Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis, or “QV” as we like to call it in IT, is a name that we use for our ITS listserv for daily communication. It was chosen at the time when two separate departments, Computer Services and Information Technology, were merged into one unit, called ITS. The group wanted a name for the ITS listserv and one of our members suggested “Quo Vadis” – it stuck. 

Quo Vadis is Latin for “Where are we going?” While the phrase has a biblical reference, the charter boat in Door County is what resonates with me most. For over 60 years, the Green Bay Diocese, owned a retreat house on Chambers Island in Door County and for those lucky enough to experience the peaceful retreat on the island, they found their way there, aboard the Quo Vadis. 

“Where are we going?”

I’d like to think that the passengers who boarded the Quo Vadis for the retreat house, knew where they were going! But where are WE going? COVID-19 brings some strange times, but maybe we can approach them as if  we are boarding the Quo Vadis . . . to a retreat where we can open our minds to new ideas, possibilities, and opportunities that await us in our quest to learn and live a bit differently, and be of service to others who are in need.

Forgive and Be Forgiving

I hate blogging. I don’t know why – maybe because I hate conflict, and am afraid of putting something out there that others will disagree with. Maybe it’s because as a math/computer science major I’ve always considered myself more left-brained and in expressing my creative side, writing or blogging is not my go-to for enjoyment. Or maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist and know that a blog will take me 10 hours before I’m ready to hit “post” and I simply don’t have the time for that.

Well, that changes today. In these unusual circumstances, I’m pledging to blog once a day, for a week, for a half an hour a day. It’s Monday, March 16, 2020, the first day of spring break, 2020 at St. Norbert College. Today, we will be working with many faculty who for some, are stepping outside of their comfort zone, but they’re all on board, putting their students first. So, in the spirit of stepping outside of comfort zones I will be joining them by blogging.

The professional community of instructional designers, educational technologists, teachers, and librarians have really rallied around one another, sharing resources, guidance and support. However, two pieces of wisdom have bubbled to the top for me, that I would like to share with those that are about to embark on teaching online for the first time. Jesse Stommel’s message to his students after they learned they needed to #PivotToOnline:

I’m here to support you however I can. Take care of yourself and your family first. Our class should not be your priority. Everything about this class is flexible. Whatever happens, we will work it out.

And the wise words of wisdom from Sean Michael Morris @slamteacher – 

We are all still humans in this online world. Forgive and be forgiving.

Data Detox – Part 1

I got a new phone a few weeks ago . . . my 15-year old daughter’s hand-me-down. It’s an “upgrade” for me. She got a new phone, so her old one was sent in for a replacement battery, resulting in a better phone for me, so there you go . . . upgrade. I’m not quite sure how to define that point in your life when it becomes more important for your child to have an up-to-date phone than you. 

Since I had to back everything up to the cloud so I could move over to the “new” phone, this seemed like a perfect time to embark on my “Data Detox”. I decided I simply wouldn’t re-enable various applications and see how long I could go without. I made it about a week for some apps, longer for others. It’s interesting to see which apps were most necessary for my daily routine: email, calendar, banking (mom, can you transfer some $ for gas?), Nordic Ski wiki (knowing when and where my son needs to be), maps, weather, fitness app.

Some other interesting revelations . . . 

Better relationship with the kids: One of the apps that I had installed – PowerSchool – allows me to check in and see how my kids are doing in school – what their grades are, upcoming assignments, etc. By not having the app at my fingertips, I noticed I didn’t nag the kids as often. They’re 15 and 17 so probably high time that I let go of this anyway. I think our relationship improved and they had to manage things, including if they failed to turn something in on time. Side note . . . they both finished the year with high honors. Obviously me checking PowerSchool wasn’t doing a whole lot of good for any of us.

Greater appreciation for my surroundings: It’s amazing how much time you can waste on social media apps. And I mean waste. You get sucked in and 50 minutes later . . . where did the time go? I didn’t miss it. So what pulled me back in? Needing to contact someone and they only way I knew how to get ahold of them was on Facebook. Heading to a conference and wanting to engage with others attending via Twitter. My oldest, was abroad in Italy and posting updates on Instagram. The immediate family of 5, having a Snap group “Lit Lukens” where we share silly stuff (which I really do enjoy.) So, the trick for me is to find the balance . . . just because it’s at your fingertips doesn’t mean you have to access it ALL THE TIME.

Sheer amount of apps not used: 213 apps or web short-cuts that I have installed on my phone. It’s been about 1 month, and I’ve re-enabled 52 of them. Time to purge.

And yet, just removing unused apps, while important for many reasons, is only part of the “Data Detox” that I’ll be sharing with others in an upcoming workshop. Establishing good habits and practices is equally important. 

I’ve participated in an exercise called the Visitor-Resident model which walks you through a self-examination of your engagement with the web and various tools on the web, critically analyzing whether you are more of a visitor (looking, borrowing, exploring) or more of a resident (contributing, collaborating, commenting), and whether your engagement is different for personal use than professional use. Most recently, this model has shifted to the Digital Triangle Model, which again, prompts us to analyze our relationship with open and closed practices of technologies that support the consumption, conversation and creation of ideas on the web.

