Mapping the MOOC and the Front Yard, Plus a Poem

I am trying to see mapping from a few perspectives this week. One one hand, I have a collaborative map project going with the Making Learning Connected MOOC in which I have created a map with Google and opened it up to the public, inviting MOOC participants to “pin themselves” on the map and consider adding a six word memoir. It’s been nice to begin to situate where people live, putting some geographical ties to the words and sharing that has been flowing in the MOOC adventure.
mooc map

And then, inspired by a fellow MOOC participant, I decided to try out the idea of something on a much smaller scale. This “learning walk” is from my front yard. I took my camera and shot a bunch of images, straight down to the ground, of my front yard and then stitched them together into a collage (I ended up downloading a free app – Picture Collage). I really love how the whole captures the essence of the yard, and how one can find elements of beauty in the small focus, too.
In both activities, I was seeking to make some sense of my world — from my connections in online spaces via the MOOC to connections to the soil and pavement of my house, and both senses of mapping have value, I think, in that they bubble up information in a way that puts things in perspective.

Finally, all these mapping activities reminded me of a poem I once wrote, in which the mapping idea went very inward.

On the Cartographer’s Map
Listen to the poem

This creeping cord
of tension slips
its knot
and moves as a snake to the heart
I’d fall apart
but the world needs
an Atlas to keep it balanced
(precarious as it is
and such a reluctant hero, burdened)
Always there is this sense of renewal
just around the bend
with outstretched hands waiting
to grab this globe and spin me free
on the cartographer’s canvas –
crisscrossed with longitude –
layered with latitude –
I am wondering all the while where the edge is
where I will fall off
and tumble into the nothingness.

Peace (in along the lines),

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