Recently, this post was shared with me on Twitter:
One of my favourite parts of #etMOOC was our time exploring open learning. @cogdog (Alan Levine) collects stories of open learning and sharing here. It is a concept I am committed to, and my own personal stories of open sharing are dear to me.
Sharing can be hard, though. We need courage to share. Depending on the context, it can be hard work. I am often asked to present to groups. This is not my strength, and it involves lots of preparation time, but I push myself to do it because I usually benefit from it far more than my audience. It is a way to collect, organize, and synthesize thinking, something I rarely do unless pushed.
Last Friday, I pushed a grade 9 student at my school to be courageous and share on the radio the part she played in our lip-dub video project with our student teacher and Dean Shareski. She did a beautiful job, but it was scary, and I applaud her courage for consenting to speak to CBC Radio.
Last week a teacher colleague pushed the boundaries and shared professional learning on Twitter. It was courageous, because we are not all fortunate enough to be working in environments that support the idea of open learning.
There is still much stereotyping about “cell phone use” during professional development. ”Cell phones” are not there as a distraction, but as a tool for learning. Other educators benefit from our sharing. Learning networks are critical, especially in isolated locations like ours. Sharing pushes our thinking and helps us to learn better ways to teach our students.
When I see courageous people sharing, I wonder what it would take to get others to share.
Dean Shareski shared this video today. It reminds us that we all have something to share with someone. A teacher from my school attended a session at a conference today, and shared that she could have led that session herself. Yes she could! And next year maybe she will!
Two weeks ago, I presented some sessions at #OTRK12. Initially, I had hoped to present on the concept of the TPA (Teacher Performance Appraisal) for online teachers. I was one of the first teachers in Ontario to have a TPA while teaching online (1998), but someone else had asked to present that topic so I decided to just sit in to learn.
The presenter was a teacher who had looked at this topic for his PQP Practicum. He presented a beautiful list of look-fors and we had a discussion about some of the interesting twists this mode of instruction presented to the TPA process. He had never actually completed an online TPA, but it was presented very well. But right in that very room, listening with intent, was a principal of an online public high school who has conducted more online TPAs than anyone else in Ontario – and he shared nothing. Imagine how rich the discussion could have been if he had shared his knowledge and experience.
As I sit here in a massive spring snowstorm putting the final touches on another application to share (ECOO 2013) a journey with others, I am thankful for the many opportunities I have had to share with so many open learners.
Life is richer when you share.
This week, one of the conspirators of #etMOOC, Alan Levine (a.k.a. @cogdog), emailed me with a challenge – to submit a video of a time when being open and sharing online resulted in something special happening.
What could be more special than lunch with cogdog himself?
Update: More about Alan Levine right here (from Dean Shareski):
Here’s the story (told while snowshoeing with my beagle north of Lake Superior).
The story at the time: The Kindness of (not really) strangers: http://cogdogblog.com/2011/08/22/kindness-of-strangers/#comments
Do you have a story of when being open and sharing online turned into something really special? Tell the story in video and share it here.
I enjoy reading Hattie’s work (Visible Learning and Visible Learning for Teachers), but in all the quality time I have spent with Hattie’s writing, I have only really thought about how it applied to children/students.
My first day in #etMOOC changed all that.
I have been encouraging educators I work with to engage in the #etMOOC experience (“encouraged” may be perceived by some as an understatement). You already know how I feel about this perfect/open/free opportunity to learn and connect.
Yet throughout the last three months of “talking up #etMOOC”, I thought only about how much my colleagues were going to learn about educational technology. I had not expected to learn so much about learning – on the first day!
On day 1, Jenni Scott-Marciski wrote her first blog post ever. She shared her experiences in joining Twitter, her hesitations about blogging, and here very personal thinking about connecting.
Even though I see Jenni every day, this was all new to me. Yes, I knew she was using Twitter to learn and connect, and yes, I knew she had started #etMOOC, but I was astonished at how much better I understand her learning now with just one posting.
She was making her thinking and learning visible, and it helped me to understand where we need to go next.
I had a similar experience with my #etmooc introduction. I have been trying to use iMovie for months now, sneaking in to watch and learn from students as they create videos in their classrooms, asking for help from friends. But the process of making and posting a video made my learning visible to others, and as a result I have received direct instruction on what to fix and how as I move forward in my learning.
I would not have posted that video if it was for “marks” or if it was for an evaluation. I would have kept my learning private. But the understanding that I am in a safe and supportive learning environment made me feel encouraged to share and learn.
