Monday, 27 May 2013

Hybrid Pedagogy: Leaders in Innovation

I’m biased. I admit it. I’m partial to the  Hybrid Pedagogy team of Pete Rorabaugh, Jesse Stommel, Sean Michael Morris, Robin Wharton and Valerie Robin.  How can I not be? These are the folks that brought us Twitter vs. Zombies where I learned to use Twitter as a communication tool through a game with Pete Rorabaugh. (I make an excellent zombie!)  I had participated in MOOCMOOC (a Hybrid Pedagogy playground) where I was introduced to the collaborative nature of Google docs. (No limit to the number of participants- write a paper in a day!) MOOCMOOC brought me to ETMOOC, a collaboratively run mooc which blew my mind away! I’ve written gushing posts about ETMOOC before but it can never be stated enough: Best learning experience ever! I felt renewed , rejuvenated in my learning, inspired by the brush with some amazingly creative people.  Jesse Stommel was a participant in ETMOOC and guided a collaborative effort in writing a poem. ETMOOC lead to postetmooc, because once you’ve ETMOOCed you want to maintain those collaborations, the positive energy that swirls around when your mind is being stretched and you’ve got a group who care about collaborative learning as a support network. You can see how Hybrid Pedagogy has become so much a part of my learning. In the spirit of collaboration I want to share!
When I contacted Pete Rorabaugh and Jesse Stommel about spending a month on Hybrid Pedagogy for postetmooc they were more than open to the idea. They have graciously agreed to participate in our discussion about digital publishing, networking, and community. 
So what’s so great about Hybrid Pedagogy and why should we spend a month studying and reading and questioning the founders? Let me count the ways:

1.   Promoting links between higher education and K-12: This is a great idea. As a former elementary teacher, I often feel like a poor cousin in the teaching world (particularly when people asked me why I was not teaching at a higher grade level.) Education is experiencing a major shake-up and K-12 is going to be a part of that change. The need to collaborate and rethink the process of learning is critical for all of us, at every grade level.
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It's always been a key part of our mission to broaden our network and make connections between K-12 and #highered.

And isn’t this something we’ve wanted to see too?

2.   A community:  Both Pete Rorabaugh and Jesse Stommel see the creation of Hybrid Pedagogy as a community that networks, researches and publishes scholarly articles surrounding the issues of progressive, critical pedagogy. “What we wanted to build was a network, a community for engaging a discussion of digital pedagogy, critical pedagogy, open education, and online learning. At the same time, we wanted to build a collection of resources to help facilitate conversations within that community.”…
As we’ve moved on from ETMOOC we’ve joined different ventures that require us to think about community, networking and publishing. We’ve also begun to really understand the value in developing collections of resources to share with our peers. 

3.   The spirit of scholarly generosity: As a journal, Hybrid Pedagogy has a team which peer reviews everything it publishes. They’ve published lots in a short period of time. But it is the spirit behind the journal that is the motivating factor here. They’re challenging the idea, not of scholarship, but of academic publishing and the rigid format that has evolved over the last 100 years that often favours the publisher and not the scholar. “The notion of an “academic journal” needs dismantling and reimagining. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t continue to have traditional academic journals, but that we need to considerably broaden the landscape to make way for dynamic collaboration, new media, and participatory culture.”…

As we move forward, we too need to think about how we are going to share our academic work with the world. 
4.  The use of play as a teaching tool: This, to me, is critical. I believe strongly in the value of play as a facilitator for learning for students of all ages. I rarely see it within the adult learning setting. The creation of Twitter vs. Zombies was eye opening to me. It wasn’t just that I learned the use of a technology I was struggling to understand through a game, but I also experienced the sheer joy of learning through play. As I said before, I haven’t played such a great game of tag in years. Through the process of game playing (because I am a highly competitive tag player) I learned to post pictures in Twitter, add sound, use Bitly, etc and finally create a popcorn video. Much of what comes out of Hybrid Pedagogy, including MOOCMOOC also incorporates this aspect of play. As Pete Rorabaugh wrote to me: “In short, we want to promote digital interaction -- our own and those of our colleagues -- that are open, collaborative, experiential, critical, experimental, rigorous, and playful. We want to promote collective pedagogical and scholarly work that empowers student agency and challenges established educational binaries.”

And really who doesn’t want to be a part of that amazing transformation?

So for the month of June, follow #digped (they do a twitterchat on the first Friday of the month about various topics), check out their website, follow some of the Unconference suggestions and prepare to ask Hybrid Pedagogy your questions in the hangout and in our Twitterchat #etmchat!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Being Open and the Open Web

Well, currently I am enrolled in Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence (Coursera) and Teachtheweb through Mozilla, plus being a member of several communities so I am feeling a little s t r e t c h e d. Both physically and mentally, so the power outage last night that shut the computer off and sent me to bed early was probably a good thing.

Synchronicity often happens in our lives and right now in the multiple groups I belong to we are discussing what is openness and what is the open web, so I thought I would throw in a few ideas into the pot.

Teachtheweb is about making content for the web and sharing that content. Funny how my mind works because I started thinking of Western history. Once upon a time, we were all makers. We had to grow, harvest, hunt, butcher, spin, weave, pot, bake, make our own ale, make our own tools, collect our own water, start a fire, etc. We went to bed when it was dark and rose when it was light. And we had to share with our community to survive. As our communities got larger, we began to specialize into guilds and start to communicate within and with other communities through verbal messengers and written messages. Society was no longer based on strictly face to face communication with those you knew intimately. Our standard of living began to increase the more we interacted with our groups and societies, as we traded ideas and discoveries, but we also began to consume more and make less. As the industrial revolution occurred, our making became further removed from the larger community. How many of us could or would be willing to do any of the tasks listed above? How many of us grow, harvest, collect water, spin or weave? Instead of a society of mainly makers we've became a society of mainly consumers. People who make or do physical tasks today are called "tradesmen" or "factory workers" and are often derided within Western society. Perhaps that's why we've sent those jobs to other countries.

What Teachtheweb is attempting to do is return us to the time when we consciously made things of value for the community, except that it is made digitally. This is a paradigm shift in our thinking, from consuming the web to creating the web. The web no longer just the purview of Silicon Valley but open to all. Are we all of the same skill level? No, but that is okay. Making the rounds right now is a stop action movie created by Kindergarten students. The teacher has asked us to remix it and share. And we are. So what is our community now? It is anyone who has access to the Internet, the tools to create content and the willingness to share their knowledge. Does that mean everyone? No it does not. Access, tools and sharing are the prerequisites of this community. So this is not yet a global movement. But it will be. So in twenty or thirty years we will be working in a fully networked world.

Ah but then comes the dreaded word...copyright. Think Creative Commons everyone. It is no use sharing our work if others can't use it. Why create if you're not willing to share your ideas? As so many have said, openness is a state of mind. It is about being willing to share, to collaborate, to be willing to look at a different perspective, to remix, reuse and recycle. To be willing to say, "I don't know, does someone else?" or "Take this idea and make it better." Being human means we're programmed to share and grow together. We're hardwired to be a group, but also to be kind to each other. So be open and think about what you can do to help spread access, tools and a sharing mentality on the web, globally. That's why you're on the web, isn't it?