As we move to the close of the first week of the #WALKMYWORLD project as series of questions have been raised, and I have many more floating around in the back of my head.
Some of these questions are a bit simple to answer.
“I didn’t get started yet…can I just jump in?” Of course, come on in. The more people the better. This is an open learning experiment.
“Can I get started in two weeks, my semester doesn’t start until then.” Of course, we’ll always be here. I have a feeling that this project and the associated hashtag will live on.
“Can I get started with secondary students that I teach?” Of course…but, please protect yourself and your students. Read the initial blog post..and better yet, email me and we’ll think through this together.
“Why would I do this?” That is a bit harder to answer, but I think there are different answers for different people. I’m envisioning a group of people openly sharing, learning, and playing with digital texts and tools. There is no better thing to be doing right now. Especially for those of us that work in Education. We all need to problematize and expand our notions of “text.”
“What should I share?”…now that leads me to one of the more complex questions that I’ve been having.
Much of my research focuses on literacy practices of individuals as they read, write, communicate, and socialize in online and hybrid spaces. One of the things that I was fascinated by a recent research project that I completed with Shane Smith concerned how individuals (pre-service teachers) contemplate and envision their identity, or reconstructions of their identity in online spaces. In plain speak…what are you thinking as you share online? In this blog, I’ve repeatedly made it known that I think educators need to create and curate their online brand. The challenge in this is that we’re all human beings. We have certain skills and insecurities, especially as we move to digital texts and tools. It can be frightening for many of us as we post and share online…especially these glimpses into our world.
One of the things that I learned from this previous work is that we make significant, thoughtful decisions about what we share about ourselves. We think deeply about why we’re sharing…and what identity we want to represent. At the same time that we’re “selecting” an identity to represent, we’re engaging in a form of “code switching.” The easy way to think about code switching is to understand that our students understand code switching. They’ll speak and act one way in school, or with friends. But, they’ll act a completely different way with Grandma, or in church. We’ll…we do the same thing as we move online.
To make things more complex, we adjust our speech, gestures, tone, content, and message to accommodate or interact with others. The researcher in me views this as Communication Accommodation Theory (Gallois, Ogay, and Giles, 2005; Giles & Ogay, 2007). Put simply, many of us present, select, or build an identity based on what we think others want to see from us.
In the #WALKMYWORLD project you might select a basic image because you’re comfortable with it, or an image that doesn’t even show anything about you…because you don’t want people to get to know you. In the project you might share “selfies” and videos about your world as a way to really connect. Once again, this is an identity that you chose to create and represent for others. Much of this is dependent on what you think “we” want to see about you. If you’re involved as a graduate student…you’re thinking about the expectations of your instructor/teacher. Finally, if you see other posting cool 3D walkthroughs, animations, and screencaptures…and you think the “water is fine” you might take a risk and try it out yourself.
Once again, thank you for sharing this first week. It’s awesome to create, play, learn, and share with you all. I appreciate the look into your world, and the identity that you chose to share with us.
Image CC by Djoe