Labyrinth in Lower Manhattan

I went for a bike ride this morning, and found myself at the labyrinth in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. Deciding to walk it, I thought about the birds chirping over head, and the trees looking down from above, all while thinking that the labyrinth is like a metaphor for life itself – – the path twists and turns, though ultimately it travels toward a single life’s journey, wherever it leads.

Reminded me of why I have become so interested in research, as I enjoy hearing the stories of various experiences, and how people make meaning out of them.

I wonder how many of these experiences have similar meaning frames? Ahh, that is for another day.

The Mourners at the Met

Mourner-with-drawn-hood-reading-a-bookI needed to take a break from my paper (with its final version due this Monday), so I decided to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art,  my favorite museum that happens to be right here in New York.

What a surprise when I stumbled across one of the best (small) exhibits I have ever encountered, The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy. This exhibit is the first time these sculptures have been separated from the tomb in Burgundy they have been mourning for hundreds of years. Arranged in 2 rows, they walk and mourn in silence, doing what people have done for thousands of years–remember those who have come before. They are carved in amazing detail, only 16 inches tall, and arranged in the Medieval sculpture hall in a solemn and thought-provoking manner that stopped me in my tracks.

I love Medieval art. I love France. What a find to invite me to be as introspective as these fellows are.

In our own ways, and in mine in particular, I find myself reflecting on my past, much as these statues do. I constantly replay images from the past, thinking, from different perspectives, about how to live the present and prepare for a better future while being informed by what has gone on before. It is not that often that I get overwhelmed with an entire art display, though this one, as if walking toward the doorway through which I entered, greeted me as if personally and solemnly.

Do I mourn? Will others mourn me? I wonder to what extent anything of mine will even be remembered after I finish my journey?

While this can immediately be seen as a lament, I will instead take this as an invitation to make the remainder of my life memorable. I want to leave the world a better place, be part of something greater than myself.

What better response to have to works of art, than to want to take positive action?

What do you want people to remember about you?

Personal Reading of Transcripts

trees and light I am re-reading all of the transcripts of the 8 interviews I conducted for my research project, and am so overwhelmed with the stories that were shared. They are so personal, so strong, and seemingly so full of every element of human experience. In some ways, I feel I am peering into a slice of the lives of a group fascinating people who shared their stories with me for the sake of my research.

I hope I do their works justice in my findings. Perhaps the best justice would be giving somebody else an insight or idea that leads to some other action in service of research, self-knowledge, and advancing the benefits of a networked community?

Autoethnographer Communities of Practice at NLC2010

I am thrilled to share the news that my paper, Autoethnographer Communities of Practice, has just been accepted to present to the 7th International Conference on Networked Learning NLC2010! This conference is at the beginning of May in Aalborg, Denmark. It will be the second time I have presented in Europe, and the first time I am presenting there as the single author / researcher on a paper.


I am really looking forward to finally meeting some of the people whose work has helped my own thinking in the Technology Eenhanced Learning (TEL) / Networked Learning field, including Etienne Wenger (one of the keynotes), David McConnell, and Chris Jones. I am also excited to share some of my research findings about studying those who engage in autoethnography, as this is something that does not seem to be frequently used in the networked learning research community.

I will speak more about this as the conference date approaches. Hope to meet some of the other networked learners I speak to online and have never met F2F.

Should, Must, Have to

Tree Looking UpTrying to catch my breath between work and teaching and my research project, I realized I have not posted my New Year’s Resolution for this year to once again share what I am thinking about (in the hopes that it may trigger some reflection, keep me honest, and perhaps give me some support). I think I did somewhat well with the one I worked on (as personal improvement) in 2009.

Now, for 2010, I am trying to be more present to the uses of the terms should, must, and have to. Perhaps more than being a little present and aware of them, I am trying to limit their use in my verbiage, as they seem to get me into nothing but trouble.

Should implies some obligation, whether externally driven or internally focused. Either way, the issue of power is involved, with me at the receiving end of it. Whether I am told I should do this or that (usually to support somebody else’s agenda) or I believe I should do something (usually related to childhood control issues to see the world in a certain way), I often find that guilt and follow-the-leader (who somehow always knows better and more) drive me in ways I often do not want to go. It is so easy to do things because other people conveniently do the thinking (i.e., power issue alert!) for me (you?).

Must is the same, though it often comes from a higher moral, patriotic, academic, or organizational place. I would never be blogging for years or engaging in interesting research if I only listened to ways how I must think, believe, do, or say. Is Have to much different?

took one Ambien No Prescription pill for the night. In the morning I came to, in some bewilderment.

Now, I am not that much of an activist (ok, I am alas not one at all), and am not advocating any behavior beyond my own change in perspective. However, this may be where activism does start . . .