Sharing

As the past two weeks of ETMOOC have been dedicated to exploring connected learning one dominant theme has been “sharing“. Bloggers inspired by Dean Shareski’s session on Sharing as Accountability have explored the theme overtly in posts such as Lyn Hilt’s Sharing is Caring and Shane Brewer’s Sharing as an Ethical Responsibility. Some of the most powerful work in the last few weeks has been the sharing of questions as folks wrestled with the ideas presented by Dave Cormier in his session on Introduction to Rhizomatic Learning.

Before we leave this theme I want to share with you some words from Stephen Downes written earlier this week when he was asked to give advice to someone wanting to make a meaningful contribution to the quality of education around the world. Stephen is known to many as one of pioneers of connectivism; many of you likely subscribe to OLDaily. But he is also a philosopher and a photographer, and sometimes his words resonate in a way that goes beyond theory and discourse – they get at why I as a parent am advocating for change in public education – and at what I really want for my children.

(Click to enlarge)

downes_advice

Curation

Over the last few weeks of reading ETMOOC posts I’ve noticed that sometimes I leave a post open in a browser tab for days.  These posts-to-return-to-when-I-have-more-time exhibit a common feature – many of them contain infographics or interesting visual representations. In an activity like ETMOOC numerous open tabs is not a viable solution, so I decided to curate.

I could have bundled the posts together with bookmarks and tags, but decided to focus on the visuals themselves as they are what I want to explore in detail and perhaps what I will want to share outside of ETMOOC in the future. Though I’m a fairly regular user delicious and scoop.it, I decided to work with a curation tool that is also very visual – Pinterest.  (To this point my use of Pinterest has been largely materialistic, though I have seen many using it to collect educational resources.) I like the way the board is coming together, though Pinterest really should listen to user feedback and make it possible to re-arrange pins within a board.

In the process of pinning these resources I swerved and ran smack dab into learning! I’ve spent considerable time exploring curation as a skill and have learned it is significantly more  than collecting resources. Curation also requires reflection and sense-making. A key resource I explored was this presentation by Robin Good “Content Curation for Education and Learning, Emerge 2012” (note – it will take considerable time to digest, but it is worth the investment). For a shorter resource see Beth Kanters piece “Content Curation Primer“.

So as valuable as Pinterest, Scoop.it or Delicious are for collecting and sharing ideas and resources having a space (blog) to reflect on and converse about the content is more important to learning – certainly to my ETMOOC learning. Jumping from seek to share isn’t enough – a good curator makes sense of the ideas presented.

I intend to follow-up this post with a few that delve into the sense-making part. But in the meantime I will to add to these great visuals as I explore the hundreds of blog posts in ETMOOC and the thousands of links contributed by this great sharing community. If you are interested in seeing the infographics I’ve gathered so far click the icon below.

Pinterest_Favicon

 

What you share with the world…

As I’ve navigated the fast moving ETMOOC river these last days I’ve been focused on the idea of SHARING.  As we explore Connected Learning – Tools, Processes & Pedagogies the theme of sharing has been a big one.

Dean Shareski’s session on Sharing is Accountability (slideshare) contained a quote from Sue Waters that is important for us to consider when deciding what to share:

The idea of blogging as part of a constructivist MOOC is that you’re reflecting and sharing your learning. Ideally what you’re looking for is to learn from others while building on, and adding to what you’ve learnt.

The more you read, participate by leaving comments on other participant’s posts, engage in discussions and conversations – the more you’ll learn and want to share – and this is when you REFLECT on it by writing a post! (slide 71)

A learning moment occurred for me when I purposefully returned to some of the blog posts I had read previously. (I often read a post when I see it pop up on Google+ and that means I’m reading it shortly after posting.) When you revisit a post after a few days there may be a conversation developed in the comments that offers important lessons.  For example, this discussion on over-sharing between Brent Schmidt and Sue Waters (much to learn from Sue!).

So a key learning for me this week is how important it is in a MOOC environment to keep returning to spaces that we’ve previously explored, to see what may have changed (or not) and to participate openly in the discussion when you have something to add. We cannot just skim along this great ETMOOC river, we must return to our favourite docks and see what wonderful learning vessels are moored there now.

sharing

Photo note: I’ve been wanting for a long while to use this line as a contribution to the Great Quotes about Learning and Change flickr group. I usually use my own photos as a way to encourage me to take interesting/odd pictures on a regular basis. Not having anything on hand that would work, I searched my flickr contacts for a creative commons licensed photo with the word “sharing” and the one above, taken by Dean At Unplug’d11, was included (I’m in there somewhere). A nice way to complete the sharing circle.

