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Posts tagged ‘connecting’

like the back of your hand?

The question was posed to me:

How well do you know the back of your hand?

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 06.44.48It was a daily prompt in a project to get people connected through technology (that is a huge under-simplification of  the AGORA, web-associated activities connected to the University of Guadalajara (UdG) Student Centred and Mobile Learning Diploma). Although the Daily Try was created as part of the project, it is wide reaching and open to anyone. I have dipped in and out of it this summer and looking back at my collection of Daily Try entries, they form a positive scrapbook of reflectivity and storytelling.

So the back of my hand? I thought you would never ask. This is my left hand, and it is in shadow because it will never be classically beautiful like my grandmother’s (she was a hand model in the day when mannequins were live people). That is primarily because I have cello fingers. To play the cello, short nails are a must, and if you had a better view of my thumb, you would see a callus on the side of it from playing as well – If I play a lot the ends of my fingers look like little frog’s fingers. It sounds odd, but it’s not – promise.

Then there’s the ring. Well two rings. You probably can’t see them in the photo, but that’s ok- the story isn’t about what they look like. One has been there 18 years and the other a bit longer. The engagement ring was not bought (I am a very big fan of passing on/lending/giving things to others, and have been lucky enough to be on the receiving end as well). This was one of those stories- In short the ring was hers:


She was Laura Anne, some semi-distant ancestor of my husband. She was not a great woman in history, but we do have her story and she endured many things- including spending weeks on a fishing boat and giving birth at sea sometime in the mid 1850’s. The ring itself was falling apart (lost the main stone down the sink drain in the loo at the Royal College of Music!), but it got cobbled back together and I love that it was hers and that I can carry on that story. Someday some ancestor of mine might take it out of a box and say to their child – do you have a ring? would you like to have/give this one?

on the back of that story, I commend the Daily Try to you.

The man, the keys, and the cup of tea

This is one of those posts about something that really happened, it was just yesterday –

There was a knock on the door and I opened it to find the postman asking me to sign for a parcel, and I noticed a car stopped in the road (we have a sort of drive that goes above the main road, and we can see the main road from our house) and there was an older gentleman explaining to the police that he had locked himself out of his car. I thought, ‘ah, poor man. What an unfortunate thing to do…’ and went back in the house. A good hour later I happened to walk out of the front door, and the man was still there ! He was leaning on his car, standing, with his head resting on his arm leaning above the door of the car and he looked really weary. I went back into the house and thought ‘poor, poor man. I should do something.’

So I did.

I went out there and asked him – I said:

Excuse me, are you ok? I overheard that you locked yourself out of your car a while ago, and you’re still there. Would you like a glass of water, cup of tea, or a marmite sandwich or something? Would you like a chair?

He looked so pleased and said:

Actually a cup of tea and somewhere to sit down would be wonderful.

It turns out he had a cup of coffee in the car and it spilled. When he stopped to shake the spill off his newspaper, as he shook- the keys slipped out of his hand and into the car, and as he turned, the door shut and autolocked with the keys inside!

It was so easy. But before I said anything to him, after I saw he was still there, I went back in the house and for half a minute I wrestled with myself – oooh, I really should do something, ah, but you don’t just invite strangers to lunch do you? -that second thought didn’t last long, because sometimes I do just invite strangers to lunch- in a matter of speaking. I did what I would want someone to do if I was in that situation.

So out came a garden chair and a cup of tea and that man stopped leaning wearily on his car, and I brought him a pencil and he did the crossword puzzle while he waited and kept watch. First the AA car rescue people came, and then they called in a locksmith. I guess all electronic newish cars are hard to break into without damaging them. There was of course an hour wait  for each of these people to arrive. Good thing it was a nice day out! I came out to chat to him and make sure he was ok, and I said that if they finally fixed it and I wasn’t around, it was fine for him to just go. And in the end (nearly 4 hours later!) he did.

The magic of the story is that neither of us ever knew the other’s name. His wife was having a reunion with some people she had taken a course with at the university where I teach, and it would have been easy to say – oh I teach there, I’m blah blah blah, but giving him a rest and a drink wasn’t about me, and it was delicious to think that I could be remembered as a random nice stranger.

So to the man in his little red car, I hope your wife believed your story when you eventually picked her up, and I hope she wasn’t cross that your shopping trip took a *little* longer than expected. Safe journey home.

Grow your PLN? Hmmm… thoughts on connecting

6908051042_7c9c00c779_z(2 min read) Photo CC licensed:

A short reply that is longer than a tweet.

This morning I did like every morning, and indulged in an hour of reading – blogs, tweets, articles. It sounds like a long time, but I promise it’s not – I can type (nearly) as fast as I read. So looking through the #ccourses tagged tweets I noticed that Lisa Lane was talking about the daily topic set for the current unit Putting it into Practice. So this led me to look up the topic for today:

How might you create your own Personal Learning Network on the open web to provide you with support?

I did what any good student would do. I looked it up, and I am still looking. Without formally engineering connections, Connected Courses has opened a door for all of the people involved.

Consider: I am a cellist. I teach music. You don’t know who I am. I think you are interesting and would like to connect. I drop you an email or a message.

Then what?

If I am lucky and you are not swamped, you might reply.

Somehow being under the same umbrella of Connected Courses has made me braver – I have ventured a dozen connections through DM, email, or a comment and they have produced results from no reply (even in the best settings it happens- and you still have to try!) to the birth of concrete projects. That makes it so worth while. The thing that has been so valuable is that initial permission to connect and to already have a seed of commonality – I don’t want to be pegged as a musician. Music is my language but what I do is communicate, and that is not confined to one type of people. The best ideas come when the ingredients are mixed – sometimes blending well and other times sitting separately, side-by-side. Either way they reveal something about the other and then we grow.

So back to the question, how do you grow your own PLN on the open web to provide you with support? My guess is that it involves knocking on the door and seeing if someone answers. -and if someone knocks on your door, to open it, or at the very least have a little look through the keyhole.


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