Sunday, June 27, 2010

Language and credibility

I had a great time at the 4th Edubloggercon at ISTE10 and I thank Steve Hargadon for all of his hard work. I also thank ISTE for being willing to provide us the space to gather and talk about those things that are of interest to us. The whole venue gave many people the opportunity to come together and to interact.

Today I have read a few posts about Edubloggercon, one of them here by Steven Anderson, and this has caused me to do even more thinking about some of the things that took place as well as some of the things I took away. It is important that we have the connections that we have. I didn't know the origins of the term PLN but after some searching I came across this post by David Warlick that might be beneficial to any who reads this as well as the links that David includes in that post.

Disclosure #1 I have used the term PLN to refer to anyone that I connect with in any form or fashion that has helped me to grow or has been an influence in my life.

Diclosure #2 - I have achieved the status of friend with many of those same people both here and abroad as a result of the connections through social media.

Disclosure #3 - Some of those same people I am able to say that I would defend to the death.

Yesterday as Jon Becker facilitated his conversation, I saw passion and defensiveness as people defended their use of a simple term that means so many things to so many different people. I never took away any ideas that there was controversy as a result of or as a part of the discussion. To me it was merely grown ups having a grown up conversation that for me took my thinking to a depth that stirs my thoughts and on ocassion my soul. While this was not one of those soul stirring moments it was very thought provoking especially when someone asked the question what gives language it's credibility?

Disclosure #4 There are any number of people that could handle this discussion better than I, but this is my post.

We see so many words come and go in the English language, words introduced to the dictionary as a result of the use of that word or phrase, but what depth does it bring to the language? Their was not a person there, in my humble opinion, that has not used the term and truly understood it to be something very meaningful to them. I guess my problem after doing some thinking is that when we walk into the vendor hall tomorrow, how many of those terms that have been coined via our networks are we going to be using for our buzzword bingo games? We will complain about the vendors using buzz word after buzz word, but how dare anyone question my use of the terms I want to use?

Adults having adult conversations with a final hope of stirring each one of us to think a little deeper. In 5 years what will that word mean, what type of credibility will it have, what legitimacy for the English language? You are in my network, you help me to think, you allow me to celebrate life with you, you allow me to mourn with you, and allow me to give you some bit of comfort in my response back to you. We joke and kid and post pics of what we are eating.

Each of you makes me aware of so many things each day, but you are not alone. Because of my work in a school, in a district, in a state, and in a Diocese, I also am allowed to do the same things with so many people and you also get to glean some of those things from me because I bring them to other tables as well if I deem them worthy to share.

I have no way to wrap this up and make it tidy, but know I count on a lot of people and I hope that people know they can count on me. But what does give what we do credibility? What gives what we say credibility? If a simple term that I use causes people to reject my next sentence, maybe it is time that we looked deeper into how we use language and how we express ourselves.

Your thoughts?

So much to learn and so little time.

1 comment:

Carolyn Foote said...

Well said, friend.

I have nothing brilliant to add. While I think it's fine using that term/shorthand amongst ourselves, I think that perhaps it is mystifying to those new to the idea, and perhaps even off-putting.

Equally important, and maybe just as important to me, is the idea that we may try to "push" the idea of a network. There are all different kinds of networks and all different ways to connect with people that we care about and learn from. I think we have to have humility when we approach other educators about the value of networks, because sometimes we might presume that they do not have one, only because it doesn't meet our specifications of what that is.

That being said, being connected to other educators who are so passionate about what I am passionate about, has added great richness, fun, and depth to my life and my practice.

You said it better than I can, but it has added so much to my life, in so many ways.