Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Day 1 of #et4online – backstories behind #et4buddy hangouts

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Day 1 of #et4online was an exhilirating experience, thanks to the generosity of a lot of awesome people. The backstory behind the #et4buddy program is pure generosity on Rebecca’s part to my pure selfishness… but I also feel other virtuals (and even people on-site) are benefitting and enjoying it. I’d love to hear suggestions for how to expand this pilot (we were asked to keep it at pilot for now). Here is Rebecca’s storify from y/day. I also made a tinyurl for the playlist: http://tinyurl.com/et4buddy

So our first hangout was actually on Apr 21 with Matt Croslin not at the hotel but at the LINK Lab where he, Robin Bartoletti and Rebecca showed me around the lab and we talked about it. Matt had originally wanted to offer me some kind of walking bot thing that I could control from afar and walk around as if I was there, but this didn’t work out. It was still an awesome hangout, but we had some tech issues (plus started quite late coz my daughter slept late that night).

Our second hangout was with #tvsz (my team) before our 8:30am workshop , we had tech glitches with Google, so we used Zoom and the recording got saved offline. I started uploading it this morning from home (it takes a really long time to upload from home).


I’ve hungout a lot with Andrea, Christina, and JR (and Pete but he didn’t make it to the hangout; and of course Janine and Lizzie but they couldn’t make it to the conference). It was so cool seeing them all together as full-bodied people and not just heads :)) Our workshop started immediately after and Janine and I participated online (there is a long story, but I didn’t end up having proper babysitting for those 3 hours of the workshop and it was really long for a virtual person to stay put and work, so I had to multitask big time).

I’m glad I was multitasking and watching the UDL session by Kevin Kelly that Rebecca was attending f2f because then we had an opportunity to hang out with Kevin live and he was super friendly and helpful. I sneaked in a word about on-site participants using mics when they talk so virtuals can hear. Hint to all speakers. Repeat the question or remind people to use mics

Then the most spontaneous funky hangout happened – Whitney, Robin and Joyce set something up as a surprise – a #rhizo15 board! They hacked some space to do this and said they’d invite people to write something on it – and asked me to email Whitney something to add to it 😉 That’ll be sooo cool. I just realized I should have emailed her a hand-written thing but oh well :))

And then there was the “planned” hangout of the day. The idea was to have Laura Pasquini, Jesse Stommel, Mimi Ito, with Rebecca and me and a couple of virtual participants (we had Cindy Jennings and Apostolos Koutropoulous better known as AK). Jesse couldn’t make it because of a mix-up regarding location, but everyone else made it and it was really lovely and cozy, I thought 😉 We also heard about this awesome idea of a shared google doc where people were taking notes on sessions for others to read (this is awesome for people like me who prefer text to video). Here is the doc in case you wanna contribute or read. 

We also had a hangout immediately before Mimi Ito’s keynote where Rebecca showed me the room… that was cool coz virtual participants don’t regularly see that kind of thing. Jeff Merrell and Matt Croslin popped in.

Finally, we had a hangout immediately after the keynote with Jesse Stommmel and Sean Michael Morris which was really cool as well and we laughed a lot! Talked about so many things related to Jesse’s Shakespeare MOOC, the upcoming DigPedLab and reflections on the keynote and more!

We got some cool feedback from people watching the hangouts live or recorded. The thing I’m trying to figure out is how can I help more people sign up for buddies, when some people on site seem to have MiFi and seem willing to help out and some virtuals are interested. Robin suggested a signup form – I’m just not sure how it would work exactly, but I’ll post something on Canvas and see. Here’s the direct link to the doc. No promises unfortunately because I can’t participate in all my presentations and do my own #et4buddy with Rebecca and also coordinate another one (while also multitasking at home with a 3 year old and today’s my mom’s bday so I can’t totally ignore her).

It’s difficult to schedule everything properly – the spontaneous ones work better, I think. The “scheduled one” took us about half an hour to get together with this weird dynamic where I was coordinating the meetings between people who were in the same location until they could physically see each other.

I am painfully aware that it is much easier for me as Maha Bali specifically to organize these things. I have the privilege of knowing so many of the people at #et4online that others want to meet. I’m a columnist at Hybrid Pedagogy and have been friends with Jesse and Sean for over a year now; I’m close to someone like Bonnie and of course Rebecca; I’m on the steering committee of the conference so I know people like Michelle and Laura well; I know enough of the virtual participants that I could invite them in, etc. I was lucky enough to meet Mimi Ito and Gardner Campbell during #ccourses and for them to notice me enough to be excited to meet me. Things like that. This also means, though, that other virtual participants might be shy to ask for meetings like these. However, if they have a good #et4buddy who is well-connected and willing to initiate those conversations for them, it could work out quite well. Just logistically difficult.

Happy to hear feedback here and we’ll have a survey up on the last day of the conference to get feedback from people as well

If you’re a virtual participant and want to join a hangout, let me know and we’ll try to have you on at least one. We’re hopefully meeting Bonnie Stewart around lunch time today; Gardner Campbell around lunch time tomorrow, and we have some unscheduled planned ones with people like Michael Bermann, the #edtech women after today’s panel, and more…

2 Comments

  1. Seeing the #et4online hashtags took me to some of this. Great to see #rhizo15 participants talking, at least on video. With this week’s theme, I’m very aware of people being able to track and study the conversations that leave tracks online, but not those that take place in person in and out of #rhizo15.

    • Tanks for thus Lisa! Someone gave us survey feedback that they we upset we tweeted to the #rhizo15 hashtag… I knew i wasn’t doing something that made sense to me: there we enough rhizo ppl there that it might interest some of us to see them and meet them that way. Thanks again for taking time to leave a comment. Very timely for me!

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