Blog Flux LinkLog: Outgoing Link Logging and Click Tracking for Em duas línguas

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Influence of bloggers

Antoine points to this article in Guardian Unlimited reporting on research that shows that bloggers have a disproportionate influence on public opinion and on business:

Its study suggests that although "active" web users make up only a small proportion of Europe's online population, they are increasingly dominating public conversations and creating business trends.
It suggests that grassroots campaigns can become so visible that decisions are being shaped by a small number of activists.
Mr Reynolds admits the idea of small groups being able to pressurise wider decisions is nothing new, but those who ignore online buzz do so at their peril: "You can bury your head in the sand, but very quickly you'll look like a very old-fashioned company."


Deep breath: I will never keep up

I have to-do reminders on my i-cal, I have to-do post-its all over my desk-top, I have paper post-its stuck all round my work-space. I have a project management space in Basecamp. I even have a flip-chart next to my sofa with the very most urgent things I have to do this week.

And that's not counting the growing pile of books and papers which is starting to block the sun from the window.

I read Kathy Sierra on Creating Passionate Users gives some tips for combating Information Anxiety. It's called the myth of "keeping up".

The most helpful advice is at the end:
... take a deep breath and repeat after me, "I will never keep up. Keeping up is a myth." And if it makes you feel any better, add, "John isn't keeping up either."

So there it is. My Zen moment of the day: I will never keep up. And yes, I do feel better knowing that John isn't either!

Friday, April 28, 2006



Thursday, April 27, 2006

Where are the stories of scholarly success?

I won't do it! I won't contribute to the story of insucesso escolar in Portugal. I will not talk about the shocking level of scholarly failure. And yes, I do know that could undermine my credibility as a docente (lecturer). I am aware that if you want to be taken seriously as a docente in Higher Education, then you must shake your head and tut and mutter the words at least several times a day.

In fact I have just received pages of numbers in Excel tables that prove to me the failure of our students. Each row tells me the disciplines they are failing and each of the many columns tells me how many fail at every moment of evaluation. I check the failure rate of my own disipline - it will be like a badge: the higher the failure rate in my own discipline, the more I will belong to the growing band of teachers concerned about students' lack of culture, education and study skills.

Looking back to the turn of the 1900's, let's just imagine for a moment that John Dewey had won (*) and not Edward L. Thorndike. Whereas Thorndike's plotline was embedded in a reverance for numbers and faith in empirical data, Dewey's plotline for social science research was one that was concerned with humans, their relations with themselves and with their environment. Studying experience was his starting point and the key term for social science inquiry.

But Dewey lost for a while and the story scripted by Thorndike became pervasive and a metanarrative for education. And judging by the pages of statistics that tell the story of the scholarly failure of Portuguese students, it's still the grand narrative round here.

But hey! Dewey's back folks... And Lyotard has given metanarrative a serious knock on the head. Education, experience and life are inextricably intertwined. Our students are much more than their nota. Their lives are filled with complexities, hopes, dreams, wishes and intentions. And they live the stories that we tell about them. Our stories are their education.

I want to hear the good stories. Where are the stories of scholarly success? I want to hear them so that our students can live them, reaffirm them, modify them and create new ones. And I don't hear those stories in rows and columns of numbers that prove their failure.

(*)"John Dewey's Defeat: Studying Education in the Research University 1890-1990" by E.C. Lagemann (book in progress)

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Economist survey - audio interviews

Here are the collection of audio interviews from the Economist that they used for their survey of new media:

Blogs as leading indicators
A discussion with David Sifry, Founder and CEO, Technorati

The demand for everything
A discussion with Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Wide world of wikis
A discussion with Jerry Michalski, founder and president of Sociate

From Gutenberg to Mcluhan to What's Next
A discussion with Paul Saffo, Director, Institute for the Future

Author interview
A discussion with Andreas Kluth, Technology Correspondent of The Economist


Technology - the solution (II)

After three hours on Skype and at least as many searching and playing Nancy and I are still searching for the right technology for a particular learning community. And that was just today! Our search began a few days ago, with Nancy's post here.

We want to find a multi-user blog system that integrates multiple users. And we want it to be very very simple for the users and replicable for future communities in this network. Multi-user wordpress doesn't do the trick and there isn't enough time to set up Drupal. Any ideas?

