Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Susanne Nyrop

Susanne Nyrop is an active and regular TAPPED IN member since November 2000, a frequent HelpDesk volunteer and community builder from Denmark, Europe.

Susanne's Perspective

TAPPED IN Summer Carnival 2001!

As an active member of the Global Educators' Network, I was a co-hostess at the TAPPED IN Crazy 8 Summer Carnival where people joined from all over the world: Australia, British Columbia and Ontario in Canada, several US locations, including Hawaii, as well as from Holland, Sweden and Denmark in Europe. We did a lively and fun flight in our imagination on the wings of dialogue, and a handful of members told us about their online learning research and practice. It was fun and informal, but still some good questions were asked and some fine answers came out of the short presentations. One hour is a very short span of time when all dialogue has to be typed in hand and read on the screen. Thanks to the Carnival scripts recorded live during the events and stored in the TAPPED IN After School Online Room it is possible for members who were unable to participate in the Carnival to take a look at this and all the Summer Carnival 2001! events.

The European Dimension: Time Zone Constraints

As a European, I have had to find my own way of getting involved, as most After School Online sessions are taking place during the middle of the European night. This spring I was the initiator and moderator in an experimental three week online conference called the Fourth Dimension involving both synchronous TAPPED IN sessions as well as an asynchronous seminar in the Global Educators' Network (GEN). During this conference it became clear that the GEN community may benefit from the facility to make plans and discuss online in TAPPED IN as well as provide direct hotline help to new users, to plan and discuss seminar related events, and just to meet and socialize. See the TAPPED IN calendar for the GEN open house and other GEN related events. Visit the GEN web site.

Traveling on the Wings of Imagination

I have always liked to travel both in reality and in my imagination. When I login to TAPPED IN, I do feel like I am traveling in my mind on the wings of online text dialogues. TAPPED IN has become to me a place to meet people from all over the world, living and working under different cultural and educational conditions, but sharing a common interest in educational aspects, most often involving the computer as a creative tool for communication. I used to work with young preschoolers but decided for a change in my life trajectory after becoming familiar with computers and online community building around 1994. After a BA in media and communication at the Royal Danish School of Education, I continued to study education with a special passion for digital research and communication tools, investigating and engaging in online environments as a kind of cyber-anthropologist.

Cyber Anthropologist

When I wish to understand how to support and interact with a newcomer as she takes her first steps in the virtual learning environment, I do compare intuitively with a toddler learning to walk and talk. Show them how to do it, expect that they will soon find out, let them do it on their own, in their own way and their own pace, and as soon as you observe that they have discovered how to do so, tell them that they did it!

HelpDesk Volunteer

As a HelpDesk Volunteer, I meet all kinds of people logging in - community members asking for a tip as well as the very beginner who may be surprised by getting this direct and personal contact. I love to follow a beginner's progress as they get to understand how to speak, move around and have a look at TAPPED IN. I often recommend TAPPED IN to others as a meeting room, a virtual campus and a great place to bring in students. Learning how to use the synchronous chat for other purposes than just small talk, gossip or dating, can be time-consuming but also very rewarding, fun and sometimes even passionate. Discussions can get lifted out of the nice and easy trivial everyday chat into a feeling of flow or a shared space of mutual understanding, or even a critical disagreement leading to metacognitive understanding from another viewpoint.

Virtual Community Building: It Is All About Getting Involved

Being involved in a dialogue on the screen allows me to learn about others, about their everyday life as educators and learners, participating as teachers, students or researchers. I also appreciate the opportunity to be able to share my own studies and to plan, execute and discuss online experiments. My virtual office got the name Susanne's Virtual Playground (E 312) because I like to combine play and work whenever it is possible. Here, I keep my notes and records for later retrieval. I also enjoy my virtual pets. Virtual food and beverages are available to offer to my virtual guests. Pets and other objects are informal talking pieces and are examples of working with object oriented programming. One great feature is the facility to project a website to everybody's screen in the virtual room, so we can discuss the content.

Informal Everyday Learning

Last year, I found an online paper about TAPPED IN that intrigued me because it seemed to have some interesting aspects of personal engagement in the ongoing building of an informal community of educational practice. I soon discovered that this was an amazing place for my further research and my final thesis at the candidate study of education. Being a full time student I can participate on a regular basis, gradually becoming more acquainted with the community building. Since my very first visit in November 2000, I felt included and supported by the friendly help of the HelpDesk people and others making me feel confident even when I am not sure what to do. and I soon decided to include these experiences in my research program.

My homepage is still incomplete and undergoing a permanent reconstruction. Feel welcome, however, to take a first look, and tell me how I can make it better.