I am excited to announce that an article I co-authored was just published by Educational Media International, a Francis & Taylor peer-reviewed journal.

Here is the abstract:

Imagine the challenge of being immersed in a dynamic learning network where you play brinkmanship with being overwhelmed by a plethora of information, comments, and conversations on a topic of intense interest to you. Through adept facilitation, the comments and encouragement of fellow participants, and your own perseverance, you develop a network of personal connections which serve as metaphorical flying buttresses creating enough stability that you are able to learn in a new, yet profoundly meaningful way – the connectivist massive open online course (cMOOC) way. Through the lens of autoethnography, five seasoned educators collaboratively reflect on their motivation for participating in their initial cMOOC. They analyze their lived experience, what they found most engaging, and most importantly, they grapple with why cMOOC communities often endure past official end-dates. This article attempts to provide insight into the thrill and depth of learning and connection possible through participation in cMOOCs.

You can view the article here.

On the weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the Good 100 Experiment with an amazing group of Edmonton do-gooders. It was an inspiring experience.

The Good 100 Experiment

The Good 100 Experiment

I had the opportunity to get to know agents of social change of all ages and from many diverse sectors who are working to make Edmonton a better place. The event was structured to create many opportunities to get to know new people and find out the projects and ideas that they are passionate about.

Tad and Nadine setting the stage for the Self Care sessions

Tad and Nadine setting the stage for the Self Care sessions

The lunches by Knosh Catering were fantastic, and there was a wide assortment of potluck snacks.

The lunch buffet

The lunch buffet

Late Sunday morning I sat in the sun to a discussion about meditation led by Antoine Palmer from Sustainival. As Antoine talked, a small flock of geese waddled beside us to graze and model meditation-in-motion.

Antoine talking about meditation

Antoine talking about meditation

I turned around and took a photo of this snacking gosling.

Meditating Gosling

Meditating Gosling

Between the engaging conversations and the Edmonton colouring pages, I took very few photos and sent very few tweets. You can find out more about the weekend in The Local Good‘s Storify.

White Avenue Colouring

White Avenue Colouring

 

It was a great way to spend the weekend and I am sure that I will stay connected to some of the people I met, and I’ll probably see at Green Drinks events throughout the year. As Nadine Riopel, one of our hosts, pointed out – I couldn’t believe the amount of awesome that was there!

Maybe I’ll see you at the Good 100 Experiment next year. In the meantime you can sign up for the Local Good newsletter to find out about other fantastic events throughout the year.

 

It was hot and sunny this afternoon as Rachel Notely was sworn in as Alberta’s seventeenth Premier. It was the first change of power in Alberta in 44 years and people were hungry for change.

Rachel Notley is sworn in

Rachel Notley is sworn in

 

Instead of the usual ceremony behind closed doors Premier Notely invited Albertans to join her on the grounds of the Legislature and they came out in droves. As Paris and I walked towards the grounds it felt like the Canada Day parade due to the number of people and excitement. Here is how the crowd covered the event on Twitter as curated by the Edmonton Journal.

 

The Festivities at the Legislature

The Festivities at the Legislature

 

Here is the new Premier and her Caucus, which has an equal number of men and women. It was interesting to watch the formalities involved in the process of swearing in a new government. As I think of the many bloody transitions of power that have taken place in other countries in the last 44 years and I am happy and proud, once again, that I am Canadian.

The new Premier and Cabinet

The new Premier and caucus

 

She introduced her new cabinet.

The new cabinet

The new cabinet

 

There was a lot of cheering and celebrating and many people played in the water or stood in the fountains to watch.

Cooling off in the fountains

Cooling off in the fountains and celebrating

 

The even turned on the new fountains in front of the Federal Building to celebrate. It was a great afternoon.

The new fountains at the Federal Building

The new fountains at the Federal Building

For the next two weeks I have the pleasure of helping coordinate Open Education and OERs with David Porter, Clint Lalonde and Sandy Hirtz. It’s an EdTechOpen course, the second iteration of a course that originally ran in December, 2014. It’s a real privilege for me to have the opportunity to work with Clint and David again, I have so much respect for their knowledge and experience with open education.

