Common understanding

October 11, 2021

Östra bron, Karlstad, October 11, 2021

This beautiful October day, crispy and sunny as it is, I would like to reflect a bit on the strive for a common understanding. I’m included in a few mail- and chat-lists where articles and different topics a bit randomly are shared and discussed. This weekend the hot topic was the suggestion by the green party in Sweden for a 15 minutes news update on climate issues each day by the public tv. This made some stir and people in one of my lists compared it with fanatisms that soon will look like the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. A quite unjust and not so accurate comparison I thought, to put it mildly. So how does one reply in order to keep up a somewhat nice and constructive tone and without digging trenches of opinions? I decided to try to see the humor in the bad comparison and started out with a smiley adding that killing civilians on the streets and harassment of woman and girls for not being covered maybe is a bit different then suggesting daily climate updates in the news? Then there followed some comments from others in the list saying that if every political party would get their 15 minutes to use for their own party interests, then the whole tableau would be filled. I decided to rest my case as I saw no opening for a constructive continuation of the discussion. Sometimes it’s just very hard to see how one can reach a common platform of understanding.

Last week group 5 at the ONL212 course discussed topic 1 and the thoughts and anxieties of an attendant, presumably a teacher, in an online course that was presented in the scenario. Our group saw many different things at different levels of analysis. At the direct personal level it was noticed that the teacher was frustrated and perhaps insecure in handling digital tools. Questions then followed on how different we really are? We think maybe too often that others are so more competent because we feel stupid for things we don’t know or handle perfectly? Others mentioned problems and issues around ethical and security issues of digital learning, leaving footprints behind etc. Others again mentioned pedagogical aspects on how to communicate what a digital classroom really represents (if there is such a thing).

When all comments were summarized and we as a group needed to formulate what to find out more about, we had a difficult time in finding a common platform. Some suggested the concept of the digital classroom as being one point of departure while others talked about online identity or presence as was talked about in the workshops. Others introduced the concept of gamification representing new attractive ways of learning. We obviously saw this not only from different angels but also at different levels of analysis and understanding. What are we interested in doing here, know more about how to gamify a certain learning process or actually understand what we mean by a digital classroom? Or to define or identify what constitutes the frame work in where we foster and promote those learning processes?

I’m, sure we will arrive at something but critical questions also arise on what this platform then will actually represent. Will it satisfy the gaps of knowledge our group carries and like to be addressed? The smallest common denominator might link us together but perhaps satisfies no one.

Is this a pedagogical process we prefer and would advocate? Does it foster the beast new knowledge or do we risk to lose important questions along the way? Sometimes you know more than I do and that need to come thru.

Well after today’s group discussion we came out pretty strong in spirit and with an ambition to present something around ‘The digital classroom’ with room for everyone to contribute with his/her interpretation. We also decided to try a new tool for our presentation, A video created in Bitable.


Add yours

  1. Hej! It’s interesting to read about your experience and compare it to my own. The early discussions sound much like those in my PBL group, but then there seems to be a large amount of divergence in how focus was brought to the topic, and the framing used to present and discuss the scenario.

    • Hi Kirsty and thanks for your feedback and comment, much appreciated. Interesting to hear that you recognized what we experienced in our PBL group, the sense of confusion sometimes is what unite us ?, and that I have come to ealize can be a pretty good starting point for a common understanding.

  2. How a well done story telling on your group experience! Thank you! Between the lines it seems the you, as I am, are looking forward to a deapened collaboration in the group. What steps do you suggest to achieve that?

    • Thank you Peter, yes maybe we still scratch a bit on the surface as a process to get familiar with each other and not create too much stir by being too opinionated. Perhaps we will get there bit by bit by feeling more comfortable with the group and also perhaps, allowing ourselves to show our frustration more openly!? ?

  3. I re-read this blog post after hearing you highlight how inclusive and polite we were in hearing everyone’s position (at this week’s Topic 2 discussion webinar). I was struck by how the discussion and the fact that we were inclusive and polite took time, though we did arrive at a decision eventually. I also noticed that we take time to ‘warm up’ for each session, with the discussion increasing in pace and liveliness in the second half of our meetings. Maybe the take-away is that we need time to come up with inclusive and creative/interesting decisions, and taking time is something our mainstream culture does not prioritise or value (e.g. emphasis on speed and achieving goals as opposed to taking time and focusing on process). Thanks again for this comprehensive post! Cheah.

    • Thanks Cheah, for adding value to the conversation and topic. Yes, I think you are absolutely right, we (or at least some of us) need to take a deep breath and just go along with the process and see and experience that as valuable. And I think it is, don’t get me wrong, but as you say, I think we are so focused on getting things done (preferably quite fast) that we don’t value the process enough. Looking forward to seeing you later on this afternoon!

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