Day 3 – Open says me

As I reflection on the history of open education, I think about my own progression to this point. I started learning in typical school settings deciding that I was done with traditional education in the early 2000s. For work purposes, I completed two post-grad certificates in Learning Disabilities Specialities through Cambrian College which was 90% online (and distances education for me) with two practicum requirements to be completed with a mentor.

In the years following, I became unsatisfied with the professional development opportunities offered to me and I began looking for my own. I completed some more distance courses for a fee and started hearing about MOOCs. I joined my first MOOC in 2012 and completed Gamification with Kevin Werbach @kwerb ‏who also happens to be the first person I followed in Twitter. I have completed more MOOCs with Coursera and FutureLearn (my favorite platform) from education institutions in Canada, US and UK.

During the same period, I also pursued other learning online through blogs, websites and videos. I am also a gamer and began to create instructional videos for my fellow players in 2015. While I do not have many followers, my videos have been viewed in 122 countries. This and the experience of taking courses at universities in other countries through MOOCs opened my eyes to the idea of learning that can stretch over boundaries.

I am very new to Open Education. I began to study this in more depth just this year. Currently, through a MOOC on Open University called Making Sense of Open Education and through participating in OntarioExtend.

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash adapted by author.

While I may not have all the definitions right, I see a connect between distance education, e-learning and MOOCs as having brought me to the point that I am interested in learning more about open learning for myself and that has started me thinking more about open education at my own institution and how I can contribute to that.

 

 

Day 2 – Reflecting on Building an Open Community

Making Sense of Open Education: Day 2 Building an Open Community – today’s learning centered on understanding a Community of Practice (CoP) and ways to find one. This connects neatly with my professional development efforts using OntarioExtend and my beginning development of a Professional Learning Network (PLN).

Let me begin by saying that I am very new at this. I have been working on my PLN for five weeks using Twitter. I am still sorting out what it is that I might be able to contribute.

In the readings, there were two aspects that struck a chord with me. In discussing the challenges of  CoPs, Hayman pointed out that:

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Photo by Elisabetta Foco on Unsplash

“If you are a marginalized person in your local context and/or workplace, if you feel like your opinions and voice are not valued, joining a new community can feel very risky.” Making Sense of Open Education Day 2 by Jenni Hayman is licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license

 

I hesitate to admit that I am a marginalized person because there is a potential backlash for even saying so. I am a faculty member, as outlined in our Collective Agreement, but because I work in Student Services, I am often discounted by faculty who teach in the classroom. Part the reason is the structures we work under where faculty who teach are in the Academic Sector and faculty (generally counsellors and librarians) in the Student Services are in another sector. When surveys or registrations require you to “pick a school,” faculty like me who are school-less, cannot be heard or participate (unless you complain). When information is disseminated by schools, I don’t hear about it. Because faculty who teach are the majority, the professional development opportunities are geared to their needs. This and other experiences leave me feeling as an other.

I struggle to not feel like an other in Open Education professional development experiences as well because I don’t teach in a traditional sense. I do small-scale teaching with one time workshops, training tutors, seminars and other out-of-class experiences for students. I work on pilot projects that don’t fit anywhere else but this could mean that I have more opportunities to be open.

So yes, joining a new community feels very risky! I don’t know if I will be accepted or if I have something to offer and I don’t want to just take from the community. But at the same time, being new to this PLN building, I have found lurking to be a good strategy.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

“It’s also completely okay (you don’t need anyone’s permission) to observe the course and the behaviours and communication of others in the course as part of your learning. This is sometimes called “lurking” in the online teaching and learning environment, but it’s not a very positive term. Observing (as many new-to-something learners do) is a valuable activity in the learning process.” Making Sense of Open Education Day 2 by Jenni Hayman is licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license

I am learning a lot by observing including how to participate, what kinds of things to post, how to respond to posts, and what the social norms are like in this online community. At the same time, I am finding thought leaders to follow, organizations of interest, technology I can use, sources of OER and lots of information about Open Education. Oh yea, and I am learning to blog too!

Featured Image Photo by Nathaniel Tetteh on Unsplash

NOTE: I am participating in a 15 day MOOC on Open University called Making Sense of Open Education and will blog entries to fulfil the activity requirement.

