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thinking about communities, users and dreams

POSTED IN: My DTL blog: Chris' blog

It's been a while since I've posted on this blog -- I've been busy working on new features, including a mobile-friendly UI and Google Hangouts integration, and Ryan Anderson has been holding the fort on the blogging front. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about what people do on Dream to Learn.  

The answer to that question today is that you write documents and blogs; collaborate using discussion rooms, colleague chat and Google Hangouts, and help to build communities of people who share common dreams to learn. All good stuff, but reading Valerie Singers's incredibly moving blog about the novel she is writing to bring to light her uncle's last days in a prisoner-of-war camp has brought me back to the 'dream' part of Dream to Learn.  

Dream to Learn communities bring together people who share common dreams, and who can help one another fulfill those dreams.  But it's individuals -- people like Valerie -- who stay up late because they have a story they need to learn how to write.  And it's individuals working and learning together, who will build Dream to Learn.

One of the features we're working on is a personal 'collaboration center' for every Dream to Learn user.  The collaboration center will be what you'll see first when you click on a user's name, or when you go directly to their personal Dream to Learn url (my own url -- and if you go their now you'll see the existing, static and not very interesting profile, not the forthcoming collaboration center -- is https://dreamtolearn.com/chris or https://dtl.to/chris).  I want the collaboration center to be the place to go to see what I am working on and learning now, what I'm thinking of  doing in the future.  And I want it to be an invitation for others who share similar dreams to engage with me and collaborate with me. 

Some of those collaborations will occur within communities, but many will start as one-to-one collaborations.  Speaking for myself, I have always been passionate about how the physical universe is unfolding (that is, cosmology), and how we can relate our understanding of things like the Big Bang, or how black holes may evaporate, to who we are, and what it all means.  It's not a subject I've ever formally studied, but it's something I read about when I can.  How great it would be to collaborate with other people who share a similar passion.  Perhaps in time this might develop into a Dream to Learn community focused on cosmology.  Or perhaps the collaborations that happen will lead to something completely unexpected.  My dream is to make sense of who we are in this amazing universe, wherever that leads.

Which is to say that we need to enable collaborations within existing communities, but also dynamic one-on-one and small-group collaborations that could go in any direction.

The other thing that reading Valerie's blog emphasized for me is that dreams are multiple.  Valerie is a professional singer with a passion to teach everything that is singing to others.  But what's keeping her up at night right now is writing a novel about her uncle.  And we're all like that -- we have many dreams.  

I think often of these lines by Walt Whitman:

Do I contradict myself? 
Very well then I contradict myself, 
(I am large, I contain multitudes.) 

Here's to hoping that Dream to Learn can be a place where we can collaborate with one another on our many dreams!

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About the Author

Chris Tennant

Chris Tennant

I co-founded Dream to Learn in 2013. I love the outdoors, growing and building things, and the challenge and beauty of writing computer code. I live in Eugene, Oregon with my wife Giuditta, my two kids Joshua and Rebecca, and our cats Sprinkie and Hugino.

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Created: June 28, 2014


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