The Visibility of Learning

The ETMOOC orientation was really cool. Not because there was some grand proposition or revolutionary breakthrough. It was cool because it was honest and spontaneous. A bunch of people who signed up because of some mix of curiosity and interest in edtech. Most seemed to be MOOC first timers (myself included) and jumped into Blackboard Collaborate, writing all over Alec Couros’ slides.

At some point, two questions were proposed during the session. The first was, “how are you making your learning visible?”  And the second was, “how are you contributing to the learning of others?” I had to think long and hard on this. It may seem like an easy question, but it’s actually pretty loaded. Hence this post is a week after the orientation session. I hope it makes sense!

Making learning visible is sharing. Not just sharing what you learned, but how you learned it, what barriers you encountered, and the successes you had. Learning is a process, and when you can share your learning process with others, it in turn might help them with their learning processes. We stand on the shoulders of giants. We can get to new heights because someone had done legwork previous to us. But how do I make my learning visible? Twitter, Instagram, blogging, and good ol’ fashioned conversation.

I firmly believe I am contributing to the learning of others. I don’t just mean my students either. I think that I help inspire other teachers to some degree. I want to do this because I’m inspired by others. When there’s a teacher at my school who’s doing something interesting, I’ll pick their brain and ask questions about it. In turn, when I come across something that I think they’ll like and use, I’ll share it with them. The great thing is that they’re much more receptive of my input because I’ve initiated the relationship of sharing by asking for their input first. Sometimes teachers feel like their teaching style/method/integrity is being attacked when someone makes a recommendation or suggestion to them. And sometimes we’re too eager to tell someone how we think we can help them. To combat this, ask about them and their teaching first! Take that pressure off. Show them that you’re a learner and want help. I guarantee in the future they’ll be more receptive towards your input.

I’ll close this post with two final thoughts. First, I believe learning is infectious. It must come by as an intrinsically motivated thing causing others to want to learn as well. So make your learning visible! Show yourself as a learner, and not always a teacher. Foster a culture and relationship of learning, not telling, because individually we don’t have all the answers. Secondly, making learning visible is about forging relationships. When we have a relationship then we must communicate. When there’s a relationship there’s a sort of tangible two-way communication line via text, speech, or video/audio. If this is done in a PLN, your audience, and influence, might reach more than you know and forge new relationships. When these communications are made visible, the more people are able to jump in and learn with you.

PS  I’m very interested in trying a Google+ hangout. Never done one before, so if you’re interested comment, tweet, or email me. Hopefully we can learn something from each other.

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Entering the MOOC

Here I am. On the verge of something new again. This is my introductory post as a participant in #etmooc.

About Me

Oh ya, I teach middle-years Language Arts and Social Studies. I have a sort of experiential and project-based learning teaching approach. I believe in not yelling at students, being respectful & approachable, and forging relationships to increase engagement.

How I Got Started with #ETMOOC

Whilst on the Twitter one day, I see a hashtag on my screen: #etmooc. “Hmm.”  Then I see it again.  “Hmmmmmm”

And again…and again. ‘”etmooc” ha, that’s a silly word. I guess I should look into it.’

After sifting through the hashtags, I find etmooc.org and check out the website. The words, “Massive Open Online Course” grabbed my attention.  I read the introductory message and decided to jump in and register.

The Question: Why Am I Doing This?

I’m participating in #etmooc because I love using technology in the classroom and I love learning. But why do I love tech and why do I want to participate in #etmooc? Is it because it’s trendy? Does it make me a better teacher? Does it make my students better learners? Does it make my job easier? Does it appease the higher-ups regarding “innovation”? Or is it more engaging than traditional teaching?

I know that #etmooc won’t “make” me anything. That’s up to me. Please bear with me for my two part answer.

The Answer 1.0

I love history. I love it because it’s deep and layered. It’s dynamic, has a variety of versions and viewpoints,  has lots of lessons hidden within, and it is being created everyday.

Maybe I’m just young and naive, but I feel we (humanity) are on the cusp of something grand. All of a sudden we have the technology to easily communicate around the globe, not just with text, but with video, pictures, and more.  I believe the advent of the Internet  (including all the  technologies that it has spawned) is a pivotal point in human history because it has revolutionized communication. My over-simplistic evolutionary overview of communication looks like this: Oral Traditions > Text > The Printing Press > Internet. Just because we move onto something new doesn’t mean the past is discarded, it is built upon.  Educational methods change in the wake of the evolution of communication. I want to be on the crest of a change that sweeps through education, and I believe ICT is the wave, so I want to ride it through. I want to be a part of history. I want to be a part of the discussion of how to make education better and more accessible.  I want to participate in what I believe is something revolutionary and democratic.  Collective learning. Understanding. Learning intrinsically. Building community. Sharing.  I believe in these things and that they’ll help shape a better future.

The Answer 2.0

ICT is the way of the younger generation and the generations that follow. In school, I want my students to engage with the world around them and learn. There are authentic information experiences everywhere, being made everyday. We just need to connect.