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The illiterate in a multiliterate world (Episode 2)

January 14, 2010

Honestly the previous post was not meant for Webheads. It was a reaction to my experience in another non-EVO activity adopting similar principles. I spent two weeks negotiating my way to team work in a multicultural group of ten participants aiming at building a course together. I used all the techniques I’d acquired from Webheads’ and other activities. I tried bottom-up planning and positive team building techniques. I tried to reach out in every way I know so we could reach a common ground, despite the barriers of language, space and time. I was faced by walls of silence. I kept wondering what I did wrongly. Then, I decided to sit back and watch. I came to realize there were serious ego clashes lying beneath. After 2 weeks of unsuccessful efforts to get everyone on the same page, many of the team members managed to make it to a synchronous meeting. However, I decided to step out.

Reflecting on my experience, I feel sad to be misunderstood, secluded and unappreciated. Posts, friend requests and cyber gifts were often ignored. It really hurt physically and mentally. That experience was unlike what I experience among Webheads, a community bustling with leaders who don’t suffer from ego problems. They make members feel welcome the minute they get in the community. They believe in good will and open-mindedness. They believe in the exponential growth of learning by practicing what they preach. They don’t exercise the powerful/more knowledgeable vs. powerless/less knowledgeable relations. Participants are seen in various lights through linguistic, cultural, political, historical, economic and social lenses. Two days ago, I thought of writing a status message that I was grateful to be learning among Webheads. However, it sounded cheesy and could have passed unnoticed. Delving deeper into the reasons and sharing them with others made it more meaningful.


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  1. Henrick James Borger permalink

    Wow, fantastic comment. I think we can all relate in one way or another to the comment above. I think what we all need to remember, is that the type of collaborative teamwork where intelligence is distributed, and the group becomes a ‘ding an sich’ rather than merely a sum of its constituents, is that it is not the dominant paradigm. We will still find groups that are guided by a 1.0 ideology, with ‘conventional’ views, hierarchies, and group dynamics. Though hopefully, this is a phenomenon that we will see less and less of as newer, more democratized, egalitarian, and social-constructivist concepts of team/group-work increase.

  2. Maria Bossa permalink

    Salamaleikom! Great comment and I hope I can be as "literate" as you are in all this! Best regards, Maria 🙂

  3. Maria Bossa permalink

    I think I’ll quit this as I’m not a web-head! See you 😦

  4. Vanessa Vaile permalink

    I’ve been there ~ you express so well the frustration and puzzlement that I’ve felt. I’ve tried to do what you described with both teaching colleagues and local community networks. Reading your post I understand better why I am always look forward to EVO. It also helps me keep my patience with the non-Webheads who don’t get it yet. I’ll keep trying. When they figure it out, maybe I’ll tell them they need to thank a Webhead.<br><br>PS I just looked up your profile and see that you are from Alex ~ I lived there years ago, Ras el Soda. Now I can’t help thinking about Groppi’s even if it is winter and too cold here for Italian ices

  5. Maria Bossa permalink

    @Thanks Nina! I’ll try to do my best 🙂

  6. Nina Liakos permalink

    @Maria, no one means to exclude you. A webhead is just someone who identifies him or herself as one. You can be a webhead–if you want to be. If not, you are still part of our multiliteracies community, which consists of some people who identify themselves as webheads and others who do not. All are welcome. I hope you read this!<br>@Hanaa, I sense your frustration. Not everybody moves ahead at the same pace. Personally, I always ignore cybergifts on Facebook because I don’t trust those non-Facebook applications with my personal data. Whenever someone sends me a gift or an invitation to play a game I block that application. I always hope they don’t know that I am doing it! I spend enough time on Facebook just posting and reading status updates. I don’t want to get addicted to that other stuff!

  7. Maria Bossa permalink

    Merci Elizabeth! 🙂

  8. Elizabeth Anne permalink

    Well said Henrick, and stick in there Maria my friend 🙂 … I’m off to your comment wall Hanaa

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