Reflections on Personal Paths of Change

Facilitators: Linda V. Nitsche

As I listened to Konrad Glogowski’s presentation about Blogging Communities in the Classroom at NECC 2008 and his unfolding understanding and change in perspective in the roles of teacher and learner, I was drawn to question the experiences over time that had brought him and others, including myself to change our views of teaching and learning embracing the guiding principles of EduCon2.1. I wondered, what were the formative experiences, which had set others on a path toward a commitment to the development of an inquiry approach to learning? What were the rudimentary experiences, which had led others to away from their own personal, authoritative school experiences toward the implementation of one, which is empowering for all members? As we have grown in our ability to use technology and web2.0 tools, how was it that we understood that the child, learning, and pedagogy where the driving forces, not technology? What is it that has caused us to embrace networked learning while others remain behind their closed doors, alone in their domain, rejecting entreaties to expand their learning? Through this discussion we will explore whether there have been critical and essential experiences that have lead others on their own paths toward changing views of understanding. Would similar critical experiences emerge? Would there be commonalities that we could synthesize? Most importantly, how could we use our reflections and synthesis as a foundation for real action that would help to scaffold others toward these essential understandings?

Discussion Format

We will be using the World Cafe model for our discussion to discuss and examine our personal paths of changing understanding. The World Cafe is "a conversational process based on a set of integrated design principles that reveal a deeper living network pattern through which we co-evolve our collective future."
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As a conversational process, the World Café is an innovative yet simple methodology for hosting conversations about questions that matter. These conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas, and discover new insights into the questions or issues that are most important in their life, work, or community. As a process, the World Café can evoke and make visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people’s capacity for effective action in pursuit of common aims.


We will use Dabbleboard to help us record and synthesize our ideas.

One person at the table should open the site and then please click on SHARE and type in the email addresses of the other people at your table to invite the them to share their ideas and collaborate.




Round 1

  • Question 1

What critical and essential experiences have led you on your own path toward changing views of understanding about teaching and learning guiding you to embrace the Guiding Principles of EduCon2.1?

Do similar critical experiences emerge?

Would there be commonalities that we could synthesize?

The Axioms

Guiding Principles of EduCon 2.1
1) Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members
2) Our schools must be about co-creating -- together with our students -- the 21st Century Citizen
3) Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around.
4) Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate
5) Learning can -- and must -- be networked.


Common Experiences and Themes

  • Relationships- between people and ideas

  • Learning as relational

  • Family experiences

  • Exposure to places, environments, experiences, ideas

  • Curiosity- where does it come from,

  • Childhood-

  • Family members who were life-ling learners

  • Humility about learning

  • You know what you don't know

  • Childhood struggles

  • Being a great student- can make it harder to be a great teacher

  • Mentors- teachers who changed the course for a person

  • Self- directed vs. formal learning

  • Valuing another's input

  • Engagement in learning



Round 2

  • Question 2

What obstacles or problems, if any, did you face as you explored and worked to embrace a different vision of teaching and learning?

How did you work around or resolve those problems and obstacles?

Do similar critical experiences emerge?

Would there be commonalities that we could synthesize?


Obstacle and Overcoming Obstacles

  • Resistance - you have to go through the resistor in order to light the lightbulb or appreciate the good things

  • They can be the inspiration

  • Learning about yourself

  • Self-reflection

  • Your struggles gives you empathy

  • Overcoming obstacles that work in your favor

  • Time

  • Solitary involvement in your own problem

  • Societal expectations and values

  • Selfish vs. selfless



Round 3

  • Question 3

What critical experiences have emerged across all of our experiences?

What ideas would be essential or pivotal for others in order to help them move toward an understanding about teaching and learning which would embrace the Guiding Principles of EduCon2.1?

What plan of action could we develop that would help to scaffold others toward these essential understandings?


What Can We Do?


  • Talk to young people about what they can do with their lives and the path they can take to get there

  • Differentiated professional development for faculty

  • Make the time