First, let’s talk about the past. Last night, when I got back from a wonderful day spent at UMW with old friends, sharing stories about how we met, people we knew, etc., I started digging through the blog archives to figure out the thread. All of us had gaps in our memory, and most of us have known each other for around 10 years, so we almost can’t remember when we didn’t know each other. The first mention of any connection I can find is this one, noting that Barbara Ganley’s blog is awesome and you should all read it. Later that summer, Barbara G., Barbara S. and I would do a presentation at BlogHer, memorialized here and here. Finally, there’s the first Faculty Academy, where I met many of the people I was reading and connecting with online in person.
Barbara G. had talked about fear at FA that year, and I wrote more about it here, and that, I think, spawned the fear crew and more conversations about fear, at least one of which is documented here. As I drifted into K-12 and Barbara G. went on to do her own thing, and Martha had another kid, and Leslie moved to Idaho, we no longer came together, but we kept up online as always. And maybe we’re not blogging as much, but there’s Twitter and Facebook.
Presently, we’re all in different places, but essentially, everyone is still connected, mostly through education and technology and all that entails. Thankfully, our conversations have shifted a little as things really have changed. We have makerspaces and the idea of posting online doesn’t seem crazy anymore. The thing I think we all have in common is a need to push the envelope and to keep pushing people out of their comfort zones so that learning can happen. Ironically, this involves looking back to the past sometimes. Some people get stuck in the past, wishing for the old days of just books in libraries and no smart phones. But some, like Jim Groom, look back at the old tv consoles and video games and computers (now stacked in his office) and see the DIY spirit that was there and the hope of the future they didn’t yet know. Those things seemed so cool in the 70s and 80s. People are not as amazed by new tech as they once were. What we try to do, I think, is bring that amazement and wonder back. And now, I sound a little like Gardner, so that completes my circle.
None of us know what the future will be like, but we keep looking in that direction, with a healthy respect for the past and for where people are. Everyone I talked with yesterday wants to make change in some way. Sometimes that’s directly through their work, and sometimes that’s through other activities (but it’s colored by their work, I’m sure). And that’s exciting and inspirational, and makes me ready to keep moving forward. Thanks, UMW crew, for the inspiration and the memories.