Weaving Conversations

TLT Knowledge Log

Being fearless

Posted by C Elizabeth Thomas on March 17, 2007

Today, with a good colleague, I spent 3+ hours on a Skype call using WebEX to support some of my doctoral colleagues in adventuring with technology. My brother in law is an outdoorsman and talks alot about going adventuring. Through the woods, trails, streams, mountains, tunnels, cliffs and mysteries of the Berkshire, Catskill and Adirondack mountains… What does it mean to be adventuring into new technology realms as a doctoral student. We covered three environments: the desktop, the personal web environment (using the Google portal as an example) and the collaborative web environment (using blog readers and social bookmarking examples).

Adventuring can be scary… can be risky… can be exhilerating…

Here we are… even in the open minded, distributed, special learning place that is our University… and I feel first the fear… and it isn’t fear of trying or even fear of failing… it is fear of not doing the right thing as defined by someone else. I heard myself worrying that this work wouldn’t be considered scholarly, academic or worthy. For heaven’t sake… in whose mind?

I read Ewan MacIntosh on learning from failure and I know it to be true. Yet, still I’m afraid. When I started this program I said I wasn’t going to do anything with technology… it had been my profession for many years as a professional in higher education. Instead, I would draw myself back into the work of an administrator and look at the value of strategic planning… but I find myself lured back to technology as the single most empowering tool any teacher, student, continual learner can have for acquiring knowledge and making meaning.

What are the fears? Okay, here we go:

? Who will I get for an outside reader on my dissertation?

? How will I pick something that can be reasonably studied for a dissertation, even as things are changing so fast?

? If I used grounded theory (an entirely different fear topic!) am I facing two major hurdles in the stages of approval?

? If I don’t use grounded theory… what do I do?

I am going to give myself the same advice I give everyone I work with on technology adventuring. You cannot break anything. You cannot fail. You must experience to learn.

Oh my… my head hurts. Cogent advice anyone?

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