I’ve been thinking about being remote for a while. Not in the way you think. This blog post is not advice on “how to” work remotely or thrive from the home office. It’s a reckoning about what I have been thinking about over the last 9 months. The feeling of being remote is real. It starts with feeling so very far away from the things we know and love. Distant from close family, friends, and peers. Away from the concept of schedules and calendars. Time is moving along at a pace — and standing still. Sometimes months feel like years. Sometimes a day feels like a week. It feels like we have live a few lives and aged a bit in 2020.
Home has become a multipurpose space where we go to school, sit in “the office,” and find leisure time — if we can. Learning, working, and living are a blend and exist in a blur making things feel like we are living on a loop, often in the same location. With no boundaries comes uncertainty and awareness of the limitations in perpetual life cycle. And although the plant/fur/real kids help us remember to take a break, I often wonder if they are thinking, “Don’t you have somewhere to go?”
I used to be productive in my WFH office, but motivation fights with grief and bouts of guilt often pull my focus regularly. The shoulds got mixed with the coulds, with little being accomplished personally or professionally. How can I find some headspace when there is social inequity, increasing racial unrest, and health disparities wrapped in an economic divide? How small are my concerns and work, when there are larger issues looming?
Whether its Zoom rooms, virtual Teams, Twitter threads, or Instagram tales — there seems to be more technology to bring us our of isolation, yet there’s widening gap to easily disconnect. The infusion of the being wired for our waking life has us “always on” and it is emotionally and physically exhausting. Although these devices and platforms have the potential to bring us together, they seem to be pulling us further apart in thoughts, ideologies, and a common sense humanity. Always together, but often alone.
We morn the loss of our social selves. The festivals, concerts, celebrations, events, meetings, and reunions that once gathered us — are no more. Travel is a faint, distant memory only replaced by voice mails, FaceTime calls, and group text messages for/by those we love and miss. With this pivot to online the personal is on a choppy WiFi connection, and our professional identities are in a Zoom waiting room, asking, “Is this really what I want to be doing with my life?”
Transitions through turmoil and trauma persist. The always evolving issues wash over the relentless news cycles and challenge what actual community and civic responsibility means. The awakening of our fragile social structures were no fault of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, or other issues of today — but rather a slow reveal of what is needed to confront, breakdown, and rebuild. Other already felt this, the rest of us are just realizing. Returning to what was is no longer possible, nor should we want to go there. It’s time to invent what will be .
History is told by those who tell it. The power of the narrative now, is that it can be drafted and retold in a collaborative, open shared doc — by many, and not just a select few. What are the stories we should be sharing and amplifying today? How will we write ourselves into a future that actually improves how we live, work, and learn? From our educational institutions to corporate entities, we can no longer rest on our laurels to sit silently when our practices and positions have not called into question the policies and system injustices of an inexcusable status quo. This is not a time to be remote anymore. This remoteness comes from a point of privilege, and silence shows your complacency on issues that need to be addressed.
I’m sorry for being so remote. I’m back. The revolution won’t be blogged, but I hope to poke holes at things I am learning/unlearning, ways we can take action for impact, and how it is critical to be less remote and more of an ally for the change we need in the world. Let’s go on this foggy journey out of remoteness together…
It’s the end of January. For many it is the realization that a new years goal, new habit, or personal objective has been met. For many, the start of a new year and new decade might even mean saying goodbye to old things that are taking up space in your life, i.e. clutter. Some of the clutter that is often overlooked are usually at our finger tips and in the cloud — digital clutter.
With more opportunities to create, capture, make, and share with emerging technologies, there are increasingly even more ways accumulate and hoard digital bits. We barely think twice about snapping multiple photos, as it is either on a digital camera and often on our mobile devices (that we have not thought about about in a while). I’ve been thinking about this issue since I left my university role last August. You would not be surprised to learn how much your life can get digital entwined and how much one person accumulates in terms of digital files, folders, projects, etc. in just one decade. Now factor in this digital mass with your personal devices (all of them), cloud-storage, and obsolete technologies you have collecting dust at home. Who knows what lies within our digital archives personally and professionally? [No really. Who knows?] Since I was studying this topic last year in INFO 5841, I thought I’d share my own research and reflection of what to do when downsizing these digital artifacts — or at least taking account and review if you actually need “these digital things” in your life anymore. #DoesItBringYouJoy
It is so easy to continually collect, hoard, and stockpile all things digital these day. There is such portability with how we carry these images, books, information, and content, that we rarely think twice about space or cleaning out these digital closets in our personal lives. Gunn (2018) defines the term personal digital archiving (PDA) as “the collection, management, and preservation of personal and family materials created in digital media,” (p. xi) such as photos, videos, documents, email, websites, and social media content. With our social media existence and how we contribute a large amount of digital content virtually, there is no doubt that our PDA contents could fill a digital abyss. With our tethered technologies, access to networking platforms, and ability to connect with others, there are more digital, social platforms collecting a growing number of written comments, image or photos, and media files (e.g. videos, music, & audio files) scattered among our email inboxes to an outdated device and even amassing real estate in the digital cloud to save it all.
