I had this idea for a webcomic with a map theme, for our Mapvember theme in CLMOOC. I thought about a map as the backdrop for charting my journey from growing up in Connecticut to becoming a teacher in Massachusetts, and my life as a journalist in-between. The comic didn’t turn out exactly how I envisioned but it captured the basics of my story.
(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)
In the Connected Learning MOOC (CLMOOC) this month, we’re centering on the theme of maps, in all sorts of ways. Geographical maps. Game maps. Learning maps. Systems maps. Imaginary maps. It’s all connected to the idea of #Mapvember, and the way we can visualize the known and unknown worlds.
As part of our monthly CLMOOC postcard project (where about 70 of us have signed up to send postcards to each other from time to time, either one postcard a month or season or year, or more, if you are so inspired), the theme is also mapping. I found these very cool postcards called Map of the Heavens, which are elaborate celestial maps from a museum collection that are just fascinating to look at.
Yesterday, I popped a dozen postcards into the mailbox, sending my maps (and my text on the postcard was a compass map of my writing life) to places in the United States and way beyond (Scotland, Australia, Canada, etc.)
I love this way of connecting throughout the year, beyond the traditional CLMOOC Summers.
We’re diving into maps and mapping in CLMOOC this month for a Pop-Up Make Cycle, and I was remembering a poem I had written about mapping. I had to dig around for it, and then read my own reflections that I had written the poem after taking care of my son who was sick with fever, and watching him push and pull at his blankets. The blanket was a map, I had imagined, and this poem came from there. To be honest, I now have trouble connecting the poem to that memory. But I think the poem stands on its own, particularly in this digital format, with images and text and music.
As part of our Digital Lives unit, I tapped into a project by Kevin Kelly to have my sixth graders visualize and map out their relationship and understanding of the Internet and technology. Kelly’s Internet Mapping Project, started years ago, offers an interesting glimpse into how we see the wired world around us, and where we situate ourselves. Part of the visual prompt is find your home.
My students were no different. What was just as interesting was getting them to write a reflection on their Map of the Internet, digging into the ways that technology both expands and contracts their experiences as adolescents.
Kelly still invites folks to make their Maps, although I am not sure if he is adding new ones to the collection. You don’t need Kelly to do this. Use that Internet you’ll be conceptualizing and mapping to share out with us. You can download the PDF and also view the gallery of Maps.
One of my participatory ideas from my presentation last week on “Emergence: Expecting the Unexpected” for the 4T Virtual Conference on Digital Writing was to invite those in the presentation to write an acrostic poem with me. Over the course of a few days, I invited others, too, and the result is pretty nifty. I used an open source writing space called Board.Net (built off elements of the old Etherpad), and used the timelapse element to capture the poem being written.
My friend across many social spaces, Daniel Bassill of Tutor/Mentor Connections, put out a request recently, asking if anyone might be interested in making a comic version of any of his many resources at his site, which encourages partnerships to improve the lives of urban youths.
I was grateful to have about 25 people in my virtual session last night for the 4T Virtual Conference on Digital Writing as I shared some of my experiences with the concept of “emergence” in open networks, and how to make the ground fertile for ideas. Or, a bit more catchy: How to Expect the Unexpected.
An invitation to doodle flowers met folks as they entered the Blackboard room, and it was lovely to see the flowers slowly blooming on the page. I then went into my presentation (a version of it is here, but the full presentation was recorded for eventual archive at the 4T site).
Here are the links that I shared during the presentation:
And I ended with both an invitation to keep an eye out for a Pop Up Make Cycle on the horizon for November on the theme of “maps” as well as a link to collaborate on a poem, using some of the words from the presentation as an acrostic invitation.
Someone outside of my usual teaching and technology life asked about my upcoming presentation at the 4T Virtual Conference on Digital Writing, and they got sort of hooked into the “virtual” piece. I think they heard “virtual” and thought I was going to be wandering through some virtual reality workshop. Maybe with goggles on. I wish. Instead, I will be in a Blackboard Elluminate platform (which is pretty far from VR, believe you me).
I have been asked to do a session at the upcoming 4t Virtual Conference on Digital Writing on Monday October 16 at 6:30 p.m. EST (registration is free, sessions are online, and everything gets archived) with a CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC) theme, and I thought it would be interesting to parse through the concept of how projects, collaborations and ideas seem to regularly bubble up from the CLMOOC soil.
I will be exploring the concept of “emergence” in social spaces, through a CLMOOCish lens. This theme of emergence has been part of a thread in past workshops around CLMOOC, as folks from the National Writing Project who began CLMOOC (Christina Cantrill, etc.) noticed from the first year how the unexpected happened, and how to expect the unexpected with CLMOOC folks. I aim to dive in a little deeper, to think about how it all seems to work.
If you are curious about CLMOOC and about the whole emergence idea, please consider joining me in this free workshop. Also, check out the entire conference, which is all free, and get some ideas for the classroom and for yourself. I will also be helping facilitate a final discussion about digital writing and teaching.