📑 The Vulnerability of Learning | Cathie LeBlanc

Replied to The Vulnerability of Learning by Cathie LeBlancCathie LeBlanc (Desert of My Real Life)

When I received Chris’s comment, my first response was that I should delete my post or at least the incorrect part of it. It’s embarrassing to have your incorrect understandings available for public view. But I decided to leave the post as is but put in a disclaimer so that others would not be misled by my misunderstandings.
This experience reminded me that learning makes us vulnerable. Admitting that you don’t know something is hard and being corrected is even harder. Chris was incredibly gentle in his correction. It makes me think about how I respond to my students’ work. Am I as gentle with their work as Chris was to mine? Could I be more gentle? How often have I graded my students’ work and only focused on what they did wrong? Or forgotten that feeling of vulnerability when you don’t know something, when you put your work out for others to judge? This experience has also reminded me that it’s important that we as teachers regularly put ourselves into situations in which we authentically grapple with not knowing something. We should regularly share our less than fully formed understandings with others for feedback. It helps us remember that even confident learners can struggle with being vulnerable. And we need to keep in mind that many of our students are not confident learners.  

I’m reminded here of the broad idea that many bloggers write about sooner or later of their website being a “thought space” or place to contemplate out in the open. More often than not, even if they don’t have an audience to interact with, their writings become a way of thinking out loud, clarifying things for themselves, self-evolving, or putting themselves out there for potential public reactions (good, bad, or indifferent).

While writing things out loud to no audience can be helpful and useful on an individual level, it’s often even more helpful to have some sort of productive and constructive feedback. While a handful of likes or positive seeming responses can be useful, I always prefer the ones that make me think more broadly, deeply, or force me to consider other pieces I hadn’t envisioned before. To me this is the real value of these open and often very public thought spaces.

For those interested in the general idea, I’ve been [bookmarking/tagging things around the idea of thought spaces I’ve read on my own website](https://boffosocko.com/tag/thought-spaces/). Hopefully this collection helps others better understand the spectrum of these ideas for themselves.

With respect to the vulnerability piece, I’m reminded of an episode of The Human Current I listened to a few weeks back. There was an excellent section that touched on building up trust with students or even a class when it comes to providing feedback and criticism. Having a bank of trust makes it easier to give feedback as well as to receive it. Here’s a link to the audio portion and a copy of the relevant text.

👓 The Vulnerability of Learning | Desert of My Real Life

Read The Vulnerability of Learning by Cathie LeBlancCathie LeBlanc (Desert of My Real Life)
Listening to the students talk about feeling unsure and vulnerable when they first encountered open educational practices made me think about my own learning. As a mid-career academic who has changed jobs and even disciplines, I am a confident learner. I have received lots of praise and other kinds of positive reinforcement for my ability to learn new things. If you have read previous posts on my blog, you might know that I am really interested in developments in the IndieWeb movement and am trying to write about some of my experiences with using IndieWeb tools to build my own web site. I’ve been building my own sites for years and so I have a lot of confidence in my ability there as well. Working on the IndieWeb stuff has been challenging because there’s a lot of new language and new concepts as well as some aspects of web development that I have not engaged with before. I often feel vulnerable when I write my posts about the IndieWeb because my understanding of how everything works is emerging. In other words, I don’t get it all yet but I’m still writing publicly about my work.

📑 The Vulnerability of Learning | Cathie LeBlanc

Replied to The Vulnerability of Learning by Cathie LeBlancCathie LeBlanc (Desert of My Real Life)

Chris was incredibly gentle in his correction. It makes me think about how I respond to my students’ work. Am I as gentle with their work as Chris was to mine?  

What a relief to hear this! The hardest part about writing my response was in possibly coming off too hard or painfully pedantic and not wanting to turn you off in your explorations.

📑 Contact | Devon Zuegel

Annotated Contact by Devon Zuegel (Devon's Site)

This site is where I can riff on ideas, be wrong, and learn from those mistakes. Of course I try to be correct, and I always write what I believe to be true, but the greatest value most often comes from someone messaging me to point out a body of research I missed or angle I misinterpreted.

