reflectively assessing my professional goals

It Takes a Village Network


Thanks to Jacqueline van Dyk for inspiring some ideas again! It Takes A Network , 03/07/13

You write another illuminating post that just adds to my growing appreciation of how we connect. As popularized in Hilary Clinton’s book (or the African proverb, whichever is attributed) It Takes a Village, perhaps the ‘network’ is the new appropriate analogy? Both really do make sense and in some clear connections, they really are not that different.

As part of ETMOOC Connected Learning, I’ve been browsing and reviewing Godin’s Tribes and related to the TED conversation about social networks. What seems apparent to me is that as we are getting more and more advanced with our internet tools the actual internet has become so transparent to more and more that we are revisiting human conclusions that we really knew all along. We are moving full circle and recognizing that we are still about human relationships and communication. We NEED each other. Rampant individualism and competition doesn’t produce the results we were told to believe. Zealot communism produced animosities and erosion. We need community not communism. We need to network.

KSSowls_7713I’ve been doing far too much reflection these days, perhaps because I’m processing my PGP, or more likely because I’m in the twilight of my career and considering several leaps of faith- both involving the people in my life, in my network. One would think after 30+ years of teaching that communicating, collaborating and networking with students, parents, colleagues, educators and the community I would feel empowered? Well I recognize strengths and know many people but empowered means I feel I can navigate successfully toward a goal. That is a very tricky task today because the goals and routes are a moving target. Education ( and educators ) are loved and hated for that very reason, society thinks they value us but knows something is also awry. I see similar issues in health. In fact I think our entire social contract is under strain for the same reasons. Societal change has been so rapid that structures are creaking at the joints.

The entire concept of ‘education’ and its purpose is under serious attack and revision. The ‘open’ movement brought on by technological innovation and a shift of social values has people aspiring to ‘open education’ outside of the institutional restraints of credit courses, etc. is a vital example of learning for its own sake. It is in many ways a network or community that sprouted from various disruptive birth parents and nurtured by a tribe. Tools like blog hubs, Google+, Storify, YouTube, TEDx, Twitter have become just various doorways into the same big tent.  It isn’t just pure altruism but there is no coverage charge, dress code or guest list. There is no tuition or pre-requisite.  As a mature student, with a 5 page CV I cannot enrol in a my local university without an academic recommendation letter and two professional recommendation letters! Really? Don’t they want  my money? Am I a risk? Risk of what exactly?  Have they heard about open learning?

Jacqueline Van Dyk, blogs about many poignant things but her It Takes a Network addresses a program

Judy[Halbert] added, “But for that synergy of passion, inspiration, mutual support and effectiveness, the network members must be united by a strong sense of collective purpose. Again, it all comes down to relationships.”

In my personal life, I have been successful and rewarded when I am honest, communicate and give generously. When I have conflict, it is when I was deceptive, scared and selfish. Learning and teaching is no different from any other human endeavour. Build a house, climb a mountain, feed the poor – we need to build trust. It takes a village!

“…In a network of partnerships, nothing gets done without trust. We tend to engage and share openly with people we feel we can trust. As in the brain power video, we strengthen connections that work and prune those that don’t…”

I am now asking, how does one contribute to that collective purpose? I’m just another villager.  I wish I was a shaman.  Even so, I’m not sure what I would do?  How does the village find consensus? How does a series of vital networks impact the lives of people, or students that are not connected? How do we welcome our kids and families into the tent? I don’t want digital tribal warfare. We have enough tribalism as it is! How can our new skills and new tools change the outcomes? How can our ‘network’ be different from a ‘village’?


2 thoughts on “It Takes a Village Network

  1. I’m not sure I would like to be a shaman in the global village. As a villager it is easier to keep questioning, reflecting and striving. I think we need our global village of etmooc to live long after the course – to continue the conversations. We need these connections

    • I really wouldn’t want to be a shaman either, in any village. I have enough trouble just being me! 🙂 A colleague implied, as a mountaineering outdoors guy that maybe I was a ‘Sherpa librarian’. That’s more my style. Head down and keep plowing forward. Thx