By Lani Ritter-Hall


“Picture a raging river in the mountains with its white water, large boulders and powerful currents picking up speed and washing away anything that gets in its path. Some people are in kayaks in the middle of the river, moving this way and that, loving being in the moment and responding to the current rapidly. Others are on the banks contemplating where to enter and exit the ever changing waterways. Where are you on this journey?”
–Scott Warren, North Brook, IL, Illinois/Ohio PLP Cohort

And a request for reflection —

“Are you where I am? Have you been here too? How have others dealt with the need for deep reflection in a digital world that calls for rapid response?”

21st Century Learning — raging rivers, white water, powerful currents

Reflection — pensive, quiet, thoughtful, pondering, musing

This sense of cognitive dissonance resonated with many community members as they responded to Scott’s queries. Their responses — celebrating his contribution, sharing their journey, validating his thoughts, offering their own take on learning and reflecting in an online community of practice — focus and deepen the learning of all.

And now embedded in that continuing dialogue Scott’s additional insight:

“Here is one thing that I am finding out as I write this (comment) – when I started my own discussion, I am more connected to it and want to see what others are writing. I think that personal connection is important for those of us that may be holding back a bit.”

An increasing willingness to be transparent; a brilliant, appropriate metaphor; questions asking that others think more deeply, realizing opportunities for more personal connections — and now a community on the brink of the falls, recognizing the potential of this dissonance to grow its global practice

Taking a deep breath, not looking back — with additional invitations from its members; more short, relevant questions — this community will be traversing the falls themselves, tranquil reflective waters, and then more whitewaters — energized, exhausted, renewed by this 21st century learning — together.

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Lani Ritter Hall

Lani is Community Leader for Powerful Learning Practice. She also serves as the “Newbie Maven”, helping along and nurturing newbies to the PLP experience, as well as facilitator for the Connected Coaches. Lani brings more than 35 years of teaching experiences in urban, sub urban, and independent schools at the middle/secondary level in the U.S and Canada to this work. A national board certified teacher, she and her students began collaborating globally in the late 1980’s. Lani has created and facilitated professional development around technology infusion into learning for over twenty years and served in a leadership role for the K12Online Conference for 2 years. She is co-author of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age.
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