WE LEARN (Women Expanding Literacy Education Action Resource Network)

is a community promoting women’s literacy as a tool that fosters empowerment and equity for women.

2012: Access Technology, Build Connections, Create Networks

2012 conflogo keyboard5Women in Literacy: Access Technology, Build Connections, Create Networks

Complete Program Book(huge - 31 mb)

The theme for 2012 – Women in Literacy: Access Technology, Build Connections and Create Networks – moved our attention towards using technology for educating, empowering and enriching our lives and communities.Some of the questions posed at this conference included:

  • How do women in literacy (learners and educators): Access technology, Build connections, Create networks
  • How is technology helping, hindering and/or changing communication?
  • How are you using technology in your teaching and learning?
 Main Events

Opening Panel: Access Technology, Build Connections, Create Networks
Plenaries: How Does WE LEARN Matter to You?  |  Using Technology, Sustaining Connections, Nurturing Networks
Activities:Social Media  |  Tech Drop In Center  |  Creating Mandalas | Art-Making | Women's Perspectives Celebration



Official Conference Opening

openplen donnaPANEL Discussion on Conference Theme
Women in Literacy:  Access Technology, Build Connections, Create Networks

Featuring: Kathleen P. King, Donna Jones, Kathryn Ssedoga, Karisa Tashijian, and Heather Lash. Moderated by Shellie Walters with Priyanka Sharma

Members of the WE LEARN community and invited guests discussed conference themes. Adult learners, teachers, academics and researchers resented an interesting array of topics.

How Does WE LEARN Matter to You? Exciting New Visions for Moving Forward...

In this interactive session, developed and presented by the WE LEARN Board of Directors, participants discussed these questions:

  • How is it still important to focus on women’s literacy or women’s needs in literacy? Why? What are effective ways to do this?
  • What is the role and future of WE LEARN as a participatory membership/ volunteer organization?
  • How do we continue to build a community that cares and promotes women’s literacy issues and needs?

Presentation PowerPoint

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Using Technology, Sustaining Connections, Nurturing Networks

Mev Miller, Founder ... and Facilitated by the WE LEARN Connections Committee

In this interactive session (though small group work and open mic discussion), we demonstrated how to access and add to the treasures of the newly launched WE LEARN website. Participants discussed these questions:

  • What works? What needs revision?
  • What are new ways you use the website for learning and teaching?
  • What content do we need to build? How can WE LEARN members contribute to keeping the website fresh, meaningful, and vibrant?
  • How can the website sustain connection and communication among WE LEARN members and nurture networks of people supportive of women’s literacy?

Presentation PowerPoint with Notes

Tech Drop-In Center

Throughout the conference, we provided space for all conference participants to ask their questions, share ideas, and engage hands-on with computer and Internet places.

Activities included:

  • Access to flip cameras to record sessions or make quick videos
  • Participation in various social media

Handouts included:

Real-Time Interactive - Conference Social Media

We shared the conference experience with attendees AND with those who could not join us physically. Since our conference is about technology, what better way to explore than through various interactive social media forums? We offered spaces to:

  • Ask questions,
  • Share experiences,
  • Gain new insight, and
  • Learn new ideas.

Conference Blog 2012

Participants and conference facilitators used the blog to post updates and offer real-time happening during the conference. For those who could not attend, we hope this gives you some connection to the exciting and nourishing events.

Google Doc Open Forum

Creating Mandalas in a Sacred Space

See the video of the mandala creation

On the Saturday (March 10, 2012), participants at the WE LEARN conference had the unusual opportunity to step into a space designated for creativity and silent walking meditation for as short or as long as they wish. Guided by Lenore Balliro (Project Director of the Managing Stress to Improve Learning project at World Education in Boston) conference participants entered the sacred space at various designated intervals and add to the emerging mandala design on a large table, using dried beans, seeds, and rice. To intensify the transformative process of the experience, they worked in silence, communicating with each other in non-verbal ways as they allowed a gradual transition to using the right side of their brains. Mandala, the Sanskrit word for circle, represents wholeness and harmony in Buddhist and Hindu spiritual practice. Traditionally, monks create mandalas using fine grains of colored sand, spending many days in silence as the circular design emerges. For more information about mandala history, design, and use in educational settings, please goes to http://www.mandalaproject.org/


Sympathy Place (Poem - Shared Writing)
By Rene Arsenault, Jessica Becker, Joanna Becker, Theresa Cook, Marie Doerner, Donna Jones, Nirvani Persaud, Daria Ramos, Shellie Walters
Struggle is universal,
But, just like the universe, some spots are darker than others.
And everyone struggles at one point or another.
It may be the dark matter that holds us together.
Our tears, our sweat and our determination to do better
would shed some light.
The strain on my back makes me crack
            like a floorboard in a tumbleweed house.
But through the cracks the light appears.
Surviving the dark times makes the light times sweeter.
I put a candle on my nose and smile while watching the sun rise.
Sometimes we can make choices in our lives, but God still loves us.
We can’t let the struggle bring us down,
            we’ve got to keep moving forward.
We should look at the light streaming in our windows
            that lights up the dust like stars.
And through the window, you can see the river outside,
moving the obstacles down.
So I take my cup to the river. As it lifts, my cup runneth over.
On Friday evening, we had a spirited participant-made "Talent Show." Sharing stories, poems, music, and other bits, this showcase proved both inspiring as well as fun. Going forward, this space will forever be known to us as "Daisy's Place" due to one of the stories told. This poem emerged as a "summary" of this evening.

Daisy's Place (A Poem)

By Marie Doerner
Tonight I went to Daisy’s Place
Didn't know what I’d find
Tonight I went to Daisy’s Place
Tired, stressed and wired
I thought it was a talent show
And talent was surely there
I thought it was a talent show
But poems, stories, fear?
A little girl in the city,
Another crashed her boat
Unconditional love,
Followed by a train wreck,
One baby nursing
Another couldn’t hear
Fairness, privilege,
Whose point of view?
Beaten up yet writes again,
The Irish go to war
Together we reach deep inside
To pull the talent out
Together we reached deep inside
To share, create and bond
Come to Daisy’s Place
You’ll find the talent there
Come to Daisy’s Place
Laugh, cry, feel whole

THANK YOU -- 2012 Sponsors: University of Rhode Island College of Human Science and Services | Citizens Bank | Calvin Miles Fund for Student Leadership | ProLiteracy | World Education | Rhode Island Adult Professional Development Center