Dennis in Phoenix

Some Thoughts on the Webheads

I first heard about the Webheads in the late 1990s through an e-list I subscribed to—maybe TESL-L, maybe NEATEACH-L, maybe something else—and was fascinated. Then I briefly met Vance after a presentation of his at TESOL, though I can't remember if it was in Seattle or Vancouver, BC. I'm sure Vance doesn't remember that brief boy-hoddy, but I do; it resulted in my thinking seriously about becoming a member. I didn't, however—largely because I was intimidated. The Webheads seemed to be so tech-savvy and knowledgeable about what was on the Web and how to use it that I thought I'd never be able to fit in (much less keep pace with their accomplishments). That being the case, I put becoming a Webhead on hold.

I continued to hear about the Webheads and to be impressed with and interested in what they were doing, but it wasn't until 2005 or 2006, when I was in a TESOL PPOT course taught by my teachers and mentors and friends Teresa Almeida d'Eça and Dafne González that "Webheads fever" struck again: both Teresa and Dafne encouraged me and others in the class not only to join the Webheads but also to take part in one of the EV Online sessions. I did, and also officially joined this robust and energetic online active community of practice. It was one of the very best—and most personally meaningful—decisions that I've ever made.

I'm proud to be a Webhead! My level of participation, however, varies. Sometimes I'm very active, sometimes definitely a lurker, but this in no way means that my appreciation of and committment to this incredible online family also waxes and wanes. The fact is, a 100% level of participation would require at least 79-hour days, compendious knowledge, a very solid background in the use of an astounding variety of online resources and tools, and highly developed skills in countless areas. That's what intimidated me originally, but it doesn't affect me that way now. My change in attitude didn't happen because I became consummately tech-savvy and knowledgeable . . . because I didn't. Instead, it's because I now understand (and deeply appreciate) two of the very best characteristics of the Webheads in Action. One is the fact that individual Webheads differ greatly in what they know, what they can do, and what they're interested in; this might seem not to lead anywhere productive, but, in point of actual fact, it has just the opposite effect. Why? – Because the Webheads are what they are due to their wholehearted endorsement of collaboration (and they practice what they preach . . . in spades!); in addition, I think all the Webheads know that each of us has something worthwhile to offer and that through collaboration, the whole will definitely be stronger than any of the contributing parts. Another characteristic is the fact that the Webheads are—both as individual members and as a group—warm, caring, supportive, and empowering, and also because they know that both learning together and having F.U.N. are important!

This is all pretty special stuff, and that's why I'm proud to be a Webhead.

Happy 10th Birthday! May the Webheads have at least a hundred more!


Dennis in Phoenix