So - just in case there is anyone reading this who thinks I'm being deliberately evasive when I hum and hah about the technology solution for their community of practice, then I hope I'm convincing you that if you multiply the number of technologies by the number of contextual considerations - it adds up to a lot of thinking!

To get a feel for some of our fun, see Nancy's review about Group.s for what looks like a very interesting social groupware and her review of Vaestro for some cool audio forum software.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Request from Qumana

One comment in my last post was from Jon of Qumana asking if I know anyone who would translate the commands of Qumana to Portuguese. I wish all tools were tranlsated into Portuguese and I will put it on my to-do list, but my list is so long that it could take a couple of years before I get to it. In case someone else can do it, here's the message:

Hi .. Jon from Qumana here. We hope you like using it, and will welcome any constructive feedback as to how to make it better for you.

And ... I have a question. I notice that you are in Portugal. The design of Qumana is such that it is quite easy to make a different-language version of it, by translatiung the commands and a relatively short list of text strings.

I am wondering if you, as a blogger, might know of someone (and maybe even yourself) who might be willing to volunteer to undertake the two or three hours of translation work required so that a Portuguese version of Qumana mightbe available?
About making a great tool better, Jon - here are my two niggles in WYSIWYG. One is that the paragraph spacing seems too wide and the other is not having blockquote (if you indent one paragraph, the whole thing indents).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Talk about being fallible!

I use a desk-top blog editor, Qumana, to write posts to my different blogs. It's a great tool but you have to remember to send each post to the right blog.

After a semester of hardly saying anything on the blog for students, can I believe that I just accidentally sent the last post with that title to my students' blog! That really has to count as a big mash-up of worlds and identities.

They will be hungry for news about moments of evaluation and "works", so deciphering why I should have sent a post like that will require a whole heap of sense-making skills!

I deleted it faster than jack-rabbit, but I think most people subscribed to the blog through email.

Ho hum ...

An opportunity to talk sex

Unless there is a chance of some interesting conversations, I rarely go out. But last Saturday night I gave my sofa a rest and went to a bar in Lisbon. I had a great conversation with a young couple who run the Portuguese fetich and BDSM online forum and organize the community related events. We had so much in common!

We were talking about running online forums and although they saw their problems as specific to Portugal and to the BDSM world, their stories would resonate with moderators and facilitators from most places in all communities. To paraphrase what they said:

1. Time. It is very-time-consuming moderating discussions and keeping alive a sense of community. Unless you've done it, no-one can imagine how much time it takes. The paradox of things looking visible because it's online when most of the work you do is invisible.

2. Most people go to an online group to see what they can get and not what they can give. The idea of shaping the community, the events and its learning is not a familiar one and people wait to be given rather than looking for ways to give.

3. When you do something people are quick to jump in and complain and to tell you what you are doing wrong. Like she said - you give one of your arms and there will be at least someone saying - why didn't you give both?

4. How you keep going even without positive feedback from members, keep experimenting and keep getting it wrong in order to make it better i.e you keep learning. And you have to keep your eye on the ball and remember the bigger reasons why you are doing it.

5. It's not easy for people to handle the ambiguity of diversity, rather than trying to explain or reject or control it.

6. In short, helping to build a community is an unrecognized act of love and has to be fitted in with competing work and other demands. Contributing to a community is a gift that you rarely get thanked for.

Hearing how they had risen to these challenges, about their persistence and imagination at dealing with people and problems, and seeing their sensitivity and sense of humour through it all and I realised that I could be talking to two of the most experienced and knowledgeable facilitators in Portugal. Their hands-on knowledge of social processes, learning and identity was really fine-tuned - and I was thinking that they would make excellent mentors for other community builders. It would also be great for them if they could join a wider community of facilitators who shared similar challenges and joys.

Now that would be a big leap from content to social processes! I wonder how many people could make it.

And yes, my kids despair of me. "Why, even at a bar in Lisbon, do you always have to bring the conversation back to learning and online communities!" I didn't dare tell them that I considered the evening a success because I think I managed to sell the idea of RSS feeds for their community site. I'm just a sad case of one-tunnel vision!


