Tag Archives: learning

The power of one word

Through out this school year I have noted two phrases used in various ed-tech presentations and discussions: technology enriched learning and technology enabled learning.  I believe there is a significant difference between these phrases.  I know which one I would choose and why.

I am interested to know which one you think is the best phrase.  Which side of the fence are you on?


Care to vote? 





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Digging Deeper into Edu and Edtech

When opportunity knocks,  answer!

I was recently approached by Kristin Frizzell (@71frizzell) who is taking a course with  Brenda Sherry  (@brendasherry)  to do an interview as a component of the course. This sounded like a great opportunity so we worked out a suitable time this week.

I was impressed with the set of questions the class collaboratively developed around the intersection of learning, instructional practice and edtech.  Our Google Hangout on Air meeting was our first “official”  face to face (F2F)  — hmmm, make that virtual F2F  —  meeting and conversation.  Awesome!

I hope our discussion around the question set stimulates your thinking and supports your learning.

I look forward to a continued connection with ongoing learning and sharing with Kristin.


Just in time I.T. Support

One of the highlights of last week for me  was kicking off  our Tuesday ITS teams meetings.  The room was filled with great people, energy, enthusiasm and anticipation.   We kicked off our meeting with a “state of the universe” with our Google Apps (GAFE) environment.

ONgafesummitIn the big picture – all good:  things are working well,  great adoption during our first year,  synergy for change,  excitement about Google Classroom … and the list goes on.

We started to talk about goals for this year  which led to discussion about the need to further develop our support model.  Sounds easy.   Seems traditional.   We want users to feel well supported and offer timely assistance as needed.


Then it happened, THE  disruptive question:  Where is this all going?  Then more questions:  On what timeline?  What can we stop doing?   How do we improve ‘this’?  How do we solve ‘that’?

The  broad strokes answer is we are going to the cloud where we have anytime  anywhere access,  device agnostic functionality and no dependancy on any particular  OS.  At what rate?  With what feature set?  With what issues?  — the bottom line is no one  really  knows.  Things are changing more rapidly than ever before  — and certainly faster than traditional support mechanisms can be designed, learned,  documented,  workshopped and  people can be ready to answer help desk tickets with tiered support levels can be put in place.  In my view,  this journey is much more like building the plane while you are  flying it.   Support in this rapidly changing state might mean best effort or we are researching — a far cry from the comfort of a more traditional and methodical approach.

Finally someone stated “but we haven’t functioned or learned in this ‘just in time’ mode before.”  BINGO! – it is new and and feels uncomfortable,  really uncomfortable.  IT staff are supposed to know all the answers.   Yet, I believe  being in this is the new fluid “technology existence”  is the new norm.

I emphasized a few key points to help the conversation end in a good place.  The bottom line:  the smartest person in the room IS the room.  This type of scenario is a great chance for an IT department to play, learn together, collaborate and share — ultimately put themselves and their learning out there to give students and staff the opportunity to use the latest tools to support learning.

The Smartest Person in the Room

     Image from: chdairiesdiary.wordpress.com

I hope that our user community appreciates the balance of risk taking and just in time learning to offer great technology enabled learning environments.





Educon reflection: learning in public online

Educon2.4 was, as anticipated, a great conference this year. There were many great sessions and conversations. This was my second time attending Educon, and I thought the conversations seemed richer both formally in the sessions and less formal hallway discussions. One topic that has stayed with me for reflection, is the idea of learning in public online.

I have been following the learning journey of Dean Shareski. Over the last few months, Dean has been studying the ins and outs of learning online in public, beginning with his own learning.  I admire Dean for putting his own learning and experiences ‘out there’ first. In the Learning Project, Dean posts a video online requesting help to learn to play the guitar. Through online connections, Dean eventually connected  with a music teacher who supported Dean’s learning request by having his students prepare videos to teach Dean various aspect of guiar techniques. The full project description is described here in the  The Learning Project blog post.

Dean’s project demonstrates a great example of learning of learning on line in public through network connections, collaboration tools such as skype, video resources personalized for the needed learning experience and shared through blog reflections.

As part of the presentation, Dean referenced  Shannon Smith who is also experiencing online public learning. Learn more about Shannon’s journey here: Clarinet lesson.  My family had the pleasure of dining with Shannon and Brent on Saturday night at the conference. It was a wonderful evening of conversation, in which we learned about our many musical connections and interests.

At Educon, Dean and Alec Couros led a discussion around this idea of learning online in public. There was a great discussion around the considerations that learning online in public raises:

  • when is learning in public appropriate?
  • what are the privacy implications for students?
  • how would any negative comments be received and handled?
  • how do we prepare pre-service teachers for this type of learning environment?
  • what are the benefits?
  • are there drawbacks?
  • how do we best teach students to manage their online profiles?
  • how do students best create and manage on online portfolio?
  • what else?

The framework of learning online and in public is here as demonstrated. Helping students to develop and manage a personal learning network is an important part of preparing students for the future. I believe the need to use online resources, connections and crowd sourcing to collaborate and problem solve is the way of the future. Simple tools such as a blog can serve as a personal portfolio for students to capture their journey, sharing and reflections.

While this seems like a natural direction or next step, there is much work to do. Many people are uncomfortable in this environments. We have to put strategies in place on overcome the fear factor.  Teachers must be able to put themselves in the place of the learner in this new environment. I believe significant change is needed in pre-service teacher programs to have new professionals ready and comfortable in this environment.

As a post conference follow up, I had the pleasure of assisting Shannon with her clarinet lessons by preparing a recording to assist in her learning. Thanks to the internet, distance was no barrier to providing assistance: a pdf of the music notation was exchanged by email, I recorded the music using an iRig mic on my iPhone e-delivered the audio recording back to Shannon.  I hope I can continue to be involved in Shannon’s music journey!