Chance Meeting at Airport

Picture of flight to HonoluluI love that American Airlines now has electric outlets at most of the seats of their larger planes, MD-80s (Mad Dog 80) and up.  It makes such a difference, especially considering the multitude of hours I’ll be in the air between Dallas and Honolulu — have to admit that’s sounding pretty exciting now.

As I was finishing up a blog entry at gate C15, across from me sits Bethany Smith.  I’m not sure what her job is, but Bethany works at the Friday Institute, which I’ve blogged about on several occassions.  She’s become a go-to person for several specific technology applications including podcasting and Moodle.  She’s on her way to San Francisco for a Moodle conference.  Bethany is also involved in an initiative at North Carolina State University to re-invent their educator pre-service program, which I hope to be a part of — schedule permitting.

We talked a bit about Moodle and how NCSU is looking to adopt the software for their online learning programs.  She’s obviously an enthusiast, but equally versed in BlackBoard, Web CT, and their combined product(s).  At any rate is was nice to have someone so pleasant to talk to at the airport.

For most of the rest of these flights, I’ll be finishing up an article about Personal Learning Networks (PLN) and simultaneously finishing up a re-build of my PLN conference presentation, which I’ll be doing three or four times at EdTech, in Honolulu.  One thing that I want to do is to reconcile the fact that there is nothing new about personal learning networks (just like there’s nothing new about do it yourself (DIY) education practices — aka, Edupunk).

I’m struggling with the fear that I may be de-constructing PLN techniques a little too much, for the sake of acknowledging what many will say, “Hey!  We’ve been doing that for years!”  It’s true.  But in the case of PLNs, new information and communication technologies have availed dramatically new avenues for learning from each other and for learning by mining larger conversations for value.  Also critical to this conversation is how important lifelong learning (learning lifestyle) is to education and how necessary it is for teachers to not only practice it, but model the skills of using the networks for learning.

More about DIY/Edupunk later — perhaps the next flight.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.