My Week of Connected Learning

I had a lot of great opportunities for connected learning this week. I was a teacher and a learner, connecting face to face and online with people who were sometimes a few cubicles away and sometimes halfway around the world.


At work I built a private Yammer community for my Sector. The walled garden approach is not one I usually take with adults but I realize that it is necessary for all participants to feel comfortable. The Director loved the Facebook-like interface which made it very intuitive for her to use.

There was a full day sector retreat with sessions about leadership and being fit at work, with several fun activities to try. The Yammer group was introduced at the retreat and by the end of the week I had invited everyone to join and sent around detailed instructions for the most likely scenarios they would face. The conversations were already starting when I left for the weekend.

Exploring PLNs

It’s the end of the first week of my new MOOC, Exploring PLNs. I really was way too busy to sign up for another MOOC, but it sounded really interesting and cMOOCish and Jeff Merrell is one of the facilitators and I love learning with Jeff. The topic relates directly to what I am doing at work, so I might be able to participate in some of the Thursday afternoon Twitter chats while I work.

I joined the Google+ Community. There were people from my PLN already there: several Etmooc alumni and my friend Maureen. I posted my introduction to the community and added a few comments on people’s posts. I joined the First virtual Google+ Hangout on Tuesday night. I didn’t manage to participate in the first Twitter chats, but I did add the #xplrpln tag to many of the tweets I sent out. These are some of the things being talked about in the community this week as Storified by Jeff Merrell.

The Post Etmooc Blog Reading Group

Friday when I got home from work I hung out with a few of the members of the Post Etmooc Blog Reading Group, although I was only able to make part of the hangout it was much better than missing it completely. This month we are exploring the topic of connected learning to tie into Connected Educator Month and ativities in the Open Online Experience. Erin Luong lead the hangout from her new home in Japan. I think it was the first Hangout that Erin hosted live on-air, it was great watching her learn and mentor at the same time. We caught up, shared some stories, laughed, listened and connected.

The Reform Symposium E-Conference

I participated in three sessions in the Reform Symposium E-Conference. It was a great conference with interesting sessions at all times of the day and night and participants from all over the world.

The Opening Plenary, Rethinking Learning, with Sugata Mitra was the largest I attended with over 100 participants, the most I have ever seen in a Blackboard session. It was interesting to hear about Dr. Mitra’s projects like the Hole in the Wall Computer Project and the Granny Cloud, but watching a blackboard session while multitasking at work was not as great as listening to him live at the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong a few years ago.

On Friday night a tweet by Shelly Terrell led me to an intimate spoken word performance by Jose Luis Vilson. It was the most artistic Blackboard session I have ever attended with a backchannel in Blackboard and on Twitter with the #rscon4 hash tag. I had never heard of Jose before, but was so moved by his passion and his poetry that I looked up his TED talk. Some of his stories reminded me of the stories my friend Sherri shares about the effects of No Child Left Behind in her school.

I also listened to an interesting panel discussion, Rethinking the Way We Learn with Tom Murray, Kelly Tenkely, Sylvia Tolisano, Nicholas Provenzano and Joe Dale.


I was not a very active participant in the #ds106 community this week, I didn’t even do very many DailyCreates, but I am doing my part to help create a radio show for the class showcase. It has been interesting just watching how seamlessly the group plans and collaborates. We live far apart and although we all know each other from several different online communities, I don’t think any of us have ever met in person yet we are preparing a half hour radio show.

The Student Blogging Challenge

I read my student blogs for the Student Blogging Challenge and added comments. The topic last week was Global Issues. The intro post on the Student Blogging Challenge website was really well written, provided links to some great resources and prompted some good writing.


And if all of that wasn’t enough to keep me busy I created a new Google+ community with a few people in my PLN, Meta MOOC, where we are going to share what we are learning in the MOOCs that we are participating in.

It all started when I found out that Bonnie Stewart and Dave Cormier were going to be two of the facilitators in World Wide Open’s MOOC, Online Instruction for Open Educators which starts next week. Although I am WAY TO BUSY to participate, I shared the information in the Post Etmooc Blog Reading Group community, which led to a discussion on Twitter about how there were too many great sounding MOOCs for any one person do, so we decided to each take one and share our learning.

Several brilliant educators have joined so there are sure to be some great discussions.

Face to Face

I also connect in person, face to face, with some of the people in my PLN. I had a cup of tea and shared my learning with my friend Maureen. She is taking Exploring PLNs with me and has joined Meta MOOC. I think she is writing a paper about Twitter vs. Zombies too. I also went to a planning meeting for TEDx Youth Edmonton and worked on a project for the Centre for Global Education.

Did you get to do any connected learning this week?

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