My Virtual Classroom

Although I have a personal blog titled Life Twice, whose main reader is my mother, today I am launching a second blog that will focus on my interest in education. It’s not that I expect that anyone will read this blog either (other than my mother, my father and the few people my mother tells about it). Nevertheless, I am doing it for these reasons:

1) I have found that writing to an unknown audience, risking your words being read by people you don’t know and who may not agree with you forces you to declare your point of view and defend it. For most of you out there, this would not be hard. But, I am a diplomat at heart. I am much more comfortable at finding valid points in other people’s opinions than forming my own. Writing on a subject about which I care deeply will give me practice in articulating my own views.

2) I am currently enrolled in the MSLOC (Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change) program in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. I specifically selected this program because of my concerns about the rapidly changing landscape of higher education. Because of their size and oft-misunderstood mission, liberal arts colleges, like my own alma mater Southwestern University, are particularly vulnerable to the economics of education and the growing criticisms about the value of college. I believe liberal education and its outcomes are essential for democracy and the development of global citizens and ethical leaders. It scares me when I read about some of the proposals being put forth by leaders who seem to have a limited view of the purpose of education. While I am only one voice, I believe liberal education is worth fighting for.

3) One of the courses in my graduate school program is Creating and Sharing Knowledge. Even before taking the class, I knew I would love it. Who wouldn’t? Creating and sharing knowledge sounds noble. It’s the very reason American institutions of higher education have been held in high esteem for so long. Indeed, it was an amazing class and not necessarily for the reasons I thought it would be. Certainly, I learned about tacit and explicit knowledge, boundary spanning objects, communities of practice, Enterprise 2.0, the Cynefin framework and much, much more. But, my most meaningful take-away from the class took me by surprise. Over the course of the semester, I was reminded that we human beings have an innate desire to connect, to authentically know each other and the world. Undoubtedly, the tools of this technological age, if misused, pose a threat to human connectedness, but they also give us an extraordinary capacity to create and share, not just knowledge, but the human experience.

I’ll close by acknowledging the origins of Learning Life Itself. Six years ago, I drew the title of my personal blog from a quote by Anaïs Nin: “We write to taste life twice.” This time around I borrowed a phrase from John Dewey: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

And so, this is going to be one of my spaces, my own virtual classroom, where I try to learn about life, education and if I am lucky, humanity.

5 thoughts on “My Virtual Classroom

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