In this vein, please don't hesitate to let me know what you think! The whole point is to share what I know and to learn the rest.  

In addition to collecting the quote above, I’ll also note that Devon’s site now has an RSS feed (which I’m positive it didn’t before), so one can now follow her writing there directly.

👓 “Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about” | Paul Jacobson

Read “Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about” by Paul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)
I’ve had an idea in my task list for a week or so now, and I just haven’t made the time to write about it, at least not as I originally intended when I read the post that inspired it. J…

Some ideas worth chewing on here. Paul almost uses the phrase “thought spaces” here and though he doesn’t, he’s certainly dancing around it.

📖 Read pages i-8 of Category Theory for the Sciences by David I. Spivak

📖 Read pages i-8, front matter and Chapter 1: Introduction of Category Theory for the Sciences by David I. Spivak.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

But it is easy to think we are in agreement, when we really are not. Modeling our thoughts on heuristics and graphics may be convenient for quick travel down the road, but we are liable to miss our turnoff at the first mile. The danger is in mistaking convenient conceptualizations for what is actually there.

A functor is like a conductor of mathematical truth.

The answer is that when we formalize our ideas, our understanding is clarified.

Creativity demands clarity of thinking, and to think clearly about a subject requires an organized understanding of how its pieces fit together. Organization and clarity also lead to better communication with others. Academics often say they are paid to think and understand, but that is not the whole truth. They are paid to think, understand, and communicate their findings.

🎧 Episode 082 The Complexity & Chaos of Creativity | Human Current

Listened to Episode 082 The Complexity & Chaos of Creativity from HumanCurrent

How does chaos influence creativity? How can “flow states” help teams manage feedback and achieve creativity?In this episode, Haley interviews designer, educator and author, Jon Kolko. Kolko shares details from his new book Creative Clarity: A Practical Guide for Bringing Creative Thinking into Your Company, which he wrote to help leaders and creative thinkers manage the complexity and chaos of the creative process. During his interview, he explains how elements of complex systems science, including emergence, constraints, feedback and framing, influence the creative process. He also provides many helpful tips for how to foster a culture of creativity within an organization.

Cover art for The Complexity & Chaos Of Creativity featuring Jon Kolko

Quotes from this episode:

“A constraint emerges from the creative exploration itself….these constraints become a freeing way for creative people to start to explore without having rules mandated at them.” - Jon Kolko

“Framing is the way in which the problem is structured and presented and the way that those constraints start to manifest as an opportunity statement.” - Jon Kolko

“The rules around trust need to be articulated.” - Jon Kolko

“Chaos is the backdrop for hidden wonderment and success.” - Jon Kolko

Some interesting thoughts on creativity and management. Definitely worth a second listen.

I’ve seen the sentiment of “thought spaces” several times from bloggers, but this is one of the first times I’ve heard a book author use the idea:

Often when I write, it’s to help me make sense of the world around me.

—Jon Kolko

👓 The power to publish as an individual | DaveNet

Read The power to publish as an individual by Dave Winer (scripting.com via DaveNet)
Weblogs: A new source of News

An awesome “old” and prescient post about blogging and journalism. It’s interesting to look at this through the modern lens of social media and IndieWeb. Of course this article was written at a time when IndieWeb was the only thing that existed.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

media organizations would do well to incorporate them [blogs] into their Web sites as an important new addition to the journalistic toolkit.  

December 21, 2018 at 08:09PM

Regular readers of Gillmor’s eJournal will recognize his commitment to user participation. “One of the things I’m sure about in journalism right now is that my readers know more than I do,” he says. “To the extent that I can take advantage of that in a way that does something for everyone involved ó that strikes me as pretty cool.”
One fascinating aspect of Gillmor’s Weblog is how he lifts the veil from the workings of the journalism profession. “There have been occasions where I put up a note saying, ‘I’m working on the following and here’s what I think I know,’ and the invitation is for the reader to either tell me I’m on the right track, I’m wrong, or at the very least help me find the missing pieces,” he says. “That’s a pretty interesting thing. Many thousands more people read my column in the newspaper than online, but I do hear back from a fair number of people from the Weblog.”  

