To live in the state of becoming

Back in the late 1980s, my masters degree gave me what I needed to teach writing.  I gained knowledge and understanding of the main needs of students, and instruction as to how I could contribute to their growth as writers and thinkers. It was very rewarding to see students gain confidence, voice and achievement with words and ideas.

About the same time, personal computers came to campuses in significant numbers.  There were computer labs and writing labs and boxes under desks that connected to printers and later modems that made strange squawking sounds.   There was something new in the state of becoming– a new cognitive tool that would allow many more drafts of writing than a Selectric typewriter.  This new tool was exciting, and no one really knew what the eventual outcome would be of its presence.  Would the individual be empowered?  Would hyperlinks or the easy integration of images change the way we express ideas?

To work in education is to continually witness the state of becoming.  Students by their nature change as a result of their educational experiences.  If I had remained a teacher, I would witnessed that for all the years I taught.  This is a personal type of becoming.

By moving into the technology side of education, I entered a structural, conceptual realm of becoming– what would education become next (or not).  How would we all change because of technology.  This phase is ongoing– I believe the opportunities are still being revealed, and the ground beneath our feet is shifting sideways as much as forward.  By that I mean disruptive change is disorienting and sometimes frightening, and finding one’s balance again can be difficult.  Like being on a boat, much movement can cause seasickness, which can disturb you so much that you would almost prefer to die than feel such motion.

So we walk a narrow path– engaging change that is progressive and useful and sometimes simply brilliant, while trying to avoid seasickness or the fear that the ground could fall away beneath our feet. The one thing that is clear is that we are becoming something else.  It’s likely always been that way, but today the “amplifiers” seem more powerful, exciting and disturbing than ever.  We live in the state of becoming.

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