My personal review of BEtreat
Posted August 4, 2012on:
Overall conclusion: I’m satisfied with my participation in the BEtreat: I have a lot of new sparks of ideas in my head (chaotic and confusing but I hope to do a good debriefing in the next week). I appreciate Etienne’s sharing of his concepts and actual challenges and Bev’s efforts to support the group. In the last 2 days of the BEtreat I felt connected to nearly everybody and I got to know very interesting people!
To give a short overview over my development and learning process
Technology didn’t work and we needed a lot of time to deal technology, as sound was coming and going. Therefore there was not enough room for discussion and when there was a discussion I only understood glimpses because of breaking sound. At the first day I attended the BEtreat until after midnight, drinking a lot of coffee – and afterwards I was not able to sleep, and when I finally slept I had many dreams around the BEtreat!
I had nearly the whole Thursday to reflect about the BEtreat, continue to read in Etienne’s book – as in my time zone the BEtreat started at 17:00. I was so occupied with preparing and reflecting that I did only leave the house for 10 minutes to get some ice cream. Sometimes during the week Bev wondered why there were so many contributions of the onliners in the WIKI in comparison to the contributions of f2f people. In my case it was esay to explain: I had a lot of time to be online and contribute.
At the beginning of Tuesday the problems with technology continued – nevertheless Etienne and Bev did a good job of swapping computers, using different microphones, … and finally for the last session we decided to only use audio and it worked – it was possible to listen to the discussion for 1,5 hours without problems. So I started to immerse into the BEtreat experience.
With respect to content: it was planned that we reviewed / discussed nearly the whole book about Communities of Practice of Etienne Wenger in the first 2 days. And we finished doing this in the first session of Wednesday.
In the morning I reflected that I felt lost within the entire BEtreat group. It was not possible to see who is speaking, when the discussion was „hot“, f2f people forgot the microphones and nobody ever said his or her name before speaking. I wrote about it and developed a plan to change it – for further details take a look at my blog post: In the middle of BEtreat
So during the day I was very occupied putting my plan into action and writing a lot of e-mails. Overall during this week I wrote and got 104 e-mails although the BEtreat was a synchronous event!
When we started on Wednesday 17:00 technology finally worked really well: it was possible to observe what was happening in Wengers‘ garden via 2 webcams in adobe and we had nice sound via skype worked well – the f2f people were sitting around a round table, they used the microphones in a better way and said their name as well. Furthermore we had a kind of informal discussion at the beginning, there was laughing and speaking of f2f people and onliners.
During Wednesday we discussed „Power and Identification“ (chapters of Etienne’s book) and then Etienne and Bev shared their actual work with us and we discussed about learning landscapes and how the cooperation of different communities of practice could work. Bev brought an example from her work which gave us interesting insights.
Additionally on Wednesday started the work of the thematic groups as well, we were invited to work on our personal booths and bring them together in our thematic group. The last session was the presentation of two booths of f2f participants, as it was difficult to follow and it was very late, I stopped after the first booth.
As everyday until Thursday in the morning I immersed myself into the BEtreat – this time by writing the blog post Did I reach my objectives in the BEtreat? – but then for the first time during this week I left my house for entire 3 hours and spent nice time in the city, … telling my husband about the BEtreat.
When I returned to my laptop I finished my booth. At this day, the 4th day in the BEtreat my thematic group started 45 min earlier to plan our 3 hours. We did a good job and finished with a nice timeline, we planned to do our booths individually and then to create discussions in 3 separated groups about „What is an effective learning environment?“.
As technology worked well and I felt connected with the group I started to actually „say“ something in the discussions as well – whereas until then I confined myself on writing in the chat. It is not easy to speak in a foreign language when it is not possible to see reactions in the faces of the listeners (and the video was of the whole group, not of single faces) – and when technology is not 100% available.
During the synchronous session I enjoyed the thematic group about the „Value creation framework“. I got a good insight in theory and practice and am wondering how I will use it in my future work.
Then it was time for the booths of our thematic group – and I was a little bit nervous how my booth will work which started near midnight. In my perception it went ok and afterwards I waited for Jenny’s booth and was fascinated by her approach of „emerging learning“ and how to „measure“ it with so-called „footprints“. I’m looking forward to apply her scheme to my courses.
I didn’t go into the BEtreat during the morning and when I started I was relaxed and felt connected – until reading a comment in the critical friends page about „This morning very superficial … online offline thing is a total waste of time… „. I was shocked and hurt.
But when the BEtreat started – I felt connected with the group, it was nice and easy to listen to the reports of face-to-face participants from dancing during night in the village and I could accept the critical comment more easily.
Our thematic group finished the session successfully and then it was time to reflect. Etienne and Bev asked us in which group we wanted to do the reflection: in the reading group, the thematic group or the leadership group – and I was astonished to discover that I was most connected with the thematic group 🙂
With respect to the Friday session I want to citate Jenny with her definition of openness which I like very much:
Openness is a way of being, it’s a stage of mind – willing to share a lot, expose oneself – openness is an inherent believe, confidence might develop as one grows by working in that way
The conveners of the BEtreat
It was interesting for me to listen to Etienne why he appreciates f2f work more than online work. I remember that he said: „I like to work with a tight schedule“ (as we could experience in this BEtreat) “ and online discussions never end“.
In discourse with Bev I got the feeling that we see learning processes in a different way. I shared my experiences of asummer circus school with the group – where children are building a community of practice in juggling. I focussed on the freedom for learning and making mistakes and their being creative and inventing new juggling tricks all the time and nobody tells them how to do it. In my perception these components enable them to learn deeply and in a democratic way. After my story Bev told us that she worked once in a circus school and that the children prepared for the big show at the end of school – and that this challenge was mainly responsible for their creativity. Also in my example there are 2 half days of show where every child out of about 350 children has two appearances – but I forgot to tell everybody about the show as it wasn’t that important for my understanding of learning!
Probably my longest blog post ever!