Caught a Long Pause from #engchat

One June 22, Bud Hunt hosted #engchat in both the cyberspace of Twitter and physical world of a pub in Philly during the height of ISTE.

While that was groundbreaking in and of itself, Bud also decided to schedule in time for us to pause,  reflect, and write instead of firing off thoughts and comments for the full hour.

Others have posted their thoughts and reflections on the experience, including Bud’s post and Ben Grey’s beautiful video capturing not only footage of the meet-up in Philly, but also Bud’s thoughts:

So while this post seems long overdue (nearly three weeks later!), I have been reflecting on the experience and taking a long pause to do so.

Bud wrote before we started, Bud posted here about his concerns about Twitter chats (what inspired him to handle this one so differently) and he wrote,

“in the race for folks to talk, talk, talk, might it be possible that we’re forgetting to listen, listen, listen?  Or, worse still,  are we skipping the thinking, thinking, thinking?”

Initially, I responded by writing,

“Am I absorbing all of this information in the span of one hour? Certainly not, but if I get a link or title recommendation that I had not yet seen or a brilliant idea that I could add to my repertoire in my classroom that meets my needs and my students, I think I’ve gained something useful and purposeful.
Even if I don’t come away with anything like that, if I have managed to come across even one lonely tweet that is still rolling around in my head days and weeks later, that hour I spent was useful.”

I posted that a day or so before the chat. On the day of, Bud gave us a couple of prompts to consider on a Google Doc, beginning with this:

“How do you incorporate thoughtful pauses, moments for contemplation and consideration, into your digital reading and writing lives?  What do those thoughtful pauses look like?  When do they happen?  How do you help others to do the same?”

I loved being able to see others posting on these questions before and during the chat in real-time. But more than that, I loved the opportunity to go back and look at it later.

The Google Doc and the questions have kept me pondering since Bud posed/posted them, but what I have come to time and again is why I haven’t been sharing my thinking AFTER the #engchats. It’s why I set up this blog in January with a bit of help and encouragement from my friend Jo Hawke (@johawke), but then I got so bogged down in everything else going on in the rest of my world that I never actually posted anything.

Until now.

What if some of those “lonely tweets” lead to something more interesting – in terms of discussion or my own thinking? Having it rattle around in my skull for a week or two doesn’t seem like enough anymore. Recording my thoughts, expanding on them in writing after some time to pause seems to encourage a space for more discussion, more thinking, more reflection, more wondering.

All I can think of is Gary Anderson’s oh-so-true post this week: “It all starts from wondering, doesn’t it?”

It certainly does.

So I’m going to give this a go from here on out.

And I really want to think about how to incorporate and encourage opportunities for this sort of shared reflection for my students this year.

Thanks, Bud. I guess I just needed some time to think about it. :)

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One thought on “Caught a Long Pause from #engchat

  1. I find it interesting that different spaces might provide different levels of reflection. I blog every day but I often wonder why …. in the age of fast text, is a blog even the right space to write anymore? Yes, I think.

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