Over the last 2 days, I, along with some of my colleagues, have had the incredible opportunity to work with Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano about documenting our own learning AS learning. I had two new experiences today: 1) I documented a Lunch and Learn session from one of our teachers and 2) we had a Skype session with Jocelyn Blumgart in Australia.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
I HAVE A LOT TO LEARN!
During the Lunch and Learn session, I found it challenging to document while still being active and engaged in the conversation. I was definitely not able to write down a well thought out blog post in the moment, but rather took quick notes to be able to go back later to transform it into complete thoughts. At one point, I abandoned my spot at the back of the room, left my camera and computer, and sat down in the middle of it all to get my hands “dirty” with what the rest of the group was doing. I’ve now learned that what I was trying to do was backchanneling and it is still something I need to practice in order to get better at multitasking. Interestingly, while backchanneling was a challenge at lunch, I had a completely different experience with it later that afternoon.
The Skype session with Jocelyn was great! We each took on a role as part of the Digital Learning Farm. My job to begin with was Photographer. The call began with all of us busily doing our jobs, being in the hot seat face-to-face with Jocelyn, taking pictures, videos or live-tweeting.
As the conversation continued, and Jocelyn started sharing ideas, tools and resources, I realized no one was backchanneling! I quickly sat down at my computer, and while listening to the conversation and still being engaged, I was able to take notes and even hyperlink to some of the tools she referenced.
When I reflect on it now, when I was documenting on my own during lunch, it was my responsibility to to ALL the jobs in the Digital Learning Farm. During the Skype call, I had one job, and was able to better concentrate on what was happening around me to jump in to other jobs that may have been necessary. While not completely impossible to do it on your own, it is MUCH better doing it with a group of people, where each person has a purpose. I would imagine it relieved some pressure from those speaking directly with Jocelyn that they did not need to write down all the things she was saying while listening to her. It likely allowed the conversation to flow more naturally and comfortably without pausing to write things down.
I’m really looking forward to learning more, practicing more, and most of all, trying this out with my students.