And what does this tell us about student learning?
For some time now, I have known that there is a big hole in my knowledge about educational technology. I have absolutely no experience in working with video.
I was thrilled to see that the first assignment for #etMOOC was to make a video. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on this, so this afternoon, @colleenkr came into my office and showed me one thing – that’s all we had time for – but one thing is something.
So tonight, in a stretch of 30 spare minutes I managed to find, I made a video.
It’s awful. Honestly. But I don’t care. I learned so much in that 30 minutes!
Besides, by posting it here for all to see, I can only improve. We can all laugh at this by the end of #etMOOC.
By the way, kudos to my friend @cogdog for his intro video. Of all people, he could have made his spectacular. But we are all here to learn, and his one shot intro made me feel like it was safe to learn in this space. We are not competing. This is not for marks. It’s to make learning visible, and then share it.
Here is my learning for tonight:
This is one reason why making your learning visible is so important!
A 30 second pass in the hallway this morning, and @colleenkr has already taught me to take my iphone videos sideways to fit better on the screen, and later today I am going to learn how to make the volume the same all the way through the video. Can’t wait!
#ETMOOC is an opportunity. The very worst thing that could happen to you if you join #ETMOOC is that you could learn a few new things, and connect with a few new learners, like yourself.
It is not evaluative.
It is open and supportive.
(And some of the coolest educators in the world are hanging out there for the next few months).
So what is #ETMOOC?
Let’s start with the MOOC part.
MOOC = Massive Open Online Course. Don’t let that word “massive” scare you. Or, for that matter, don’t let the word “course” scare you. This is nothing like other “courses” your have “taken”.
When you hear “course”, no doubt you think “work”, “boring”, “drudgery”, “marks”, “assignments”. No wonder “course” turns you off!
[Replace "course" in that last bit with "school" and think like a student for a minute. But then that takes us to a whole other conversation....]
What if the first thing that came to mind when you heard the word “course” was “learning”? Because a MOOC is about learning – your learning.
If you are an Ontario teacher, the concept of self-directed learning is not new to you (!). I know that many times I have been in a place where I want to learn, but I just don’t know where to start.
Many people working in the education sector are exactly in that place when it comes to technology.
So here is what a MOOC can do for you. Think of a MOOC as a structured opportunity to learn. Some wonderful leader – or many – creates a course structure, publishes it, and then you can partake in the parts that interest you, or the parts that fit into your already hectic life. Nobody is taking attendance, and nobody is “marking your work”. Can’t participate this week? No problem. Hook back up with us next time you can. You literally get out of it what you put into it.
There are hundreds and hundreds, maybe even thousands, of MOOCs available to you right now. Last week, when working with my IT guy on creating a tinkering room for our students, he said to me, “Oh, I learned that in a MOOC I did last summer”. See? Your friends and colleagues might be doing MOOCs and you don’t even know about it!
I have done two MOOCs over the last two years. The #Change11 MOOC that drew in many Canadians just won’t die, because the other beautiful thing about MOOCs is that “M”, the “massive”. This is no tiny class. There is really no limit to how many people can learn in a MOOC, so the connections that are forged don’t just go away when the course is over. We build communities in social media and continue to learn together long after anyone is providing the structure for us.
So back to #ETMOOC. This MOOC is about to begin, but you can still join in. This MOOC is all about educational technology and media, so if you feel like the world of edtech is passing you by, and you can’t figure out how to jump on the train, consider this your stop. No ticket required – just hop aboard now. There is nothing to lose, and a world of connected learners out there ready to support you and learn with you over the next three months.
I look forward to learning with you!
The 2013 tentative schedule of topics is found below. More detailed information will be provided soon, including exact dates and connection information. Each topic is 2 weeks long so that there is adequate attention and depth.
- Welcome (Jan 13-19): Welcome Event & Orientation to #etmooc
- Topic 1 (Jan 20-Feb. 2): Connected Learning – Tools, Processes & Pedagogy
- Topic 2 (Feb 3-16): Digital Storytelling – Multimedia, Remixes & Mashups
- Topic 3 (Feb 17-Mar 2): Digital Literacy – Information, Memes & Attention
- Topic 4 (Mar 3-16): The Open Movement – Open Access, OERs & Future of Ed.
- Topic 5 (Mar 17-30): Digital Citizenship – Identity, Footprint, & Social Activism