Being uncertain and fallible

In the Action Research discussion I'm following, but with no time to participate the subject of uncertainty has come up. Someone asks if it's possible to establish "uncertain" beginnings without losing the confidence of clients and colleagues and stakeholders.

This post-modern metaphor of journeying communities exploring mysteries together is all very well - but most of us are still working in modern contexts where being uncertain, fallible and non-holders of the truth is to lose credibility, not win it.

Dancing my way through post-modern and modern mindsets is a tough one - and I find myself hungry for stories that help me find meaning in both worlds. My uncertainty doesn't come from either belonging to post-modern or modern communities or mindsets. My very rocky uncertainty crises come from looking for meaning from both.


Lectures as conversations

A great 3 part series in the Economist about New Media, where it talks about a new mindset ... open-ended, horizontal conversations that can fail - and not just top-down broadcasting of "truth". Part one partially relates, to my previous post about presentations and also to what I said about learning as sense-making in the post before that.
In the words of David Sifry, the founder of Technorati, a search engine for blogs, one-to-many “lectures” (ie, from media companies to their audiences) are transformed into “conversations” among “the people formerly known as the audience”. This changes the tone of public discussions. The mainstream media, says David Weinberger, a blogger, author and fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Centre, “don't get how subversive it is to take institutions and turn them into conversations”. That is because institutions are closed, assume a hierarchy and have trouble admitting fallibility, he says, whereas conversations are open-ended, assume equality and eagerly concede fallibility.

I see people still using New Media, including blogs, as a way of transmitting information to a greater audience ... rather than as conversations ... but that's to waste their potential.

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Jazz and the art of connecting

A wonderful analogy from Presentation Zen between jazz and the art of presentation - and which can be applied to almost anything - especially teaching and learning. He uses inspiring quotes by jazz greats - see his post for the whole thing.

(1) “The most important thing I look for in a musician is whether he knows how to listen.” (Duke-Ellington)
The best communicators in the world are almost always the best listeners.

(2) “Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.”(Paul-Desmond)
I'm not sure I've ever been taught anything about making presentations, but I have learned a ton from observing great presenters...

(3) “Don’t bullshit… just play.” (Wynton-Marsalis)
Audiences today are busier than ever and have developed built-in "crap detectors" to filter out anything remotely insincere or shallow.

(4) “If they act too hip, you know they can’t play shit!” (Louis-Armstrong)
... Practice, rehearse and make it great. But keep it real. Keep it human. And remember that it is about them (the audience), not us.

(5) “Master your instrument. Master the music. And then forget all that bullshit and just play.” (Charlie-Parker)
Studying design and presentation, communication, etc. is crucial. But when we present, all that matters is that moment and that audience...

(6) “It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play.” (Dizzy-Gillespie)
...Knowing what to leave out takes work...

(7) “You can play a shoestring if you’re sincere.” (John-Coltrane)
... A poor presentation is not any better simply because expensive equipment is used to project images. Sincerity and respect for the audience matter far more.

(8) "When people believe in boundaries, they become part of them."(Don Cherry)
... Conventional wisdom is often the unwisest choice of all. "Conventional wisdom" about presentations is at best a prescription for mediocrity.

(9) “Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” (Charles Mingus)
Many presenters -- very smart people -- either take something essentially simple and confuse an audience or simply fail to make their more complicated material meaningful to their audience. Simplicity ain't easy. In fact it's hard.

(10)“I can’t stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession. If you can, then it ain’t music..." (Billie-Holiday)
Even if you have the same set of slides or the same key points from one night to the next, every presentation is different because every audience is different...

(11) “A great teacher is one who realizes that he himself is also a student and whose goal is not to dictate the answers, but to stimulate his students creativity enough so that they go out and find the answers themselves.”(Herbie-Hancock)
My best teachers as a child and my favorite presenters of today have this in common: they inspire, stimulate, motivate, provoke, and lead...but they do not dictate.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Technologies - the solution.

If I was paid a euro for every time someone asked me - "but what's the best technology to use" for our community of practice I would be a rich lady! But, being someone with integrity, I'm rather poor. Instead I hum and ha and say, well ... you know .. it depends ... and .. um... really I need to know more about the context.

Let's be straight about it. There is no right answer. And anyone who tells you that they have "the solution" is either new to the game or has something to sell.

