Wednesday was the start of The Open and Connected Learning Mooc and our entry event was a joint event with the PostEtmooc Community. I hosted a hangout with the PostEtmooc community where they shared their experiences and advice for participating in a cMooc.

In case I haven’t said this often enough I really value my connections with the PostEtmooc community and feel fortunate that they are part of my PLN. Here is an archive of the hangout:

Hello to all of you who are participating in the Open and Connected Learning Mooc (#oclmooc). I am a little overdue on my personal introduction; I’ve spent the last few weeks getting things ready for the launch of #oclmooc this week and I have been neglecting my own blog.

I am a media and computer teacher, with a strong interest in open and connected learning and community building. I have spent the last two years working in Edmonton for Alberta Education. I’ve been seconded from my school board to work on the refinement and validation of the innovative new Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) Curriculum. It is very interesting and rewarding work. CTF is the first curriculum in Alberta that is being released in English and French at the same time. I have the pleasure of working with a great team to ensure that the draft CTF curriculum met the standards for curriculum development as they were being nailed down for Curriculum Redesign, as well as the needs of educational stakeholders – our work has been strongly informed by feedback from teachers and administrators in the field. One aspect of my job that I really enjoy is community building as we work with an expanding number of stakeholders. CTF is in a Scaling Up phase this year (teachers can use it if they choose but it is not required) and it is expected to be fully implemented by September 2015.

Over the last two years I also discovered Moocs, and the open educational community. The first Mooc that I participated in was #etmooc and I fell deep down the rabbit hole, spending almost all of my free time participating in sessions, blogging, and connecting with other participants from around the world. I’ve since participated in several other Moocs, and open learning experiences like Twitter vs. Zombies but I have learned some balance, and no longer let them take over my life. I have created two open learning communities, PostEtmooc and MetaMooc, and regularly collaborate, connect and play with people that I met during #etmooc.

Last year I realized that although there are some fantastic, innovative educators in Alberta, I connect more with educators from outside Alberta than from Alberta, and the idea for the Open and Connected Learning Mooc was born. From the start the idea was to model connected learning, and provide participants with tools they could use to create their own connected learning experiences. Verena Roberts and I built the framework of the course and then invited others to help develop and support it. #oclmooc is entirely teacher/trainer led; there are ten co-conspirators who have helped shape its development and who will be leading and supporting the learning experiences over the next few weeks. It has been a great experience working with them, and #oclmooc is a much stronger course as a result of their participation.

Now that #oclmooc has been launched and week 1 is almost over, other co-conspirators are going to take the lead. I hope to have more time to connect with participants, take part in the scheduled webinars, Twitter chats and other activities and learn with other #oclmooc participants. I also intend to write more here, doucmenting my learning as #oclmooc unfolds.

I am looking forward to connecting and learning with you during the next 4 1/2 weeks of #oclmooc, and hopefully after that as well. Thanks for joining us on this learning journey.

The Open and Connected Learning Mooc (#oclmooc) launched this week! We have just over 70 participants signed up and we held our first two synchronous events over the last two nights. I’ve been working to set up #oclmooc for the past three months. I’ve been fortunate to have a fantastic group of co-conspirators to help with the planning, but even with that help, #oclmooc has taken all of my time for the past few weeks.

I’ve written lots of words lately, in the form of blog posts and pages on the #oclmooc site and in the Google+ co-conspirator and #oclmooc communities, and I have several ideas for blog posts rattling around in my head. Unfortunately, for now they’ll have to stay in my head because I don’t have the time to get them down on the page just yet.

For now, I’ll have to settle for re-posting the summary I wrote up about Dave Cormier’s session about Success in a Mooc on the #oclmooc website this afternoon:

Last night Dave Cormier was our special guest in the first webinar of #oclmooc. It was a great session!

He took us on a historical journey though the history education from the tradition of oral learning, through the catechetical era through to the current textbook model. We all agreed that cMoocs are most like the tradition of oral learning but participants are no longer limited by the need to be in the same place at the same time.

Screen Capture from Dave Cormier's Webinar

Dave talked about rhizomatic learning and encouraged us to think of the Community as the Curriculum – because the content that the community provides ends up being what you learn, but more importantly because being able to participate in a community is what it means to know. You aren’t an expert because you remember information about a topic but because you can make decisions about it and you can engage in a community of knowers about that topic. This is why we need to learn as social people.