Seek, make-sense and share (then repeat)

As I’ve attempted to keep up with mass of information flowing through ETMOOC this week, my mind has turned to reflecting on the work of Harold Jarche and his writings on personal knowledge management (PKM). (I discovered his work years ago as he occasionally skewers the public education system here in New Brunswick, but that would be a whole other post).

He’s written again today on the topic and his graphics illustrate a model we can all use as we try to pull together the bits and pieces in ETMOOC.

Of particular importance to me will be the presentation aspect … for me blogging … pulling together all of my ideas and making them understandable to others, especially people not immersed in the language of edtech and learning.  Customization will also be key … finding the stories that will resonate here in New Brunswick.

I encourage you to read Harold’s work – it will be a framework to get me through the challenge of MOOCing.

“seek, make sense, share (then repeat)”

Introduction video

A big part of ETMOOC is “putting yourself out there” and for me that will mean trying new things.  So I got out my son’s little Sony camera and did one take of me in my favourite room. Then I fetched some of my favourite photos and started working with iMovie.

Quite a few hours later I have finished my introduction video and I have learned a lot.

  • it is very difficult to take smooth video of yourself
  • I need to articulate my name better … Jeannine (Ja neen) *sigh*
  • iMovie can do a lot but some things just aren’t intuitive
  • though audio sounded about even in the program it is quite different on upload
  • cats are not reliable props

I have a lot more to learn so your feedback is welcomed!

In the spirit of open

The post below may not relate specifically to our learning goals in ETMOOC, but it does deal with the concept of “open” and so I thought I would share it with you all.

I have just submitted a letter to the editor of the Times and Transcript a newspaper produced in Moncton, N.B.  I was disheartened to read a column by Norbert Cunningham in today’s edition that was titled “Internet freedom’s just another word for anarchy“.

I am unable to link to column as it is behind a paywall.  Most of it is Cunningham’s reflection on the “wrong-headed” belief of “poor deluded souls” such as Aaron Swartz and the “the dark side” of internet freedom activists:

“However smart these people are, they’ve either bought their own inflated hype about what the net is or bought their own unrealistic ideals about what it should be.”

I personally disagree with much of what Cunningham wrote and his judgement that the evidence against Aaron Swartz might not have been good enough to convict, but it “was good enough to prosecute”, but my distaste for the column stems from the bigger picture he creates.  By linking our desire for internet freedom to anarchy rather than democracy, and for insisting we are a deluded buch who relish information over thinking I decided to respond.

To equate the fight for open information to anarchy as your columnist Norbert Cunningham did is to do a disservice to a great number of people, including some of us who read this newspaper. A free and open Internet is not an article of faith of ‘Silicon Valley’, au contraire, it is the belief of many ordinary citizens who believe that the Internet should not be locked or controlled by corporate or political interests. We are not deluded, we believe open media, an open internet, and open information are essential to a healthy democracy.  I invite you to learn more about grassroots work on protecting freedom and democracy by visiting http://www.openmedia.ca 

It is ironic that you end the piece with the quote by De Bono who decries elevating information over thinking. Many of us who support a free and open Internet do so for the very same reason.  Swallowing information in the form of content produced by corporate interests is no longer the only means of creating knowledge.  We are fighting to maintain access to thought, opinion, information and wisdom from all corners of the globe, from all citizens and for the right to think for ourselves.

Addendum

In the hour that has passed since I pressed “publish” it has bothered me that I have not tied this post back to my reasons for enrolling in ETMOOC.  One of my passions is enabling voice – parent voice, student voice, teacher voice, community voice. I believe that technology has amplified our ability to speak our voices and to hear the voices of others.  “In the spirit of open” is me using my voice to advocate for a society that values the  sharing of information and ideas. Something New Brunswick needs more of and something our public schools should be fostering.

ETMOOC

ETMOOC begins in a few days … I am really looking forward to stretching my connections in new directions.

The organizers have done a fantastic job of orienting a diverse group of people to the mission. I’ve used the Orientation page at ETMOOC.org to guide me in:

  • fixing up my very neglected blog by adding a new menu, new tags and an archive;
  • adding the blog aggregator page to my own RSS tool of choice;
  • adding columns to tweetdeck for all 3 lists of ETMOOC partipants (1200 and counting!), as well as the #ETMOOC hashtag;
  • joined the Google+ ETMOOC Community, I’ve not used G+ much so I’m looking forward to getting to know my way around;
  • added the ETMOOC Google calendar to my own; and
  • updating my about.me page and attempting to update my profile pic across all my social spaces (I’ve found that avatars and profile pics are very useful cues in trying to get to know folks in these massive spaces).

