As ever, I am slower off the draw than my partner is, and D’Arcy offers up a good synopsis.
As he mentions, perhaps the element that worked best about our planned workshop was the relatively light set of topics and activities. It’s taken me four years to learn this, but less is more. And the world of social software may as well be understood as a set of principles and a mindset rather than as a bunch of discrete applications. A couple of exemplar activities can cover a lot of ground if they are set up right.
We had a wonderful room full of skilled, passionate and curious educators. Nearly a perfect balance between an open-minded sense of fun and an informed sense of gentle skepticism. Some chose to doggedly pursue the hands-on activities, others preferred to explore the resources sprinkled throughout the SocialLearning.ca site, and others engaged the freeform discussion that flowed non-stop throughout. When D’Arcy and I debriefed over a beverage afterward, we both agreed what we enjoyed most about the session was the feel, a novel sensation that we had delivered plenty of information but in an atmosphere that felt relaxed (at least to us).
The initial reaction to Social Learning was very positive, and we got a lot of feedback that should help us to push the sucker forward, and to make it relevant to the target audience. (A few participants have even added stuff afterward…)
And not only was Keira there, but Harry was too. I don’t think seeing his Dad teach made much of an impression, alas. He spent most of the session absorbed in his laptop, digging a Sesame Street DVD. Somehow, it never occurred to me to take a picture.
It was very cool to have such a groovy set of participants. But I must single out D’Arcy for an over-the-top shout-out. Not only did he fly out to Vancouver Island on short notice to co-facillitate, but he turned in his usual phenomenal performance and was simply tremendous getting the site tuned up. He’s just so damned much fun. And he even claimed not to be annoyed at the way I hogged the flow with my non-stop chatter (now that I’ve learned to streamline the agenda, this is my next defect to improve). I hate that this weblog sometimes seems like an online version of the Sammy Maudlin Show, but I simply can’t express how grateful I am for the calibre of collaborators I enjoy, and how fortunate I am to count such a gifted peer as D’Arcy as my friend. This three-week gauntlet has presented its challenges, but I’m working with amazing people.