As a jumpstart in my writerly life, I am participating in a 30-day challenge to reflectively write at least 150 words and then post online. We’ve since expanded on the idea with international colleagues into #modigiwri. Join us and here goes!
When I started the challenge to write and post everyday—just 150 words—I did not anticipate the way this would blossom. If you check out the #modigiwri feed on Twitter, however, you’ll see the kind of growth that’s possible when you are connected to generous, creative, and dedicated colleagues. Kevin was critically pondering this positive, generative energy in a recent #modigiwri post, actually. Here it is: Call Me Naive, We are Part.
So one way (there were other creative branches as well!) that the folks who are participating in the More Digital Writing or #modigiwri challenge have taken the original 150-word challenge has been toward abandoning words all together. Well, first, a conversation about the constraints of digital composing tools inspired Wendy, I think it was, who suggested that folks try to write with just 150 and she came up with a dictionary game to spark that writing. (Wendy is that right?)
Want to join me in a #clmooc ‘unmake’ cycle? (clmooc stands for Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration) I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the tracks, traces, and trails we leave as we work digitally and online. In a recent chapter focused on learning analytics and writing, I wrote about some of the potentials and pitfalls in education of the traces we leave … Continue reading Digital Trace Audit: A #clmooc New Year’s ‘Unmake’ Cycle
It’s that time of year…when I claim to reboot my efforts on this site…or not. I was inspired to write this non/anti-resolution post by two tweets that came across my feed this last week. First, I saw that Melvina posted that she received a postcard from Kevin Hodgson via Karen Fasimpaur‘s #clmooc postcard project that has taken a data display turn this year. @dogtrax Thanks, Kevin! … Continue reading It’s that Time of Year…
It’s a blustery, rainy…and sticky-warm July day. And yet, I am still about to embark on a walk…a blog walk.
If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ve seen an abundance of the #clmooc hashtag in my stream. Hopefully, you haven’t muted it before I had a chance to explain. We’re right in the middle of the…
Connected Learning Massive(ly) Open
On-(and Off-)line Collaboration
(See why it’s shortened?)
It’s basically a connected learning summer camp for educators. There are a series of Make Cycles that begin (and only begin, never end) each week through July, and educators can follow their own lines of inquiry while making, experimenting, writing, and connecting. As you can imagine, it has turned out to be a choose-your-own-adventure space bubbling with ideas, rich with potential, and a little overwhelming to try to take in in one gulp.
I was just talking with a colleague in the throes of dissertation writing. She’s right in the middle of the mess that is trying to thinking new thoughts. And though she was trying her hardest not to show it, she was feeling downtrodden, and at a loss as to what to do about it. (And then today I serendipitously came across a series of tweets that animated what I saw behind her calm exterior. Press play and enjoy.)
Then she said something that I’ve heard (and said myself) a hundred times:
I just need to trust the process, right? I need to surrender to it.
It rang so false, so hollow, so hopeless. This was someone deeply invested in a complex effort trying to grab at something secure. And surrendering to some amorphous process was her only solution? That’s no solution. I wondered: What is this “process” that’s supposed to solve everything? Letting time pass as we continue to “plug away” at the same old tasks? (You know what they say about that.)
Leveraging “the Process”
Rather than surrendering to this amorphous process (which I am now thinking is just code for feeling lost and ready to give up), I think we could do better to leverage it.
I’ll say it. My 2014 Year in Review from WordPress is sad, just sad. And though the graphics are fun (thanks, WP), my work on this site has not been fireworks worthy. Let’s just take my 2014 Posting Patterns as an example…
Posting patterns? Pretty pitiful. I didn’t have a “posting pattern.” I was in an avoidance holding pattern. Sure there was a lot going on this year, but I don’t need excuses. To be blunt: The sustained intensity of the dissertation processes in concert with the massive amount of other critical and creative…and really exciting…scholarly work I had been engaged in for the last couple of years had left me a little tired, a little wrung out to dry, and thus, a little hesitant to engage in any kind of writing, creating or making that was not absolutely, utterly necessary. And yet, I’ve missed it, and I’ve missed the rush, the spark, the energy I get while writing, creating, and making in order to keep writing, creating and making.
So, what am I going to do about it?
Write. Create. Make.: A solution. Not a resolution.
Set up as a massive (over 1,000 makers), open (free, no prerequisites, across multiple platforms including offline), online (hosted at Educator Innovator) collaboration (organic, responsive series of make cycles led by participant-facilitators), this year I was able to experience the ways that connected professional development can allow us to learn in what typically would be considered disconnected ways. Case in point: #clmooc officially ended on August 2nd. It’s August 8th, and I am now working on my responses to the Make Cycle that began mid-July. Mind you, there is power in learning in synch and in conversation with others, but the threads of my “classmates'” work and conversations lay available to me across cyberspace, and what I would have otherwise missed due to life interruptions, I can now contribute to, i.e. learn by making and connecting.
So, let’s get to it. In Make Cycle #4, we were invited to Hack Your Writing. This led to a myriad of various makes and forks and very cool conversations about what it means to “hack.” I was (and still am) especially influenced by several fellow participants who grappled with what it means to “hack” and whether revising written products should be considered “hacking” at all.
Hear me out: Turkey? Stick it in an oven for hours. Mashed potatoes? Boil some water. Yams? Sprinkle some brown sugar. Green beans? Open a can. Even hand-whipped whip cream? Yep. That, too. Whip it.
Even if you end up making a Half-Trifle Half-Shepherd’s Pie Rachel Special, “what’s not to like?” Joey will eat it.
Yes, I have a point.
We like to make Thanksgiving a big deal. Sure there are more mouths to feed, more places to set at the table, more potatoes to peel, but it’s not any more difficult than a single crème brûlée. A good mole? I have no idea where to start.
In the same way, there are some of us who still think that digital content creation—a video, a blog post with an image, a podcast, a visual meme, a musical track, an image collage—is a big deal. I am here to say that like Thanksgiving, it isn’t that hard. In fact, digital content creation has never been easier. We don’t have to wait until next year for Facebook to provide us with another 30-second video with five of our photos. We can make our own in just about the same amount of time it took to watch it.
Here are my go-to apps for composing-on-the-go:
This last winter, my nephew was performing at an Open Mic with his brother for the last time before he left on a two-year service stint. As I watched the performance, I took snapshots and recorded a couple of the songs. And as I went up to the bar to order a hot chocolate, I opened Animoto on my phone, selected a couple of pictures and a snippet or two of the video, typed a couple of words. Continue reading “Easy as Pie: Thanksgiving Dinner and Digital Content Creation”