Awesomely, this sounds almost exactly like something that David Fahrenthold would tell Jay Rosen about Twitter nearly 16 years later in an interview in The Correspondent.
My listen post

December 21, 2018 at 08:20PM

Anyone who’s dealt with networks knows that the network knows more than the individual.”  

December 22, 2018 at 09:15AM

Man, this is a beast that’s hungry all the time.”  

Mind you he’s saying this in 2001 before the creation of more wide spread social networks.

December 22, 2018 at 09:18AM

While many blogs get dozens or hundreds of visitors, Searls’ site attracts thousands. “I partly don’t want to care what the number is,” he says. “I used to work in broadcasting, where everyone was obsessed by that. I don’t want an audience. I feel I’m writing stuff that’s part of a conversation. Conversations don’t have audiences.”  

Social media has completely ignored this sort of sentiment and gamified and psychoanalyzed its way into the polar opposite direction all for the sake of “engagement”, clicks, data gathering, and advertising.

December 22, 2018 at 09:22AM

“The blog serves as a kind of steam valve for me,” he says. “I put stuff out there that I’m forming an opinion about, and another blogger starts arguing with me and giving me feedback, and I haven’t even finished what I was posting!”  

An early written incarnation of the idea of blogs as “thought spaces”.

December 22, 2018 at 09:24AM

The Weblog community is basically a whole bunch of expert witnesses who increase their expertise constantly through a sort of reputation engine.”  

The trouble is how is this “reputation engine” built? What metrics does it include? Can it be gamed? Social media has gotten lots of this wrong and it has caused problems.

December 22, 2018 at 09:28AM

His dream is to put a live Web server with easy-to-edit pages on every person’s desktop, then connect them all in a robust network that feeds off itself and informs other media.  

An early statement of what would eventually become all of social media.

December 22, 2018 at 09:31AM

He suggests that struggling sites like Salon begin broadening their content offerings by hosting user-created Weblogs, creating a sort of farm system for essayists. “Salon could highlight the best ones on page one and invest time and effort in the ones that are inspiring and exceptional.”  

This is a rough sketch of something I’ve been thinking that newspapers and media outlets should have been doing all along. If they “owned” social media, we might all be in a better place socially and journalistic-ally than if advertising driven social media owned it all.

December 22, 2018 at 09:35AM

Indeed, Winer says his most gratifying moments come when he posts an entry without running the idea by his colleagues first. “It can be a very scary moment when you take a stand on something and you don’t know if your argument holds together and you hit the send button and it’s out there and you can’t take it back. That’s a moment that professional journalists may never experience in their careers, the feeling that it’s just me, exposed to the world. That’s a pretty powerful rush, the power to publish as an individual.”  

December 22, 2018 at 09:36AM

A reply to Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Why Not Blog?

Replied to Why Not Blog? by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)

My friend Alan Jacobs, a key inspiration in my return (such as it is, so far) to blogging and RSS and a generally pre-Twitter/Facebook outlook on the scholarly internet, is pondering the relationship between blogging and other forms of academic writing in thinking about his next project. Perhaps needless to say, this is something I’m considering as well, and I’m right there with him in most regards.

But there are a few spots where I’m not, entirely, and I’m not sure whether it’s a different perspective or a different set of experiences, or perhaps the latter having led to the former.

