The day I spent at Connect2014 last week was very valuable. I really enjoyed reconnecting F2F with so many online colleagues at Dean Shareski’s session where he lead a two hour in depth discussion on the topic of connected learning.
The discussion was rich as educators shared personal stories of making connections, the impact of the connections in terms of learning, sharing, collaboration and changed practice – talk about POWERFUL!!!
One idea that captured my interest from the session was the idea of recording a learning or change and attributing the connection that “made it happen”. Attendees joined forces to illustrate the power of helping people with professional learning this video which was produced that day during our time together.
Last week I became aware of an interesting approach to learning about Ontario communities with grade 3 classes. The idea is to involve people from around the province to submit picture clues about the community they live in. The clues are shared with the students, and student responses are tweeted (posted) back through a class or teacher based Twitter account.
The project takes on another level of connectedness by using a hashtag (Twitter conversation label) to collect all of the tweets on this topic into a searchable stream which can be viewed [ here]. What a GREAT way to bring a personal and connected context to the classroom.
I enjoyed an afternoon walk this weekend to take a few pictures to participate this week. I wonder how many clues it might take the students to guess where I live.
Here are some sample tweets from last week.
This will be a great week in the connected learning world.
Last Thursday (April 10, 2014) I had the pleasure of attending the meeting of the London MISA PNC group to serve on a panel discussion with
Joe Sisco of the WECDSB did a nice job hosting the event and moderating the panel discussion. My role on the panel was to share some ideas concerning technology planning.
I enjoyed the variety of questions the panel addressed. Two conversations really stood out for me. First, some excellent dialog around the notions of professional sharing:
and secondly, examining comfort with change:
In a rather timely fashion, this tweet from Donna Fry was posted just two days later while she was participating as a virtual learner by following the Twitter conversations of Edcamp SWO and Edcamp London which ran on Saturday April 12th. I think the tweet captures the essence of the panel discussions in a nice concise way.
I had a chance to chat with Brandon Grasley at the end of the OTRK12 conference following the OSSEMOOC “Getting Connected” session. Somehow we got onto the topic of new social media users adapting to the “fire hose” information flow of services such as Twitter.
You can’t get caught up in reading endless material. One must become comfortable with jumping in and out as time permits. Information can be tailored to your interests by using dashboards such as tweetdeck to follow topics of interest.
I decided to put the “jump in” theory to test, so one morning this week I looked at my twitter dashboard to see what could be noted in just a couple of minutes.
… an insightful blog post
… a digital citizen/digital literacy tip
… and a PD opportunity
Excellent results for just a couple of minutes of reading I would say. Here are a few ways to “jump in” that work for me.
– breakfast & twitter – I enjoy an interesting read to start the day
– tea & twitter?
– a few minutes between meetings
– lunch break
– waiting in the car to pick up your kids
– standing in lineups
Well, you get the picture. Jump in when you can and leverage on the go connected learning .
I recently enjoyed a family trip to China in the context of “the journey home” for my adopted daughter. The trip in of itself was simply amazing. I enjoyed going back, seeing the changes and once again experiencing the culture in such an amazing and historic country.
Given the 1997 timing of my first trip we essentially survived on landline calling cards as public internet access and early versions of email were just springing up around the globe. On this 2014 trip, of course the internet as matured and there are many amazing and often free collaborative tools available, so in that sense the trip felt less isolated.
At the same time, I had a chance to experience the “internet culture” in a much more locked down and filtered government controlled environment. Tools that we celebrate, use and promote here in North America were simply not available. Most social media tools were not available including Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Of the Google suite of tools, only gmail and search were available and even these had seemingly limited use. Gmail seemed to respond very slowly and not all search result web links were actively available. I also noted the some, but not all, blogging sites were blocked. Facetime and Skype worked OK (band width dependent).
The notion of public free wifi as we experience here at locations such as McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s and Starbucks etc. was not wide spread. Yes, the wifi was free but you needed to text your phone number to a service in order to obtain an access code which would be texted back to you. This is a very different approach to walk in free access for any device culture that is enjoyed in North America.
Here in Canada, we are blessed with a very open culture and full access to a wide variety of web tools. The bottom line is YOU have a voice – and a choice of tools to use. Please do not take take this for granted. Leverage this privilege! Take time and make time to connect with other educators to develop your network and make your thinking visible by sharing your learnings and reflections. Ask questions, pose scenarios, collaborate. Give yourself a rich experience by starting a blog today!
The On the Rise K12 conference kicked off with a wonderful keynote by Stephen Hurley. Several things Stephen talked about resonated with me from a life perspective.
Your life is a journey, and it is important to share YOUR story. We all have a story to tell, and we learn from each other. Period. So lets unpack this a bit.
Part of your journey is to discover your passion. In the end, it is your passions that will drive you forward to learn something new, ask a new question, explore a new piece of information, dialog with a new contact … etc. Each new ‘node’ on the journey is the impetus for moving to the next. “Passions NEVER die“.
I loved hearing Stephen telling his own story about his passion for radio – the discovery, the learnings, the explorations, the successes and how technology was an enabler for him to move forward and pursue his passions further.
I enjoyed Stephen’s exploration and emphasis on the “metaphors we live by”. Well done. As educators considering the 3 key engagement elements of social, institutional and intellectual, I encourage you to consider these points:
how do we best ignite the curiosity spark to help students find their passion?
within our educational context, what actions do we take to keep student passions alive?
how can we be flexible enough to create the path forward for students to pursue their passion without being in their way?
Many thanks Stephen for prompting more thinking on K12 education. I hope this blog post captures another piece of the educational journey.
Share your comments here, or perhaps in a blog post of your own (include a link please!).
Follow the conference twitter chat: #OTRK12