Being a Beginner

Got a question?   A reflection blog about Instructional Design theories, ideas, and projects.

On Twitter and pretty much every other social media site, I'm @ouelletteda

You can learn new things at any time in your life if you're willing to be a beginner.
If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.

Barbara Sher


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"If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a classroom. If you wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something like a cubicle. And if you wanted to change things, you might have to tear down both and start over."

John Medina

(Provocative quote from this week’s reading/watching about learner characteristics.)

— 2 months ago with 1 note

#quote  #education  #brain science  #learning 

First, a quick apology: as my last semester got underway, I also took on a large, complex and time-intensive project at work. That left barely enough time for critical things (graded assignments) and zero time for blogging.

But now I’m between semesters and just getting back to business after nearly 2 weeks of vacation and semi-vacation (“heyyyy, snowstorm Hercules, how you doin’?”). So the obvious choice is to take on learning a potentially useful skillset. But what will it be, you ask.

Never fear! As luck would have it, I stumbled across this article about Hour of Code from code.org yesterday. We use JavaScript and XML to run the back-end of our custom software at work; plus there were some critical late-stage conversations about JavaScript passing user-specific pass/fail coding between our LMS and our new course that left me totally befuddled a few weeks ago. (Thankfully, our tech was on the call and he’s a whiz at this stuff.)

Years ago I quit the only computer science class I ever took within one week. It baffled and frustrated me. But Hour of Code promised a cute, gamified dips-your-toes-in-water kind of experience, and it delivered on exactly that.  By making coding seem a lot easier than I always thought it was, I had renewed hope that it could potentially be something I have a cursory understanding of.

After passing (with flying colors *ahem*) Hour of Code, I wanted something more challenging and more academic. I really wanted to learn code. Enter: CodeAcademy.

I’ve been going through their JavaScript program over the last day or so. The screenshot above is my very first functional “game”! I taught the computer to play rock, paper, scissors against me.

I don’t ever expect to become a Penelope Garcia-level computer science goddess, but I am proud to be taking a few steps to understand more about how all these fascinating machines we use every day talk to each other and us. Plus, maybe next time our techs and developers start talking about code, I’ll actually be able to follow along or contribute!

— 3 months ago with 1 note

#CodeAcademy  #code  #computer programming  #gamification  #informal learning  #adult learning  #online learning  #hourofcode  #STEM  #learn to code  #hour of code 

ouelletteda:

I posted about Voxopop over on my Edublogs blog. My classmate, Bram, responded by telling me about Voicethread (see video), which looks like a more updated, more robust version of Voxopop.

— 6 months ago with 2 notes

#voxopop  #voicethread  #auditory learners 
Choosing a Platform: Tumblr v. Edublogs

When I saw blogging on the syllabus for my class this week I thought, “Yeah! I’ve got that down.” Then our professor through a bit of a curveball my way; he asked that we specifically work on one particular platform: Edublogs. Edublogs is a WordPress-powered blog platform specifically geared toward the needs and concerns of educators. However, I was (and still am) blogging about instructional design topics at the blog I set up during my first semester, which happens to be hosted on Tumblr.

Never one to shy aware from the new and slightly uncomfortable, I dove into Edublogs. However, I am attempting to maintain the same content on my blogs on both platforms at the same time for awhile. So for now at least, content will be cross-posted to each place. I had hoped to import all of my old Tumblr content onto this platform, but since I don’t have a Pro account (yet) I can’t. For now I’ve just back filled a few of my recent posts to add some depth to this home.

So, being only a few days into this platform, I decided to compare the two platform options:

Tumblr

+ Gets bonus points for familiarity as I have several other, non-ID blogs hosted on Tumblr and have been using it for 3+ years.

+ Very non-text media friendly. Tumblr gives you post-type options right off the bat — video, image, quotes — so you don’t have to build in or purchase those capabilities.

- Non-text media friendly leads to a lot of “reblogs” of fluffy content and less original, in-depth pieces.

Edublogs

- Unfamiliar tools and layout means everything feels a bit slow and a bit clumsy to me right now.

+ More comprehensive. Because Edublogs is part of WordPress, there are a lot more settings and functions available. I especially like the way Pages work more on this platform.

+ I can see how it might be easier to build community, especially if you had a focused class or learning group you were targeting. The variety of privacy settings are a nice option.

If you’re a diehard Tumblr lover, convince me to stay.

(cross-posted)

— 7 months ago

#blogging  #blog platform  #edublogs 
Ch-ch-changes??

Thinking about migrating my blog to a new space (Edublogs). Partly for class reasons (instructor request) and partly because I’ve been kicking the idea around for awhile. (This is a secondary Tumblr blog under 1 account, which presents all kinds of complications.)

