The purpose of this project is to attend and analyze at least 3 hours' worth of self-chosen seminars, presentations, or other events on the topic of guiding reflections.
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Recently I attend a 1.5 hour zoom meeting with the Land Stewardship Project in which we learned how to lobby for agricultural and ecological reform by sharing our experiences of the land we are trying to protect. Again and again we were reminded that people listen to good stories, most especially personal stories. The meeting facilitators invited us to consider our personal stories of the land and the soil, to collect these stories within ourselves and speak them to power. We all have the capability to tell a world-changing story, I think.
Considering my own facilitation work, I feel lucky to have seen examples of how good stories are so much more than entertainment. Not only does storytelling help reflect on experience, but fashioning a good story can be an inspirational force towards growth and goodness.
I had the absolute pleasure of leading a one-hour workshop on the basics of Experiential Education with about 30 independent learners through Hyperlink Academy. I compared the process of reflection to the nutrifying process of making yeasty bread: through breaking down the raw material of experience, we are able to digest the beautiful knowledge held within. I led the group in a series of reflective activities following a version of Dewey's pattern of inquiry. We reflected on the experience of the finest pastry we had ever tasted. The brilliant Massimo Curatella attended my workshop and wrote his notes and thoughts up on his blog!
It was really excellent to facilitate reflections on facilitating reflections (I love the meta stuff). I learned that folks are excited about the possibility of turning their experiences into actionable work. In the future, I will certainly include steps or prompts to encourage learners to act on the learnings they took from reflection.
I joined tiana's wikiclub recently, and we had our first session just the other day. The event was only half an hour, and we each took the time to share an interesting wikipedia article we had found. The articles all sparked many strange ideas. The article I shared was about edible bird's nests. We used gather.town as our hosting format, which allowed for organic breakout areas as we shared weird tidbits from our articles. I found the club to be very private, intimate, and interesting. Wikipedia is a vast sea of raw data, and I appreciated the opportunity to turn that faceless information into conversational knowledge through the process of group discussion.
As a facilitator, I found that tiana's use of space sparked conversation and encouraged warmth between participants. There were whiteboards to scribble on, games to share, and interesting corners for relaxation. Even - and perhaps especially - digital spaces can be morphed and melded to meet the moods of the masses. I have learned from tiana's example and will keep a close eye on constructing encouraging spaces when leading reflective workshops.
I was lucky enough to attend an event through Hyperlink Academy on the future of textbooks. While not strictly a reflective process, a textbook is a condensation of learning over a long period of time, and so to me qualifies as an artifact of reflective experience. We discussed how an open-source format of textbook allows learners to submit their own corrections or additions, opening up the reflective and condensive process to the wider world. Also, some people in the event mentioned annotatable textbooks, which allows for digital note-taking and self-scheduling by digitally tagging a syllabus or textbook. The future technology of reflection, I think, will include the brains of many people all working together at a mass of knowledge, like a colony of ants taking apart a popsicle bite by bite and building a nest pebble by pebble.
Personally, I am very interested in breaking down centralized hives of information such as books, websites, courses, and university institutions. Not breaking down as in blowing up, but breaking down as in digesting, democratizing, and myceliating. I hope for a future where textbooks are collaborative, self-manipulating, organic, ever-changing. In the same way that it is impossible to step in the same river twice, it is also impossible to interact with the same group of learners twice. The reflective and experiential process is consistently squirmy and eternally inconsistent. In developing tools such as textbooks and activities I hope to bring that organic attitude to my students, learners, and adventurers. Perhaps, one day, textbooks will resemble ongoing discussions, clouds of questions and answers in the ever-undulating ether of the internet.