Learning Technologies, Professional Development

The Technology Test Kitchen & #et4online CFP Deadline

The Technology Test Kitchen (TTK) was developed at the Online Learning Consortium‘s #blend14 event, and recently enhanced at #aln14.

What the heck is the TTK?

  1. A makerspace for sharing innovative tools and new media
  2. An open collaborative environment for hands-on exploration
  3. An engaging way to connect with your colleagues over emerging technology

how it works

The TTK ideas was created to bring faculty, instructional designers, researchers, and conferences participants together to get a hands-on experience with a variety of learning technologies. In the Test Kitchen, there are a number of “chefs” (volunteers who love applying media to learning) who are typically available to talk about design, discuss a “recipe” (a quick how-to guide for a platform, e.g. PDF Recipe Book from #blend14 is posted HERE), utilize apps, brainstorm curriculum strategies, introduce new media (hardware & software), and provide 1:1, hands-on sharing with learning technologies.

To learn more, check out this AMAZING video created by Angela Gunder (a.k.a. @adesinamedia):

For the 2015 #et4online conference, the TTK will be looking for chefs, like YOU, to actively work in the kitchen and demonstrate how to apply media to pedagogical practice.

CFP for Chefs

Interested in applying? Check out the Call for Proposals today for the TTK or any other program track. We would LOVE to review your proposal. The CFP closes on December 1, 2014.

networkedscholar, Reflections

Vulnerability Comes With Scholars Who Care #scholar14

I feel fortunate to be in a “caring” online  spaces, when it comes to my research and writing development.

turtle-dont-be-afraid-to-be-vulnerableOver the course of the last few years I have met a number of doctoral researchers, early career scholars, and seasoned academics who actively participate and encourage open dialogues online (within Twitter hashtags, blogging communities, podcasts, and more). I know this is not always the case. In the world of academic contribution and competition, there are a number of hurdles along the tenure track and moving forward in post-secondary education leadership positions. By sharing what you do, in the network, you expose your own process, development and self. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly of the experience:

“Sharing a story about yourself makes you vulnerable. Since stories are about transformation, telling a personal story requires you reveal a flaw, error, or a roadblock that was a difficult to overcome. Professionals are nervous to reveal their struggles at their place of work for fear it will open them up to judgment or criticism” (Duarte, 2014).

Last week, the Networked Scholar course (#scholar14) was fortunate to have Bonnie Stewart (a.k.a. @bonstewart) share her thoughts on the delicate nature of being exposed and real in academic spheres.  If you want to get caught up, watch the video recording, her SlideShare presentation, or review the Twitter notes. It was a pleasure to hear this talk, knowing Bonnie professionally and personally (she may have gone to high school with my cousin – PEI is small), but also because Bonnie brings her scholarship to the network and actively engages in this dialogue beyond the academic sphere:

Although I am not alone, it is through these real and authentic examples in higher education (both faculty and staff), that I am inspired to continue to tell my tale, share, and grow in this networked experience. Not everything will be great, but discussing the process, challenges, joys, and then some has help my own journey. That being said, it is important to be cognizant of the issues within the “networked” space of academia:

This talk left me thinking more about my purpose and intentionality with the “tools” and mediums I use. I share real photos, videos, blogs, tweets, and more about  my authentic self, which include my successes and struggles. This has left me thinking about questions I have in my “networked academic future”:

  • What does this mean for my representation of academic self?
  • How do I challenge assumptions of working in these online spaces?
  • What about potential issues that might happening being as open and honest with research?
  • How can I continue to share my story in an honest way that will contribute to my peers, institutional culture, and discipline?
  • How will I support graduate students and early career researchers who will continue to participate in these online spaces, moving forward?

I think about the challenges academics face (e.g. trolls, research thieves, tenure track requirements, discipline silos, and institutional cultures); however I am inspired to still be in these spaces with researchers, like Bonnie, who have modeled, interacted, supported, and engaged in real interactions related to their research threads. I want to support my peers and the next generation of networked scholars – so the best way I know how to do is to be there.

