Saturday, April 23, 2016

City planning, love and #clmooc the Beatles have a message for reading? Remember their song: All you need is love? I’ve been thinking about it for months in relation to the teaching of reading and writing. The more I thought about it the more ridiculous it appeared and I found myself embarrassed for having even contemplated it. What a mockery it was, after all! Of course it isn’t all we need. Love? Passion? How superficial. How sentimental. How inappropriate to even consider its role in an education system high—jacked from the beginning by a bitter Puritanism which declared if we were relaxed and engaged and having fun we couldn’t be learning anything.

It must be love if I set my alarm on a Saturday. I awoke this morning to log in to yet another Hangout with Terry and Kevin. Before the stirring effects of my morning tea warmed the synapses, I listened to these two talking about connection and community. What would come of the hashtag if #clmooc didn't happen? What's the right way to respond to people who are already asking if #clmooc will go this summer? They discussed the strange idea that #clmooc became interesting not when it grew but when it shrank.


Shrunken as it was on this Saturday morning, #clmooc was Terry, Kevin and I talking in a hangout about the nature of community,  and our responsibility to a community. Terry said, "I'm not opposed to chaos." Kevin and I laughed and faked sarcastic surprise. Later Terry asked, "What if this work isn't about connectivist learning? What if it is about love?" 

Another idea that resonated was this: #clmooc builds capacity, and educators need capacity. 

Whose capacity? 

Ours. Yours. A new teacher's. 

Capacity to do what? 

On this Saturday morning, my friends and partners in online learning and I became city planners, planning a new city,-Capacity, we'll call it, by remembering other cities we'd visited and loved. We remembered the streets we'd walked, a few quaint shops we'd visited, and even the breathtaking view of the harbor we gained when we hiked a short trail on the outskirts of town. We remembered the people we'd met in those cities we loved and how our visit had enlivened them and their reception had enlivened us. This morning we remembered in order to plan a city. Capacity. Population 3? Surely our population in Capacity is bigger than 3! 

What would come of the hashtag? 

After all, if #clmooc didn't take place this summer, what would happen to the hashtag? We didn't talk about it for more than a moment or so this morning, probably because it is so sad when a hashtag falls apart. I hate to think of it even now. After a while the pound sign stops talking to the two C's, falling out over money perhaps, but is it really about the money? The O's will get wrapped up in work and other projects. L and m turn to drugs and it starts to become uncomfortable to have them over... with the kids and all. Frankly, it is too depressing to think about what happens when a hashtag disbands. 

Saturday morning commitment

Before Kevin's wifi took a coffee break,  and just before he had to take his son to baseball, we talked about opening the doors and turning on the lights of #clmooc this summer. We became sure that energy and electricity wouldn't be a problem. We committed to making a Google doc, spreading the word, and, barring the apocalypse, unlocking the doors of #clmooc. There are already some folks playing outside, just waiting. What room should we open first? Maybe we can just see how many folks we can squeeze into this room Sheri Edwards drew recently:

The smiling faces certainly set the right tone but seating might be cramped. It might feel a little small but we've already decided that it might be more interesting when it is small. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and thanks for your push to engage this summer.

  2. All we need is love. That reads "love period". The pun on capa-city whacked me upside the head with delight. Glad you wrote on this. I am heading to the margins now where the Brown Thrashers sing their three song set and the milkweed awaits the Monarch and the rabbit shivers in the Chickasaw Plum thicket buried deep in the brambles, safe but shivering still.

  3. So is there a gdoc for brainstorming and/or shall I make one?