Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Reflecting on #DHIB2017 w @nadinneabo

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Today was a really special day in my hybridity. I gave this workshop at the Digital Humanities Institute in Beriut, co-facilitating with my colleague Nadine Aboulmagd (thanks to @djwrisley for inviting me to this initially and for agreeing for me to participate virtually). Nadine was onsite, I was virtual. For FIVE hours (2 hour break in the middle). The workshop title & blurb were:

Digital Pedagogy in the Regional Context

This workshop focuses on issues of hybrid identities & empowerment in digital environments for educators/learners outside of the US/UK and critical approaches to the implementation of educational technology. We will explore challenges,opportunities and complexity of learning online across national and cultural boundaries, sharing and eliciting case studies.

The hands-on component of the workshop will involve exploration of tools and practices that can make digital pedagogy more inclusive, including sensitivity to poor/unstable infrastructure and learner diversity. Participants will be invited to share their own experiences and preferred tools.

We will end the workshop with a collaborative document outlining recommended practices for inclusive networked learning.

Best thing about the workshop was the participants and all they brought to the table. Nadine was an excellent Facilitator, balancing listening to participants and bringing me in. I wonder in hindsight whether we could have accommodated a couple virtual participants as well.

In planning this workshop, Nadine and I did a lot of early planning, got into a small funk just before (partly because I had personal reasons and haven’t been going to work regularly) then in the last few days we added some really cool stuff! We ended up not covering everything we had prepared in terms of content and activities, but the discussions were just so good and totally worth it.

I need here to give Rayane Fayed of AUB a huge thank you for making sure the tech worked. The entire time, I could hear the room WELL and they could hear me. There were around 6-8 participants at any time and I could hear all of them. This, as Rayane knows, is a huge difference from a recent experience where she was an attendee and I was virtual and the people at the event failed repeatedly to get the tech to work, occasionally losing one thing while fixing the other (i almost never had both audio and video simultaneously in that event). In contrast, between AUB tech support competence and the care Rayane and Nadine put it into this one, it was a smooth day. I am so grateful Beirut Internet cooperated. I gotta ask Rayane the specs for that awesome mic!

I was joining via Google hangouts and occasionally Nadine would share her screen so I could see where on PowerPoint she was.

A basic outline of what we did is

  1. Collaborative introductions
  2. Quick exploration of our different understandings of networked learning and inclusivity (i love that initial response to networked was about offline networks) 
  3. Identity exercises and reference to the iceberg idea Nadine had found and different dimensions of identity by Gee (which I found like 2 days ago but v appropriate) and discussion of power in how we define identity 
  4. Nadine discussed digital literacies with an angle to contextualizing it in terms of key issues/interpretations for our region (participants were from Lebanon, France and Pakistan)
  5. We started sharing case studies of networked practices and barriers using DigPed UMW workshop (Kate Bowles, Paul Prinsloo and me) but it was lunch time so we didn’t finish 
  6. Break
  7. We showed this fun video Nadine had found on privacy as an ice breaker as people trickled in
  8. We did an asset mapping exercise of people highlighting their strengths in pedagogy and tools and compared notes
  9. Nadine did a critical tool parade. Described a tool or set of tools for a purpose then opened up for critique 
  10. We had originally planned for each to share case studies from their practice and brainstorm barriers/challenges then later collaboratively work on action plans to address those. But there was no time

The discussions were really valuable, so even though we didn’t achieve all our goals, I think the session went well overall. We could have maybe gotten Participant feedback on what they wanted to do second half,  giving them choices and either splitting the room between Nadine and myself or finding ways to meet different needs. But we can always share more resources online AND we can hold a webinar follow-up via AMICAL Digital Pedagogy committee to discuss some of what we couldn’t do before.

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