I really like where you’re coming from on so many fronts here (and on your site in general). Thanks for such a great post on a Friday afternoon. A lot of what you’re saying echos the ideas of many old school bloggers who use their blogs as “thought spaces“. They write, take comments, iterate, hone, and eventually come up with stronger thoughts and theses. Because of the place in which they’re writing, the ideas slowly percolate and grow over a continuum of time rather than spring full-formed seemingly from the head of Zeus the way many books would typically appear to the untrained eye. I’ve not quite seen a finely coalesced version of this idea though I’ve seen many dance around it obliquely. The most common name I’ve seen is that of a “thought space” or sometimes the phrase “thinking out loud”, which I notice you’ve done at least once. In some sense, due to its public nature, it seems like an ever-evolving conversation in a public commons. Your broader idea and blogging experience really make a natural progression for using a website to slowly brew a book.

My favorite incarnation of the idea is that blogs or personal websites are a digital and public shared commonplace book. Commonplaces go back to the 15th century and even certainly earlier, but I like to think of websites as very tech-forward versions of the commonplaces kept by our forebears.

I’ve seen a few educators like Aaron Davis and Ian O’Byrne take to the concept of a commonplace, though both have primary websites for writing and broader synthesis and secondary sites for collecting and annotating the web. I tend to aggregate everything (though not always published publicly) on my primary site after having spent some time trying not to inundate email subscribers as you’ve done.

There’s also a growing movement, primarily in higher education, known as A Domain of One’s Own or in shortened versions as either “Domains” or even which is a digital take on the Virgina Woolf quote “Give her a room of her own and five hundred a year, let her speak her mind and leave out half that she now puts in, and she will write a better book one of these days.”

There are a growing number of educators, researchers, and technologists reshaping how the web is used which makes keeping an online commonplace much easier. In particular, we’re all chasing a lot of what you’re after as well:

Part of what I’m after is consolidating my presence online as much as possible, especially onto platforms that I can control.

To me, this sounds like one of the major pillars of the IndieWeb movement which is taking control of the web back from corporate social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et. al. Through odd serendipity, I came across your micro.blog account this morning which led me to your website. A lot of the underpinnings of micro.blog are informed by the IndieWeb movement. In many subtle ways, I might suspect the two had a lot of influence on your particular choice of WordPress theme.

Tonight I’ve also seen your reply to Dan Cohen’s question:

I had previously replied to Dan’s original question, but somehow missed your side thread at the time. I suspect you didn’t see our branch of the conversation either.

Interestingly, your presumption that the replies/notifications stay within their own domains isn’t necessarily fait accompli, at least not any more. There’s a new web specification in the past few years called Webmention that allows notifications and replies to cross website boundaries unlike Twitter @mentions which are permanently stuck within Twitter. Interestingly, because of the way you’ve set up your WordPress website to dovetail with micro.blog you’re almost 90 percent of the way to supporting it easily. If you add and slightly configure the Webmention and Semantic Linkbacks plugins, the asides and other content you’re syndicating into micro.blog will automatically collect the related conversation around them back to your own posts thus allowing you to have a copy of your content on your own website as well as the surrounding conversation, which is no longer as diffuse as you imagined it needed to be. Here’s an example from earlier this evening where I posted to my site and your response (and another) on micro.blog came back to me. (Sadly there’s a Gravatar glitch preventing the avatars from displaying properly, but hopefully I’ll solve that shortly.)

This same sort of thing can be done with Twitter including native threading and @mentions, if done properly, by leveraging the free Brid.gy service to force Twitter to send your site webmentions on your behalf. (Of course this means you might need to syndicate your content to Twitter in a slightly different manner than having micro.blog do on your behalf, but there are multiple ways of doing this.)

I also notice that you’ve taken to posting copies of your tweeted versions at the top of your comments sections. There’s a related IndieWeb plugin called Syndication Links that is made specifically to keep a running list of the places to which you’ve syndicated your content. This plugin may solve a specific need for you in addition to the fact that it dovetails well with Brid.gy to make sure your posts get the appropriate comments back via webmention.

I’m happy to help walk you through setting up some of the additional IndieWeb tech for your WordPress website if you’re interested. I suspect that having the ability to use your website as a true online hub in addition to doing cross website conversations is what you’ve been dreaming about, possibly without knowing it. Pretty soon you’ll be aggregating and owning all of your digital breadcrumbs to compile at a later date into posts and eventually articles, monographs, and books.

