Community Gabfest: The Personal Web

On March 9, 2023 AlphaPlus hosted our sixth Community Gabfest.

The conversation starter was Lori Armstrong’s video The Personal Web.

Lori is a knowledgeable and inventive literacy instructor who currently works at the Thunder Bay Literacy Group and will soon be moving to the Lakehead Adult Education Centre (part of the public school board in Thunder Bay).

In the summer of 2022, Lori participated in the AlphaPlus Wayfinders Maker Space and created a video about the Personal Learning Web – a map of how Lori works with learners to identify the ways connection, relationships and power impact the whys and hows of learning for each of us differently and specifically.

We used a Jamboard to guide our conversation: Wayfinders Gabfest 6 Jamboard.

It was a lively and engaging discussion as usual.

We started by talking about the elements that create good learning. We then watched the first part of the video — the overview of the Personal Web — and moved to breakout rooms to discuss how the web resonated with us and our practice. One group made connections to the issue of digital justice.

We watched the second part of the video and stayed together to talk about how teachers dance with chaos and navigate the web of webs. We all found that the pace and flow of Lori’s video — her calm and encouraging tone — put us into an open-minded and meditative space.

Lori finished the session by walking us through some of the ways she has been expanding the personal web concept.

Lori shared a couple of examples of how she’s been extending her Personal Web reflections lately. She showed us how she

  • mapped the Anishinaabe Seven Grandfather Teachings onto the Personal Web and
  • explored the ways that ADD might be mapped and how the Personal Web can nurture a conversation about the specific ways different people with ADD can be supported as learners
  • uses the personal web to work with groups of learners

The PDF linked below shows some concept mapping for the following:

  • Page 1: Understanding / discussing Indigenous cultural values (the example here is the Anishinaabe 7 Grandfather Teachings, which I have worked with in a few of the local high schools and adult education programs for Indigenous students).
  • Page 2 and 3: Understanding and supporting learners affected by ADHD. I have been researching this because it is such a prevalent condition among my learners and also in my family and community. I have also recently been gob smacked to discover that I am an ADD-affected person, as well.
  • Page 4: A simplified think/plan tool that might be used by an individual to prioritize activities for a class, a day, or a week.
Personal Web Additionsarrow

Thank you Lori for sparking this good conversation and for your generosity in sharing your research and insights with us.

Thank you all Gabfesters for your wisdom, experience, knowledge and, most of all, your fine collegiality.

We agree with this participant: “Brilliant!! Incredible learning, thank you so very much! Always a pleasure.”