Dave shared his advice and experience about how to succeed in a Mooc, expanding on his 5 Steps to Succeed in a Mooc:

  • Orient
    • This is the step that many learners miss and it is crucial for success in a Mooc
  • Declare
    • It’s your job to give others a chance to know who you are – you need to share.
    • We recommend blogging, participating in the Google+ Community and sharing and connecting via the #oclmooc Twitter hashtag.
  • Network
    • Then it is time to connect with others – responding and commenting on what others say. Networking is never coherent it’s always messy and real – like our lives
  • Cluster
    • You can’t follow everything and everyone. At some point you start to cluster around people who are doing work that is important to you, who make sense to you, who challenge your work.
  • Focus
    • There is a cycle that happens at the start of Moocs where people are really enthusiastic but that isn’t usually sustainable. You need to decide what you are going to focus on, how you are going to leverage the network and cluster to get the work that you need to do done.

If you weren’t able to join us last night, or if you would like to view the webinar again, you can listen to the archive. Here is the link to the archive of Dave’s session. It is a Blackboard Collaborate archive so you will need to install Blackboard (or perhaps update Java) if you haven’t done so. You can find instructions for installing Blackboard here.

I haven’t had time to post much in this space lately as I’ve been getting ready for the launch of The Open and Connected Learning Mooc in two days. Here is what I sent out to #oclmooc participants on Sunday:

 

The Open and Connected Learning Mooc (#oclmooc) starts next week. The page for week 1, with resources and suggested activities will be posted soon. Some participants might be wondering if there is anything they can do now to get ready. Many courses have pre-reading material and other things that you can do to get ready and #oclmooc is no different, although in our case, these are recommended but still optional.

Get ready to connect

You can get ready for #oclmooc by getting ready to connect. There will be a lot of conversations taking place in Twitter, the #oclmooc Google+ Community, and on participant blogs. If you don’t have a Twitter account and a blog, or you haven’t joined the Google+ Community, you can do so now so that you’ll be ready to go once #oclmooc starts. You can find instructions here. You can read more about the tools we’ll be using to connect on the Getting Started Page.

Spread the word

You can also spread the word about #oclmooc by telling others about it. One of the goals of #oclmooc is to connect participants with each other and to start conversations. The more people in the #oclmooc community, the more possibilities for connections and interesting conversations. You can spread the word via Twitter (don’t forget to include the #oclmooc hashtag), in an email, a post in Google+ or your blog, or through face to face conversations (we support those too) with those you think would be interested. You might want to share the link to the About #oclmooc, and Getting Started pages, as well as the registration link.

You could visit the Google+ Community and introduce yourself, or comment on someone else’s introduction. You could write a blog post about the start of #oclmooc, or check out some of the blogs in the Blog Hub and leave a comment.

If you are keen to get started these are some of things you can do before the official course start on Wednesday. But you don’t have to do anything at all to get ready, you might prefer to get outside and enjoy the last weekend of summer (it’s the autumn equinox here in Alberta on Monday).

We look forward to learning with you over the next five weeks, and hopefully long after the formal end of #oclmooc on October 30th.

Why your should join #oclmooc

Why your should join #oclmooc

Working at Alberta Education has been a fascinating, always learning experience. For the past two years I have had the pleasure of helping to refine and validate the draft Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) curriculum. We have been working with fantastic educators to ensure that CTF will work in their classrooms, no matter where they are in the province. I’ve never worked at Alberta Education before, but I understand that we are using a more collaborative model than has been used in the past.

At the same time, Alberta Education has been exploring new ways of working. One of the challenges of doing things differently is figuring out how to do things differently. For example, Alberta Education doesn’t normally post curricula on their web page while they are still in draft format.

This school year CTF is available for provincial Scaling Up, which means that it is available for teachers to use in their grades 5 to 9 classes, but it is not mandatory that they use it. Because of this, the CTF curriculum needed to be available on the Alberta Education website, even though it is still in draft form. It’s taken a while for all of us to work through the hoops to get it all posted and approved but we are now really excited that the CTF website is up and running.

Check it out – I’d love to know what you think about our innovative, draft, elective curriculum.

I have signed up for another Mooc – Connected Courses – because it looks really interesting, many of the Tweeps that I enjoy learning and playing with are signing up, and I am a serial cMooc addict.