Where do you stand?

Native Land North America

On what land do you stand? Helen DeWaard’s recent post on Hospitality got me thinking again about what Indigenous territorial lands do I live on and territorial acknowledgements. I found this website, Native Land by Victor G Temprano (@nativelandnet). This is a searchable map that reports the nations, treaties and languages of the Indigenous Peoples for that area. Please review the About section of the website to understand how the project was started and how the map is created.

I want to acknowledge that I work on the traditional territories of : Anishinabek (ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒃ),  Haudenosauneega Confederacy, Miami and Anishinaabe Nations.Native Land Map

I am using the information in the post to suggest a Daily Extend to the OntarioExtend project. If it is accepted and used, I will update this post with the details. In the meantime, check out Native Land and peruse the resources below for some more thoughts about territorial acknowledgement.

Update: This suggestion became a Daily Extend on June 6, 2018 https://extend-daily.ecampusontario.ca/oext196/

Start here with a questioning view of whether acknowledging Indigenous lands is a good thing:

âpihtawikosisân. (2016, September 23). Beyond territorial acknowledgments. |âpihtawikosisân.com.

Shahzad, R.  (2017, July 17). Why acknowledging the Indigenous lands we stand on is so important | CBC News.

Jones, A. (n.d.). Territory Acknowledgement | Native Land.

Canadian Association of University Teachers. (2017). Guide to Acknowledging First Peoples & Traditional Territory | CAUT.

University of British Columbia. (2018). Land Acknowledgements in Teaching and Learning | UBC

Digital Literacy – Musings

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Photo of graffiti
Photo by naomi tamar on Unsplash

If I start with the premise that literacy has to do with a desire to communicate, then oral histories and cave paintings are artifacts of literacy. So too are books, works of art, music, dance, architecture, crafts, fashion and a myriad of other human expressions. As we humans strive to express the ideas in our heads, we create ways to do so. Literacy includes the desire to share ideas and information with your community, to learn and understand, to create and grow, to appreciate and critique.

In every generation, new mediums are created and old mediums are maintained, rediscovered or rejected. Therefore, digital landscapes are simply new spaces to occupy with our words, sounds, images, ideas and expressions. Our digital expressions are our cave paintings.

While I do believe that defining digital literacy (or digital literacies) can be useful, it seems to me that all the dissecting to find the small pieces and then trying to weave it back into a model leaves too much out. It is as if the act of pulling it all apart to name it leaves some of the magic on the floor that gets swept away when finally putting it back together and saying – this is it, this is the definition.

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Photo by Shaah Shahidh on Unsplash

“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” ― John Archibald Wheeler

I really love is this quote from Wheeler and the idea that what we know is our island and the shore is our awareness of what we don’t know. As we learn more, our island gets bigger and so does our awareness of what we don’t yet know – our shore line increases in size. The more I learn, the more I realize that there is still so much to know.

I feel this way about digital literacy. When I got my first computer in 1992, I could not have predicted the ways in which I use computers in my daily life now. I think about my mother, who just turned 92 and who recently figured out how to video call me over Facebook on her iPad! My mother – whose first car was a horse, who grew up in a place where there was one phone in the entire village, who did not have a television until the mid 1950s, whose first motion picture was the Sound of Music in 1965 and she is video calling me! She has digital literacy. She has found a way to connect and communicate using this “new” technology!

Screenshot of video call between mother and author.
January 2018, my mom calling me on Facebook!

So what does all this musing mean for me as a teacher in a digital world? This is the space I must occupy and I need to be both an explorer and a guide. I need to seek out, learn and understand new ways of expressing information and ideas in this digital medium while practicing creation, appreciation, and discernment.

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Photo by Tobias Mrzyk on Unsplash

I don’t know if this was what you were looking for, my fellow Extenders but it is where this Extend Activity on What is your definition of digital literacies for teaching? took me. For more about this Extending thing I am doing out loud in this blog, I invite you to join OntarioExtend.