My personal goals for participating in ETMOOC are to consolidate my own knowledge base of connected learning and educational technology, and therefore be a better advocate for it in public education, and to continue to encourage educators to consider non-teacher (eg parent) perspectives when shifting pedagogy.

Curation

When reading about 21st century learning I often come across the term “curation”.  Beth Kanter defines content curation as  “the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content that you’ve cherry picked with your network” (be sure to read the whole post).

As more and more information is published on the web, we need tools to help us find, filter and organize that information.  Students need to learn that not all information is created equally and that learning requires us to evaluate and edit information constantly.

I use quite a few tools that help me with these activities:

twitter – a continuous rich stream of links come to me from my PLN through twitter

delicious – a great way to bookmark sites, research papers and other sources of information to refer back to

google alerts – an easy way to automate searches that you perform on a regular basis

rss reader – a “dashboard” for bringing all the blogs, news sources, and other things together in one place for catching up

Increasingly there are tools that bring disparate sources together and present them in a visually appealing way – almost like a magazine – and it is one of these that I’ve been playing around with lately.

Scoop.it is a tool that helps you to explore your favourite topic by bringing content (sites, posts, videos, etc) together in an online exhibit. Scoop.it will even crawl the web looking for links that might be of interest to you. You can follow topics and other scoop.it posters and easily pull links that appeal to you into your own curation page.

I’m just getting started with this project, so far I’ve pulled together some of my all-time favourites and will add new things as I come across them.  I’m hoping this will be an effective way to pull together information to engage people (in particular parents) who aren’t necessarily tuned in to the latest web tools.

Asking people to jump right into twitter or blogging or social bookmarking can be a bit overwhelming. My hope is that by exploring topics of interest through scoop.it they will see the power of curation tools for their children and might even try it for themselves.

What I’m scooping right now:

Leading and Learning in 21C

Family and Community Engagement in Education

School – Family Partnerships for the 21st Century

I read a lot of articles about improving the school – family dynamic in public education. Some focus on parent involvement, others go toward parent engagement. I have been inspired by the work of Joyce Epstein and Debbie Pushor as they both encourage the development of true partnerships based on mutual respect and a desire to enhance student learning.

(For those interested my friend Lorna Costantini brings their research out of the journals and into our living rooms through conversations with both women that are rich with real examples. See here and here for archives).

Today I read an article on home – school relationships that contained a sentence that really popped for me … made me say out loud “exactly!”.

(As I love the flickr group Great quotes about learning and change, I knew I had to make a poster using this line; I’ve wanted to use my orange mushroom photo for a long time and longed for a quotation about families and communities).

Wanting to know more about the author Marilyn Price-Mitchell I read her paper Boundary Dynamics: Implications for Building Parent – School Relationships. It really meshed with my own beliefs that connections, trust, networks, and knowledge creation are coming together to provide us with a real opportunity to build school – family partnerships that benefit all of us – students, parents, teachers, and community.

The knowledge society, the learning organization, and the information technology revolution represent trends that are bringing the family into the mainstream of education in ways never before experienced p. 22

EXACTLY!!!

I’d like to give credit to Chris Wejr who’s “Things that make me go BOOM” linked to this article and had me reflecting on all kinds of great things today.

Connect

On August 31 nearly 1000 teachers from this District gathered in one place for a day of learning together.  As Chair of the District Education Council I am invited to speak for a few minutes at the beginning of the day.  As I am there in an official capacity I’m cognizant of delivering a message that is true to the Council’s mission and goals, so I decided to continue with the theme of “connecting”.

I encouraged educators to model 21st century learning by exploring networks and using technology to connect to their own passions and to have conversations with educators far and wide. I suggested a few easy things they could do to begin: Tech20Tuesday, #edchat, Learning: Everybody’s Project, or even their own association’s social networks. As the major theme of the event was “responsible use” of technology I even suggested they might want to read a great blog post on the CEA website. Our District schools have developed some very good professional learning communities, but I asked them to go beyond the usual for conversations and then to bring back what they learned to their PLCs.

BUT as I was writing the remarks for the event, I realized that as a Council we have been distracted, albeit by some important responsibilities, from our own true purpose of connecting citizens to the public education system.  Whether we meet online or in person we have to spend more time in conversation with our community, exploring how to connect to the learning that is happening and celebrating the innovation that exists in so many places.

I’m excited for the new year to begin, I look forward to connecting more myself!

my message