Friday, September 13, 2013

WEEK 1 Artifact & Reflection

The artifact I created is essentially a summary of my journey this past week that includes keywords, visuals,  and snippets of things that stuck. Like some others, I thought I'd try at different tool - PowToon was fun to use! I suggest this might be a lot more interesting than the lengthy reflection that follows.

Making Sense of Week 1
It's almost the end of WK1 & my head is spinning. I've reviewed a lot of materials over the last days and due to other commitments had trouble attending all of the live webinars - I just managed to squeeze in Bates' presentation but wasn't in a clear headspace to get a lot out of it or contribute to the discussion. I have, however, enjoyed reading his work in the past did find the 9 Steps interesting:

  1. Decide how you want to teach online.
  2. Decide what kind of online course you and your students need.
  3. Work in a team. 
  4. Build on existing resources.
  5. Master the technology.
  6. Set appropriate learning goals for online learning.
  7. Design course structure and learning activities
  8. Communicate, communicate, communicate
  9. Evaluate and innovate
#5Master the Technology, presents a problem for me. How many teachers have time to master the technology before implementing it? If they feel they have to master it, chances are they may never use it. In my work, I advocate a one step at a time approach - select a tool, try and learn what you can, and let your students work with you and explore how well it contributes to the learning process. This approach connects with #3, Work in a Team, as my students become the team. Sometimes it is hard to connect with other colleagues.

Activity Reflection
KEYWORDS: enormity, chaos, head spinning, time consuming, challenging, barriers, energizing

What I did this week
I consumed a lot of material - readings, videos, pots, blog or group posts, sites... I jumped all over the place, and at times that made me feel totally overwhelmed and fragmented. But I'm committed to using this MOOC as an opportunity to embrace the chaos and not let my old ways influence or close me off to the experience. As for sense making I've tried to document as much as possible so that I dont get totally confused, lost and flustered [I like to think of myself as being organized. If I couldn't remember where I read something [there's just too much out there] I just went with it. I used my Diigo AboutMOOCs group, a handwritten journal, Evernote, monitored the Hangout and, occasionally, #tomooc. After culling for my own learning, in the Hangout, I went back through the posts and+1 all the references that I thought were useful, hopefully as a sign of my appreciation and to be a collegial. I usually only commented when I had something to add.

I like to think of myself as an open, progressive educator, but this course is showing me how linear and traditional I can be [sad but true]. I got involved in this MOOC because I wanted to learning about online teaching, experience an innovative MOOC - the cMOOC fits my philosophy - and thought I was ready. But the truth is that it's going to take a lot of work to rewire all those years of learning how to survive in academia and traditional schooling.

So What?
And to what end? The more I read - and by the way get excited about the possibilities - the more depressed I'm becoming about the state of education. What are the chances that I can actually bring this into my practice? I'm already fighting with my students to take ownership of their learning. Our educational system is so rigid and stuck in their ways. 

A few years ago I moved away from our institutional LMS as I felt constrained and wanted to be able to personalize my own online learning environment. This lead me to a line of research on participatory action research and personalizing virtual spaces - I've talked about this here:

I've been really pleased with this direction, although it's a hard sell to the administration and even to my students [though most of them get it and appreciate it]. Then surprise, surprise, today I was listening to Stephen Downes talk about personal learning vs. personalized learning and realized that what I've created is a means of personalizing my own teaching & learning but not my students! I've got to go rethink that...

So this led to a question, can MOOCs really fit in education as it currently exits? I want my students to learn to be independent, self directed, and more importantly I want them to go out and teach that way. But how does that work when we are constrained by a system that focuses on marks - and especially for k-12 teachers - testing? cMOOCs are great, but I'm thinking it's going to be a hard sell.

What Next?
How do we effect change? I have to rethink, completely rethink what I've been doing.
I have a lot to learn.
I have to figure out how to practice what I believe is my responsibility as an educator within the constraints of my field as it currently exists and help my students see... [how do I do that?]

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