Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blogging break and the power of online community

Just a quickie (am going to write a proper post later)... but just wanted to wave and say 'hello!'.  I've had a bit of a blogging break for the past month and a half.  My Dad died very suddenly a few weeks ago and my head has been a little empty of anything to say about technology or education or anything 'proper' for a while.  So... sorry for the blogging break.

However, I also wanted to record and reflect on what's happened in the weeks since he died because I did carry on being online in one form: photography.  I used my daily photo journal at Blipfoto to record my experience of loss as a way of trying to make sense of an extremely traumatic event in my life.  Somehow having an image to talk about was easier than trying to talk about anything more abstract.  The thing I found surprising and extremely moving were the comments left by people who looked at my journal.  Despite only having been using Blipfoto for the past three months, I was amazed by how supportive people were... many of whom who knew me only through my photographs and in no other context.  They not only shared images with me but wrote freely about their experiences, gave unconditional empathetic support - and encouragement to carry on just being however I needed to be.

It's unexpected, touching experiences like this which give me real hope for technology enhanced education.  Despite no face-to-face contact, despite there being no reciprocal expectation and with nothing more than the possibility of giving support... people wrote and shared from wherever they were.  There are plenty who say there is no substitute for face-to-face.  Well, I can see where they're coming from in many ways.  But, when for no other reason than they can... people connect and form supportive communities without ever needing to meet the other person... that's a powerful thing.
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