I’m having one of those moments in life where things are coming together perfectly all at the right time. My work projects are aligning with skills and concepts I’m learning in my Master’s program. Personal life stuff feels settled but exciting. It’s all serendipitously coalescing perfectly.
Jonathan Finkelstein of Credly at the forum* last week shared a story about a college professor he had that told him to go through life collecting experiences. Each experience would be like a string taped to the ceiling. They might not all “go together” at first, but just keep taping them up there. Then at some point, you will be able to stand in the middle of the room and pull a string from here, a string from over there, and another one from way over there. When pulled together these strings will gain new meanings.
That’s exactly what’s happening to me right now. I’m pulling in the string from my MEd program about learning theories, the string from the #altcred forum about badges, the string from video production thanks to my husband, and the string from my full-time job thanks to my new title this year; it’s all coming together into a project that made me want to get to work early this morning so I could start sketching it out.
I’m not sure how much I will be able to share as the content of what I’m working on is confidential, but I hope to share some of my concepts & ideas in this forum.
(*Alternate Credentialing Forum notes coming soon! Just been too busy to consolidate into something shareable. For some tweets from the event, check out #altcred on Twitter.)
"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."
(Provocative quote from this week’s reading/watching about learner characteristics.)
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.
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 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!
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:
+ 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.
- 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.