Connecting to “customers” means attending to “customers”. And by “customers” I mean any folk you relate to and connect with. You curate for them by all means reasonable and ethical. The lesson for me in this Ars Technica post by Sam Machkovech is that whoever you are and whatever you do, you are a magnificent and unique filter for the world. Your neurons fire in ways that no one else does or can. If you are attuned to that and share that, you will be adding signal and not noise to the world.
That is exactly what this for-profit, old skool video store did. It re-tuned its signal so that it broadcast on a new, non-profit wavelength whose mission is to preserve the best of a still considerable body of work–the VHS tape. Beautiful aikido move. Just beautiful. Anybody else done anything similar to this in a school setting?
If my classroom is analogous to VHS, then what would it mean to retune that classroom’s wavelength with all its baggage? I am weighing this now especially because I have had a devilish time all summer considering how much my classroom seems to resemble more and more a well-loved but increasingly obsolete museum piece. How can I take the ‘me’ that created the content with care and experience and transform it into something of greater value to my audience/students/customers/clients?
I am my classroom, but that is the VHS of future ed unless I find a way to become a something else. I don’t want a total teacher makeover. I want to shift what I already do in a way that makes similar sense to the main point in this article. I don’t just want to just re-categorize the tapes on the shelves of the Titanic Video Store. I want a different mission that drives what I already am.
Perhaps the way to do that is to view the classroom with its attendant content and affordances as a fully-functioning connection jukebox. You measure its effectiveness by how much it brings together the players in the service of both their own interests and something larger than their own self-interest.
That is where I am headed in this fall monster of a meta-course, Connected Courses (#ccourses). Tomorrow, as I begin my school term, I will present this connection jukebox to my new clients/customers/audience/students and we shall see what they have to say about shifting their stance a bit and recalibrating their vision of what constitutes success in a writing “classroom”. I am a zombie and they are, too, but we can be cured.