I'm working on a technology proposal with Nancy White - who is one of the most experienced people there is for working with communities and technology - and between us we have spent a good many hours in the last few days building up a picture and a context for the group we are designing for.

We've started with some questions that Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John Smith suggest in their report on Technology for communities:
* What are the community activities that need to be supported?
* What is the technological context (access to Internet/ broadband, skills, budget)?
* What is the range of media to use (synchronous, asynchronous audio etc.)

We are also looking at people's different needs and expectations, especially those of:
* the project funders;
* the participants in the group;
* mine and Nancy's.

Also, the participants come from four different countries - what are the specific needs and expectations of people from different countries that we need to be considering?

We are opting for Web2.0 technologies (rather than a plataforma) because of the opportunities they offer for intersecting and networking and we've started thinking of everything from the simple, like mailings lists and discussion groups, to wikis, blogs and something more integrated like CollectiveX. Every technology and every combination of technologies has its advantages and disadvantages. And no one combination will be perfect for a diverse group with different levels of technology and community knowledge and skills.

In the meantime a base line criteria is that any technology we use must have RSS feeds. Not so much for the members of the community (most people still have difficulty with feeds) but we need to be able to integrate the feeds into the system we eventually choose.

Nancy and I, different timezones (Seattle, Setúbal) are planning and doing things in Basecamp with its shared "to do" lists, scheduling and whiteboards and in eSnips for shared documents. Except that it doesn't have an RSS feed eSnips is great fun ... you can even design your own little folder icon. It's those simple pleasures!

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Learning as sense-making

I'm helping my daughter as she writes up her final dissertation at the end of her first degree in Theatre Studies in Manchester, UK. A significant part of her course was working with different Theatre companies and, because she majored in Prison Theatre, she did a number of workshops in high security juvenile prisons.

I am fascinated as she searches for and devours books and theories that help her make sense of her emerging practice. American anthropologists, Brazilian writers about theatre, subultarn theories, Bakhtin on heterglossia, carnival and parody and Foucault on sexuality - these are just some of the writers who talk to her about what she's doing.

From the beginning of the course she was encouraged to keep a log and a reflective diary, which is as much a part of her repertoire as reading books and writing essays. In it she takes notes of conversations and observations of ...anything ... She has learned that they are an integral part of sense-making, an important resource for helping her understand the world she's learning about and helping to create.

The other day a friend of mine said that her daughter was doing a course of Theatre Studies in Portugal but was fed up because they did very little practical stuff. That conversation reminded me of a fundamental mind-set difference in education in Portugal. Ingrained is the idea that you have to be taught something first, before you can go away and apply it. The entire school and Higher Education system is based on the paradigm of knowledge as object to be transmitted from one person to another and which then can be applied. Your aula prática is where you do exercícios. Practice means being a student who does excercises - it's not related to doing and being a professional.

That you should learn by doing and being and making sense of that process is an anethema to the whole system where so much power is invested in hierarchies, in downward transmission of content, and in people trying to control learning rather than valuing the learning that happens. It's what I see at every level of the system, not just the classroom. And I think that the high level of insuccesso escola is just the first manifestation of what is to be tested in a more global social and economic system. Until the whole systemic problem of top-down vision, thinking and control is challenged, I don't think there is any hope for creating real change.

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Rich relationships

Yesterday I met João Vasconcelos Costa of Reformar a Educação Superior, my tranlsation partner, online pal whose blog is one of my principle ways of keeping up with conversations related to Ensino Superior in Portugal.

It reinforced for me that way that knowing someone online changes your relationship with them when you meet them f2f and the way that changes your relationship with them online... The two modes make for a different type of understanding and reading of a person than you get if you know someone only in one mode.

In fact, knowing someone only f2f seems so one-dimensional that you wonder why people do it! Only communicating with someone same-time same-place is like always talking to them through a glass door.


The power of conversations

I am flattered that my blog post about the power of conversations in "Making things, like gay marriage, happen" was translated into Portuguese and put in Zona Livre, a magazine by Clube Safo.

Through memories on my blog, conversations that I had twenty years ago with members of the ANC from South Africa - when I was campaigning in UK for aid, trade and human rights - have crossed time, technologies, cultures, languages and communities to arrive in a magazine for the rights of lesbians in Portugal.