I look forward to the continuation of my own personal Data Detox and reflection on how my relationship with my phone and tools plays out in my personal and professional life. Stay tuned . . .

Diving into Digital Storytelling

This week, I am participating in the Digital Storytelling track at DigPed Lab 2018 in Fredricksburg, VA, taught by the amazing @mburtis. Working collaboratively with @ReidRiggle, my goals for this workshop include the establishment of a Full Spectrum Learning website. (check), reviving my blogging habits (check – kind of), and develop a SHORT story to better explain Full Spectrum Learning to others (stay tuned.) Additional goals include meeting others, stepping out of my comfort zone, coming together as an SNC DigPed cohort, and hopefully sneaking in some exercising, and healthy eating. Ready to strap on my seatbelt for an amazing week!

SNC DigPed Lab Crew
SNC DigPed Lab Crew

Digital Citizenship

Today, I will be co-facilitating, along with eight wonderful women, a conversation of what it means to be a digital citizen, #digciz, particularly a liberal arts digital citizen, at the ELI annual meeting. In reflecting on how we came together as four institutions to lead this conversation I jokingly said it was through our own #digciz. And yet, that is very real ~ had we not leveraged the open, curious, networked, collaborative constructs that we are afforded through the aid of technology we would not be doing this. And in the process, we’ve expanded and enhanced our own digital identity.

When I think about what it means to be a #digciz, I can’t help but approach this wearing many hats – parent, teacher, technologist. Thinking about what it means to be a liberal arts citizen I am drawn to the work from Penn State. And yet I find myself falling back to the simple truths from Robert Fulghum, in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Like adding the words “in bed” to the little slips of paper from fortune cookies, add the words “online” after each of Fulghum’s “rules” (Okay, some make more sense than others) and that’s a great starting point for conversations about what constitutes #digciz

  • Share everything . . . online.
  • Play fair  . . . online.
  • Don’t hit people . . . online.
  • Put things back where you found them . . . online.
  • Clean up your own mess . . . online.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours . . . online.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody . . . online.
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some . . . online.
  • Take a nap every afternoon . . . online???
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together . . . online.
  • Be aware of wonder . . . online.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we . . . online (or do we?)
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK . . . online.

Let me know your thoughts on how to do the wash your hands, flush and warm cookies and cold milk part online!


Having done this exercise a few times now, it’s always fun to re-do your v&r map to see how it has changed or shifted over time, which is why I chose this time to do a collage, using a topo map as my background. (Not to mention I love maps and the metaphors they can have, plus it gave me an opportunity to brush up on my Photoshop skills!) To me, the V&R model is something I will always traverse and things will shift like the hills and valleys of the topo map. Other times there will be some very clear direction and purpose for the tools I use – similar to the straight lines which I would perceive as roads cutting through the map.

My methodology this time around was to pull out my phone and literally look first at the apps I use the most – what do I open daily. I then brainstormed a list of other things that I “do” on the web – primarily from my computer. Lastly, I thought about areas that I dabble in and would like to definitely grow in my participation as a resident.

Looking at my list of “apps” or “networks” I then quickly ranked each of them in terms of which receives my greatest involvement.

I included the mail icon not to represent e-mail which I really wouldn’t consider to add to my V&R map, only because it is often supports closed 1-1 communication, but chose to include if for the purposes of listservs or mailing lists which are a large part of my networks. Particularly the ones I am most active with professionally include EDUCAUSE, T3G, and LCI. Personally, this is how much of my kid’s communication in various extracurricular activities is handled.

Google is how I conduct most of my searching on the web for both personal and professional use but is largely in the visitor realm with an occasional comment.

I added Amazon this time around because of a recent conversation I had with my husband who has become more active in providing reviews on Amazon – apparently there are some benefits to your prime membership the more active of a reviewer you are. I’ve rarely offered reviews on things I’ve purchased but certainly appreciate and benefit from other’s reviews so it seemed to me this is another space that could warrant an opportunity to be more of a resident.

The Wikipedia logo is to represent wikis in general – not necessarily Wikipedia. For example, my son’s Nordic Ski information is handled almost entirely via a wiki – PBworks – something I have to interact with daily.

As I look at my map and previous maps, the one thing that seems consistent is that I have a lot of space around the margins. I’d interpret this to mean that I’m kind of in my comfort zone and need to push the boundaries a bit more – particularly in the resident arena.

September 2016

August 2016

I also look at the areas that seem to be where I spend my most time and I find myself asking if that helps bring the greatest value to my digital self. Would growing the other areas be more beneficial? More enjoyable? Would there be benefit gained in shifting my USE of some of the tools where it seems I have the greatest networks from personal to professional and vice-versa?

I don’t think I have the answers to these questions quite yet, but the visual certainly causes me to pause and think a bit more strategically about my digital self, professional goals, and personal enjoyment. Maybe my next V&R map will be of what I’d LIKE it to be 😉 #goals

I had a great conversation with my 14-year-old son about this exercise as he saw me working on it and was curious. He didn’t care for the terms “visitor” or “resident” but felt the terms “spectator” and “content creator” were more appropriate. It was awesome to see that he immediately understood the concept of the exercise and was able to translate it into his own terms and relevance for himself. I’ll ask him to do his own V&R so I can share with you.