EC&I831, Learning Community, Social Media

What Are Your “Top Sites”?

Learning is social. Learning is connected. Learning is often informal.

The speaker this week in EC&I 831, Dr. Richard Schwier, discussed learning environments and encouraged us to reflect how we learn. He shared, with the class, how he consumes online content, and reflected that most of his online activity was social. In reviewing my own “Top Sites” in Safari I discovered that I too like to be social and connected online:

Top Sites

Here’s my quick list:

There is a lot of learning in my online life, and I definitely rely on my social connections and tools for support. While organization and structure help construct “formal” education, there is great value in spontaneous, chaos for informal learning. The key for learning is to engage and connect your students in the educational process.

A quote that resonated with me both as a learner and educator:

“We as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.” William Richardson

Conference, nacada, NACADA Tech Seminar 2009, Professional Development, Social Media

NACADA Conference 09

I’m looking forward to connecting with advisors next week at the NACADA Annual Conference in San Antonio.  I was fortunate get the time off work to travel south, since the conference is being held in my (new) home state of TX. Conferences provide a great opportunity to connect with other  professionals/faculty, share new ideas and learn what is going on in the wonderful world of advising.

Since some of my favourite academic advising friends are not able to make it to the Lone Star state (due to department cut backs and whatnot), my advisor/tech guru friend, Eric Stoller, suggested we continue to use the Twitter hashtag to enable non-attendees the opportunity to virtually follow the conference action. This ideas was quite a success at the NACADA Technology Seminar amongst the seminar attendees. Eric used the hashtag: #nacadatech09 to aggregate all tagged tweets into the NACADA Tech website via a widget from monitter.com. Amazing.

twitter

The hashtag for the NACADA Annual Conference  will be: #nacada09
Now tweet your little hearts out, my friends. [Thanks, EDS. You rock!]

How YOU can participate as either a NACADA Annual Conference Tweeter or as a virtual follower  (c/o @ericstoller):

NACADA Tweeters:

  • Step 1: Sign up for a Twitter account.
  • Step 2: Take your laptop or web-ready cellphone to San Antonio and hope that WiFi is available.
  • Step 3: Post updates on Twitter about the conference: session pointers, take-aways, best practices, key issues, etc.
  • Step 4: In every 140 character post, include “#nacada09″ (without quotes and a space in front of and after the tag)

Virtual followers:

Learning Technologies, Open Education

TEC VARIETY

Online learning requires motivation and engagement for success. Learners need to feel connected and empowered to support their involvement for online education. Curt Bonk explores motivation and retention in various e-learning environments. His latest publication, The World is Open, explores how technology is revolutionizing technology itself.

bonk bobble

Here are a couple of other worthy finds from Curt that may be useful for your next your virtual learning environment planning:

  1. Empowering Online Learning
  2. Tech-Variety – guide for motivation and retention online
  • Tone – how do learners describe themselves? set expectations & set goals?
  • Encouragement – provide means to give feedback to learners
  • Curiosity – online field trips, activities, remote sites, local correspondence, etc

 

  • Variety – hands on, visual, reading integrated text, providing options
  • Autonomy – choice, empowerment over learning, options, scaffold learning skills
  • Relevance – meaningful activities that relate back to the content
  • Interactivity – problem solving, case studies, working with a group, discussion threads, blogs and more!
  • Engagement – drafts due for projects, check-ins, experience the process of learning
  • Tension – role-play, alternative perspectives, controversy, e.g. devils advocate for positions
  • Yielding products – post to the web, present a gallery of students’ best work, showcase, share with an audience beyond a teacher – experts, peers, etc.
Learning Technologies, Professional Development, Social Media

Keeping Up With Technology

With 2.5 online graduate courses, it’s easy to be consumed with everything digital this semester. In thinking about technology and how to best “keep up” with everything happening online, I stumbled upon a great video from Alan Levine (who will be leading a session in the EC&I 831 course), that reminds educational technology users to:

  1. Establish a network of colleagues & maintain these connections with online social tools, e.g. e-mails, RSS, blogs, Twitter, etc
  2. Tap into a sense of play & willingness to experiment.
  3. Don’t be afraid to continue to grow & learn new things.
EC&I831, Learning Community

Open, Connected & Social With EC&I 831

The next online, open education course I am involved with this semester is EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education from the University of Regina with Dr. Alec Couros that meets only every Tuesday evening (8-10pm CST). I first learned about this course through a few online networks in the ed tech arena, and I thought it may be an interesting lens to review curriculum and content development for learning. Here’s the 5 minute elevator pitch for the course:

The Tuesday evening elluminate session provided the basic introduction to the course schedule and outline. I am looking forward to connecting to other students to further explore the role of the educator/learner in terms of media literacy, knowledge and social networks.

It was great to hear the parallels between my personal philosophy of education, and how it ties into the learning objectives of this course.  Dr. Couros’ believes that there are great strengths in learning relationships and connectiveness amongst students, rather than just the specific content or knowledge.  It will be interesting to see how this sentiment is interpretted by the various weekly session speakers and participants throughout the course of the semester.

Although this course is similar to CCK09, I think that EC&I 831 will challenge me to:

  • get perspectives of social media education – history, ideas & development
  • expand my social learning theories & applications
  • experiment & play with NEW social learning & open educational tools/resources
  • provide a critical lens for curriculum development with social media & open education
  • build up my learning network – connect & enage with new online peers
CCK09, Learning Community, MOOC

Connecting to CCK09

Last night was the first meeting for the open course Connectivism & Connective Knowledge (CCK09) facilitated by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Approximately 708 students have signed up for either credit or non-credit learning to share ideas around connected learning and knowledge at any given time. In the live elluminate room, there were about 50 or so active & engaged students ranging from a wide field of interests and professional backgrounds.

mechano

Photo c/o http://londonskyline.blogspot.com


I decided to join this course for a few reasons:

  1. Connect with other like-minded individuals online.
  2. Join a learning community interested in sharing ideas around connected knowledge and online learning.
  3. To further explore the ideas around the pedagogy of connectivism – a term coined by George & utilized in an early research/pilot project at the University of Toronto.
  4. Ponder some theories and developments for learning/performance technology to enhance my doctoral research & studies @ UNT.

The meeting last night was more around the structure of the course and expectations for the participants. The opening session introduced a myriad of methods for continual connection throughout the semester, and encouraged networking and collaboration amongst our online peers.

Although there are few structured sessions and a CCK09 schedule, this does not limit anyones means for connections beyond the confines of the course. I think it is amazing to see the connections of a few of our peers flourish immediately on Twitter, through sharing of the blogs and more.  I’m looking forward to connecting further and engaging with the numerous resources and ideas that everyone is bringing to the digital table

TO DO List:

(before next class – September 17, 4:00 pm CST “What is Connectivism”)

Readings

What connectivism is

What is the Unique Idea in Connectivism?

Optional Readings/References:

http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/connectivism/?p=101

Little Boxes, Glocalization and Networked Individualism (.pdf)

http://it.coe.uga.edu/itforum/Paper105/Siemens.pdf


If you are interested in staying “connected” to CCK09, feel free to jump into the course as a non-credit student and/or use CCK09 tag to search on Twitter, Google Alerts, Diigo, Delicious and more! You are bound to connect to one of the members of the online learning community and perhaps take away an idea or two.

Hello to all my new online friends. Feel free to stay connected to me on this blog or via various ways I engage online –  HERE. See ya’ll on Thursday!