Hello LCL'ers! It's time for another one of these threads.
Today is my ~birthday~, which signaled to me that it's been exactly one year since I was trying to take pictures of my creepy basement for my LCL Scratch project. (I would choose to celebrate my birthday no other way.)
The basement that inspired a Scratch intro. A few weeks before LCL 2014 started, I'd gotten locked out of the house and had to take refuge here.
I thought now might be a good time to reflect. Sometimes I don't understand what I've gotten out of an experience until it's aged a bit. Like wine! Or soybeans. I thought I'd invite others to reflect, too.
Here are some prompts to get started. Feel free to deviate!
- Describe life around the time you were starting LCL last year.
- Share an online memory from when you were doing LCL.
- Share an offline memory from when you were doing LCL.
- Share a life update and tell us if LCL has impacted you moving forward.
Life last year: I was still trying to find my forever school (i.e., a graduate program that befits my strangeness). In doing so, I was thinking more about my learning experiences with online community, and this brought me to LCL. I wasn't associated with formal education or any other offline education efforts, and at first I didn't know how I was going to fit in with experienced educators. But everyone was really nice and positive.
Memory from online: What I remember most is that I kept missing @James_B on Unhangouts video chat despite the fact that we were both attending. We were swapping forums posts and Scratch comments throughout LCL and finally on the last day, during the share faire, we ended up in a video chat together. "JAMES WE FINALLY MEET!!!"
Another favorite memory is video chatting with Mitch, Natalie, and another LCL'er (@sashastef, was that you?). I'd entered the breakout room and Mitch and Natalie were there together and my gut reaction was to hide under my computer desk because I was so surprised. But what really made this moment awesome was @Grif's connection failing and getting to see him run from his own Google Hangouts video chat window to Natalie and Mitch's window. It was the funniest thing as a viewer. I could just imagine what he was thinking: "No, I will not be stopped!"
Memory from offline: I remember that my family often wanted to go to lunch during LCL's weekly meetings. "No, I can't go to Killer Burger, I am doing LCL! Away with you!" Finally we worked it out so that we'd sometimes do lunch after LCL. My fiance and I ended up making it something of a short-term tradition to go to a nearby river cafe. We'd end up chatting about the LCL experience and reminiscing about other online experiences from our past.
Lunch on the docks. Topic of discussion: "Small groups are where it's at."
Life update: I got married and started grad school. But wait, there's more! I slowly realized that a lot of things in my life are in conflict with grad school (among them: finances, health insurance, work, and preventing loved ones from eating at Killer Burger). To say that this realization represents a "major bummer" is an understatement. At the same time, I found myself asking a lot of critical questions that I probably wouldn't have been asking had I gotten to graduate study a bit sooner and missed out on experiences like LCL. More than anything, LCL helped me to recognize peer and community-led learning as a legitimate kind of learning. It's an exciting time to explore nontraditional online learning paths, and it turns out I need and want those experiences.
I now pass the mic to @James_B!