Nature abhors a vacuum… but no more than I do



The first week of the second semester is done and over… I could tell because I was face down on the couch at about  6 p.m.last night  wondering if it really was too soon to go to bed (the answer: no).

I am starting this term a bit off kilter.  Our Educational Technology Specialist left for a better paying job in the big(ger) city, just after our Administrative Assistant found a full-time job in her true area of expertise, library science.  Above is the sign that greets me every morning when I enter the building:  the learning center, three positions…and me.

My language center is a happy, bright space with music quietly playing in the background while birds, yes birds, twitter and  whistle and occasionally park themselves on someone’s head.  We pride ourselves on being open, collaborative, noisy, disruptive and constantly striving  to find creative, learning-centric  ways to do the work we do.

There has always been a  we in there… I find that I need the help and support (and the occasional smack down) of  others to be creative, to bounce ideas around, to make sure I am not chasing tools for the sake of just having more tools.   Without those things, and those people, I find myself going round and round in circles.  And totally exhausted at the end of the day.




 Yeah. It’s kinda like that.

It is going to be  at least 6 months, maybe more, until we hire someone for the professional position on my staff. Part of the reason for the delay is that we have been given the okay to think about renovating our current space, which is GREAT! NEWS!  but it might change the responsibilities of what this position will have to do.

Nature abhors a vacuum… but no more than I do.   I need to find like-minded troublemakers to fill this void and  to help my center and our work keep moving forward.

So this is a call for any and all language  compañer@s:  folks who teach outside of  locked-down Course Management Tools and Textbook Supersites, people who believe that doing stuff out in the open is not only good for our language students’ learning, but also good for keeping ourselves honest and open to seeing new possibilities by doing things differently.

This semester my HISP 205 students and I are already playing with Tumblr and SoundCloud and VoiceThread and maybe we will end up being total tree-hugging wackos and do some guerrilla radio with our own ds106-inspired radio show.  You never know.

If you are interested in playing along, please leave a comment below.   If you are interested in leading the charge, please leave a comment below.  I don’t need more work (FSM knows that I have more than enough of that right now) but what I am looking for are meaningful challenges, conversations, ideas, and people to learn from and with.

Hippies welcome 🙂





Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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