Practicing reflection

Communities of practice are practicing reflection. They are sensemaking the facts of their practical experiences. They are considering questions of lessons to be learned, take-away value, and changes to make as a result of what occurred. Our blogging shows signs of functioning like communities of practice.
Patrick Higgins has recently added posts to his blog that are a wonderful example of practicing reflection. Patrick is helping K-12 teachers integrate Web 2.0 technologies into their classrooms. The titles of his posts indicate how much reflecting he's doing reading: Something akin to sensemaking, Year-end evaluation, Framework for planning.

Those of us who search for, link to and tag digital content are practicing reflection. David Weinberger calls this a "third order of order". We are externalizing meaning. We are connecting our dots for others to consider how to connect their dots.

A second order of order deals with "one right answer". There are no two ways about it. We call it what it is. We label it the way it is commonly accepted. An expert has final say. We are simply cataloguing the nodes according to proper protocols. One link is enough. We can put the dots into file folders and consider the mess organized. We find them again by knowing what to call it or where we put it in the first place.

A third order of order expects meaning to be messy. We call it like we see it and that differs from everyone else. There are many right answers. There are thousands of ways to see it, frame it and use it. We have final say over our idiosyncratic consideration. We are free to tag it as we please, link to it within our own context, and search for it differently each time.

This is a very deep change. We are losing interest in newspapers and finding uses in "meaning papers" like our blogs. We are finding less relevance in experts and more significance in experiences. We are outgrowing the ways we get framed by others and are framing our experiences in our favor. We are dismissing claims of final say and having our own say as we reflect on our practice.

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