The above question sums up my thoughts and feelings about our first day…
… but I am briefly going to mention something else. I am not a number person but here I am talking numbers, sort of. There were loads (this is the closest I will get to numbers) of people connecting with BYOD4L but also other learners. Loads of tweets and retweets and star-tweets and some posts too and sharing of ideas, questions, resources. This was impressive. I felt initially (well for some hours!) overwhelmed with all the traffic and the parallel conversations in the different spaces. The speed was superfast! At times I felt under pressure to be seen to be there. Often I was, without contributing as I felt I was not needed. When conversations flow naturally and develop, stepping in as a facilitator might stop them and this is not something I wanted to do. On the other hand, when people post and nobody responds, that is not good, is it? We need to know when to wait for a bit, or a bit longer even, and not jump in immediately. We need to give participants the space and time to respond, similar to what we do, or should be doing, in the physical classroom. Perhaps online it is easier to jump in and provide answers… I will depart now from this thought and focus on something that is bugging me from the moment it happened.
Ok, let’s go back to my question: Where is Linda? I wish I knew the answer. I wish I knew how to find Linda. Linda is important to me and also every other Lindas out there. In the world of mass-communication (mass learning if there is such a thing!!!), voices get lost, connections become impersonal and other times (too often) they get lost completely and during the attempt to connect, they break off and disappear. But learning is personal. It doesn’t really happen in the macro cosmos, or does it? When we are in vast networks, we don’t connect with all? Or do we? When we are in vast networks we reach out to some, a selected few, who become our hooks and we go on a journey together, for a while or a bit longer. Not everybody though is heard and often voices get lost. Often we don’t reach out and we give up…
Linda reached out, I heard her voice on our learning together page and said that she wanted to learn within a group. This was such a powerful message when it popped up on my screen. It instantly occupied my mind madly. Suddenly the individual stood out, the individual who wanted to learn with others and was asking for help. A voice that could easily be lost in this chaos. But I heard it and did not want to ignore it. I wanted to help. Isn’t this what we suppose to be there for? Would love to hear your views.
And then something magical happened. Thanks to our first #byod4lchat and my call to find Linda (I thought to give it a go!), I actually found my Linda. This story took me years back when my mum asked me to find her best friend after years when I was in Germany during a research visit. It all happened thanks to the web! This is not a miracle. People love helping others and they will when they can! Like Tom Duff did this evening. He was my angel who helped me uncover Linda‘s full identity. Suddenly I had her full name, site and Twitter id. So so pleased. Some people might read this and think, what on earth is she talking about? But for me this was important. I wanted to show Linda that I did listen and that I do really care. Caring for others and each other is extremely important for learning and everything we do as human beings. I didn’t only want to show Linda that I care but I do care properly for all learners and want to be there for them when they need somebody. I would try and help make the connection and then blend into the background when everything is going ok.
There is always hope! I found my Linda. Now it is up to Linda what will happen next. Looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures.
Sleep well dear friends
ps. If any of you would like to make a Twitterbird, here is the recipe 😉 ttp://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bluebird