Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bee in action at Merlot Conference

I've been a Webhead for about 2 years now. Webheads in Action is a CoP bringing together educators across the globe, who are interested in experimenting with various web tools, exploring their use in class, collaborating on various projects, taking part in various online events – as presenters or participants. Educators coach each other, virtually visit each other's classes, and sometimes even meet F2F. :) For newbie teachers, the community is a jump board into the world of available web tools. There is passion, enthusiasm, friendship, sense of belonging, pride. A community spirit in its truest sense. Cris Costa explores it in her dissertation. Bee showed it in practice. Yesterday, she had an inspiring keynote at Merlot conference in New Orleans 'Jazzing it up with Merlot'. Of course, many webheads were there with her. She was wonderful – she always is. And her team. The team we heard speaking and the team making sure things ran smoothly. She delivered the keynote to audience in the conference room and brought in virtual audience from Alado and Second life. All the while the session was being broadcast live via Worldbridges skypecast. She opened the door of the cyber worlds she roams and let the Merlot audience have a glimpse of the starry skies, friendly people, beautiful sunsets, and inspiring stories.
The thoughts still echoing in my mind today are: Do we push contents on our students or do we pull their creations from them? (Bee), There are no teachers, just facilitators. (Vance), Let's tear down the classroom walls. (from one of Bee's earlier presentations).
We’ve heard Vance's cat herding view of the webheads - 'cats herd themselves, they don't need a cat herder’; membership is free and open to anyone - like a virtual hippie community – you know a hippie when you see one and you are one if you feel like one. I liked this. :-) The result of this freedom is a vibrant, creative, constructive, inspirational and often chaotic atmosphere. I think Chris commented in the chat area that chaos is WiA middle name, something like that. This chaos is a nice and friendly one though - the one which lets you see the forest and help s you find trees. ;-) There is always somebody out there to show the way.‘There are two arms,' Michael said, 'the technological and the human nature’.

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