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An Aside

Day: Friday evening, May 7th 2010.
Place: Colegio Las Cumbres, downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Scene: Stephen Downes had just finished his informal talk with teachers. Everyone is walking about the room.

I just wanted to say thank you when a small talk started. The fueling ideas after attending the morning presentation, the engagement of the teachers debating how far to guide students was all there. Stephen said something about noticing the enthusiasm among us. He added it would be even more interesting if people disagreed with him at times.

I deliberately took that as an invitation to voice disagreement. I found myself unable to do so, though. My own mind was a bit clouded with so much f2f blog talk. I tried to explain to Stephen why I could not disagree yet. This is my best recall of what I said mixed with what I meant.

When I hear an idea explained concisely, articulately organized and backed up by effective domestic examples, I find it hard to disagree immediately. I simply know that I will have questions. Eventually, at a later moment of the day, or perhaps some other day, I will find the points where inconsistencies with my own thoughts will provoke a need to challenge both his message and my previous way of thinking. I cannot help needing more time for disagreement to happen.

There were underlying assumptions to why I felt a need to explain this to Stephen. I believe that Stephen is an expert blogger who does not share these thinking or writing time limitations. He has learned a kind of fluency of expression regardless of the writing conditions. He can protect his mind from a hectic airport and decide to write like this. I admire that capacity. Yet, that kind of admiration is something I will need to question. Particularly if I find myself using it as an excuse to limit my own writing capabilities.

I said to Stephen that today I listen to him and give him the benefit of the doubt. For now, I am just taking my mind on a ride towards the message. Then, I'll take a few steps back to think further. I will try to post reflections or questions here in my blog. Sometimes, I need to write my mind out before meeting the lecturer. I find it is a blogger's advantage to do so. To write the here and now of my thoughts saves them from being taken ashtray or buried forever by a new glittering idea. I think I write to save my personal fledgeling thoughts. What I do not write today, I will never write again. Ever.

By then, a few teachers had gathered to listen to this. Stephen looked at them and concluded: "This is what we do when we blog".

Since last Friday, the personal pronoun 'we' has taken on a new meaning.


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