Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Constraints and Possibilities

Creative Commons Licensed
Designing for learning
And realizing in the process

How coming up against a constraint (thanks to Amy Musone for sharing the importance of that term)
Is tough
Is frustrating
And can uncover insights into learning that became somehow buried a bit

As I considered the learning environment for the new Blended Learning eCourse I'm designing and facilitating for Powerful Learning Practice, I had what I thought was a terrific idea.  During the week that we explored questioning and feedback more deeply, I'd use forums for that purpose on the Edublogs class blog that I'd created.

Knowing little to nothing, like always, I jumped in confident that I could tinker and figure out how to make it work.  There was documentation with clear instructions. I activated the bbpress plugin and figured I was on my way!  Thinking I was on a roll and anxious to see how the forum would display, I created a forum, a topic within that forum and a reply and embedded it on a page on the blog only to find that the contents didn't display.  It clearly said there was a topic with a link to click which in turn provided an option to reply ---  but with no content--  sigh!!!

So I tried it in another browser.  I searched in troubleshooting forums. I changed themes as suggested in one forum.  And I tinkered, I left it to try again another day, I deleted everything I did, I reread the documentation, I tried creating again, I searched the forums, and I played and tinkered to no avail.  After some 12 hours of that, I knew I'd hit a wall.  I didn't know enough, I didn't have enough foundational knowledge for what I wanted to do, and I didn't have time to continue.

Two epiphanies--
I had moved too far from my zone of comfort
Excerpted from https://thecurriculumcorner.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/danielsons-fft-3b-questioning-discussion/ with permission
I can't say I was panicked, yet I did not have enough background to make progress, to ward off frustration.

As I thought of all I was designing for learning for the ecourse, I realized that  many co-learners might experience similar frustrations when faced with creating their own dashboards, or repurposing a tool for deepening learning; I have always tried to be sensitive of that and this experience will support me in being even more mindful of that.

Second, and perhaps just as if not more important--  I began thinking more deeply on what technology really best suited the goal of engaging in more meaningful conversations by making use of more accomplished questioning and descriptive feedback. The conversations I envisioned can occur in a forum, or on a message board or in the comment feature of blogs.  And yet, strangely, I had discounted that last option; strangely because I had incorporated blogging as a potentially powerful medium for blended learning.  It makes good sense to continue to examine more fully the possibilities that blogging and connected learning offer.

So I'm switching gears, so to speak, realizing my current constraint--  we'll be having our discussions in the comments of co-learners' blogs.

And the bbpress forums-- I haven't let that go--  something keeps nagging at me--  what if it's just one little thing you didn't realize--  that nagging may compel my future learning that will start with foundational knowledge on which I can grow my troubleshooting skills.  Just imagining the possibilities--

1 comment:

Amy Musone said...

You are so always very mindful of what you share, how you share it, and the impact it has on others. You are an inspiration.