Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Finally Got the Nerve

As an educator I am always encouraging students, workshop participants to risk. It is through mistakes we learn. When I was an ed tech teacher I had a sign in my lab
"An expert is a person who has made the most mistakes in a very narrow field - Niels Bohr"
Mistakes were celebrated as an opportunity to learn. Yet how many teachers risk and are willing to make mistakes. Our culture doesn't seem to celebrate those.

While I am not a risk taker in terms of sports, I have always pushed myself out of my comfort level when it came to trying new things with students, allowing myself to say to them, "I don't know, let's figure it out." And since I left teaching I have blogged and joined all kinds of social networking sites just to see what they were about. But a video blog! Oh no!

So here is my first - not inspired, but a first attempt and a willingness to put myself out there. Isn't that what we have to do? Learning isn't about doing over what we already know, it's about confronting our beliefs, listening to others, pushing our thinking and trying new things even if at first it is beyond what we thought we could do. Isn't that how we learned to drive or to learn any of the many things that our now in our repertoire.

So here it is.
Much to learn but I had to start somewhere.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Getting Organized

I jumped into ETMOOC without much preparation. So now I am going back and thinking things through. 

What do I want from this experience?
* I am hoping this will push me to try out some new things - to push myself to put myself out there.

Some years ago I was involved in teaching philosophy for children. One of the notions we tried to get across was that once an idea is put out there, it is there to be examined. A disagreement, a building on it, can be done by anyone including yourself. Funny how as teachers we often ask students to do things we don't ask of ourselves. So I will have to put my ideas out there - to be examined, critiqued, and expanded upon. And be willing to examine them myself and, after thought, may retract or change them. It's not only OK to do this - this is the path to growth.

* I have been toying with blogging for a number of years and have wanted to do more reflective blogging. I get started and then peter out. I hope this will push me to write and reflect more, both on my own ideas and those of others - getting inspiration and seeing where it takes me.

In terms of technology -
  • I want to use twitter more, both as a contributor and consumer.
  • I want to explore curation tools I have not yet used - storify, livebinders - how to keep this flow of information and ideas organized...
* I want to make more connections with educators who are thinking about the changes needed in education. How can we make those changes real (and not just grumble about the current situation).


Some thoughts on curation.

I have been a long time user of delicious and then diigo. I really appreciate social bookmarking because I can easily re-find articles, sites etc. that I save. I can also create lists of links on a specific tag or tag bundle and embed them on a web page


This is one way to supply links on a specific topic.

I have played with Pinterest. While I like the visual aspect, topic curation can get unwieldy, especially as more and more sites are added. What seemed like a good way to organize at first may have to evolve. The advantage of social bookmarking is that the multiple tags allow you to sort in multiple ways.

I have also been using Scoop.it. Again - it creates a nice visual artifact. If you are not tagging large quantities or sites on a specific topic (e.g. favourite reads on digital storytelling  http://www.scoop.it/t/digitalstories/ ) this is a nice tool. I have used this when giving workshops. However, I discovered that you can only have 5 topics with the free version, so that really limits its use.

I'll be exploring other possibilities and share my reactions. The amount of information being shared through etmooc is massive. I need to keep organized.



I've been thinking about sharing. I participated in last night's etmchat -an interesting challenge as the tweets quickly scroll by. One topic had to do with one's PLN and sharing and I wrote
PLN like rings in the water - different levels get different contributions - links, blog posts, direct contact
I started to think about my online presence and my PLN. It seemed to me that I am different things to different people and what I share is different in each sharing space.

There are overlapping circles each spreading their own ripples. I sometimes feel alone, but the experience of writing and sharing, whether photos, personal writing or thoughts on education has helped me grow. Will I ever know how far those ripples reach? Perhaps they barely reach out just to that first degree of separation, but perhaps a little farther.

 I started blogging over 6 years ago and experimented with different blogs from reporting (critiquing) on the many early music concerts I go to, to blogging some of my travels. I vowed I would have a professional blog and share there and started this one in 2005 but I never managed to sustain the writing. That is definitely a goal for this etmooc course.

I had been on Flickr for quite a while when, in 2009, I discovered groups of educators who shared a photo a day. As I am always up for a challenge I joined and decided to blog as well - a way to make me write (it has helped me explore a variety of genres of writing, even getting the courage to share some poems). Each step led to other steps.

Each foray into social media, whether Flickr or blogging has helped me build the confidence to share more. While my digital footprint is large and my online relationships have been increasing and deepening, I still haven't consistently added my voice to the education community. I have lurked. I have even interviewed people in webcasts through edtechtalk and been able to virtually touch some amazing experts - but I haven't really shared a lot of my thinking.

I think an issue with many educators is isolation. Many teachers teach behind closed doors. Sharing is not part of the culture. I spent 18 years as an ed tech teacher. I was not always able to connect with others doing that kind of job. Some questions I would like to think about:
  • How do we get teachers to see the need for community - for a sharing and caring place?
  • What should those spaces be? Look like? (surely not one size fits all!)
  • Do teachers join more if they have colleagues who join? or when they feel isolated and need to find like-minded educators?
  • How can an animator help grow a community without becoming too directive?
I'm sure more questions will come to mind. In the meantime - I have blogs to read, comments to leave to start building some connections that may help me answer some of my questions.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

About Me

This voicethread will help you learn a bit about me.

I also have many more interests.
I'm an avid photographer, having really started when I got involved in a photo a day in 2009 on Flickr. I also started a photo blog. Although I no longer post every day, my photo blog continues:

I am very involved in music, especially early music (baroque era and earlier) and play a variety of recorders. Here are some of my instruments.

I'm a reader, a would-be writer and lifelong learner. I hope through etmooc I will learn from and with others, and hopefully, they will learn from and with me!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A New Adventure

I decided I needed to polish up some skills and be part of a larger community so I joined the etmooc course. One requirement is blogging. Though I have had blogs of one kind or another since 2005, I have never sustained a professional blog. This is the challenge for me over the next few months. It all starts tonight. And then serious blogging begins.