If you didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen.
As I’m reflecting on the #eci831 experience and actually thinking about something like a grade for my participation, I realize that I may not have been as good a student as I thought. Not that I didn’t do a lot of wandering around the interwebs, connecting myself, exploring spaces of education, learning about digital learning theories, examining how others were using these theories, and determining what, of all of this, would be useful to me and to the analogue educators I am closest with. I certainly did that, but I didn’t capture all that here. Why is that a problem? Because if you didn’t blog it, it didn’t happen.
Over the term I wrote a paper on autobiographical theory in the online world, and came to the conclusion that the development of a digital autobiographical self requires a certain level of presence in the form of artifacts. The lived process, the trail of phrases and photos and links and videos that we leave behind as we play around in this world, is largely how we build an identity in absence. In many ways, this self is strewn around the internet. It lives a little over here in a reply to someone’s blog, and a little over there in a photo I put up, but it can be hard to pin down if I don’t create a home for myself – somewhere my friends can stop by and see me on a regular basis. I’m now coming to realize one of the great roles blogs can play in that development of self.
I’m thinking of it in terms of the way I roam around the world. In the last two years, I have lived in roughly 8 places in 4 countries. In the last year I have not lived in one place for more than 3 months at a time. I have drifted through town, absorbing, contributing, having fun, and sharing with others and then moving on. While I made connections with folks along the way, I have left little behind that they could point to in 5 years and say, “See, Leslie was here!” While there is something liberating about living like The Littlest Hobo, there is something to be said for building things. In that same time period, a friend has done amazing work on her back yard, another has been instrumental in a youth organization in B.C., another has helped develop a community art therapy program in Calgary.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that the things I have created have value. I know that I have made meaningful contributions to the world during this time, but I also know that I could be doing better. I could be building a tiny corner of the internet where I can call home. I can show what I have lived; I can share the beauty of the digital and analogue world; I can amass proof of the kind, sharing, safe, open people of the world and convince others that they need not be afraid. I can do this for myself and for others who may be interested in knowing what I’ve been up to for all this time! (MOM!!!).
So , as this “graded” moment passes, and I move into the space again as myself, I consider how I may use it as a showcase, a hearth, a kitchen table, a backyard oasis. I think of how this space will be visited, not only by others, but also how I will return to this space over time. Living as a gypsy I can’t carry much with me, but maybe I can stash a few artifacts here for safekeeping.