaking of my head. It’s about an imperative to use my sphere of influence to lift up disenfranchised voices and to change that which I cannot accept. Its also time to understand the psychology of a Trump voter – this book review of “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance is helping change the unproductive narrative that trump supporters are crazy and dumb.

When will I write about important ideas I learned at Digital Pedagogy PEI? Like Robin DeRosa’s workshop explaining how her students co-wrote the introductions to works in an open-source literature anthology they compiled from open source web material? This is revolutionary and explains why Open Education Resource (OER) as pedagogy is so important and possible. This movement is taking hold because many of us see a backlash in higher education that signals a going back to a systematic need to go against allowing content to emerge but instead keeping it static.

When will I write about open learning analytics and co-organize a group of scholars to make a list of why it’s valuable? Can we create a model for the ethical creation of algorithms in higher education?

When do I get to explore Lawrie Phipps questions eloquently presented in his blog post about assessing learning in open digital networks:

How do we reach the goal of assessment being concerned with the learning process, rather than the acquisition of content?

How do we achieve an environment that is predicated on the learning taking place within the network and through the interaction?

When will I write about the surreal, absurd hilarity of sitting next to Audrey Watters, Lawrie Phipps and Sean Michael Morris at the Anne of Green Gables theatrical performance the night before it all began?

When do I get to share what it felt like to witness network track participants make sense of Dave Cormier’s explanation of the difference between “complicated” and “complex” as a building block to the notion of education as process not content? And make the connection that this frame will help us teach & learn in the open network?  I want to remember and share the fierceness of our discussions as we grappled with our edges together and laughed at the same time.

When do I get to go back to my Google Hangout Conversation about Digital Citizenship with Australian blogger, Kate Bowles and reflect deeper into the problematic notion of citizenship? And thank Autumm Caines for inviting me to facilitate?

I often fear if I do not write fast enough my ideas become irrelevant. But as I read this list of questions and ideas, I see that none of this is irrelevant. It cannot be if it is my lived experience and now a part of me and my thinking. Perhaps it cannot be written about every week or even every month, but it is shaping me.

If I am committed to teaching and learning in the open then I get to post half-baked ideas and lists of my current questions – because our words matter.  And there is an imperative to keep learning and to keep asking what does it means to be an educator now?


Getty images photo: St. John's Bridge, Portland, OR