This past week I have had a strong sense of déjà vu. It wasn’t that long ago that I was here reflecting (mourning) the loss of the Bambuser app, which had really been quite a favourite of mine. At the time I can remember the disbelief vividly – how could this happen? how could something SO good be killed off? Did THEY not know what this tool meant to ME? Denial set in which unfortunately meant that I ignored all their notifications about saving my data and so the demise of Bambuser took a part of me with it.
People say we learn from our experiences and we seem to learn the most from bad experiences. I tend to agree as I am now faced with the euphemistic ‘sunsetting’ of Google Communities. G+ has been a great companion over recent years. I’ve used it as the main learning community in a media and communications paper I teach with +Laurent Antonczak. Students have enjoyed using it, in fact a whole semester later they are still using it to communicate with us and with one another. Its egalitarian structure has enabled us to make very effective use of it in terms of empowering students to create content and contribute to one another’s learning.
Our team have also used a number of Google Communities over the years as sites of professional development as well as a repository for sharing teaching and research resources. It has also been a tool for ‘cutting teeth’ within our team with a small number of initial users, support from our learning technologists, and then the adoption by others once skills were acquired.
However, despite the affordances of G+, my familiarity with it and the research data we have stored within its bowels, I have had quite a different reaction to its impending demise. I think Bambuser helped me recognise the inevitability of change and uncertainty. Yes, it is slightly inconvenient but I do see it as an opportunity for trying something new and for using this as a way to demonstrate to our students the need for agility, flexibility and openness to change. We need to learn to change and change to learn.
I think it’s going to be all G