on being a visitor at DigPed Lab Cairo

By Lisa Hammershaimb originally posted on Pixels + Tweed

Photo Credit Jesse Stommel

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“All these borders and boundaries are porous but we all pretend they’re not porous.”

George Station

Just finished the first installment of my efforts to weekend binge watch DigPed Lab Cairo. I was part of the first DigPed Lab in the States. As someone new-ish to the world of academia/pedagogy, it was hands down the highlight of my year and the ideas and engagement from that week have become foundational in how I view pedagogy and my own responsibility as an educator in the world. Cairo, Egypt is admittedly a completely different culture than Madison, Wisconsin so I am curious to learn more about what happened there – see how the ideas translated and even more see if any participants, like me, experienced a fundamental shift in how they view pedagogy and their own responsibility as educators in the world (spoiler alert: found a total DigPed kindred spirit in @NadinneAbo and so excited to learn more from her!)

I’m hopelessly behind making it through all the things over the weekend…apparently being talented at binge watching Project Runway doesn’t correlate to conference watching. That said, I’m dazzled enough by these ideas so I’m fine with a meander rather than a binge—more reading a novel than cramming for an exam.

So for the first chapter, what follows is a very brief reflection on the first super sized Virtual Connect hangout video with a room full of on-site and online participants who were discussing a piece by Lanclos on the the death of the digital native , a further elaboration on the Resident + Visitor idea for digital engagement. All quotes in this post are pulled from the video.

“I migrated to Google Plus from Moodle…During the revolution…I had to keep in touch with my students all over the place when everyone got evacuated.”
-DigPed participant whose name I didn’t catch but is at 20:46 in video

My big takeaway so far is that right now everyone is navigating the messy, imperfect, awkward growing pangs of what it means to integrate open or even online practices into pedagogy. The continuum seems to be less about who is operating in open versus closed systems and tool affordances but rather what responsibility do we have toward our students to model behavior and share practice? How do we creatively navigate and share—welcome others in and also allow others to welcome us into new spaces and ideas? How do we assess our options and be true to an ethos even as we remain nimble in the use of tools/practices/methods? It seems if one pushed these questions enough…ultimately the questions cycle into the realm of what does it mean to be human and experience connection and care within these networked spaces?

“We have a duty of care to provide our students with opportunities to practice…”
Donna Lanclos

As a graphic design educator who knows I’m doing trailblazing work, I’ve tended to think I’m the only one struggling with these questions and everyone else has it all together…all the other disciplines have found the perfect balance and are constantly sharing thoughtful creative blog posts with the world while the design educators are hoarding their work and teaching yet another generation that ideas are scarce and good work is guarded work.

Turns out…these struggles aren’t the exclusive domain of art and design disciplines. It sounds a bit perverse but this universal struggle gives me hope. Hearing people who are brave enough to talk about these things and brave enough to conduct their lives in ways that aren’t easy but are so necessary gives me the courage to enter the dialogue too. At this point perhaps just being open to being open is the most important thing. Or…maybe installment two of the conference will reveal the magic answer. : )

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