The Third Place

Today, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Levine (2012) ponder that age old question of “Who am I?” via his YouTube video “We, Our Digital Selves, and Us

The Third Place

The Third Place

Firstly, this resource is an awesome prompt for any teacher willing to explore and reflect on their own digital identity. The video has some very thought provoking questions and challenges, such as “What is the difference between offline and online?

What really grabbed me  was the discussion of “the notion of a place that was neither work nor home”. Levine tells us this concept was originally described by Ray Oldenburg as a Third Place. Intriguing. A place that is highly accessible, involves food and is welcoming. “Can this happen Online?” asks Levine.

Sure, I have been to that place. I go there via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Hangouts, Skype …

What’s more, when I visit this Third Place I can drink coffee, order lunch, world best cappuccino or just simply sit on my balcony. You?

I have then connected with people I met in this “Third place” by meeting them at pubs, schools, hospitals and museums while attending Teachmeets in Melbourne. Or, I meet them in other more formal places during professional development activities. Some I now teach with.

This opens up a vision of how my students will benefit from this Third Place that is neither work nor home … nor school? Maybe my future students will not be locked in a classroom with me; that’s not such a bad thing! 🙂  Perhaps we will meet somewhere more compatible to digital citizens and we will use our connections to learn from the world. Maybe we will only ever meet in this Third Place?

Taking this imagining one step further … my vision is not a #TMMELB but a student meet (#SMMelb) at a local cafe, or … you get the drift. What a great way to teach youth that learning happens anywhere, anytime.

Just pondering out loud here but it’s exciting to ponder.


Levine, A. [Flat Classroom]. (2012, March 21). We, our digital selves, and us [Video file]. Retrieved from

Bookmark and Share
  1. Hi Simon, it’s been really fantastic connecting with your writing and your ideas via the social streams. You have a whole bunch of knowledge that I’m envious of! So glad you came to join us in this subject! I’m glad you were inspired by Alan – a good friend and a lifelong innovator, he has been a model for so many of us in the education arena since what seems like forever 🙂

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful review of that video, Simon. The venn diagram of these spaces are constantly shifting for me.

    The drive for this way of connecting is not even new. I heard an interview on the radio (yes, I listen to FM radio, the US public NPR radio shows are very informative) with kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired magazine and the early early internet community The Well.

    Kelly described the surprise that a community fo people who engaged first online (through text based bulletin board sites, dialing up on modems, woah I feel old) on their own began organizing in person meetups.

    It seems we crave more than text based remote relationships. Srill I heard later on this station a discussion of the internet as a virtual world with the audio form of scare quotes that imply it is a place distant from where / how we live.

    What we seem to take for granted or common- a video I created in Virginia for an online conference of students in India, Asia, has reached your viewing in Australia- still feels like a magical experience. And a real one.

    • Thanks for the visit to my blog new blog.
      I remember that text based chat rooms and bulletin boards and the frustration of trying to connect. How so quickly things have changed.
      We do crave more than text based relationships but they come. The social networks growing online are very real…it’s just another way of communicating bit on a potentially global scale. How cool is that!

  3. Hi Simon,
    you have given me much food for thought in these three wonderful reflective posts. The advantage of having a blogger document sources is that I can now go on line and find more information for myself. I have been pondering on the how and what to cite for blog post 2 in INF530 – you have been a inspiration and a help.

  4. Hi Simon
    Thanks so much for the link to this exciting blog ! I really appreciate your reflections and the opportunity to access the reading you are doing
    Collaboration in action !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *