"Centering on the Edge: Intellect, Spirit, Action"
Friends Association of Higher Education
Haverford College
June 16-19, 2005

"We Make the Road by Walking":

A Panel Discussion About Using the Web for Educational Purposes

Anne Dalke (Bryn Mawr College),
Steve Gilbert (TLT Group) and
Paul Grobstein (Bryn Mawr College)

June 17, 2005

We take our title from a line by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado: "Se hace caminio al andar," or "You can make the way as you go."

It is the name of a 1991 book of Conversations on Education and Social Change, a dialogue between Myles Horton and Paulo Freire. (Horton founded the Highlander Folk School, a small, independent residential education center situated outside the formal schooling system. Freire was the great Brazilian educator who worked on literary programs within university and state-sponsored programs.)

Horton: "The way to do something was to start doing it and learn from it."

Freire: "The question for me is how is it possible for us, in the process of making the road,
to be clear and to clarify our own making of the road."

There are, of course, quite a few risks to building the road as you traverse it.

In the words and images of Harold Hoffman,

Even if you are in the right lane, you'll get run over if you just stand there.

I chose the road less traveled -- now I'm really lost.

The shortest driving distance between two points is always under construction.

For your driving pleasure: reflections from a couple of interestingly different roads being built as we speak:
The non-profit TLT Group has helped over 900 educational institutions, associations, and corporations around the world to improve teaching and learning by making more appropriate and cost-effective use of information technology without sacrificing what matters most....The TLT Group can help accelerate educational improvement while easing the stresses of institutional change. Welcome ... Serendip is a gathering place for people who suspect that life's instructions are always ambiguous and incomplete. Originating in interactions among neurobiologists, computer scientists, business people, and educators, Serendip is both an expanding forum and a continually developing set of resources to explore and support intellectual and social change in education, in social organization... and in how one makes sense of life.

What difference does it make if you

  • need to make money at what you're doing--or don't have to?
  • are "working together to solve common problems"--or "exploring change"?
  • engage mostly in "synchronous" or "asynchronous" activities?
  • take a "campfire" as your model--
    but with very different basic assumptions about why and how folks may be drawn to the light?
  • how does community-making figure into all of this?

Steve on "Building Together/Engaging Dangerous Discussions: Encourage Heat and Light Without Flames"

Paul on "Intellectual Exchange as a Medium for Community Building On the Web and Beyond"

Join the Conversation

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