Tom’s been making cookies for my cookie exchange at work and for the girls to bring to school.

Shaping the dough

Shaping the dough

Ready for the Oven

Ready for the Oven

Fantastic Cookies

Fantastic Cookies

17. December 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: News · Tags: ,

We’re celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas at work. Today was the judging for the Cubicle Decorating Contest. Every year there are more competitors and the competition gets harder. Here are some of the entries.

The Math, Arts and Communications branch won first prize with their Whoville display

The Entrance to Whoville

The Entrance to Whoville

 

The Whos

The Whos

 

My branch, Citizenship & Career Pathways came in second place with our version of White Christmas

White Christmas

White Christmas

 

The beautiful murals, Ind-spiring Christmas by the First Nations, Metis and Inuit education branch came in third place

FNMI Murals

FNMI Murals

 

The Sciences and Wellness branch received an honourable mention for their Canadian Christmas scene

Hockey Scene

Hockey Scene

Tom, Paris and I were at a fantastic Make Something Edmonton (#MakeSomethingYeg) event last night at the Windspear Centre. The fun started as we arrived at the front door with a light installation.

Light Installation outside the Windspear Centre

Light Installation outside the Windspear Centre

When we arrived inside for An Evening of Light, Sound and Motion we were greeted by a pair of fairies on stilts.

Fairies on Stilts

Fairies on Stilts

The atmosphere was electric as people mingled, explored, and listened to music by a live DJ and ate wonderful food.

The DJ with festive lights

The DJ with festive lights

It was a celebration of the Maker spirit here in Edmonton with nine #MakeSomethingYeg projects on display:

  • 7 Days of Yeg Fitness
  • Green Spectacle Creations
  • HackLab
  • I Heart Yeg
  • Intergenerational Placemaking in Holyrood
  • Makers and Mentors
  • Making our Mark
  • Open Piano Yeg
  • QA Crossroads
Paris at the QA Crossroads Display

Paris at the QA Crossroads Display

Paris and I added our ideas to the I Heart Yeg chalkboard.

Paris writes why she hearts Yeg

Paris writes why she hearts Yeg

And all three of us made paper snowflakes.

Tom and Paris making snowflakes

Tom and Paris making snowflakes

There was performance art everywhere I looked.

The Poem Shop

The Poem Shop

After exploring the displays for a while we moved inside for the main event, a live recording of parts of the score for a documentary, The Great Human Odyssey by Edmonton film maker Niobe Thompson. We learned that the film took two years to shoot, a year to edit but the score was composed in only seven weeks by local composer Darren Fung.

There was an explanation of how the score was written, and how it would be recorded for the next week. Then parts of the score were performed (for the first time ever) and we were treated to a sneak peak at parts of the documentary. It was the only time that the score would be played live for an audience, and the only time they would play it with the visuals from the film on display at the same time. It was fascinating to listen as the musicians performed and Niobe read the narration. Because we were hearing it live before the levels were adjusted there were times when the music overshadowed the narration. I can’t wait to watch the finished film in February.

Musicians getting ready, camera moving in front of the screen

Musicians getting ready, camera moving in front of the screen

On the way home Paris and I were talking about how well the evening blended the subjects she is taking, subjects that grade 7 students often study in isolation: music, film making, social studies and language arts.

Bravo to everyone involved, it was a great showcase of some of the great things that are getting made here in Edmonton.

If you have an idea of something you would like to make, make sure you check out the MakeSomethingYeg website.

This week I am helping facilitate a 5 day course about Open Educational Resources. The course started yesterday with an introduction to open educational resources (OER). The next few days feature case studies of OER internationally, in post-secondary and in K-12.

I’ve been working with Verena Roberts to create the introduction to OER and K-2 case studies and the discussion that will follow. I’m honoured to be working with the other facilitators, David Porter, Clint Lalonde, Sandy Hirtz and Verena. I’ve learned a lot from them already and am sure I will continue to learn from them even after the course ends on Tuesday.

If you’d like to join us, you can sign up here.

I really enjoy Twitter chats. They are a great way to connect with the people in my PLN and to explore different educational topics. For the past two years I’ve also been hosting Twitter chats, participating as myself and using the PostEtmooc Twitter account. I enjoy hosting Twitter chats even more than I enjoy participating, as long as I remember to create the Storify before the Tweets start to disappear from the feed.

Last year Maureen gave me the opportunity to spread the Twitter love, by teaching #leadEPSB participants how to lead Twitter chats. It’s been a great opportunity to think about what makes a good chat. (In fact I have a half finished post about hosting Twitter chats, I really need to find the time to finish it.) We often gather in the same room to chat, even though we are all working on our own devices – we look a lot like my teenage daughters when they gather with their friends.

On Wednesday I supported Janet Bell as she hosted her first Twitter chat. Janet, Maureen and I met at Block 1912 Cafe and surfed on their wifi. Too bad we were too busy Tweeting to have desert, their baking looked fantastic!

Janet and Maureen #leadEPSB Twitter Chat

Janet and Maureen #leadEPSB Twitter Chat

Here is Janet’s Storify of the chat. She was a a great Twitter chat host!

It was my birthday on Friday. It was a great birthday. I had meals with friends, Maureen took me to Hyperthinking by Phillip Weiss at Grant MacEwan. The girls were at camp with Pathfinders so I had a romantic weekend with Tom. And I took the weekend off, barely touching the keyboard, checking my Twitter feed or working on my reflections for #oclmooc.

