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The Mobility of Participation

What a great time in history to be learning! Computers, the internet, Web 2.0 applications – they bring so many learning opportunities to each of us. Laptops, netbooks, handhelds mean these opportunities aren’t just available in some “computer room” but anywhere that I am and where I’m connected. Not only are there opportunities embedded in the technology, but there’s information about other opportunities that I may not have learned about if I wasn’t connected. There are people with whom I can share my learning or from whom I can learn – people I would have never known if it weren’t for the Internet and the various social networking applications. I, like many others, have been and am creating a very personal web of ideas and knowledge. I sometimes intellectually step back from this mélange and think how odd some of those people and ideas look juxtaposed with each other, yet how intriguing. Through these connections, of things old and new, fanciful and serious, fact and fiction, whole new ways of thinking about my world emerge.

This month we’re highlighting some unique opportunities for students and educators to interact, learn from each other, break down some of the barriers distance once imposed. Both my 14-year old daughter and I had a chance to participate, each of us reflecting on these experiences from our own perspective.

My daughter participated in the Flat Classroom Conference, held in conjunction with ASB-Unplugged 2010 in Mumbai, India, this past February. The event, the location, the project on which she worked left her wide-eyed and vowing to both return to the country and participate in next year’s FC conference.

My daughter and I were lucky; we were able to attend these events. But being present physically isn’t the only way to participate, and that’s what makes these events, happening at this time in history, so special.

When, on our return to Canada, someone asked her what she found “hard” in this experience, my daughter looked puzzled. Although there were many parts of the project process that were challenging, hard and challenging are two very different concepts. On the other hand, she is returning to a classroom in which most work is solo work for an audience of two – herself and the teacher. Now that’s hard.

So I hope you enjoy reading about these different projects and events, but I also hope you and your students have the chance to delve into not only these, but other learning experiences. Check out the Events listing on our website, use Twitter as your “ears” to hear about others, and rejoice in the abundance of unique opportunities we have for ourselves and our students.
May 27th, 2010 @ 10:15AM