Perhaps more importantly, there’s a growing group of us in the education/research fields that are continually experimenting and building new functionalities for online (and specifically academic) communication. I and a plethora of others would welcome you to join us on the wiki, in chat, or even at upcoming online or in-person events.

In any case, thanks for sharing your work and your thoughts with the world. I wish more academics were doing what you are doing online–we’d all be so much richer for it. I know this has been long and is a potential rabbithole you may disappear into, so thank you for the generosity of your attention.

👓 I relished Om Malik’s post “Blogs are thought spaces” | Colin Walker

Read a post by Colin WalkerColin Walker (colinwalker.blog)
I relished Om Malik's post "Blogs are thought spaces" in which he said that he started blogging for two reasons: to share what he had learnt as a reporter, and to have a place to think out loud. This reminded me of something I wrote in 2014 where, I too, said I like to think out loud. Blogging has a...

👓 Blogs as Thinking Spaces | Read Write Collect

Read Blogs as Thinking Spaces by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (collect.readwriterespond.com)
Nice reflection Colin. I find it interesting the way that focuses and intents associated with blogging develop and evolve over time. Although I do sometimes go back to my Twitter feed to find past conversations, I agree with you that it is a bit of dumping spot. For a long time my habit has been to ...

👓 Blogging in 2017 | Colin Walker

Read Blogging in 2017 by Colin WalkerColin Walker (colinwalker.blog)
Having read a number of posts recently about people's experiences rediscovering blogging, and others questioning whether blogging was still a valid exercise in 2017, I thought it would be a good idea to re-examine why I do this. My own rediscovery period was last year. I was still writing but not tr...

👓 Wrapping Up | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Read Wrapping Up by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
Yesterday, I wrapped up the revisions on Generous Thinking, and I’m finding myself of very mixed minds about where I am today. On the one hand, I am super excited about getting the manuscript into …

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

And probably letting myself do a bit more thinking-out-loud here.  

👓 Why Not Blog? | Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Read Why Not Blog? by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)
My friend Alan Jacobs, a key inspiration in my return (such as it is, so far) to blogging and RSS and a generally pre-Twitter/Facebook outlook on the scholarly internet, is pondering the relationship between blogging and other forms of academic writing in thinking about his next project. Perhaps needless to say, this is something I’m considering as well, and I’m right there with him in most regards.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The blog was not just the venue in which I started putting together the ideas that became my second book, the one that made promotion and various subsequent jobs possible, but it was also the way that I was able to demonstrate that there might be a readership for that second book, without which it’s much less likely that a press would have been interested.  

This sounds like she’s used her blog as both a commonplace book as well as an author platform.

In fact blog posts are not the kind of thing one can detail on one’s annual review form, and even a blog in the aggregate doesn’t have a place in which it’s easy to be claimed as a site of ongoing scholarly productivity.  

Mine have gone more like (1) having some vague annoying idea with a small i; (b) writing multiple blog posts thinking about things related to that idea; (iii) giving a talk somewhere fulminating about some other thing entirely; (4) wondering if maybe there are connections among those things; (e) holy carp, if I lay the things I’ve been noodling about over the last year and a half out in this fashion, it could be argued that I am in the middle of writing a book!  

Here’s another person talking about blogs as “thought spaces” the same way that old school bloggers like Dave Winer and Om Malik amongst many others have in the past. While I’m thinking about it I believe that Colin Walker and Colin Devroe have used this sort of idea as well.

I was doing some reading and thinking about how one might translate the idea of blogging into Latin. I tried entering “I am blogging.” into Google translate just to see what would come out. Perhaps it’s just a glitch in their translation algorithm, but the response felt apropos to me.

A screen capture of Google Translate's attempt to translate "I am blogging." into Latin. It outputs "Ego nullam dolore."

“Ego nullam dolore.” translated back into English is “I have no pain.”