But the highlight of my birthday celebrations was a gathering of Edmonton change-makers that I was invited to on the Morning of my birthday. Agents of Social Change: A Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration brought together changes makers in non-profit, government, design and entrepreneur sectors to collaborate to foster positive social impact in Edmonton. The event was hosted by Chantal Norman from Thrive Facilitation and Kali Gordon from Weavin.

Chantal set the stage by playing Shift and then talked about key trends in the social innovation sector including social labs and Impact Investing.

Kali shared Local and global case studies on how Architecture and Design can create dynamic social impact and lasting social change within our communities. Tad Hargrave from The Local Good talked about some of the great things already taking place in Edmonton.

Then there were table discussions about what is possible in our community of change makers and what are some radical ways we can come together to tackle social issues. These were organized, with introductions, conversations and brainstorming with a small group at one table, moving on to a new table, new introductions and more conversations. I met some very interesting people doing great work and there were some good ideas shared and connections made. The event wrapped up at 10 am, but the conversations and networking continued for another half hour. And I know that the connections and collaborations will continue for the rest of the year.

It was a great way to spend my birthday!

I loved watching the latest iteration of Twitter vs Zombies (#TvsZ) this weekend. I knew I was too busy to play (I have learned from experience that when I sit down to play for an hour, it will be at least three hours later when I step away from the computer) but I really enjoyed watching the game via the #TvsZ Twitter feed.

This is the 6th iteration of Twitter vs Zombies and the basic storyline has evolved dramatically. During the first five games the basic narrative was that of a zombie apocalypse – the game started with one zombie (Patient Zero) trying to infect the rest of the players. The narrative took a turn during the last game when some non-violent zombies weren’t interested in infecting others and formed a new non-violent species.

The game this weekend had a different narrative but the game play was the same. Instead of zombie infection players would get recruited to other teams. Here is how Maha Bali pitched it to her class and Kevin Hogson’s explanation of how the game is played.

I loved watching the game unfold with the new storyline. There was at least as much word play and digital storytelling usual but it seemed like there was more playing with the rules.

Here is a summary of the weekend play by everyone’s favourite wired grandmother, NanaLou Burgeron.

Here are Kevin’s reflections about the game and Maha’s reflections her experience playing with her class in Cairo as well as a TAGS Explorer summary of how the participants connected.

I am looking forward to the next game, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Topic 5 of Connected Courses started this week, we will be exploring co-learning for the next two weeks. Topic 5 is being hosted by Howard Rheingold, Alec Couros and Mia Zamora. The first synchronous event was a hangout with Howard, Alec and Mia and some of the many #etmooc alumni who still connect and collaborate on a regular basis. I was honoured to be included on the panel with my friends: Susan Spellman Cann, Paul Signorelli, Erin Luong and Jeff Merrell.

Here is the archive of the conversation about why #etmooc was so successful and how it has led to many other successful learning communities and here is a link to Paul’s post about the session.

Today I spent several hours working on an enormous post about all of the great learning opportunities that I got to take advantage of in October. Between The Open and Connected Leaning Mooc (#oclmooc) and Connected Courses (#ccourses) I took part in many synchronous sessions about digital identity, open learning, web literacies, community and connecting and had many interesting conversations with participants in both communities.

I have been working on an enormous, way too enormous, all encompassing post about all of these experiences. I was not getting very far. I had written the first several paragraphs many times now thinking each time that if I approach it from a different angle, use different words, my ideas will coalesce and the words will start to flow.

Then I read this week’s writing prompt for Digital Writing Month this week about sharing unfinished work, so I started thinking about sharing part of the unfinished enormous post. I had successfully procrastinated for a few weeks and I really wanted to post a learning reflection for #oclmooc, and I want to share my refections with the #ccourses community. I know I won’t be able to match Paul’s number of posts or insightful reflections, but I do want to add my thoughts to the conversation, I want to make a point of continuing the conversation that was started last month.

I had planned to publish a post this afternoon before the #etmooc Connected Courses session tonight with Alec Couros and Howard Rheingold, but that was before I realized that the knee/back of chair ratio on the bus from Calgary to Edmonton would make it impossible to view my laptop screen.

As I contemplated all of this, with my laptop closed and the sun on my face, I realized that the details of the specific sessions I attended (and who the faciliators were, and what they got me thinking about) weren’t the most important part.

For me, it’s about community. The connections I make with others who are exploring the same topics, sharing our ideas and our learning and sometimes just playing together. And for me this month it has been about one part of my PLN, a few people who keep playing roles in my many varied communities. I met many of them during #etmooc and we have stayed connected for the past two years. We stay connected through #PostEtmooc and we keep running into each other as we participate in other open learning experiences.

For the last few months I had the pleasure of working with a few of them to build and support the learning community in #oclmooc. It was huge of a leap of faith for me to launch #oclmooc and invite others to co-create it with me, but I am so glad that I did. I loved working with all of the #oclmooc co-conspirators, but it was especially rewarding to work with Verena, Susan, Erin, Paul and Karen. We met during #etmooc and have shared many wonderful learning experiences and communities since then.

For me the best part of all of my learning experiences in October was the people. I met a lot of interesting people from around the world during #oclmooc and connected with familiar avatars (how do I refer to these friends who I know but have never met?) during #ccourses. And best of all, I got to build and support the #oclmooc learning community with a brilliant group of co-conspirators.

Well, maybe the best part is that the learning continues. Alec Couros, #etmooc‘s lead learner has invited some of us to join him in the #ccourses session tonight to talk about our experiences during #etmooc. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Karen Young hosted the final Open and Connected Learning Mooc on October 28th 2014. Here is an archive of the session.