Although organized, stored, and audited my my professional and scholarly life, I will need to confess I have neglected to offer any of my PDA the same attention. As a researcher and learning design consultant, it is critical to showcase and preserve the formal knowledge in academic journals, data repositories, conference presentations, and more via Google Scholar Citations, ORCID, and ResearchGate. Additionally, you can find my invited talks in SlideShare, educational video clips in YouTube, and training audio or podcasts archived on Soundcloud to offer examples of my learning experience design and consulting portfolio. That being said, there has been very little accomplished with regards to formal wrangling of my digital footprint outside of my career. We could all use some “life-changing magic of tidying up” (Kondo, 2014) when it comes to archiving our personal digital lives. The average American seems to thrive in digital clutter with an average of 582 pictures stored on their mobile, 83 websites bookmarked, at least 21 desktop icons, and 13 unused phone apps with almost 645 gigabytes stored on external space and between 1000 to 3000 unread emails (Booth, 2019). These digital hoarding statistics and the European Commission’s (2017) goals to protect personal data with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws, it seemed like an appropriate time to deal with PDA aspects of any forgotten online accounts, untouched social media channels, rarely used apps, and even outdated, electronic hardware and/or storage devices. With these factors and the need to consolidate personal digital archives, it was time to figure out how to get rid of this personal digital excess and unorganized mess.
The KonMari method (Kondo, 2014) of tidying up and clearing the clutter asks one question when as you decided to keep or discard an item: “Does it brings you joy?” For the thousands or millions of virtual artifacts in our personal archives, this question might be an exhausting practice as we sift through all we have collected and curated in our digital lives. There are a number of unused accounts that need to be closed, passwords that require updates, and artifacts that need to be preserved into a usable and accessible format (Palfy, 2019). In addition to this, we have to identify the apps, accounts, web services, subscriptions, and emails that need to be purged. With this purge comes sentimental values as we consider the text messages, voicemails, emails, photos, and videos we have been holding onto – along with the accounts, websites, and apps we no longer frequent; however, all are holding space on our devices, in the cloud, and, maybe within our hearts.
Our digital lives are continuing to scale and are ubiquitous with how we live. Beyond a digital clean up, how can we preserve our memories and mementos we are creating and contributing online, in apps, and within virtual spaces? There always seems to be more cloud storage or added space on upgraded devices, that we forget to remove personal digital archives and artifacts that may no longer serve us. Also, these digital platforms and channels allow for communities to grow, experiences and events to happen, and information to be shared across the globe. This means that PDA may also impact and influence cultural institutions, museums, library collections, and other organizations, who often have little guidance for how to guide digital preservation digital collections and/or how to best guide public outreach to offer support for their digital archiving practices among community members (NDIIPP, 2013). This could include government documents, like the recent Mueller report, or even historical events and alternative news coverage, such as the Iran elections and political uprising that surged on Twitter in 2009-2010, as the platform allowed for communication and revolutionary protests. PDA creates an individual mountain that is difficult to climb and a rising concern among community members and our society as we try to find ways to preserve digital artifacts connected to a time, place, and group of people. Specifically, how can we archive events, experiences, news, and knowledge as it is created digitally? Additionally, as platforms, digital file types, and ways to store and access evolve, what are the best methods to archive these personal artifacts? And how can we model and help others curate their personal digital artifacts and archives for digital preservation and future access?
So beyond cleaning out your closets, selling back old books, or shredding your bills or paperwork, maybe it’s time to pay attention to the digital clutter that has been accumulating over the years. How do you account for your digital artifacts? Do you spend some time organizing, reviewing, and discarding these digital items? Tell me about it — I could use some suggestions for my own review.
