Friday, 26 April 2013

Teach the web, Postetmooc and other activities

So I am about to embark on another mooc type endeavour, with Mozilla's Teach the Web. I'll see how it turns out. I am already feeling a little anxious because of course I've forgotten how to connect my blog to an aggregator (and the assumption that it is easy is to figure out ticks me off! and is one of my pet peeves about Mozilla.) But given that I start most moocs feeling a little anxious I expect that I'll enjoy the learning once I cross all of my little Rubicons.

Postetmooc is turning out to be a great extension of ETMOOC and I am so glad. I was missing my Wednesday twitterchat, and the Google + coffee group meeting every second Tuesday has been great for sparking new ideas and discussing topics that we were introduced to in ETMOOC. I am particularly interested in our current topic, branding and digital identities. Will Richardson and others have written recently on this topic so it should be a great discussion. Primarily though, we're going to be reading the blogs of Seth Godin over the next week or so simply because we find references to his ideas in everyone's blog. Why not just go to the source!

I've also been lucky enough to join a few other communities with similar interests such as OOE (open online education) and Open Spokes (vlogging). I am so glad I am making the effort of maintaining my PLN!

One of the things I love about the web is that I can find out what other people are thinking and talking about. In the last six months I've taken the bold leap (at least for me) of being on Twitter and blogging/vlogging. However, like many newbies to the social media verse I was afraid of what this might do to my sense of privacy/identity. In looking for information about branding/digital identities I found this gem of a video that reflects my justifiable fears of big data and the companies that use our data to generate wealth. This has nothing to do with education and everything to do with becoming a continuous target for advertisers.

Lo and behold, I hadn't realised I had given up all rights to privacy when I signed up for Facebook which is how I keep up with friends and family spread all over the world. So, I am going to consider giving Facebook the boot. I may have to resort to more traditional forms of communication. Ah well, at least I will end up supporting Canada Post!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Post ETMOOC -April

So I promised a more analytical response of why etmooc was so valuable as a learning process and here it is. What is interesting is that even though I am no longer in the weekly/biweekly task mode for etmooc, as a post etmooc blog group member our group has maintained that biweekly format, I expect for continuity's sake. Even though I am a member of different groups now, I miss that etmooc feeling. I expect it is because etmooc made sure to expose us to different thought leaders every week and kept our brain humming at peak intensity. (So am I a knowledge/new experience junkie?) I often wonder how many weeks/months/years of planning and knowledge went into the creation of etmooc.

So a few reasons why etmooc worked:
  • Emphasis on exposure to new ideas/technologies and thought leaders
  • Discussion of new ideas in multiple formats with multiple avenues for exploration
  • Creation and expansion of PLN encouraged and facilitated
  • Creation of content by the learner (us) for consumption by fellow learners using both old and new technological tools in creative ways (I still feel Haiku Deck deprived as a pc user)
  • Comment on content by peers encouraged
  • No assessment except through voluntary peer to peer assessment
  • Learner control of knowledge accessed, consumed and conveyed
  • Positive reinforcement of any knowledge acquired by peers and moderators
So I would be interested in how many etmoocers actively participated in the journey, was there a difference in the level of engagement between those who started in the beginning vs. those who started later, and what was the overall retention rate for the program?

There are other questions of course. How do we import this model of engagement into the classroom (both K-12, higher ed and training of adults)? Could/should we use this as a model for the future in education? How would the majority of teachers react to giving up control? How would governments react to this type of approach? How does this approach challenge current practices in the field of assessment which is really government's way of maintaining control of what is taught?

Personally, will I be able to maintain this level of engagement post-etmooc? Can I continue to nurture and expand my PLN without it becoming an enormous responsibility both professionally and personally? Do I have the technological skills I need to support my connections?  If I feel overwhelmed and need to disengage are my multiple PLNs supportive enough to let me exit and enter at will? What are the social connections of these networks and my responsibilities to the multiple networks? How much do my own personal beliefs about social interactions govern my sense of responsibility to the networks?

Continuing the journey......