Friday, March 18

Resonance - The true solace of an online network

Many debated the meaning of resonance on the forums during the PLENK2010 course.
Ken Anderson asked :
"......What is this thing called resonance?  I've seen it mentioned in a few posts here and there, but I don't have a good idea on what it means. Wikipedia talks about resonance as involving oscillation of a system, where the oscillation is of higher amplitude at certain frequencies than at others. Should I be oscillating? Is this how resonance is being used here? Is resonance a form of evaluation?  If I oscillate largely when reading something, does this mean it is good?....."

For me, the comment- that "really resonated with me", is the equivalent of an internalised  'Yes' moment when someone makes a statement that explains so beautifully what one feels/believes based on life experience. Alternately it occurs when someone stands up to challenge some of the absurdities perpetuated in life. It's a social connection that removes the isolation frequently experienced in the workplace when one appears to be the 'voice in the wilderness' at odds with the practices of our colleagues.

I don't believe I have ever been one to blindly accept the ideas or opinions of others irrespective of their credentials, deemed social status or professional reputation. I developed an early 'lack of respect' for the voice of authority. I recall my early years in a Catholic school, approximately 7 years old when 'Sister whoever' was adding her contribution to the indoctrination of our young minds. She was assuring us that children of mixed religious marriages ( i.e Catholic + anything else) were doomed to eternal damnation as the 'other than Catholic' partner, through their non Christian practices would be responsible for our eventual downfall. In hindsight, she didn't appear to have a particularly optimistic view of ability of the Catholic partner to counteract spousal challenges. I can remember thinking "bollocks" or an equivalent commensurate with my 7 year old vocabulary. My mum was one of these non Catholic perverters and in my mind I immediately rose to her defense, believing her worth to be ten times that of the devil's advocate standing before me in religious garb. Sister 'whoever' ( I'm fairly sure it was Baptist) immediately lost all credibility thereafter, as did all but one of my subsequent teachers for a multitude of reasons that would require the skills of a Jungian psychologist to analyse.

Being relatively new to Connectivism theory, but a longtime follower of Downes' other offerings, I'm still trying to formulate my own perspective on it all. One thing I do believe is that I'm more likely to establish a network relationship with personalities rather than names. For trust to exist, I like to be able to perceive the personality, the character and the intent behind the message. I enjoyed participating in the Moodle forum during PLENK because of the people who contributed to the discussions and the variety of content. It engendered much  serendipitous learning and continues to do so as I follow leads from return visits. The forums revealed the personalities behind the postings, unlike Facebook and Twitter. Life can be a serious business and it's refreshing to read posts delivered with a good dose of humour, with a little humility never going astray, thereby maintaining some semblance of balance. Self interest and gratuitous self promotion leave me cold, however an altruistic sharing of self and ideas is I believe indicative of a healthy network.
Therefore Jabiz Raisdana's blog posting resonated deafeningly with me. After attending the
21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong he posted:

".....It was so exciting to eat dinner with people I had only known online. At every conference there are a group of people who do not blog or use Twitter who end up looking on amazed that their peers could be so connected. There is always the confused question, “How do you guys know each other again ? Really ? You have never met. ”A network is only as strong as it’s connections and these face-to-face meetings really help create authentic communities. A network is only as strong as it’s connections and these face-to-face meetings really help create authentic communities. I loved chatting with Robert about the great work he and Gary are doing at their school with WordPress and Scratch. It was a pleasure to share ideas with Dana and Stacey, or to meet Tim for the first time after the many RT’s. Suddenly Ben was more than an avatar, but a living breathing person who helped my session not fall apart. He is headed to Jakarta next month to visit Hugo and I hope we can meet up again, maybe with Rod who I already know in Jakarta. I finally met Colin, but couldn’t pin him down for an actual meal. And of course I started conversations with Neil, John, Jason, Justin, Greg (already started a great chat on his blog), Jamie, Gary, Philip, Lynn, and Makky. So what did I learn from this conference? I learned that there are people across the region who are doing great work and they are ready to connect and learn. I may have crossed paths with these people eventually, but a conference is like a crucible to strengthen relationships quickly. It is  because of this human connection that I go to conferences.  We meet. We chat. We eat. We connect. As for the sessions… ...."
Perhaps the most illuminating comment is his " for the sessions ...."

It is a network like this I imagine would be worth nurturing, but appreciate that it would certainly require a substantial time investment. There are many resonating moments for me when I visit Jabiz's blog, most importantly it is his attitude and passion for education that attracts me. I want what Jabiz wants:
There is also something to be said about simply moving forward and taking the training wheels off to see what will happen.....I want to sit in rooms with teachers who are working at the edge of possibility and connect our learning, our skills, our students, our schools. I want to cloister myself with a group of teachers who are pushing the boundaries and doing amazing work in their classrooms despite their school policies not because of them. Where are the sessions for us ? Where are the times that connected teachers can move forward instead of looking back ? ............There are pockets of teachers worldwide who seem to get it. We often work in isolation at our schools.....
I'm sure each person is seeking pockets of people who "get it",  not just teachers and it is the beauty of online networks that I can be invigorated by those pockets and sense some sort of camaraderie in spite of the possibility that I may never achieve the equivalent of Jabiz's 21st century learning moment. I will however gain sustenance for the ongoing battle on the home front knowing that I am not fighting alone, I have others who walk beside me. Some people would possible respond 'misery loves company' but I would like to put a slightly more positive spin on it than that. I would say 'spirit' appreciates company, the 'human connection'.

Serendipitously (yet again) after completing this post, Jaap Bosman's post on Facebook re: Amazing Stories of Openness (Open Ed Conference 2009) drew my attention once again to Alan (CogDog) Levine's wiki - a celebration of the transformational experiences made possible through global human connections.


  1. Gordon LockhartMarch 19, 2011

    Your post greatly resonates with me Susan - I used to teach 'resonance' and I'm bemused at how the word has moved on. In my world of electronics a resonant circuit only passes a narrow band of frequencies and is used extensively in communication systems to accept a particular signal while rejecting others - hence the expression 'tune in'. With a bit of positive feedback it can do its own thing by turning into an oscillator whose output becomes independent of its input and it can build up uncontrollably in amplitude - not a good thing if this happens to Ken while reading!

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to sound off about something I actually know about! Your posts resonate with me because they make good sense without wallowing in education theory I don't understand.

  2. It's reassuring to know that what I feel or resonate with isn't confined to the educational arena Gordon. I think they're general life philosophies established through life experience. Resonance reaches across age, culture, geographical and gender boundaries. It's not something that can be rationalised. It's 'as it is' for me. BTW, I have a visual image of Ken oscillating which brings a smile to my face. FYI, I've always loved reading Alan Levine (CogDog)'s blog. He's always making me resonate ! It's intriguing how an emotional connection can be established between people who have never met and hail from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. I resonate with 'Seekers' who are keen to learn and appreciate that life is a journey, not a competition. I'm glad you found my blog. Welcome any time.

  3. Thanks Susan - I'll be back. I also like Alan Levine's blog - and many others I oscillate between!