Archive for June, 2012

This project has given me an opportunity to learn in a way that has motivated me beyond anything I have ever experienced before. The biggest learning, is that I can still become overwhlemed with “work expectations” and I am brought them all onto myself.  In every other learning experience, I have always been able to blame the teacher if I thought there was too much work, or I was confused…In this learning experience, I can’t use blame. If I am overwhlemed, then I have to figure out how to work on balance, if I don’t undertsand something, then I have to find the answer and if I don’t know “how much” is enough or what a product should “look like” then I have to be open to finding feedback in many different forms.

The learning is scary because it is so unknown and wonderfully exhilerating because it is so unknown.

But where am I in all this? As a learner, I started this adventure as a parent and educator who is frustrated that Educational Technology is not a common standard across my school district. I never know what to expect when I meet my kid’s teachers. It’s not just that a teacher may focus on “math” or “reading” or social studies” one year – I can accept that all teachers have their focus areas. What I mean is, why aren’t all teachers using educational technology in their classrooms as a way to encourage personalized learning and extend Bloom’s Taxonomy opportunities.

Then I started to realize that the idea of “connectivism” is also about connected learning – to me that means learning from others. What I have learned through twitter , and and the handbook and countless other adventures I have had along the way…is that there is a lot going on out there, and I was the one not choosing to discover “how” to connect myself “into” the loop.  These connections take time and energy. I have learned that I prefer LIVE social media to recordings and archives. You have to meet at a specific time to make a ConnectedLearningtv show (they are recorded, but it’s wonderful live), or to make an #edchat or any hashtag discussion (I was blown away in a future of education discussion the other day…) or to skype someone based on a tweet…I now consider Rodd Lucien a friend after chatting with him about unplug’d.

I kept goinga nd going trying connect anc connect – and I was beginning to feel a bit – disjointed….

And then I came back to my “center” – who I really am…a mom…

Last night I spoke with Joy Bowen-Eyre. She is a Calgary School Board trustee who has recently had someone create a blog for her and it was created in the hopes people would think it was her. This cyberbullying has promoted her to look into digital identity. I mentioned my #DigiFoot12 course on her website and tweeted it, and she phoned me to chat about the course and about possible opportunities for online digital footprint awareness for stduents (my kids!!!!) in the CBE and hers. I was totally in awe of this fantastic woman who is enthusisatic and determined to support parents, students and educators…But most importantly she is a mom -and she realizes that we aren’t learning the skills to “protect” ourselves online as adults or as kids. We need to work together. She talked about one of the biggest struggles is connecting to parents – getting our input…I laughed…how to overcome the intimidation? Creating a new culture? The real paradigm shift?

So while I have come full circle – and I now have someone taking the course who has the same interests at heart that I do (I found at least one audience member)….I wonder how I got here? Where did I get the courage to e-mail, tweet people and connect? Why is it so important to me…and why did they chat to me? Their time and energy was so prcious and appreciated!  I definitely got lost along the way and had NO idea what direction to go in….but I kept trying..and I am looking forward to an amazing course and the challenges it brings….

I think that I have learned that I have many identities digital and f2f (Bonnie Stewart is doing some great work on the digital topic…but I digress)..that I have developed and discovered to get to my ultimate goal –

What am I really trying to achieve? I want to offer  social, media and technical literacy to the masses. The youth have vast experiences and skills and so do adults, and I want to bridge them together. This isn’t just about teachers not using technology in the clasroom. It’s about accepting that to really learn about social, media and technical literacy – we need to work together…While my course starts me along that path…I think my work with will keep pushing me in that direction….

Better get back to the course….I still haven’t figured out a PLN scavenger hunt!!!

Next post – how I created/designed the #DigiFoot12 course…and why…



Blogs that I read today that are encouraging me to proceed with my #didigFoot12 course and push myself to do more amazing things…..

This poem speaks to me and makes me stand up for who I really am:

People Like Us

June 18, 2012
tags: , ,

via Bonnie E on pinterest

this is a cross-post from the blog of Olaf Lewitz. 

People Like Us

Some people—few people—have a sensibility of others
that is more than
gradually higher than the average.

We sense other people’s feelings and group relations faster than others,
often before those people sense and realise for themselves.
And our sense is not only faster, it’s deeper, more accurate as well.

We learn early in life not to boast this feature of ours.
We might even be irritated by it,
because each of us has been punished in some way or the other for using this gift
(and then speaking her mind).
People notice us. We stand out from the crowd (even though we try not to),
for two reasons:
We listen.
We care.
The experience of someone actually listening to and caring for them is unusual for most people.
They are attracted by it.
If you’re a women, chances are you’ve been misattributing this attraction to sex
—and the male sitting across you might have too.

But this is different.
To meet someone (say, on a train) who not only talks with you and looks at you,
but actually listens to what you do (and do not) say and watches you,
really sees you as you are, is an outstanding experience.
You have this listening and sensing gift.
Are you proud of it?
Maybe not – because it’s quite normal to you and you’ve had it working against you in the past.
Most people can’t handle honest feedback.

