I can’t believe it, but I started to write this post LAST Sunday, and here it is a week later. There are so many things running through my mind but I decided I should stick with two: visual thinking and eggs.
I’ll start with the eggs, because it is shorter. Yesterday we got three new hens to add to our tiny flock of 2 older hens who are in great shape, but laying fewer and fewer eggs. We still appreciate their contribution of their doo-doo to our garden’s soil quality, but we need a few more eggs. So I met up with a young woman who raises hens and picked up three Golden Nugget 7 month old hens. (Scroll down on this page if you want to know more about the breed).
We were advised to keep the new hens apart from our older hens until it was dark then introduce them while the other hens were sleeping. We did that and this morning I headed out at dawn to check on them. No fights. YAY! But all day the two mini-flocks kept their distance from each other.
I was reminded of the posts of yours that I have been reading from last weeks TEAM THEME. Quite consistently people talked about how much easier it is in smaller sub-teams than in your full teams of 7 or 8 people. It seems like these small “twosie-threesies” are the GOLDEN EGG! So if you are having success in the mini-groups, I’ll be interested to see how you build that up into larger team success. I’d love any comments if you have already figured that out.
The second thing is the power of visuals in both thinking together and sharing what we’ve learned with others. A week ago I taught two graphic facilitation courses. (Here are some photos from one of them.) One issue that came up in both was how useful visuals were in negotiating meaning in multicultural contexts. What I find is a visual prompts us to ask “what did you mean by that,” when we often keep plowing forward without asking and building on assumptions if we are just relying on words. This can be a challenge for groups who are working across diverse first/second languages.
I keep wondering if some of your teams would benefit from using visuals, or perhaps you already are. If you are, would you share your experiences in the comments?
OK, sun is still out, so I’m heading back to my garden. I hope one of you found the surprise I had above in the post!
I was looking at the site stats, and this is what I saw today:
It is always interesting to see what motivates folks…. 🙂
I started drafting this earlier today, sitting in my robe (still) in front of my computer on a cool and cloudy Seattle day, head pounding with a cold-induced headache, thinking about “being ready” for the coming week of project community. This is the advantage of doing this online – I can stay in my comfy robe! 😉
Reading your blogs (students, tutor/faculty team, etc) has started giving me a tiny glimpse into we we all are, individually and a bit, collectively. The student blog posts that really brought out an individual’s ideas, intentions, challenges were most helpful. I could “feel a bit of the human being” behind the words. I really like that. It starts to give me a sense of YOUR digital identities.
Meggie posted today in her blog some wonderings about the roles we each play. That reminded me it might be helpful to share the role I “THINK” I play in this ecosystem we call “Project Community.” It seems to fit with one of the two themes of this coming week (Digital Identity and Technology Stewardship.)
My role started last year when Maarten invited me to help redesign the Project Community course. We’ve known each other since the early 2000’s when he took a course I ran on online facilitation. After we redrafted the course, Maarten invited me to co-teach it with him and his team. Confusism reigned and we all learned a lot. I was present each week virtually and my main roles were bringing some subject matter experience and knowledge, working with teams when they wanted some additional assistance, and reading and commenting on as many blogs as I could. I also scouted for and curated external resources during the course that seemed to relate to what was happening during any specific week. At the end, we reflected on what we learned and did another iterative round of redesign for this year.
I’m not sure I came into this year with a lot more clarity about my role. 😉 When I read about the three roles of a teacher this morning on Meggie’s blog, I realize my role is all three of the roles she mentioned.
- The knowledge transferer. I have worked in online collaboration since 1996 and have seen quite a few things come and go in the field, and try to notice what endures.
- The master and apprentice. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Hopefully I learned something and can offer that. I also have a lot of contacts in the field that could be of use to you (remember, to ask!)
- Friends in search for truth. While this is probably not the role the University contracted for with me, I think this is the role closest to my heart. My beliefs around learning are are heavily influenced by thinkers like Etienne Wenger and the idea of social learning. No one of us has the “corner” on it. We do it together. And in that togetherness, there is so much to learn.
What is your role?