I used to teach journalism students. One part of the course I taught was how to write stories about different cultures, particularly Maori. We took a trip to an urban marae which, for international readers, are gathering places and meeting houses for Maori tribes.
The experience of staying at a marae involves everyone sleeping in the meeting house on mattresses around the room, and conversations and oratory occurs in the middle of the room. An elder spoke to us to start the session. Students were lying on their sleeping bags around the room. The first thing he said was: ” Don’t worry if you fall asleep, you will have learnt what you need to.” The students went: “huh” ? Fresh from the lecture room, under pressure to study hard to get their degree, being told to go to sleep on the job was a bit out there.
At the end of the visit, students said it was one of the most profound experiences of their course, and they had learnt so much about Maori culture.
As I take part in the online Reinvention Summit I am reminded of this. Sometimes the audio is not good, sometimes the technology is distracting and there is a delay on the line, but between live chat, blog links, tweeting, and sharing, I am getting the full picture. As one participant said, it is like live theatre the unplugged and unpolished nature of it is all part of the experience. I could leave the room for a cup of coffee, and never lose the thread.
A trusting way of learning, where the experience is already profound from the forum created. The ‘deeper’ levels are always between the lines; not always linear, not always logical, so I’m thinking I’ll schedule siesta as part of my Summit attendances.