History

Unfortunately Verena Roberts isn’t at the party this time around. She was a co-facilitator for the first course in December, in fact she is the one who brought me into the project. Once the initial course ended she ported an open version to the Palliser Beyond Borders Moodle server.

When Verena and I did our Beyond the Binder session about OERs at the Palliser District Teachers Convention in February, we initially planned to have participants make their way through the open version, but the limited wifi made us change to a more stand and deliver format. We’er both pretty happy with what we came up with. A few weeks ago I remixed the slide deck for an Introduction to OER in K-12 for the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.

Changes for this Iteration

I am excited about this version of the course, it’s longer, running from April 13- 24. Participants can earn a badge if they like and there are e-facilitators from India, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Botswana supporting the fifty participants who are have joined from around the globe.

Webinars

We’ve also added two webinars this time around. I missed the first one, which was today at noon. with Paul Stacy from Creative Commons. Fortunately the archive is available for those who missed the live session.

The next webinar is Monday April 20 at 10am MST with Megan Beckett who will be talking about Making education accessible in the developing world and Siyavula. I’m looking forward to it, I hope I will see you there.

Hello #rhiz015

I am looking forward to playing in the #rhizo15 sandbox for the next several weeks, even though I haven’t been very active yet. I’m co-facilitating a course in Open Education and OERs for EdTechOpen and that is where most of my attention will be for another week. I’ve taken a more lurkish role than usual, mostly watching the #rhizo15 Twitter feed, following a few conversations and smiling at the familiar avatars that scroll by. I’ve read a few blogs, but not commented yet.

I’m not beating myself up about it, just thought it important to include in an introduction. I guess I should also mention that I’m a media and computer teacher, community builder, ed tech nerd, and a cMooc social butterfly, I guess you could call it – my basketball coach had me pegged way back in grade 11. I see #rhizo15 as a great way to stay connected to people I have been playing and learning with since #etmooc and to meet new ones, have great conversations, think, blog and collaborate.

My #rhizo15 Learning Subjectives

  • Connect/reconnect with PLN playmates from #etmoc, #rhizo14,#oclmooc and other spaces
  • Pay renewed attention to my blogging, and especially my commenting practice
  • explore the cool connectivist space Dave Cormier creates as #rhizo15 unfolds. This time around there isn’t (yet) a Google Community or course hub, even on P2PU. I say yet because this is one course where once a need is identified for a new community, I have no doubt the community space it will be created. Since I don’t use Facebook it will be interesting to watch things unfold with only Twitter and participant blogs forming the initial greenhouse structure for the rhizomes, although Laura Gibbs has already set up a blog roll.
  • I’m sure I’ll also spend time imagining the role that learning subjectives could play for CTF students. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about assessment and assessing competencies lately, I am sure that will colour how I play in the #rhizo15 playpen.

Subjectives = Freedom

Dave asked how subjectives free us, in a way that objectives don’t. I think/hope subjectives free us to

  • explore to the extent that we are drawn to/can afford
  • choose our own learning path
  • get lost/try something outside of comfort zone
  • connect with a learning community ‘just because’
  • adjust involvement as needed

 

On March 23rd, 2015 at 7pm MST I had the pleasure of participating in Rockylou Radio’s #ds106 radio production: the Fascinating Femme Fatale. You can listen to the whole show, or selected parts and flip through the print ads created for it in Rochelle’s fantastic multimedia flipbook. If I were you, I wouldn’t pay much attention to the negative press that Talky Tina or Karen Young are getting for their youthful experiences, I know the true secret to their youthful appearence is #ds106 #4life.

You can listen to DS106 radio live anytime.

Femme Fatale

Femme Fatale

 

I recently has the honour of being invited to a launch party showcase for the SMAK-G Chocolate Company. The invitation read:

The grade 8 students at Michael Strembitsky School have spent the last 5 weeks engaged in a unique learning opportunity that combines multiple curricular outcomes and competencies into a real-world scenario.  The students were tasked with the job of creating a new chocolate bar, designing the packaging and coordinating an advertising and marketing campaign for the new bar.