But we do.
We actually crave it.
We need people like us to get it from.
The problem is, how to identify people like us.
Because of past experiences we tend to crouch down and hide in the insensible crowd.
That way, we still sense, watch and listen, but we dampen our feedback.
We don’t stand out, and we don’t notice people like us.

So straighten up!
Stand tall, proud, and make yourself visible!
Look above the crowd to see others like yourself.
You probably noticed similar people before.
You noticed them because they felt grounded, more present, more in-the-moment than the rest.
They struck you as interesting, maybe as attractive, but you didn’t see them as similar.
You might even have felt intimidated (as others surely have been by you).

But as soon as you stand up, proudly,
and let your amazing self be recognised by them as a peer,
you’ll see them stand out from the crowd and really see you just as you do
really see them.
Just leave your comfort zone and really, sincerely, get up!
Let yourself be seen.

It’s an amazing experience.
You will love it.
And you might love the people like us.


via Olaf Lewitz – @OlafLewitz

Poem by Vanessa Miemis and Olaf Lewitz


Seth Godin’s Book Description

makes me realize that if you have a dream and a passion you have to live it….We are all artists and we only have one life to live…..


And finally David Truss writes about Blurred Identity Lines….

I am beginning to find out that there are others like me, its ok to stand up for what I believe in and there is a path to follow….but in the meantime, who really knows me?



Posted: June 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hope  I spelled it correctly…

After finishing the first draft of my Lit Review- I thought I could take some time trying to “connect” and learn more….My conclusion in my Lit Review suggests that many Emerging Technology projects are “MOOC”like in their endeavours. I follow Howard Rheingold on twitter. Last week he asked for volunteers for a “peeragogy handbook”. I thought it would be to help write one…

I had to write an e-mail to Howard saying I would be interested….

My first e-mail started like this:

Hi Howard-

I wanted to tell you about why I would like to be a part of your project.

Classroom 2.0 sent out an e-mail asking encouraging everyone and  anyone to participate in a book project about teaching using technology. I wrote a “chapter” because I ha just created what I thought was the most “cutting edge” example of online learning and was rpoud to talk about it….and because I am a mom of 3 kids under the age of 7 and I still consider myself a stay at home mom….This is a copy of the project:

I learned about MOOC’s earlier this year, and was a participant in the #change11 course. I was transformed as a learner and have been in overdrive ever since.  The “over drive” part led mt to your book “Net Smart” which I was hoping could “calm” my dendrites and give me some real life examples of how I can “stay engaed” as a learner and maintain some balance in my life….

I was absolutely flberghasted to see your tweet about this study….

Since #change11, and discovering the opportunities of “open learning” I felt a need to “create a MOOC like course for the K-12 audience. I wanted to “bring” online learning into the regualr classroom and demonstrate that leanring in this day and age goes beyond the four walls.  I found out that I could do an independent project as part of my MET through UBC. I decided to learrn about MOOC’s and the possible design of a MOOC miniMOOC to start in July. I sent an e-mail to Steve Hagardon, Classroom 2.0 and he said that he would love to try and create a network for people trying to “offer” MOOC’s online. I started setting up the concept of a miniMOOC.

Then, after many negative responses, I was given the opportunity to work with a professor (Alex de Cosson) who asked for 3 things in an Independent Project, a Lit Review and PLN and a possible journal article about my experiences from an enthographic autobiography point of view.  He encouraged me to choose books, articles and blogs that I wanted to read – and relate them to my passion. I thought I was

Since I “needed” to read Net Smart – it was the frist one on my list.  The first chapter killed me, kind of reminded me of “The English Patient” short but a killer…but once I finished, I realized my mind was going so fast before I read it, I needed to slow down in order to fully undertsand…that i needed to focus my attention (and how to do it) I was extremely grateful for the analogies and comparisons of the “new learning” through social media to Socrates and Gutenburg. .Of course my reading Net Smart I changed most of my other choices and led me to learning about Mimi Ito, and seriously reconsidering the work of danah boyd. The idea of the “ecology of learning” resonated throughout the readings included the works on connectivism – especially by David Cormier.

I spent May 25-27 at my first “unconference” called connectedCA hosted by the Calgary Science School. It was here that in a session by Bill Belsey, founder of www., we sat in a sharing circle and talked about why we were there and how we feel so bullied and put down by others in Education because we think differently.

Before #change11 I asked the University if I could take “face to face” courses this summer- because I felt like I was “missing out” on something. Although I didn’t know what that something was….In the last year as CEO (Chief Education Offcer) of ww

And I reflected…and didn’t send it….


My actual e-mail looked like this:

The same day I received an invite (from Howard) to be a participant in helping to create a Peeragogy Handbook:

Between editing my Lit Review….I have spent the last week learning about how to be a “Peeragogy Handbook” Newcomer. I received an e-mail from Joe Corneli welcoming me…and in anticipation of the weekly “check-in” in Blackboard – today – I said that I woudl go over the draft of the handbook and write up notes on my first impressions….


