In the fall of 2010, I attended my first Tamarack Communities Collaborating Institute. I read every piece of material on the suggested material and I thought I was ready to take everything in over the next 5 days. By day 2 I was exhausted, my hand was so sore from writing so much and my brain was reaching it's digestive capacity. The last time I remember feeling this way was when I was young and I read through several volumes of our Childrens' Encyclopedia Britannica.
On Day 3, I tried to keep up the same momentum, but found it was best just to listen, writing very little. That evening I had a wonderful experience. Paul had invited everyone to come and join him for a conversation. I was excited to learn about the Community Conversations book he had recently published and explore what "Open Space" meant for Paul. There was an art to his hosting that I won't forget and I will always remember one lesson that he taught me about appreaciating who was in the room. I was disappointed to see how many people decided to come, even though I understood with my energy, but then he joined the circle and said, "Wonderful! Everyone who is suppose to be here is here. Let's get started." That evening and those conversations were what I needed to reenergize me and get me focused to learn over the next two days.
Just like reading the encyclopedias, I didn't remember everything I heard or read in that week, but I was inspired, to learn more, dig deeper and engage with my network in a new way. As I approached other learning events I have gained more experience, rediscovered myself as an adult learner and equipped myself with tools along the way.
Here are some of those tools:
- Embrace Technology - Most of us can type much faster, even on a phone then we can write. Most great ideas get quotes on Twitter, it is a fabulous way to gain a snapshot of other peoples thinking at the event or something you may have missed.
- Lists - create to do and to read lists, don't let those get lost in your notes.
- Ask Questions - If you don't understand something, ask! This is a chance to learn. Connect with people in your learning labs, over meals and during any time that makes sense.
- Share - There is a lot of experience in the room and I would love to hear about what is happening on the ground. The tools and resouces shared are necessary but how we bring those makes them more usable when hearing from a peer, including the lessons learned and successes.
I began working at Tamarack in January as a Community Animator of the Learning Centre, I want to hear from you about what you need to strenghten your capacity to learn, create impact, overcome barriers and share with each other. Whether on this online community, with online events or in person, our team wants to provide opporunuties to enhance and enrich your learning experience. Comment, email or call me at 403-470-4857.