Thursday, 4 January 2018

Join the #CBLchat Voxer Community

The concept of community is an important aspect of my life. I think it is for most of us. Whether it is the nostalgia of growing up with kindred spirits (these days referred to as BFFs) or spending years watching TV shows like Friends, or Cheers (where everybody knows your name), I think we all long to be part of a group that enjoys life together. Churches work at this diligently.  Whether they call them Bible studies, life groups, small groups, community groups, the hope is that each member of the church body finds its place in a troop just the right size. Large enough to obtain a group dynamic, yet small enough not to get lost.

We possess a yearning to be known with all our bumps and bruises. To be accepted.  We see it in the classic coming-of-age stories.  Finding the proverbial seat in the cafeteria.  (See Mean Girls, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Karate Kid, Spiderman, A Walk To Remember, and now Wonder) At our core is a desire to connect, to know and to be known, a longing not only for acceptance but for inclusion. Community addresses this longing.

Our desire for community isn't simply indulgence.  It is how we grow, how we learn. I reference that in the Connections-based Learning book when I talk about the Kangaroo Care I gave to my preemie twins. Through connection, we thrive. It is the basic understanding of connections-based learning: we learn as we connect. We learn even more as we connect with those who are different from us.

For a number of years now, I have been part of a growing community. With an approach to teaching focused on connections, a community is vital. We connect through an app called Voxer, a multi-person messaging app. This is where we share our trials and triumphs as we connect our classes with learning partners near and far.

More than just a flash in the pan

A short connection does not attain the community needed for growth. Our #CBLchat Voxer Community allows for week to week connection. We can support each other over time. We can grow to understand each other. We can work together on collaborative projects...together.

Voices / accents / intonation

Voxer allows for voice messages. I love hearing the different accents. I wish I could support interaction in more languages however English is what we are using at this point. But not only can we hear each others' voices, we hear each others' hearts. It is not polished; it is raw, real, genuine.

A global focus

The map above pictures pins in the locations of the community's participants. My hope is that the map grows to where every country in the world is represented. Imagine that: educators coming together from around the globe to make education better for their classroom and their world.

Now I am not saying that joining the #CBLchat Voxer community is going to meet all your needs for belonging.  It might help you find your tribe. It will definitely help you connect. What I am saying, though, is that I am going to change the way that I refer to it, and therefore the way we think about it. I have been calling this a chat but I want to change one word. Call it my #OneWord for the year. The #CBL Voxer Chat is the #CBLchat Voxer Community. I think the word better represents my hope for the group.

If you are interested in joining the community, you can click here: #CBLchat Voxer Community. It does require a Voxer account (free) but I think that it is well worth the effort.  Though you can address the community with any kind of ideas around connections-based learning, to keep us conversing, I have been going through questions in the CBL book.  This gives us a weekly focus that I send out through Voxer and Twitter.

Like people, communities have their bumps and bruises. None of them are perfect. But please feel welcome to join our imperfect group of educators as we learn and grow together.

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