References:

Duarte, N. (2014, October 29). Are you brace enough to be vulnerable? Retrieved from https://medium.com/@nancyduarte/are-you-brave-enough-to-be-vulnerable-5a09bd99c4c4

Stewart, B. (2014, November 3). Networks of care & vulnerability. SlideShare. [Lecture slides]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/bonstewart/networks-of-care-vulnerability

Academia, networkedscholar, Open Education, OpenAccess

Being #Open Comes with a Number of Assumptions, Challenges and Tensions #scholar14

Being an open educator is critical. From my personal experience, I have engaged and interacted with research, teaching, and service scholarship based on the examples I have seen around me.  A large number of collaborative research and learning opportunities could not have been possible without using open and social platforms. To be a truly effective educator and researcher, I believe it is critical to share our research-to-practice work. It is through transparency and openness, scholars are able to contribute to their discipline, connect to other related fields, and, most importantly, contribute to public knowledge.

open
Photo c/o Flickr member OpenSource.com 

As I think about digital scholarship and “openness” as an early career researcher, there are a number of questions unanswered and need to be discussed further as academia is challenged by the digital (Pasquini, Wakefield, & Roman, 2014, p. 13) :

  • What type of research exchange will scholars participate in during the 21st century?
  • Is scholarship just about publication and citation index?
  • Should research require a social aspect to connect and exchange discourse and/or debate?
  • What social media and altmetrics are best suited for interaction and engagement within each discipline?
  • How do individual research impact factors influence academia career development?
  • What suggestions do seasoned researchers have for the digital scholar generation?

Challenges and tensions should be considered when openly giving back to the resource pool of learning and research. A number of researchers have expressed their concern for being open and sharing methods, research findings, and other aspects of the “process” of learning and research. To balance these concerns, also comes the tensions of network influence, identity, and impact that continue to pour over from #scholar14 Week 1 conversations:

“Uncovering differences in network structure according to discipline and position points to a relationship with academic career trajectory and identity. This finding contradicts the perception that the online environment acts as a democratising space, suggesting instead a preservation of ‘off-line’ hierarchy” (Jordan, 2014).

Within this past week, I was fortunate to hear how a few members of my personal learning network grapple and manage these dueling tensions in academia – here are a few notes, tweets, and ideas gathered from these talks:

  1. Martin Weller‘s #UTAlink talk  Battle for the Open
  2. Royce Kimmons (@roycekimmonsAssumptions, Challenges & Tensions #scholar14 Chat
  3. Dave Cormier‘s #aln14 Keynote on Rhizomatic Learning – The Community is the Curriculum

“Tearing down the traditional walls” is becoming more common in online, social academic communities. This breaking down of the traditional norms in academia, is designed to remove barriers placed between the faculty member and their learners. To be part of this sharing community, you need to really embody core values of openness, equity, access, and sharing. The challenge often emerges when your own philosophy of being “open” is not inline with your post-secondary education institution. I strongly believe that open needs to be a key  attribute for PSE institutions to take the lead on, specifically in terms of policy or manifesto that includes (e.g. Open Access @ UNT), OER resources, open scholarship, open data resources (e.g. UNT Data Spot),  and more.

How does the culture of your academic community, discipline, or institution influence you? Are there considerations and tensions challenging you “to be or not be” in these open spaces? Please share. My ears and eyes are open. Always.

References:

Jordan, K. (2014). Academics and their online networks: Exploring the role of academic social networking sites. First Monday, 19 (11 – 3). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4937/4159 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i11.

Pasquini, L. A., Wakefield, J. S. , & Roman, T. (2014). Impact factor: Early career research & digital scholarship. TechTrends, 58(6), 12-13. DOI 10.1007/s11528-014-0797-7