Gunn, C. (2018). Introduction: Putting personal digital archives in context. In B. Marshall (Ed). The complete guide to personal digital archiving, (pp xi-xxii). Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
Kondo, M. (2014). The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. New York, NY: Ten Speed Press.
Marshall, B. H. (2018). The complete guide to personal digital archiving. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
For those of you who read the annual Horizon Report — you know that another one is around the corner. As EDUCAUSE has taken over the helm for the development of this technology forecast/guide for higher education, it has been interesting to see how this report is created as a member of the 2020 HR panel. After a few iterations of input, voting, slacking, emailing, side conversations, and exploring what is going on — it appears we have come to identify a few trends for postsecondary teaching and learning. Here are the six emerging technologies and practices for teaching and learning in higher ed identified for the next report:
AI/Machine Learning Educational Applications
Open Educational Resources
Adaptive Learning Technologies
Analytics for Student Success
Elevation of instructional design, learning engineering, & UX design in pedagogy
These will be flushed out further when the 2020 Horizon Report comes out; however, one critical piece of this document will need to include some examples and exemplars. EDUCAUSE would like to hear from you — the community — of professionals, scholars, educators, students, and more. They would like to learn about your projects or initiatives related to these six areas that best illustrate these technologies and practices in action. If you have any work from, for, and by postsecondary campus stakeholders — let EDUCAUSE know. If your institution or organization is working with any of the six (mentioned above) trending areas, I would encourage you to submit your project(s) or initiative(s) for the 2020 Horizon Report. [Pssst… you are more than welcome to submit more than one project/initiative.]
Are you piloting a new program? Do you have a research project on the topic you care to share? Or are you faculty evaluating and testing one of these emerging trends or practices? Let them know. Any initiative/project is welcome no matter what the form or stage you are at — seriously! The goal is provide readers of this report a more concrete sense of how these technologies and practices are playing out in higher education. If your work is applicable to any of the six, then you might be invited to author a post for the EDUCAUSE T&L blog Transforming Higher Ed.
There are a number of suggestions for how to prepare for the CPLP, like in-person workshops, online courses, and creating a local CPLP study group. Knowing myself and the time that is left, I thought the best accountability for me would be to document my progress as I prepare for the CPLP Knowledge and Skills exams. I am a voracious reader and avid podcast listener, because I just I love to learn! As self-directed learner and somewhat of an autodidact, I figured it would be fun to pull back the curtain on my study techniques to share what I am learning and how I am thinking about learning/performance today. I am less concerned about how many downloads or subscribers of the pod I have. Really, the Learn/Perform Mixtape is designed to map out the 99+ sub-sections of the 10 AOE and the Foundational Global Competencies. Also, it offers me another study tool to make these concepts and topics portable and accessible later — in both audio and written format.
Are you studying for the CPLP exams? Let’s Connect! Maybe you can join me to chat about how you are preparing or even discuss one of the AOE topics for a podcast episode. If you are listening to the podcast — thanks! Let me know what you think and share some love by posting a rating/review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you subscribe! If you are getting some value or it’s helping you to improve learning and performance for your work, I also welcome gratitude/donations as this podcast is self-sponsored labor of love. Thanks!
Last month, with the #FemEdTech network, I was really excited to curate and amplify some of the voices that we know in the field of educational technology — who are feminists, who are proud women, scholars, educators, learners, and more. The purpose was to tweet, retweet, and amplify those in the community and others we should maybe hear about. The rest of this reflection (written; as you can hear it all above) can be found on the femedtech.net website here. Thanks for the encouragement and support Frances, Lorna, and members of the #femedtech network.
