An activist minded developer gives a weird talk in Ohio. Someone convinces him to go in on a submission to something called Computers & Writing. He does, if only for one reason; figure out who he wants to be when he grows up.
Someone in my talk today said it’s interesting that I still refer to myself as an outsider even when amongst an event I was accepted to. Yeah… it is. But I think it only makes sense that I’d be so lost here. I’m not part of this community and it’s waaaay outside my comfort zone (which is why I came oddly enough). C&W is a very faculty centric (predominantly writing / language faculty) conference.
So what am I doing here?
Well, I wrote my thesis about how I was able to apply socio-technical theories to my university in order to bring about social change around a platform (Drupal). It’s not exactly normal stuff, Drupal people are (weird) developers writing code and giving it all away because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a very different side of me, a side I don’t always talk about outside a few friends, but it’s very important to me. It’s the mission.
I’ve been to so many camps. so many, many camps. Drupal events are awesome, community is awesome and I love talking to and meeting new people. At one time I knew no one and now I feel like I fit in at any event I go to. Edtech and education events I largely don’t fit in because well.. I don’t; but in coming here I think I know why.
Educators are too busy being learned to stop and solve technology problems
In any other area of life this is called apathy. The Apathetic, hands in the air, up turned noses approach is exactly what the keynote called out at CWCON when it comes to TurnItIn (a grading / evaluation platform that many use but hate). He called for people to do more then just scoff at solutions, we need alternatives.
The problem though (among many), is that everyone is too busy to stop and process what the problem is and solve it. We’re all too busy being specialized to stop and be a generalist for a month (something needed if we’re ever to get pedagogically sound tools built by / closely with faculty).
Where I think maybe I do fit in.
Maybe that involves building bridges to new communities of practice. Maybe that means coming to this community more in the future (best way to fit in is to force your way in ;)). The talks are really interesting and I’ve had some good conversations. I even saw a WordPress social community site by Stony Brook that looked pretty decent. I immediately saw potential, good ideas,… things we were doing and thinking of in ELMS:LN land.
There are other makers out there, I just need to find them.
Off to bed, there’s another big day of being an outsider in a community where I don’t belong but am interested in fostering the success of regardless 🙂