 

Reflecting on Experimenting

Reflecting is an important part of extending. I am finding that I am changing a little bit every day because of this process, because of being part of OntarioExtend. If I don’t occasionally look back, I could miss that. I am becoming a bit more open, through my experiences and through the ideas and perspectives of my ExtendWest my cohort and PLN. This experimenting and practicing out loud is becoming a habit.

My first Daily Extend, my first experiment in extending was on April 26, 2018. I have been extending for just over a month. In that time, I have done 42 daily extends. You can see my work on the Daily Extend Leaderboard. I am proud to say that, at the moment, I am in the Top 10 of all time Daily Extenders!

top ten

Through the Dailies, I have:

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“If I ask a student to take risks, I should too. In fact, I should go first.” Irene Stewart     *Photo by Delfiero Brahmantya on Unsplash
  • found creative common resources to share
  • learned to take some of my own photos creating some original content
  • wrote some poetry and a story
  • made a gif, a video, a meme, an infographic, a poster and a superhero
  • tried free and interesting online services

I also got over my fear of tweeting, found some fellow educators to connect with and have become a part of a community that extends beyond Ontario.

Some of the tools I used:

  • Snagit by Techsmith
  • YouTube with Advanced Search
  • Giphy
  • Marvel SuperHero Creator
  • Open Culture website
  • The Noun Project
  • Randomness Story Generator Widget
  • Imgflip Meme Generator
  • FlipGrid
  • Twitter

Not every experiment went well. Sometimes, I made spelling mistakes. Sometimes, I posted in the middle of the night and no one noticed. And while that is okay, it is nice when someone likes your tweet. My first gif was rough and looked a little odd. A couple of my pictures were out of focus. And while these things may or may not be noticeable, I don’t think I would change it because it is part of my process of learning and extending. I have the privilege of failing, nothing bad is going to happen.

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“It is okay if I am not perfect, I can be a work in progress.” Irene Stewart  *Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

I will keep experimenting through the Dailies and through the Extend Modules. It feels uncomfortable at times but that is part of extending, stretching and growing. But I will be aware what I have learned so far and work to improve my dailies, my extend activities and my blog. I will also look to be inspired by some of my experimenting to find ways to incorporate what I am doing here for myself to benefit my students and my institution.

If you have not yet tried the Daily Extend or any of the modules, I invite you to join us. It is unlike any other professional development opportunity you are likely to experience this summer!

Featured Image Photo by Rebecca Oliver on Unsplash

Sirona Vapes After Dark

The title of this post is the name of one of my Vaping Shows. For the last 18 months, I have been part of a community that produces online broadcasts using either OBS or Xsplit for the Vaping community. So what does this have to do with creating a PLN. A lot, actually. I have been very interested in different ways of communicating online with technology and I have used other interests such as vaping and gaming to explore those technologies. I found that I am a teacher and a communicator where ever I am and I have been able to extend my learning through leisure activities to my work as a faculty member at a Ontario college.

Using Coggle, I created a map of the types of communication technologies I use in different arenas of my life (pictured below). I have been a full-time faculty for almost 11 years with another 13 years of part-time teaching and support staff contracts at St. Clair College. I have been an online gamer for 13 years and a vape broadcaster for a year and a half. I have been working on a PLN using Twitter for just over a month. Not long at all in comparison.

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I have more experiences in developing and maintaining a Personal Learning Network with the Vaping and Gaming communities then I do with the Higher Education community. My gaming experiences in creating a YouTube channel of instructional videos and my broadcasting experiences in the vaping community improved my ability to create videos for my work. Using chat through Skype and Discord with players from all over the world increased my cultural awareness of communication patterns and pitfalls that has helped me in speaking with and understanding my International students and tutors. Building reciprocal relationships though Facebook helps me to better understand what is needed to develop online connections on Twitter with other Higher Ed professionals. But I am still finding it hard to generalize my experiences and to understand the requirements of the Collaborator Module for Ontario Extend.

Perhaps part of this stems from my struggles in trying to create a PLN at the college with other faculty. As a faculty member in Student Services, I have found that Academic faculty and others in the Academic sector often don’t think of Student Services people as faculty. I am currently classified as a counsellor and while I may not be a professor, I do have a practice that includes teaching. I have an interest in teaching and learning but do not have many opportunities to meet with and talk with faculty outside of Student Services. The kinds of meetings we have and the sort of communication vehicles we use (email and telephone) do not lend themselves to community building or finding allies. Even our schedules make this difficult. As faculty who are scheduled 35 hours per week, we have regular lunch periods and most in-class faculty have, can I say, erratic schedules that don’t necessarily allow for a 12 noon to 1 pm break.

