Saturday, November 20, 2010

Who's on Your Carpet Circle? NCTE 2010

Writing Time during Bud the Teacher’s session at NCTE Thursday:

Bud Hunt, or @budtheteacher on Twitter, posed provocative questions during his 21st century literacies session Thursday afternoon. I appreciated his skill as a facilitator. Bud set the stage for our learning by calling attention to the vocabulary, “two phrases” , he expected us to learn, he set goals and outlined our time together. He wove analogy and metaphor into his teaching-- reminding me of Rick Wormeli. The metaphor I most enjoyed was the kindergarten carpet circle. Remember the carpet circle? Learners hand-waving excited, gathered in community to share and build knowledge.

Bud asked us “Who’s in your circle? In your network?”  

I wonder.

Does he mean whom do I eavesdrop on? Does he mean which stars do I wish upon?  We’re at Disney after all.

He asks us, “Who’s listening in? What “productive eavesdropping” are you engaged in, or helping to foster? How are you making your work “visible and discussable."

Bud’s talking and  I’m feeling a sense of irony I can’t quite explain. You see, I am visible. Online, since before the last decade when I used the Florida Information Resource Network to dial in to a text based web. I “sailed the cyberseas” at the  Miami Museum of Science and learned how to use Netscape Composer to create. Not a coder, but a WYSIWYG geek, a pioneer, not digital native, in my English department, the first teacher to create and maintain a web site. At that time, Carla Beard was also online—The Web English Teacher and a personal hero. 

I so admired her collections of resources that my first attempt at web creation (Spillane Station) was content poor, link-rich  (to mention the image copyright issues). But,  I was learning. I was the geeky teacher who taught herself  how to network Apple 2Es together with a rudimentary daisy chain so that English teachers could have a “lab.” My students taught them how to use the software. I wrote about my earlier experiences in FETC Connections. Old school print, I know. So am I visible? Yes, then and now, I am visible.

But, is anyone listening? I wondered as Bud talked. @budtheteacher whom I follow but did not follow back, whom I friended but did not friend me back. To connect do we have to make connections both ways? Or can I just wish upon those stars—those educational and techie rock stars. I wonder.  I’m listening. I’m productively eavesdropping. I’ve lurked and learned. But I wondered?

What does it take to bring someone into your network? Are we all so busy marketing ourselves that we skate through conversations with folks we aren’t really connected to?

Whom am I really connected to? People I have relationships with. People I talk with, email with, see in person. My virtual friends –the one’s I’ve built relationships with—I’ve met. I’ve listened to. I’ve sat still and learned with them and from them.

So what?

So, I’m going to try and build relationships. If I want Bud and really more importantly, others to join my carpet circle, I’m going to keep raising my hand. Keep poking with the @reply. Keep trying to make my practice and the listening visible, accessible, and discussable.

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