Building Community is a Two-Way Street

Engaged in the conversationOne of the things that I’ve grown to appreciate but not necessarily personally internalize, is the necessity for EVERYONE in a community to contribute. I know this sounds silly, but in my online involvement with places like Classroom2.0 or EdTechTalk or even the blogging community I feel like I have very little to contribute. Who could possibly want to hear what I have to say? Do my 2-cents matter? Sometimes this keeps me from writing that blog response to someone else’s post – and that diminishes the dialog, even if no one ever goes to my blog to see it. I follow some teachers that are as novice in this tech thing as I am, and I love reading their classroom adventures, triumphs and outright failures -and how they are planning to pick up and move forward anyhow. I need to get over my own sense of boundaries and privacy to the point where I feel comfortable jumping in with my stories, perspectives and philosophical musings. I need to be a little less paranoid about who might take my ideas the wrong way and be confident I can state things clearly enough so most people can “get” what I mean.

Thankfully the community is patient. I can keep going to the well for buckets of information and it’s ok right now to just put back with the occasional eyedropper full of thoughts. The generosity of the online community of teachers, administrators, geeks and philosophers continues to buoy my spirits and keep me moving forward. I hope everyone in this group gets to a point where they feel they are a part of the group, a part of the conversation, and contribute to the well from which we all draw.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Building Community is a Two-Way Street

  1. Thom Cosgrove

    Sarah, I couldn’t agree more. I think our strand talk today at Summertech during the morning session really was a demonstration of what can happen when everyone brings something to the table. Despite our different backgrounds in job positions, age, and technological skills, I really feel like everyone offered substance and value to the conversation – and I was able to get access to points of view that I don’t see sitting in my office everyday. Your point that it takes contributions from everyone is what makes conversations like the one we had today so valuable, and I couldn’t agree more that one of the key roadblocks to “break down” in building a successful community (online or otherwise) is making everyone understand that their voice and experience has inherent value to all of the other members of the community.

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