I think it will be moderately disruptive.
-Captain John Dooley, regarding the possibility of the U.S. Civil War
In only a few weeks, I have already found this class to be disruptive in the sense of interrupting my usual routine and mode of thought, forcing me "out of my comfort zone" (as Michelle wrote). I am very comfortable with reading books, listening to lectures, and memorizing and organizing information in preparation for a test. After all, I've been doing these things for twenty years. I am comfortable attending class once or twice a week and then taking a break from class through the rest of the week as I work on other things. I am comfortable checking my email a few times during the course of the day, usually when I am expecting something. And I am very comfortable in unplugging myself from the world over the weekend so that I can just spend time outdoors or just be solely and completely with my wife and baby girl.
Now Disruptive Technologies is truly disrupting it all. I can no longer simply read a couple of articles, do a little thinking, and call it good. Now I find that I must continually be up-to-date on an ever-changing course blog, cognizant not only of the ideas behind the original writers, but also those of my fellow students and learners. I can no longer simply listen to lectures, I must contribute to the lesson with my own ideas and comments on others'. I must stretch into new presentational modes: yesterday marked my first time using a webcam and uploading to YouTube (I can hear your gasps from here!). Instead of just getting online a few times a day, I'm asked to "stay connected" throughout the day via twitter and other technologies, though honestly I'm still not there yet. Even my sacrosanct weekend is being "disrupted," as I am forced to actually do some class work on Saturday.
Now don't get me wrong: I'm certainly not complaining here (well, maybe a little about the weekend thing). It's just new. It's disruptive. It'll take some time to get used to, to develop habits and proficiencies. I'm not new to learning theory, or educational policy, or collaborative learning. I'm just new to the setting. And honestly, a lot of this stuff is excitingly cool. It's one of the reasons I wanted to take this course in the first place. Because I believe that each of us requires some sort of disruption in order to grow and to learn. This universal truth applies to students, and it applies to teachers. It even applied to the entire United States, as I'm sure Captain Dooley learned the hard way. It is in that moment when we stand facing the darkness of the unknown that our true potential as beings of thought and action is tested. And the great thing about Disruptive Technologies is you don't have to face that void alone. You've got the whole world learning and growing there with you. I think that's worth some disruption, don't you? Maybe even on weekends.