Shift to a learning journal

This entry marks a rebirth, of sorts, of this blog. Perhaps there’s some good to come of my painful learning experience of re-branding the original blog. This space will now become my learning journal for self-directed Open Education resources.

I recently signed on to the LearningSpace of The Open University after downloading some of their content through iTunes U. I have had a long-standing interest in the Open Education concept, particularly in light of the success of the OU in the UK. While newer approaches like MOOCs seem to have garnered a lot of attention, OU has quietly contained to evolve and mature.

So, I am going to take some of the writings, notes, and other findings from my disparate, disjointed, and eclectic studies, and place them here. Using this space as my learning journal I won’t be an “elearning guy”, but a Guy doing some e-learning in his ongoing professional development.

Advertisements

Au clair de la Lune

Like many others, I was sad to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong.

The Apollo missions and all they represented were a key part of my childhood, even as a Canadian. While I was only 14 months old when Apollo 11 touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, I remained captivated by the accomplishments of NASA and even the Soviet Space Program. Those were heady times, and I even remember watching the “handshake in space” live on TV.

Tonight as I look at a half moon still visible in the late summer sky, I think about those days when man walked the moon, and I’m saddened that we’ve not left Earth orbit for similar missions in the 40 years since.

Godspeed, Neil Armstrong. Your quiet courage and humble outlook were examples to us all. Tonight I give the moon a wink, just for you.

Pinterest: It took a while, but I get it. Finally.

Pinterest LogoIn many respects (for those who subscribe to such things), I am a typical Taurus, and stubborn as hell. I admit that there are times when I will resist trying new things until I know I can see the benefits for me. Once I “get it”, however, I’m unstoppable.

That paragraph accurately sums up my experience with Twitter. While initially skeptical, I have now – as most of you know – embraced the tool enthusiastically because I see the value from a personal and professional point of view. A secondary benefit is, of course, the entertainment value.

And then came Pinterest…

Continue reading

Tweeting as a personal backchannel

I tried something “new” this past week and I’m surprised I didn’t think of doing it sooner.

I sat in on one of the many workshops we run for our Instructor cadre. Because I have an interest in the coaching function I decided it might prove interesting.

Because I already had Twitter open, instead of using something like Evernote directly, i thought, ‘why not make use of Twitter?’ I could jot down a few notes and add a hashtag and keep going.

While not a quantum shift, it is a potentially disruptive innovation in note-taking. In the same way that conference note-taking has become a public-facing backchannel, my approach opened up a generic topic to outside query or sharing. I liked the fact that I was immediately forced into a concise summary mode with 140 characters and because I have the RSS feed for my Twitter account saving to my Google Reader, the tweets are auto-archived. If I had also added the @myEN tag, I could have also saved critical tweets to Evernote (something I do when I save critical Tweets in my regular feed)

The one challenge with using Twitter is, of course, the hashtags. Because they are unregulated, you have to take come care with selecting one for your own use. One risk you also run is the relatively new technique of hashtag spamming. Some popular tags (e.g. #lrnchat) are now flooded with spam, rendering them largely unusable.

The final consideration in this technique is the material being discussed. A personal backchannel is good but consider whether or not you’re potentially disclosing information that should remain behind company doors. If that’s the case, tools like Yammer may be more appropriate than Twitter.

As with any other backchannel, it’s only worthwhile if you actually do something with the information. In my case Ie put together an internal summary for my colleague who was facilitating.

I’d be interested to hear of anyone else has tried this approach and what they thought.

Educational Ennui

With my wife tackling her B.Ed. (and hoping to transfer to my alma mater for Grad School) and one of my colleagues also starting the MA program I did, I’ve been tripping down educational memory lane of late.

That came to a head a little while ago as I participated in a FB message exchange with some of my former classmates as we responded to a query from one of our number about an instructional design challenge.  My friend Peter summed it up well:

As an aside, you have no idea how much I miss this kind of dialogue with you guys. This thread made my day.

With that, I got a pang of sadness.  Continue reading

CSTD Workshop – Tom Gram

(Tom Gram is a Sr. Consultant with Global Knowledge Canada)

Tom’s session was designed to shed some new light on the concept of “practice makes perfect” and bringing along the concept of the “expert” and what role that individual can play in supporting increased proficiency. The root research into expertise was conducted by Anders Ericsson (The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance).
Continue reading

CSTD Day 2 Keynote – Steven Berlin Johnson

I didn’t take a lot of notes for this talk because it was a little more of a history lesson on the nature of innovation and how it has evolved over the last few centuries. Content was drawn largely from his book “Where Good Ideas Come From: The natural history of Innovation”.

One of the early threads of his discussion was the evolution of one entity into another wholly unexpected one because of a user-driven innovation (e.g. Lloyd’s of London evolving from coffee house popular with 18th century ship captains to Insurance conglomerate).
Continue reading