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#DS106 A Domain of my own: Riding blindfolded

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A few days ago, I met (over Skype) with a new colleague from the Midwest to whom I’d only just been e-introduced.  And despite the standard  “We’re all learners.  We start where we are” mantra that I spoon out to students by the ladleful in my new media literacy courses, I felt a cloak of shame when I admitted to him that I really had never gotten into Tweeting, didn’t see the point (though I spared him that last nugget of wisdom).

He invited me to follow him on Twitter, and the next thing I knew I was headlong into a surfing, clipping, and connecting bender from which I have yet to emerge — or want to  (still thinking of Scott McLeod’s “pusher post” that I stumbled upon — not in THAT way — earlier today).

It’s been thrilling as these holiday or summer break internet indulgences tend to be.  But one of the coolest things to happen was that I suddenly GOT Twitter.  The key was, I guess, connecting to others like the ed tech guru who prompted me to try again, and then deciding to look up and “follow” a bunch of others whose blogs I have been reading for the past couple of years anyway.  THIS was how to be at the “edge” of things, to be at the party where all the cool cats hung (wonder if that’s what Vicki Davis was thinking of…), to be connected to the emergent discourse on educational technology:  eavesdrop on their conversation in the way that only Twitter allows you to.

So one thing leads to another, as it were, and the next thing you know I’m watching Gardner Campbell –  who, by the way, is the one who really started all of this Web 2.0 stuff for me when he visited our campus for a faculty development workshop back in 2007 — blow my mind, which is his wont, yet AGAIN in a video of a presentation he gave at the OpenEd Conference in British Columbia back in 2009 (WHY this hasn’t yet gone viral is beyond me; I’m committed to changing that, and you will be, too, once you watch it — if you haven’t yet).

Which led me to his “no need of an introduction” co-presenter — Jim Groom — on Twitter and then to this class, which, ironically, is the VERY thing I was looking for to make good on my New Year’s resolution — and (I hope) to finally emerge from the shadow of shame that comes with teaching new media but really only having a lackluster web presence.  So THANK YOU Jim Groom, Gardner Campbell, Will Richardson and everyone else!  I am really looking forward to participating, even though I am (as ever) a “late add.”  I hope you’ll still let me play!

[….]   and I’ll carry on as if, since I’m big fan of begging forgiveness…..

My journey since beginning Assignment 1 is much like it has been since I started on this bender a few days ago, just a bit more intense perhaps.  As my subtitle for this post indicates, I found myself plunging headlong into the experience, trusting that Jim would provide the kinds of explicit directions to which I always commit myself to providing when I design such experiences for students; and knowing, at the same time, that I am empowered to help myself through “help” (a la Google, Bluehost chat, and finally a phone conversation with Bluehost support).

And it worked!  I have a new blog, with which I am very happy, and I have to say that all the other free blogs that I’ve started and let fizzle pale by comparison. Looking forward starting anew (and having a good reason to do so), AND to exploring all of the bells, whistles, and good ol’ functionality that breaking the lock off the wallet and paying for WordPress/Bluehost seems to have got me.   I really had no idea.

So I made it halfway through Assignment #1 and am feeling a pretty heady sense of accomplishment already, even though as the proprietess of so many blogs, wikis, and Nings, that this really shouldn’t be so monumental.  But somehow it is. My “30-minute introduction” will have to wait (til tomorrow, I hope). But for now, I feel terrific and much more official than I ever did before I had “a domain of my own.”  Thanks for that!

Thanks, too, for giving me the chance to feel what it feels like to be a student in one of my own classes, riding blindfolded on a bike through an ancient walled city –  wobbily navigating my way, in fits and starts, through narrow, cobblestone passageways by relying mainly upon my other senses, a faith in my sense of balance, and (of course) the kindness of others.

AND finally, thanks for the very important lesson in humility, a quality that I require of my students EVERY time I encourage them to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and “play” (and let’s not forget risk looking like complete idiots in front of people whose opinions they most value — their peers).   I am glad to be reminded of what they must feel like most of all.

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