#femedtech Challenge: We need to HEAR and SEE more audio and video voices of women in ed tech. These lists are far too share. Let’s amplify women+ in our community, this includes those who identify as women and non-binary, to share our voices! As I was curating the podcasts, episodes, interviews, panels, talks, and presentations of women+, I realized there are few of us in ed tech, specifically in higher ed, sharing audio/video presentation about our work, practice, design, research, etc. If I’m wrong, then please let me know by ADDING to this open spreadsheet #FemEdTech VOICES:
Here are a few suggestions of what YOU can ADD to the #femedtech Voices curated lists:
Recommended Podcasts for the #FemEdTech Network: This tab of the spreadsheet is curating podcasts that #femedtech network might want to subscribe and listen to. Please include the podcast name, URL link where we can find or subscribe to it online, and the brief description of the pod. We would like to know about podcasts created for/and hosted by women+ involved in teaching, learning, ed tech, academia, or general issues impacting feminism. More ABOUT #femedtech network at: femedtech.net/about-femedtech/
Suggested Podcast Episodes & Interviews: This tab of the spreadsheet is sharing SPECIFIC podcast episodes that the #femedtech network might want to hear. This could be an interesting interview, with a member of the #femedtech network, or perhaps a conversation/topic relevant to this community. Please include the pod’s name, episode number and direct URL to the SPECIFIC episode. Thanks!
Amplifying Your Talks, Presentation, & Panels: This tab of the spreadsheet is linking us to the audio/video archives of #femedtech presentations. This might be a conference session, workshop, webinar, keynote, panel, etc. Please include the speakers names/Twitter handles, conference/event name, title of the presentation, and link to where this presentation can be viewed (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, Google Slides recording, webinar archive, etc.) Feel free to share where we can hear/watch this presentation online.
I realized my “ASK” for podcasts and presentations might be a bit more complicated and challenging. I started wondering: “Are women+ creating, making, hosting, or producing audio and video representations of our work? If not why not?” Here’s my take on the barriers for women+ are not leading with our voices:
There Will be Epic Fails: You are trying new things, so there is a high chance that you will mess up, make mistakes, and will not get the results you want on the first try. You might be experimenting with new platforms, practices, and tools — but really, these failures will allow you to learn and it might even help you overcome imposter syndrome. Be prepared to not be perfectly polished, find editing audio of yourself awkward, and cringe at the physical ticks only you notice from your video presentations. We all have flaws — that’s what makes us human. Get over it and share!
Developing Skills Take Time: You will need practice and dedicate TIME to get through the above failures — to eventually share your audio/video presentations. Deliberate practice over time will improve your skills. Like any craft, editing and production of audio and video does take time. I suggest teaming up with a friend or even collaborator to learn and support your skill development, give honest feedback, and perhaps introduce you to a workflow or resource to enhance the podcasts or videos you are creating. You don’t have to do it alone! And, realize you will continue to learn and improve the art of planning, recording, and editing as you go.
Digital Tensions: Others have expressed concerns of “presenting” or being “seen/heard” digitally — as it increases their professional/personal anxieties and fears. It is scary to put things out there that you can’t edit (words) or augment (images/slides). Podcasts, videos, and more area digital records archived online that can be discovered, shared, and disseminated to a wider audience. By capturing moving images, verbal/non-verbal cues, and live expressions — you are open and vulnerable to others who stumble upon your work online. Audio and video has presentations not only capture your skills, knowledge, and practice — but these mediums also offer others an impression and digital trace of who you are, how you represent these ideas, and where you reside online (White & LeCornu, 2011).
All that being said, I really do want to HEAR and SEE what other women+ have to say online. I really appreciate and enjoy learning about what we are doing through podcasts, videos, and webcasts. By watching videos and hearing your voice, these mediums offer an intimate connection to you, your passions, your interests, and your ideas. These resonate and linger more for me in audio/video format — and these recorded archives allow a wider audience to stumble upon your work. Moving beyond text or flat visuals, I get some insight into your experiences and I feel a deeper connection to you!
Over the last few years, I’ve been thinking more about amplifying voices that don’t often get heard. This is why I co-host a podcast for/by women (#InVinoFab) and openly share resources for how to get started with podcasting. I hope to encourage others to think about how to “present” ourselves, skills, and knowledge digitally with more explainer blog posts, like multimodal approaches for teaching/learning, virtual teaming for collaborating, and strategies for conducting interviews. I think explaining our process (e.g. animated explainer video creation) of HOW we create this type of audio/video work might be helpful. So, expect more posts from me that pulls back the curtain to show my process. Finally, I know my 1:1 coaching and work with professionals for conference events (e.g. Pecha Kucha talks), pitch meetings, and keynotes have been helpful as I share resources from a “technical presentation skills” course I’ve taught at the university the last few years. I hope to do a bit more of this with other peers to give them the support they need.
Are you interested in developing your digital presentation skills? Looking for a way to amplify your voice through podcasting or video talks? Let me know — I’d be happy to support and welcome your voice to the conversation online.