I got home about eight hours ago from a two-day traveling saga. While I am glad to be back, things are not the same for me on many levels. Ideas of commitment, integrity, and the political nature of the work many of us do was brought into sharp focus over the last four days and I was not prepared for the powerful and important education I received. I was acutely reminded that I need to constantly re-examine some basic assumptions about space, place, nation and identity more closely. Something in me seems amiss after Northern Voice, despite the facts that the conference was excellent, the people I saw were top caliber, and the organizers did a bang-up job of putting together an outstanding breadth and depth of expertise in a relaxed and inviting environment.
In fact my own uneasiness has very little to do with the NV conference per se, but rather with the life-sustaining human contact, conversations, and out-and-out education I received after hours. Some conversations I had jarred me on some fundamental intellectual, physical and emotional levels as very few things have over the past couple of years. Dr. Glu started me upon my education in Ed Tech, but in Vancouver I kinda felt like Luke in the
Degoba Dagobah system: lost, scared, and out of my depth. This could be the ravings of exhaustion after almost two days of travel, but I think the travel problems were the easiest part of the trip in some ways. Much more profound was that I was forced by the people around me to think about the pressing political and social questions that under gird the logic of social learning -it was like being in a four-day seminar with the most committed thinker on the topic I have yet to meet. Numerous discussions traced and chased some of my comfortable assumptions out of their foxholes. Social learning is not about RSS or blogs or Wikis or Drupal or WordPress -it’s about defining and maintaining a vision of commitment of social justice in the face of all the other bullshit. I met a few people who taught me more than a thing or two about this over the last few days, and for that I am greatly indebted to all of you.