Tag Archives: MOOC

#etMOOC +1: The Power of People

As we celebrate the first anniversary of #etMOOC*, I am overwhelmed with the stories of growth and sharing and learning.

* For those who hear about how MOOCs are a trend, a fad, a failure or a passing phase, here is the kind of MOOC I am referring to:

#etMOOC connected people.

It wasn’t about content.  It wasn’t about assignments.  It was about experiencing the world of people out there who care about learners, who advocate for change, who take risks, who share their learning every single day.

It was about creating together, playing together, learning together.

I am fascinated by how the experience blurred our professional and personal lives.

We didn’t draw a line between the two.

We allowed, and continue to allow, our best traits, our life experiences, our travels and our learning to inform our time together, be it online or f2f.

We learn together whether we are “on the clock” or “on the road”.

We model what learning can be: self-directed, shared, always available.  Supported, stretched, generous and courageous.

#etMOOC brought out the best in us.  #etMOOC brings out the best in us.

Happy #etMOOC anniversary.  Keep learning and sharing.

Photo Credit: Luz Adriana Villa A. via Compfight cc

What Are You Thinking?

Photo Credit: jDevaun via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: jDevaun via Compfight cc

Recently, this post was shared with me on Twitter:

Screen shot 2013-08-10 at 9.05.52 AM

It’s a very good look at the need to communicate and respond in many ways to all the stakeholders in the school community.

I would add another item to the list: Blogging

Why should education administrators blog?  For the same reasons we want teachers and students to blog.

#1: Make Learning Visible

Through blogging, educational administrators at all levels make their thinking visible to their team.  Learning is shared and open.  Conversations about learning become widely shared and asynchronous.  Anyone can join in.  Learning is enhanced for everyone who participates.  Introverts who may feel uncomfortable having a conversation with an educational leader face to face, can carefully consider their comments and share them in a way that makes them comfortable.

#2: Encourage Others to Make Learning Visible

When administrators share their learning, they model the practice of making thinking visible, encouraging all members of the school community to do the same.  They show that risk-taking is valued, that failing is a catalyst for learning, and that learning is important for everyone in the school environment.

#3: Share the Learning

How often do we hear that Principals are out of the building too often, and that Supervisory Officers are never in the school?  Blogging allows administrators to share their learning with others.  It is a built-in accountability that their time away is well spent and that the learning can be used to build capacity in the entire system.  What personal professional learning are you currently engaged in?  What books are you reading?  Share your learning with your school community and your PLN.  Model personal professional growth while encouraging your staff to do the same.

#4. Organize Your Thinking

A teacher who recently started blogging was preparing for a position of added responsibility this year, and she remarked at how easy it was to organize her thinking.  It was already organized on her blog!  Education Administrators who are called on to make presentations have easy access to the material they may need as they have already presented their thinking and learning in their blog.

#5. Connect With Other School Leaders

By following the blogs of school leaders around the world, you can engage in conversations and learn from their learning.  Be a part of the Professional Learning Network that believes in sharing, in challenging thinking, and in making thinking visible to all.

Stories of Open Sharing

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.

LEARN

The Power of Visible Learning

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?

Apples for the teacher

Hello #etMOOCers!

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: 

*** Update!

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!

What is #etmooc? And why you should join us…

#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’s free.

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!

Topics & Schedule

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

For Learning or Credit?

While working this week, I had CBC Radio One on in the background and I was thrilled to hear George Siemens being interviewed on Ontario Today (recording here) about MOOCs.

As a participant in the #Change11 MOOC  (see the schedule here), I was very interested to hear what George had to say.  It is difficult to get your message out in a radio talk show, but the questions from the public suggest a lot of confusion around the purpose of education.

Are schools where you go to get accreditation (credits) or where you go to learn, or both?

It takes me back to some writing I did while pondering this statement from one of my “at-risk” students: “I didn’t take this course to learn something, I took it to get a credit” and here: “Credit for Learning“.

While MOOCs are wonderful for learning (accessible, opt in, opt out, collaborate, go off on tangents, free access), they fall apart when it comes to getting a credit for them (who assesses, is there cheating, how does anyone get paid?), unless we think about some new structures to accommodate both (learn all you want through the MOOC, then pay for the assessment and accreditation when you are ready?)

Do we need a similar strategy in secondary schools where we are constantly battling the misfit between what we know works best for learning (for example, feedback without grades and collaboration) and what the universities demand for entrance (high marks, awards, competition)?  How do we encourage students to explore areas (such as the arts) when their focus is to get extremely high marks (as you can in math and science) to get into particular post-secondary programs?

As we rethink what schools need to look like, we need to work at clarifying the purpose of public education.

In the meantime, I am hoping (fingers crossed) that there will be a #Change12 MOOC because for me, it’s all about learning.