I will attempt to create a PLN map for the Extend Activity, I just hope I can figure out at least 10 people to put on it!

Content Curation

Row of books.

Turns out I have been curating content without know what it was. While there are formal and perhaps better definitions available, content curation is collecting and sharing good material about a subject in a way that could be useful for someone else. However, the key is to add your insight, your ideas to make it easier for that someone else to use your collection.

First example, I love books. I want people to read more. Students are people. Using this weird logic inspired me to start a reading space in one of our tutoring spaces with two simple arm chairs and a book shelf. These books are free to take and read and if you forget to bring them back, no one will know. It should be called the mini-library of books Irene has already read. Because that is how the books get there, once I am done reading them – I put them on the shelf.

Recently, one of my tutors asked about the books. He had thought about reading one but did not know where to start. We sat by the shelf and went through the general categories of books that were there and then, once he had pick on of those, we went through the authors and stories available in that group. The impressions and knowledge I had about the books were needed to help him make a choice. Simply putting the books on the shelf was not quite enough.

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Second example, I am looking for a Baked Tomato Recipe. I remember having a baked tomato and it was really good. I want one (or three) again but I don’t know how to make it. I have a collection of baked tomato recipes on Pinterest with notes about if the recipe is getting close to what I remember. I hope that, someday, I will be able to find the perfect baked tomato recipe and be able to back up my claim with the evidence of all the other recipes that didn’t quite make the cut!

Featured image Photo by Syd Wachs on Unsplash

Standing a different river every day

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You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are continually flowing on.” Heraclitus

You can’t teach the same class twice, for everything is changing.” Irene Stewart

Sound like a strange teaching philosophy? Perhaps, but for me, it contains a truth. Everything is changing; every time I teach, the students are different, I am different, the world is different (even slightly) and what and how I teach must be different too.

The students are different – every semester, every year, every cohort of student are new and have unique needs. What worked last year, last semester, or, for me with workshops, last week, might not work now.

I am different – I haven’t stopped learning either. I am not the same as last year, last semester, and, because of the Ontario Extend experience, I am not even the same as last week.

The world is different – and while I could give a bunch of different examples of all the ways the world different – it’s about relevance – what was relevant last year, last semester and even last week may not be relevant today.

That is why I review my plans every time I prepare to teach to ensure that I am responding to the change. That is why I keep learning. That is why I want to keep extending.

This post is in response to the Culminating Activity for the Teaching for Learning Module of Ontario Extend.

Photo by Omer Salom on Unsplash

It’s a beach party!

Dear friend,

You came to the Extend West kickoff, but I can’t find you! Maybe you don’t like water! Maybe all this talk of dipping your toes in or getting submerged is too much and a cannonball??? No way! That’s okay, just grab a towel, spread it out on the sand and watch! And when you are ready, let us know you are here.

I know you are already busy. I know this seems strange and unstructured. I thought Twitter was stupid too. But seriously, this Extending stuff is fun! It’s a beach party! Here’s how you can come out on the sand:

  1. Get or open your twitter account.
  2. In the search box, type Ontario Extend, click on Ontario Extend to go to their twitter page – click on the follow button.oext1oext2.png
  3. Go back to the search box, type #ExtendWest, click on #ExtendWest to see the posts that contain that hashtag and click on the names of some of the posters to follow them.oext3
  4. Log in once or twice a day and see what Ontario Extend and the Extenders you have followed are doing!
  5. Watch for the Daily Extend. Search the #oext tag with the number to see what others have tweeted in response. Follow them. Click the heart button if you like it. oext4
  6. When you see one that peeks your curiosity, try it. Tweet it to @OntarioExtend.
  7. Navigate over to the Extend West blogs, read a few. They are both informative and FUN!oext5

Come out from the shade, and join us on the beach! The weather is fine! And you can stay out of the water if you want to.

Featured Image: Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

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