I have written before about how it isn’t enough to use these exciting new tools to do the same things we have always done. So, I had to stop and think when I read Karen’s post about the EVO session she is doing this year: Research and Web 2.0. She makes what was for me, a very startling statement:
For starts, I got kind of hung up on the doing of things the same way…. that is… ok, let’s start with introductions.
And in her introduction she said
I’ve been thinking during this week about this course and wonder about the function of introductions in this setting and the best use of web tools for that.
What was startling? Well, I am a co-moderator of an EVO session called Social Media in English Language Teaching. And we began by asking out participants to introduce themselves. It never occurred to me, at least, that there might be an alternative. Actually, that isn’t exactly true. We also had Charles Cameron set up a HipBone game that was supposed to get us in different groupings for deeper conversation than the traditional intro. And that worked. But I would
never have thought not to have participants introduce themselves in a forum-type post. After all, that’s how I always begin my classes: We go around the room introducing ourselves to the group.
The question, then, becomes, “What else could we have done?” That’s what Karen is asking. Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers.
Is there a way to get people to know each other and to begin to develop a sense of community without introductions? Do we actually need to develop community from the beginning or could we allow it to develop over the course of the 6-week session? I don’t know. But I want to think about it.