I am really excited about the course, the content and the instructors. Alec Couros, Alan Levine, Howard Reingold, Laura Hilliger, Jim Groom and Mike Wesch have probably had more of an impact on me and my teaching practice than all of my professors and administrators combined. I participate in learning spaces that they have designed like #Etmooc and #DS106. I read their words and watch how they model open leadership in online spaces like Twitter, Google+ and on their blogs. I have even had the pleasure of learning from most of them in online sessions. Michael Welsh blew my mind wide open the first time I saw The Machine is Us/ing Us and his work has continued to impress me ever since. I am so excited to see them all together in one (virtual) space. Plus Connected Courses features other instructors that I haven’t had the pleasure of learning from yet.

I am a media and computer teacher in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Right now I am seconded to Alberta Education, where I have been working on the refinement and validation of the innovative, draft Career and Technology Foundations Curriculum for the past two years. Prior to teaching in the K-12 system I taught computers to adults and other nerdly things through my computer consulting company, Innovations, and other techy jobs.

I am very interested in community building and the value of connecting with other educators. I am currently working with a team of co-conspirators to lay the stage for the Open and Connected Learning Mooc, for Alberta (and other) educators (and learners). #OCLMooc starts on September 24th so although I am very excited about Connected Courses, I more likely a lurker than an active participant.

Fortunately, since it’s not my first experience in a Mooc, I know lurking is ok too.

In just over three weeks The Open and Connected Learning Mooc (#OCLMooc) starts. Our goal is to share information, resources and best practices about connected learning and open education, while connecting Alberta educators with each other, and learners from around the globe.

For me the most important part is connecting Alberta educators. When I was teaching in the classroom I was always trying to connect with others who taught the same subjects as I did – it was a great way to share ideas and best practices. My school board was setting up communities of practice with teachers in different grades; but not for options teachers. So I have been making my own connections as I developed my PLN (professional learning network). Over the past few months I realized that I connect, collaborate and play with others around the world much more frequently than I do with Albertans.

There are some fantastic educators here in Alberta; many of them already connect and share open resources. The number of Alberta EdCamps increases every year. Our goal with #OCLMooc is to increase their number and provide an opportunity for them to connect with each other.

Although we say #OCLMooc is for Alberta Educators, it is open to anyone, whether they are an educator, or Albertan, or not.

#OCLMooc is purposely being developed in an open fashion. Verena and I picked the dates and suggested an outline and then invited people to join us as co-conspirators as we worked out the rest of the details. We could have built the whole course ourselves but we know that the course will be better if it is developed by a team who share their ideas, connections and experience. Our goal is to use tools that most people have access to, so that they can develop their own open learning experiences in the future if that interests them.

The details of #OCLMooc are being solidified now. The Blog Hub has been set up, the weekly Twitter chats have been scheduled (Tuesdays at 7pm MST from September 30 – October 28) and we’ve scheduled our first two events. We are really excited to have Dave Cormier as our guest speaker for the Welcome Event and members of the PostEtmooc community sharing their experiences with cMoocs in our first synchronous event, cMooc Stories. Other events and activities are being planned by co-conspirators who have taken responsibility for different weeks.

Although the course hasn’t started yet, connections already being made by the co-conspirators, who have joined us from all over Alberta, as well as British Columbia, Illinois and California. I am looking forward to connecting with others once the course launches on September 24th.

Please consider joining us for #OCLMooc, you are welcome to participate as much or as little works for you. You can find out more on the course site. Here is a link to the sign-up sheet if you are ready to join right away.

I am looking forward to learning with you.

We had a great time yesterday at the Fort Edmonton Volunteer Party which was held in the 1920s Midway. The best part was the jazz trio who played live in front of the Freak Show Tent.

The Jazz Trio

The Jazz Trio

We started with a ride on the ferris wheel.

The girls on the ferris wheel

The girls on the ferris wheel

Tom and I on the ferris wheel

Tom and I on the ferris wheel

We checked out the fun house.

Fort Edmonton's Fun House

Fort Edmonton’s Fun House

Trying out a new look in the fun house

Trying out a new look in the fun house

Tom in the fun house

Tom in the fun house

Jasmine and Paris in the Fun House

Jasmine and Paris in the Fun House

Jasmine and Paris leaving the fun house

Jasmine and Paris leaving the fun house

I showed the girls how to use stilts.