— 7 months ago with 1 note

#blogging  #605  #edublogs 
Yarrr! In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day I present a screenshot of a sample eLearning course in a cool new tool I learned about today: Articulate Storyline. (Click the image to go on a safety management systems treasure hunt, mateys!)
But discovering the software isn’t the only cool thing that happened today. I was asked this morning by my favorite coworker to join a really big project: rebuilding our eLearning courses and making sure they are CPE-credit compliant! Talk about a DREAM PROJECT! Especially since it falls outside my “regular duties.”
I’m so excited to get some on-the-ground eLearning experience, from working with content development vendors (personal SMEs for me as an ID student), proposals and contracts, CPE certifications, all the important acronyms, and hopefully turning this “need” product into a suite of “wants” later down the line.

Yarrr! In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day I present a screenshot of a sample eLearning course in a cool new tool I learned about today: Articulate Storyline. (Click the image to go on a safety management systems treasure hunt, mateys!)

But discovering the software isn’t the only cool thing that happened today. I was asked this morning by my favorite coworker to join a really big project: rebuilding our eLearning courses and making sure they are CPE-credit compliant! Talk about a DREAM PROJECT! Especially since it falls outside my “regular duties.”

I’m so excited to get some on-the-ground eLearning experience, from working with content development vendors (personal SMEs for me as an ID student), proposals and contracts, CPE certifications, all the important acronyms, and hopefully turning this “need” product into a suite of “wants” later down the line.

— 7 months ago with 2 notes

#DREAM PROJECT  #articulate storyline  #eLearning  #instructional design  #content development  #CPE  #arrrr mateys  #talk like a pirate day  #cool tools 
I remember Netscape Navigator. But I love Web+1.

This week’s discussion topic post from Blackboard Learn.

Web 2.0 is the realization of Berners-Lee’s vision of a connected virtual world where all users are both consumers and producers, allowing us to contribute to and elaborate on the topic of conversation. Although I am not yet 30, I can remember the very early days of the internet. One memory of the early web is that in 6th grade (1997-98) I was working on a report for school and I had to ride my bike to the town library because they had a computer connected to the Internet. Using Netscape Navigator and some crude boonlean search commands, I found several websites with information on my topic. Once I was done with the information on a page, I had to go back to zero to find the next pieces of information. There was no hyperlinking, no search algorithms that led me to new, exciting information. I had to know exactly what I was looking for to find it.

To me, the internconnectedness of the current web facilitates exposure to new topics, new content streams or new people.To quote The Next Web, “Web+1 takes those Web 2.0 site and connects them to everything else. Isolated verticles are a thing of the past.” For example, I follow one of my friends on Twitter. She shared an article about K-12 education that I found interesting. So, I wrote a blog post about it, adding my reflective comments and connecting it to another idea in another article I read, including source links to all of the original content. I also began following the source of article via an RSS feed. Now I get exposed to their ideas with out my friend playing middle man and my blog readers can do the same. 

We, as adult educators, should care about K-12’s use of web tools because it’s building and teaching our future students. Students in K-12 will use technology, likely better than we adults can, intuitively. It’s also easier to expose people to new ideas and new tools when they’re younger because they are likely less psychologically entrenched. So if the K-12 system doesn’t harness or guide their use of web technologies, showing and asking students to share best practices and the best tools, they will be ill prepared for navigating the web as adults. If they do, I’m sure that Web 4.0 or WebCubed or the Omnipresent Web isn’t too far away.

— 7 months ago with 1 note

#web2.0  #web+1  #web  #technology  #605  #internet 

This is my favorite video so far from this week’s assignments for 605. It was created by a cultural anthropologist. From it I learned why and how HTML and XML are different, which I never really thought about or understood before. I also enjoyed the closing lines that all this sharing and digital group editing means we need to “rethink copyright…authorship…privacy…governance.”

One thing this video doesn’t address, likely because it’s a few years old, is curation — now that Web 2.0 is creating all this content and it’s growing and growing exponentially, how do we sort through the noise to find what’s meaningful. I talked through and referenced some of my ideas on this topic back in April.

— 7 months ago with 2 notes

#605  #Web 2.0  #youtube  #cultural anthropology  #curation 
Danielle Dulchinos - Resume →

Knowing that it would be a quiet Friday, I decided to see what all the fuss of Prezi is about.

I had never heard of Prezi until last semester, when my colleagues and classmates mentioned as an cloud-based alternative to good ol’ PowerPoint.

So far, I’ve only made one Prezi, but I’ve started a personal of pros & cons:

+ Intuitive & easy to use

+ Fun templates to get you started

- Inability to modify different text lines within the same box beyond color & highlights

- Some of the controls are a bit fussy, but that could be because I started deconstructing the template

+ You can add other users, so you can collaborate remotely, in real time!

+ Sharing is much easier than trying to email a 20MB or 300MB PPT deck

If you’re a Prezi whiz, what hot tips & tricks have you got for me?

— 7 months ago

#prezi  #presentations  #collaborative tools  #powerpoint  #cool tools 
Coolest new class tool I learned today: Awesome Screenshot.

Coolest new class tool I learned today: Awesome Screenshot.

— 7 months ago with 2 notes

#awesome screenshot  #meta  #blog  #605  #cool tools