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Reflecting One Year Later


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!

  1. Describe life around the time you were starting LCL last year.
  2. Share an online memory from when you were doing LCL.
  3. Share an offline memory from when you were doing LCL.
  4. 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!


This is a great idea, @Spamigail! And happy birthday!!

Alright, I'll bite.

Life last year:

I started to step outside of my comfort zone by doing uncharacteristic things like lead creative workshops, socialize in public, and basically not stay put in my house as a recluse. I found a local Hackerspace that caught my attention and I've been haunting it since. Around this time, I was really starting to step out of my comfort box by offering to lead public workshops to help fill our calendar. I've had an emotional decade and have been a bit topsy turvy, but these past couple of years have been a period in my life where I finally feel structure and stability starting to happen.

Memory from online:

I remember seeing @Spamigail's Scratch intro and it reminded me of Myst. I was inspired by her creativity and compelling, high quality Scratch intro. Other than that, in general my favorite thing was seeing how ideas would bounce and morph from person to person. There were some very interesting and unique conversations going on and I miss how active it seemed then.

Memory from offline:

A cool memory I am fond of involves tinkering with my two kids. Around this time, we were experimenting with things like ways to make homemade electronic finger skate ramps that light up, amateur videog games, and other projects.

Life update:

Since this time last year, I've settled back into a recluse lifestyle in part to take breaks when I needed to. I've also stepped even more out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways. I've picked up laser cutters as a hobby, I'm a volunteer Communications Director now, and I try to do at least three things a month that five years ago I would have been absolutely terrified to even try. Most of these things, like leading a workshop, are things I really like but have had one barrier or another such as social anxiety preventing me from getting too far into things. I've always been more of an online person, and generally a lurker at that. So for my life update, I've tried to continue exploring out of my comfort zone.


Hahaha @ "haunting" a Hackerspace. I think that's a good word to describe my participation in a lot of groups and spaces, too.

You know, it's funny how we perceive ourselves and how difficult it can be to detect another person's challenges, because from your participation here I know you are a natural leader. I've also always liked that you are honest about your experiences. As someone who grew up on text-based Internet and was teased by offline peers, I totally get where you are coming from. In fact, it comforts me to know that someone else deals with some of the same barriers that I do. I think you are making great strides and it really shows in your reflection.

I remember being so happy that you recognized the Myst influence in my Scratch intro. Shortly before deciding to pursue grad school, I had revisited the game on my phone. I remember playing it with my dad when I was in sixth grade. That year, my school experimented with "exploratory" periods, which gave me an opportunity to briefly participate in an open-lab-style computer class (which my teacher of the time, now my stepmom, tells me was a result of the faculty just not knowing enough to teach a structured class). My best friend and I were really into Nintendo 64, so we wanted to make a game. I told her we should "make a game like Myst." Scratch didn't exist, but HyperCard did, so we made a point-and-click game about finding and capturing our brothers in a house of locked doors. Thinking back, that was the experience that got me really excited about computers. I wanted to be a game designer from that point on. It's rather fitting that it resurfaced in my Scratch project.

I miss the active version of LCL, too. Maybe we can do some sort of progress report thread on things we're currently learning or working on?


Perfect idea! I appreciated!