Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2008-06-30

  • Stayed home today; felt awful this morning. Spoke to the doctor and he changed my meds. Just got up again and feeling a bit better now. #
  • @KT_718 I felt trapped, so got out of there as quickly as I could. Not enough “official protectors” for my liking and the size of the crowd. #
  • @KT_718 I am researching research books for a research course I amteaching in the Fall. About to post a blog post about it. #
  • @maniactive No, not an empty room. Thus goes non-synchronous but very real conversations. #
  • @clintlalonde The Research Process and Methods course url is I am rebuilding the course for the Fall. #
  • @gminks Response to what? The context did not come over. #
  • @KT_718 What were the stickers you distributed? #
  • @gminks WHat happened with the class? #
  • @brlamb I know exactly what you mean. Everybody thinks they do “A” work. Good luck with your justifications. #

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Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2008-06-28

  • Long drive. Done for the day. Night, Twitterverse. Hope the infrastructure rests for a big day tomorrow. #
  • Long drive. Done for the day. Night, Twitterverse. Hope the infrastructure rests for a big day tomorrow. #
  • Walking the dogs and enjoying weekend coffee. Beautiful blue sky above. #
  • Reviewing research books right now. #
  • Reviewing research books right now. #
  • Reviewing research books right now. #
  • Reviewing research books right now. #
  • Reviewing research books. Nice and quiet here, with lovely birds chirping. #

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Jeffrey’s Twitter Updates for 2008-06-27

  • Had a hair cut and will try a new style tomorrow. Hey, have to enjoy while I still have something to style! #
  • @KT_718 Very right about that. However, now is the longest my hair has been since I was 21. More interesting the second time around. #
  • @KT_718 I think you summed up Twitter perfectly in your first few Tweets. #
  • @KT_718 Patience, young Jedi. #
  • In the same way you Tweeted about this, that, and the other, that is, in fact, microblogging. You added your thoughts and voice to the Web. #
  • @KT_718 Are you a member of ODNetwork? #
  • @KT_718 I joined #ODNetwork last year and my membership is up for renewal. Not sure if I realized the value proposition. #
  • @KT_718 Thus far, have not found anybody on Twitter who is a member of #ODNetwork. Wondering where all the members are? #
  • @KT_718 Spoken like a true New Yorker. #
  • @KT_718 Interesting resemblance to your avatar. #
  • @KT_718 Why another one? What are those two not providing? #
  • @KT_718 How similar the Web is to F2F life, isn’t it? #
  • @KT_718 Happy belated 40. #
  • @mashable Exactly. That way, Santa will save money with the Dec 26 discounts (like the Twitterati may be doing with the infrastructure). #
  • @bjschone Why not state it like that? #
  • @mathplourde How is the travel planning coming? #
  • @RobinYap Have you tried the #LearningTown feature? #
  • @bdieu It is winter where you are, isn’t it? #
  • @KT_718 I have cut back with some and joined others along the way. I find it useful to join them to try them out for a year. Then decide. #
  • @KT_718 Hey, take the kindness while you can. #
  • @KT_718 Good luck with finishing. I am off to bed. Will try to feel better for work tomorrow. #
  • @KT_718 Never really considered IFC. Have you found it valuable? #
  • @KT_718 Many of these orgs are filled with people looking for consulting gigs. While I consult as well, I am not quite the pushy sort. #
  • @KT_718 This is an example of what Twitter allows; the instant action of IM, with the microblogging larger community of the Twitterverse. #
  • @arjunsingh Like what? #
  • I just learned #Friendfeed has an RSS feed, so now I can track it using #Feeddemon, my RSS reader. Sweet. #
  • Otherwise, #Friendfeed is overwhelming via email or their site. #
  • Has anybody ever seen the APQC Multimedia Communities of Practice Training Toolkit #
  • Waiting in line at the post office. Only one teller working right now. #
  • Wow is she fast! #
  • @maniactive Sweet when things work! #
  • Doing some research about assessing a patient’s ability to self-manage. #
  • Wow, Twitter is finally back up. #
  • Twitter is up and being used (seemingly) without a missed step. Perhaps there are some Web 2.0 lessons to learn here? #
  • What, Twitter stressing again? Who would have guessed? #

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What Walruses Can Teach About Learning

The New York Times had a recent article entitled Who Is the Walrus? that I have been thinking about and processing for the past few weeks. The more I reflect on it, the more I realize how assumptions quietly sneak back into preparation and delivery of teaching and learning with adults.

walrusNow, I have worked in and around adult and organizational learning for most of my professional life, and every now and then something comes along to wake me up again to various assumptions and the like that I hold about learners. I know about andragogy, hegemony, postmodern paradigmatic structures, critical theory, and the like. I have studied all of these things and they have helped to transform my worldviews on teaching and learning.

Nevertheless, it is easy to fall back into the pre-learned status quo and teach as we learned. Enter, the walrus.

The article on walruses raised my thinking quit a bit, and I can’t help but think there is a lot here for us to learn about teaching and learning. So, what can walruses teach us? Here are three thoughts:

  1. Big scary things aren’t always as they seem. Yes, walruses can way over 2000 pounds and can approach very quickly, but as the author learned they are not as intimidating as they appear. In fact, he learned they like to play, are highly social, and are so intelligent that scientists use the term “creative” when discussing walruses. They don’t quite charge–they come over to play and love to have their faces blown on. How easy it is to miss this because we can’t get past the size, tusks, and noise? How often do we do this with learners, perhaps because of their organizations, hair styles, or use of professional language? Throw in culture, history, and status (using whatever measure is at hand), and you get the picture?
  2. Some things that appear mean are really only happy. It is easy to draw conclusions about the tusks and how the walruses bang into one another as if they are fighting. In reality, the tusks help them get onto the ice and out of the water. Fight? Walruses are so social and so like the company of other walruses that they climb all over one another, and if no walruses are around, will even seek out other moving objects (such as, sadly, a ship). Do we at times misunderstand what our learners want or have to offer, especially those who are (for whatever variety of reasons) different from us? Can we misinterpret their questions, as well as their learning needs, distractions, and levels of commitment to education they had no role in creating?
  3. Noise to some can be considered singing to others. A male walrus can be heard from 10 miles away, and can sing in complex forms using all body parts for days at a time. This singing is for the female walrus who can, amazingly, seem to distinguish the love song through all the noise of all the other walruses. Not everybody likes opera or rap, but some people really get into one or the other (or even both). Things that may appear like a confused mess can really be complicated processing by learners (ever seen a Philip Glass opera?). Have we ever thought something was wrong or nonsensical because we don’t get it, though our learners fight to affirm their experiences (that we in turn can easily dismiss)? How often have we ever claimed (even internally) that we know our learner’s context better than they do, and then handily proceeded from there?

I am still considering how much I learned with this article and the next few weeks of attentive reflective practice. While my perceptions and appreciation of this wonderful animal has shifted and grown, I so very want to bring this into my professional and academic work. Failing to do so will leave me unable to reach out to my learners in ways they need. 

After all, learning is most valuable when we reach the learners where they are in and as themselves.