I love stilts!

I love stilts!

We all rode the carousel.

Jasmine and Paris in front of the carousel

Jasmine and Paris in front of the carousel

Tom and I on the carousel

Tom and I on the carousel

And we all tried out the brand new Chair-o-Plane.

Jasmine on the Chair-o-Plane

Jasmine on the Chair-o-Plane

Jasmine won a basket of candy, I think that was her favourite part of the party!

Thanks Fort Edmonton, we had a great time at your thank you event.

This summer I have had the pleasure of volunteering in the gardens at Fort Edmonton. Although the gardens are beautiful, I hadn’t paid as much attention to them as I had to the buildings before. Spending time weeding them gave me a chance to get to know them a little better.

The Fort Garden

The Fort Garden

The first garden was grown by a heritage interpreter 15 years ago behind Kenneth MacDonald house. The garden has now been surpassed by the many other gardens on the grounds because it is shaded by trees, just like my garden at home. The garden at the front of MacDonald house grows plants with medicinal properties that his Metis wife would have known about.

The Garden at Kenneth MacDonald House

The Garden at Kenneth MacDonald House

The gardening hub at Fort Edmonton is, naturally, at Ramsay’s Greenhouse, which I have to admit I had never even been inside before.

The counter at Ramsay's Greenhouse

The counter at Ramsay’s Greenhouse

I would love to see the greenhouse in spring before the plants are moved into the gardens, but it is a great space, even when empty.

Inside the greenhouse

Inside the greenhouse

Although I had admired the Peony Garden in previous visits to the Fort, I didn’t know much about it’s history or why there was a garden devoted to just to Peonies. I learned that the Silver Heights Peony Garden was first established by Dr. James Brander in 1921 and was the source for many of the peonies found in western Canada today. By 1930 the five acre site in Bonnie Doon had over two hundred varieties of peonies. The peonies grown at Fort Edmonton are descended from plants purchased from the Bonnie Doon site, collected by a heritage gardener who combed through receipts and tracked down plants still growing in Edmonton.

The Peony Garden

The Peony Garden

I spent a morning weeding purslane from the Peony Garden, which gave me a lot of time to watch the goings on on 1920s street. A lot of time is spent weeding purslane from the Peony Garden because it is a very persistent plant, it can grow back from just a leaf left on the ground. Ironically just after I spent the morning weeding purslane, I read about it served in a fancy restaurant. I guess purslane can be considered friend or foe depending on whether you plan to eat it.

1920 Street from the Peony Garden

1920 Street from the Peony Garden

One of my favourite gardens is the Salad Garden behind the greenhouse where greens, herbs and edible flowers are grown for the kitchen at the Selkirk Hotel. I would never have known it was there if I didn’t spend a pleasant morning weeding it.

The Salad Garden behind the greenhouse

The Salad Garden behind the greenhouse

One of the best parts of working in the gardens, aside from working with the plants and learning from Bill, one of the Heritage Gardeners, was feeding the weeds to the pigs. It seems much more efficient than bagging them for curb side pick up.

Pigs eating weeds at Fort Edmonton

Pigs eating weeds at Fort Edmonton

I am planning to continue to volunteer in the gardens, because there so much I want to learn about how some of the plants were used. I would love to learn more about how the plants in Ottewell’s Garden were used as dyes and the medicinal uses of many of the plants grown on site.

Ottewell's Garden

Ottewell’s Garden

19. August 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: News · Tags: ,

We just got back from visiting relatives in Saskatchewan, including my cousin Michelle who is a beekeeper. Her company Zee Bee Honey produces honey and bees wax candles which she sells at farmer’s markets and in stores around Regina. Jasmine took an interest in Michelle’s bee keeping operation and suited up to check out the hives with Michelle.

Jasmine Suiting Up

Jasmine Suiting Up

Jasmine and Michelle, ready to go

Jasmine and Michelle, ready to go

Approaching the hives

Approaching the hives

Opening a hive

Opening a hive

Examining the frame

Examining the frame

Jasmine and a frame full of honey

Jasmine and a frame full of honey

Jasmine approaching with a frame full of eggs

Jasmine approaching with a frame full of eggs

Bees on a frame

Bees on a frame full of eggs

Jasmine with a frame full of eggs

Jasmine with a frame full of eggs

Leaving the hive surrounded by bees

Leaving the hive surrounded by bees