The SMAC-G Chocolate Company

The SMAK-G Chocolate Company

Teachers Brent Sheehan, Julie Arsenault, Laina Kelly, Jeannette Burtt, Brandi Devitt had done a fantastic job linking the project to their curricula: “The SMAK-G Chocolate Project combines the science of making chocolate (particle theory, mixtures, viscosity and density), the math behind package design (surface area, volume and designing 3-D nets), persuasive writing techniques from Language Arts and finally, knowledge and understanding of French food vocabulary for a bilingual package.  Students have spent time immersed in various scaffolding and learning activities, speaking to chefs and local chocolatiers as mentors, and working with our in-house graphic designer to develop cross-curricular competencies such as innovation, the ability to solve complex problems and apply multiple literacies, all the while demonstrating good communication skills and the ability to work cooperatively with others.” Even though it wasn’t designed specifically to address Career and Technology Foundations (CTF), it does. It is a real CTF challenge.

Curricula Connections

Curricula Connections

Student groups had set up all around the learning commons. When I arrived they were ready to deliver their pitches, provide samples and answer questions from the judges.

Amour chocolate display

The Experience chocolate display

Carnival Chocolates

Carnival Chocolates

In addition to creating the chocolate recipes, students created boxes with ingredients listed in both English and French – how Canadian!

Box before assembly

Box before assembly

I was impressed by the attention to detail some of the marketing campaigns displayed.

Movie Treats

Movie Treats

Limon Chocolate Display

Limon Chocolate Display

Amour Chocolates

Amour Chocolate

I loved how different all of the chocolates and the marketing campaigns were.

White Chocolate

White Chocolate and triangle box

All of the marketing campaigns were different

All of the marketing campaigns were different

I can’t wait to see what the students do next at Michael Strembitsky school!

On March 30, 2015 I presented a session on Open Educational Resources (OER) to teachers at the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC). It was a great session, there were people from across the province, plus one participant from New Brunswick.

Laurel's post about OER session

Laurel’s post about OER session

 

Creative Commons link

Creative Commons link

 

Copyright Criminals & Not

I shared a story with them about copyright, Nokia & Alec Couros. Nokia approached Alec because they respected Creative Commons licenses and they wanted to use a video that he had tagged non-commercial.

The day after my session, Laurel sent me this Tweet:
Laurel's Tweet

Laurel’s Tweet

Her Tweet lead me to this Tweet from Dave Cormier:

Dave Cormier's Post

Dave Cormier’s Post

Wired had posted an opinion piece called “Why Free Is Not the Future of Digital Content in Education” which argued for more textbooks and included a photo taken by Alec Couros that was licensed non-commercial.
Alec posted the first comment of many informed comments: “The image that you are using is CC-ATT/NC. You shouldn’t be using it as a commercial organization. It’s mine, but I’ll give it to you – for free. I believe that free matters. So, in contradiction to your article, use away. Heck, here’s another one: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/
I’m surprised that Wired didn’t respect Alec’s Creative Commons license. It turns out that they have used his image several times in the past.
Great response Alec. Wired I have lost some respect for your brand.
Long Lake

Long Lake

Tom’s birthday was at the end of February. It was one of those big birthdays, the kind that make you think back about all of the things you have done with your life, and the things you would still like to do. Instead of having a giant party, he cooked for 75 people who were on a camping trip at Long Lake Outdoor Recreation Centre.

There were newcomers to Edmonton from Somalia, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico and Myanmar who camped, cross country skied and tried ice fishing for the first time.

First you have to figure out how to carry them

First you have to figure out how to carry them

Trying out snowshoeing

Trying out snowshoeing

Jay cross country skiing

Jay cross country skiing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

 

New skier

New skier 

 

There were presentations about wildlife, and explanations of how to sleep in a tent and use a wood stove to keep it warm.

Frank and a Park Ranger talk about Alberta Wildlife

Frank and a Park Ranger talk about Alberta Wildlife

We had a lot of help serving the food and washing the dishes.

Getting ready for lunch

Getting ready for lunch

Getting lunch

Getting lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday was sung in English, Spanish and Somalian.

Happy Birthday to Tom

Happy Birthday to Tom

 

 After dinner there was music and dancing.

Frank playing the fiddle

Frank playing the fiddle

Dancing

Dancing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a fantastic weekend.

Long Lake Campers

Long Lake Campers

Tom and Frank

Tom and Frank on Long Lake