Just don't tell me there isn't something magic about blogs and conversations!


Ali G interviews Noam Chomsky

Ali G is just such a phenomena. I cringe as I watch him, fall about laughing, and am amazed at his audacity as he paradies the most holy of the holies and as he turns political correctness on its head.

This time he caught Noam Chomsky in an interview. He must get permission from people afterwards to show the interviews - I guess he pays a really good PR person to do it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thanks to no good schooling

I'm glad that my schooling was so bad. Between the age of 9 and 15 I was at a new school in Limuru, Kenya. There were only 12 of us when I first started. We got there by taking the overnight train from Mombasa to Nairobi and were picked up in the combi and taken up to Limuru. We slept with the windows closed to keep out the mosquitos, robbers and lions.

At school the Head's eldest son taught us. The middle son looked after us and the youngest son was kept out of the way as he dabbled in drugs and stuff. Every now and then we got teachers coming from England who earnestly tried to teach us. On Sundays the missionaries came ... they had some good songs.

The Head's husband was madness himself. He lined us up in the morning and asked each one of us individually: "Are you tickety boo?" And in turn we would answer "Yes, Major. I'm tickety boo." Sometimes he gave us cod liver oil.

We had very few lessons. The woosie-wet teachers who came out from England didn't last long. Only those who taught us how to play games - like Mr. Sykes who taught us badminton. An exception was Mr. Nichols who taught Geography. I don't know why we listened to him...

The rest of the time we were outside, unsupervised, creating our universe. We built an entire village in the bush on the periphery of the school bounds (beyond that was the wild). Bundu-bashing through the undergrowth we built ourselves houses. We created an entire economy based on buying and selling cakes (made from the Limuru-red soil and pretty flowers) and crockery made from carved out custard-apples. Our banking and currency system was the custard apple seeds.

We played British bulldogs, marbles and skipping. There was no TV, radio, indoor toilets - and often no water. We tried to dig a swimming pool.

David, the Head's eldest son, set up a wonderful rope swing which you could daringly swing on over the pigsties. We created an annual three-day safari rally with dinky cars. We weren't allowed out when Jeremy-The-Bull was out of his field - legend had it that he had killed two people. Even so, we did go through a phase of playing "risk" by running through his field to the loquart tree (nesperas) while he was there.

At 15 my parents whisked me off to a strict boarding school in England which counts as two of the most miserable years of my life. It was there I had a cold, sharp shock about different realities, different worlds and different values. I quite easily managed to pick up lots of O'levels despite having no preparation.

I feel immensely privelaged that for most of my schooling we had time to play, to make things happen, and to create a shared, glorious imagination. I am sure it was the best preparation for being able to participate, to create and to give. I think it prepared me to find things out for myself and to think outside the box.

Above all, I think it prepared me to learn...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Reasons for living!

It sounds crazy but one of the reasons I love Portugal is the variety of grasses. Just on my dog walking route around the block ... after a couple of days rain ... a square metre of pathway has such a rich ecology of plants and insects. And grass.

It's the grasses that bring me so much pleasure ... each one so detailed and so esquisite, with each species so different in shape, colour and texture. All growing bunched up together. I find the sensation of looking at them quite overwhelming. In a different life I would be drawing and recording each one.

Friday, April 14, 2006

How do you value slow and fast innovation?

The only keynote speaker I managed to hear something from at the Webist conference said something that set me thinking and has led me to a small epiphany. He said:
And nowadays you have Wikis and blogs. They are so easy to use that even the most digitally illiterate can use them.

That is just clearly not true, I cried out in my mind! Many people don't know how to use them. And they don't know how to use them for social and cultural reasons, which are at least as important as technical ones. Some reasons I see why people don't find it easy:
* you are afraid to use them in case you make a mistake. If you make a mistake you might "break" something. So you don't try.

* you learned duing your life that making mistakes is wrong.

* if you make a mistake and you don't know how to fix it, then your mistake will be public and everyone will know you've made one.

* you learned to follow rules and guidelines and in the absence of those you feel like you don't have permission to try.

* you don't know where to go for help - especially if you haven't ever used user forums or FAQs or a tutorial embedded in the system.

