Learning (and Wobbling) in Connected Community

As the 12-year olds in Mitch Resnick’s essay tell us:

Start simple
Work on things that you like If you have no clue what to do, fiddle around
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Find a friend to work with, share ideas!
It’s OK to copy stuff (to give you an idea)
Keep your ideas in a sketchbook
Build, take apart, rebuild
Lots of things can go wrong, stick with it

I see these ideas and ways of working throughout your excellent app designs and curated Find 5s links — what great resources to get us all thinking and making! Keep going with this kind of approach while we consider the ways that we pose, wobble, and flow through our work as learners as well as teachers.


This week, let’s continue to play, make, and learn alongside colleagues, with a focus on what it is like to learn, and to wobble, in connected communities. And what are the implications for learning and for equity?

What does it mean to wobble? Let’s start to think about this by doing some social reading (and writing) with Antero Garcia and Cindy O’Donnell-Allen using the Introduction: “What it Means to Pose, Wobble, Flow” from the book What it Means to Pose, Wobble, Flow from Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction.

… we offer a framework we call Pose, Wobble, Flow, which will prompt you to maintain the continual focus on personal reflexivity and professional growth that is so necessary for acknowledging how privilege and cultural positionality shape one’s practice.

This chapter has been shared on the Marginal Syllabus project and therefore is very crowded with annotations. To try a new thing together, let’s start to annotate in a private group instead of in public. I created a group for us that you can join here: https://hypothes.is/groups/wpZk8PiM/ed677-spring-2019.

Join this group by clicking on the link, logging in, etc.. You should now be a member of this group and you can come back to be a group member at anytime. Learn more about annotating in groups here if you feel stuck.

Now, to get started, go to the Marginal Syllabus article “Introduction: What it Means to Pose, Wobble, Flow”. Now whenever you are logged in you can toggle between “Public” or “ED677 Spring 2019” to decide where you want to annotate. Remember you can use the eyeball icon to turn on/off annotations for reading too.

Try annotating this article in our new private group for our class. How is that different than annotating the article publicly? Add something publicly if you feel moved to do that; how is that different than annotating with our private group? … Feel free to experiment and think about the ways you pose, wobble, and flow as you go.

A second reading is titled “Chapter 4: Working with Tension,” from Teaching for the Students: Habits of Heart, Mind and Practice in the Engaged Classroom by Bob Fecho. This chapter also has a annotation layer added to it. Start by annotating with our private group. Next add at least 2 annotations to the public layer (This is a new public layer, so you will be getting the conversation started here!).

Finally, stop by a project of Dr. Fecho’s called Storri at Teachers College at Columbia University. This is a site where teachers courageously share their stories of wobble. Pick out 2-3 stories from across the different categories to focus on. What issues were causing wobble for these educators and what complexities are discussed?

Share these on your blog this week along with the Make project below (which might take you a little longer than one week).


Note: this may take you more than just this week to accomplish, depending on when you start.

This week, check out the set of provocations that Antero and Cindy offer at the end of their chapter (page 14 of Pose, Wobble, Flow):

  1. Keep a journal or diary (digital or nondigital) and begin listing the areas of your practice that you continue to struggle with. Prioritize those areas that require the most in-depth scrutiny. [slight edit] Do you think any of these are poses? If so, make notes to yourself about this.
  2. Try jotting brief notes in your daily lesson plans or recording a few words on sticky notes that will later jog your memory about classroom events related to your wobble. If it’s easier, you can even record voice memos on your phone or computer and listen to them on your way home to reflect on how your teaching went that day. As you interrogate your wobble by inquiring into your practice, what insights are you finding? Where are you experiencing flow?
  3. Use the same process above to reflect on your students’ work. Seeing this as data for meaningfully informed wobbling, what are your students producing, and what does their work say about your classroom’s culture, your teaching practice, your understanding of who your students are? Don’t forget that your students are the best source of information about their own learning. Talk to them and try to find common ground.

Try these suggestions for one week. And then share a reflection on what you learn in the process of doing these things. If you are comfortable sharing notes you took along the way, feel free (but please make your own decision about this; you should always consider the public nature of blogging before posting). Keep those notes so that you can look back and reflect on them throughout the semester.

Remember in your reflection to come back to our main questions, ie. what is it like to learn, and to wobble, in connected communities? What are the implications of wobble for connected learning and equity?


The 12 year olds above tell us to “Find a friend to work with, share ideas!” Drs. Garcia and O’Donnell-Allen also ask us to “Seek out allies and mentors” and write:

… even though the model as we’ve described it above often sounds individualistic, we don’t intend for it to be. In fact … we have found that we go through P/W/F cycles most successfully when we collaborate with colleagues who provide moral support and at the same time challenge our thinking.

This week, start to identify some allies and mentors for yourself or others who you might support you when you wobble. Are they people you work with or connect with through school? Are there networks to connect to, professional alliance or organizations that can be supportive? What about some of the new connections you’ve been exploring, both on and offline? Where do you as an educator find moral support while challenging your thinking?


Finally, if you are up for it, it is Valentine’s week after all and love is in the air. Why not share with the world what it is you love about teaching! Check out #loveteaching to learn how.

New to Twitter? Many educators are using twitter to connect with colleagues and also to engage in discussion about education as professionals in the field.

If you are interested, the Studies of Literacies and Multimedia (SLAM) Assembly of NCTE ran a webinar (yes, that is the same Antero Garcia and Nicole Mirra you’ve been reading!) on learning to Tweet. Check it out.


In learning and connecting solidarity,


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