So…in the hopes of extending my PLN – this are some of my next steps….The explanation on how to set up a MOOC is excellent in the handbook- if I only I had known about it before I tracked down resources and people….It gives me some assurance that I am doing  things kind of correctly….


Two major points about why connectivism is awesome as a learning opportunity….

I am still working on my Lit Review…and yesterday I took the opportunity to check out an online “hangout” with “Connected Learning” The “discussion” was being hosted by Howard Rheingold and it was about Ethan Zuckerman’s work on creating cultural change through social media – I was there to learn about applying social media to my miniMOOC course (which I prefer to call a TOOF Tiny Open Online Forum)…

Anyway – I’m in the goolge hangout, for only the second time in my life, and Howard asks everyone “listening” to write in the chat box and tell them a bit about ourselves and why we are there….So  I did….and Howard writes back to me…tell me about the dates of your miniMOOC and I will help advertise it (crowdsource would be the correct word)….

Howard’s  book, Net Smart” is perhaps the most influential book in my Lit Review…and I just “connected” with him….in person! But it gets better…

In Howard’s book he suggests that “educators” interested in really learning about “what” kids are learning using social media for and what skills they are developing and what “leanring” is taking place should read Mimi Ito’s (Editor) book -Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out

So I just finished reading parts of that book….and Mimi was in the room as well!!!!

In fact, I said something nice about one of her comments!

The proof:

The point is….connectivist learning brings “plebians” together with “scholars” and creates environments in which we can engage in peer discourse…and it is motivating and encouraging and quite frankly one of the most amazing experiences. When learners connect with other experts in their field, there is a certain “God” complex syndrome. We act all silly because we are in awe….then we might risk making a comment, which is sometimes commented upon by others and then risk being part of a conversation which is pure….acceptance….Acceptance for who we are as a person, acceptance for being ok with our “odd” passion for Educational Technology and acceptance for humanity as a whole- in that we can learn together…

So, not only have I been researching connectivism, my research “is” also connectivist and the foundations of the learning are connectivist to me as I experience learning in a new way. I created an individual project on MOOC’s, but it’s a mini open online adventure…. I am learning by doing, but also “finding” the learning that is already there by connecting the dots (or networks as George Siemens would say)….

Oh – I also chatted to Alec Couros today. Can I say enough about his help? He gave me some outstanding ideas on course design for a k-12 audience…we are in total agreement that some “tweeks” need to be made to my inital course deisgn….He also rocked my world by suggesting a wide variety of alternatives to “track” tweets and offer the RSS feeds and twitter tweets to groups. I can’t thank him enough…

And he also commented on the idea that – does this really need to be called a MOOC? Is it a MOOC? Not so much- so I am seriously considering the TOOF instead….or why name it at all? Just look for an audience (it’s all about the audience) looking for what I am offering – a free open online forum that creates a fun and engaging way to learn about digital footprints in social media today….

Randy LaBonte – another amazing mentor- also commented on the “name” – is it really a course? What’s wrong with calling it some kinhd of discussion or forum…? I have to make the course objectives clear- thta’s very important. As usual, lots to think about…




As I finish up my Lit Review readings…understanding that I will neevr truly be finished as one reading stems to another…I have discovered more commonality among the readings: ecology for learning. I keep finding this expression, used in a variety of ways, in my readings. The “connected” piece is obvious because the word ecology reminds me of “webs” within our environment. If I take this “Web” metaphor one step further it reminds me of Peter Senge and “Systems Thinking”. The idea that everything within a system is connected. Systemic learning was a huge part of my previous MA in Leadership and Training from RRU and I often wonder if its not ingrained in everything I see as a result

But that’s where my visual stops- because part of this process for me, is to create an online option for anyone within the k-12 audience outside of the system….The “system” scares me….that’s what I need to dig into, why I have issues with “systems”…My first response is because they don’t support me….I wonder what I mean by that?

I think that I have been pushing too hard to break free of the “system” and “walls” and “restrictions” that I have defined for myself, and instead I ened to focus on the “web” from an “ecological” point of view…and that brings me back to audience.

I have had no problems finding people to present on the topic of Digital Citizenship, but I wonder if they can hear my “big picture”. I wonder if I have created a visual that can engage learners and create an opportunity for a bunch of people to learn together? I have had no one want to collaborate with me…and when I think about leadership, you need followers to lead, otherwise you are just standing by yourself.

So, as I finish up my time on my Lit Review I am going to begin to transition towards my audience (again) and what I am really trying to get out of this experience – and share with others….

I’m wondering how to make the miniMOOC experience a priority for others as well as myself….

My research suggests that the idea of the MOOC and the pedagogy behind it is truly an emerging educational “trend” that has merit and potential. But does K-12 need a MOO Course, or perhaps steps towards open and online collaboration…or both? Maybe the MOOC isn’t what the k-12 market needs….?

I’m rambling…off to reflect…