* you leaned during your life that asking for help was a sign of weakness.

And if in all that you don't really have a context or see the objective for using the tools, they why would you bother to prioritise any time trying them out?

That lead me to my next thought which is that I've been asking some wrong question recently about distributed or virtual communities. It's not - what can we do to help people use the tools? The question isn't even: what practices should we be cultivating to help people make sense of the tools? I've got to get back to asking: how can we improve the full range of our social practices so that we are harnessing the knowledge, experience and networking capabilities of people who are and people who are not using the tools? Which, as it happens, is also what our paper was about ...

Serependitiously, I read Jane at creativity machine who says:
We have a lot to learn from the practices of late adopters, as well as those of the thoughtful, the sceptical, and the reluctant. We should watch them. We should listen.

Somwhere in there lies a key. I've got to keep chewing on it.

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After giving my paper at Webist I had a great conversation with Antonio Fumero from the Universidade Politécnica de Madrid. I'm sorry I missed his paper where he presented the European project iCamp. As it says on the webpage:
"The project aims at creating an infrastructure for collaboration and networking across systems, countries, and disciplines in Higher Education. Pedagogically based on constructivist learning theories that puts more emphasis on self-organised learning, social networking, and the changing roles of educators."

He also showed me inside a space designed by Permalink. It was an Education2.0 dream space where you could tag every post (or attachment), make your post a little Wiki space (or not) and where your entrance into the space was like an Ajax entrance with widgits for different applications. Plus a whole lot more.

What really tweaked my ears is that the aim is for you to be able to design your own space which you then use to participate in different communities. That is one hell of a conceptual jump away from registering in a platform or a discussion group or a community space in order to do a course or a workshop or belong to a community.

It is the beginning of managing an identity of participation across multiple communities .... and that is very, very interesting.


Webist - 2006

I presented a paper at Webist yesterday - "Participation in international online communities" (which I've stored here in esnips). It was quite out of place as its history is so much on technology whereas our paper is on the social practices around technology. And I didn't feel like I gave enough context to be sufficiently coherent.

It was a weird sensation to be an international conference that was using our Institution as its location. I didn't feel free to go to any of the sessions because my office was upstairs with a thousand things to do and meetings and classes and ... Also I didn't have to pay for the conference because it was being hosted by my place - but that meant that I wasn't entitled to the lunches and coffees etc. which also made me feel a bit out of it. The boring bits of a conference are usually the papers and sessions and the interesting conversations that happen at lunch!


A social networking mindset

Also from Anecdote - from the newlsetter you can subscribe to - a tidy description of the behaviour of people who manage to develop networks across and beyond their organisation:
* Listening—based on a genuine spirit of inquiry, and including listening for emotional meaning as well as information (a useful question: ‘So what are you working on?’).
* Being prepared to take a stand and being interesting—so that others know what they stand for and want to talk with you.
* Cultivating people and, importantly, building reciprocal and collaborative relationships (and a reputation for integrity).
* Having a reputation for making useful introductions, and being authentically helpful without a tit-for-tat mentality.


Three big problems

Andrew of Anecdote identifies 3 big problems for social network analysis. It's also relevant for anyone interested in social learning and communities of practice. The three big problems to overcome are: engendering trust, the illusion of accuracy and taming the expert mindset.

That feels like an enormous challenge to me in an ambient that thrives on mesquinhas and whose raison d'être is a hierarchical top-down flow of knowledge and expertise.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

No finalising, explanatory word

I would like to know how other people have done it before me. How do you hold true to Bakhtin's "plurality of independent and unmerged voices and consciousnesses, a genuine polphony of fully valid voices" when you could improve your professsional status, identity and mental well-being by "giving the right answer"?

My most important role model has been Etienne Wenger. But I am truly tested in a context where your professional and academic identity is based on "knowing" the correct anwer!

(A thought stimulated by Purse Lip Square Jaw).


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Running to keep up

I haven't written for a while because I am just so busy. I mean really busy. And what's more, my business and non-writing of my thesis is getting me into deep thoughts about who I am and where I'm going. It also brings me out in a sweat. It would be so cool to find a job where my research and what I have to offer in terms of distributed communities of practice had a place.  Machinations going on ....

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