DAILY INSIGHT: Learning together

By Miguel Guhlin, CIO Advisor

For a self-styled hermit, loner, and, according to personality profiles, an introvert (INTJ), I am amazed at the value I can get by reflecting on my own work. Often, this results in a "You're too tough on yourself" perspective, but I find that to be helpful when focused on moving forward.

Some questions I try to ask myself regularly include the following:

  1. How could I have had handled that better?
  2. What could I do differently to move the organization forward in ways that it hasn't before?
  3. How can I motivate myself to build better relationships with others to achieve organizational goals?

The questions are hard ones to answer and easy to avoid during the busy, crazy lives we all lead with myriad priorities. These conversations, self-dialogues of a sort, often take the place of community learning. Community learning insights fuel these self-dialogues, the self-reflection, making me come up with new ideas to apply to my life and work. I have complete control over these, which I have found is necessary for me as a learner. Obviously, I don't like to have my cheese moved any more than the next person. That's why it's important to move my own cheese, so to speak, so that I can stay ahead of the change.

These concepts come to mind while reading Howard Rheingold'sReflection, Conversation, Co-Learning Communities, in which he writes:

Reflecting on material is a path to understanding by an individual learner, but when a group of learners reflect in public, they provide a rich field for conversations about the material. Debates. Conjectures. Contrapositives. Analysis. Conversations can lead to co-learning when other elements—trust, shared purpose, lead learners, skilled facilitation, serendipity—combine to influence groups of learners to be co-responsible for each other’s learning. And co-learners over time can grow into learning communities.

As a blogger, reflection on other's learning (what can be more sacred than that?) and how we introduce our own biases into the conversation are powerful. The saving place is community. As a hermit, my success as a learner is limited, but a blog also provides me with the opportunity to dig deeper and share my insights—foolish, profound, or something in the middle—with a greater world. In a real way, an introvert can connect with others in safe ways.

The call is to community....

Miguel Guhlin is director of technology for a 5A school district in Texas and past president of the statewide TCEA Technology Education Coordinators group. This blog is cross posted at Around the Corner.