Digital Pedagogy: It’s Like Riding a Digital Bike

The saying, ‘it’s like riding a bike’ means you just don’t forget. Even if you don’t use a skill for a long time. You can pick it right back up. I can see that has truth to it, but it got me thinking about what it is actually like to learn to ride a bike.

It starts out with just about as much support as possible. A grown up literally supporting you, balancing you, giving you instant feedback and encouragement. And oh the rush of emotion when you actually do it on your own! Just a few months ago, I witnessed this happen. The boy shouting “I’m doing it! I’m doing it!” as he rode away for the first time. It struck me that I witnessed an event that boy would probably remember for the rest of his life.

After that first time you ride away from your support person, what kind of ‘formal’ instruction do you really get or want in your bike riding skill acquisition program? Not much at all, really. Now it’s all about experiential learning. You learn from the crashes what not to do. You learn from exhilaration what to do. You try different bikes and they feel weird at first, but then you figure it out. You roll over new terrain shaky at first, but then you get used to it and enjoy the challenge.

I can remember most of the actual instructional events in my life to do with biking. Probably because they are so few and far between. Any formal tips or tricks for biking have been searched and sought out on my own here and there in magazines or from other cyclists and I have just been ‘experientially learning’ the rest of the way (the experientalliest learning being the year I spent as a bike courier.)

But I digress and lose sight of the point I haven’t yet made. So, to review what I’ve been trying to say: learning to ride a bike includes large amounts of start up support and then you’re mostly on your own.

I think that the bike-learning methodology is kind of what it’s like to wade into the digital world as an educator. You can find those opportunities for the start up support to get going, but from there you’re on your own to choose your path. Going into new systems is like trying out a new, different bike. WordPress might be your all purpose commuter and a flat-tired unicyle might be your Learning Management System. And like biking, you can get more out of it by adding some accessories (Slack, Twitter, etc) and joining a club or community (Virtually Connecting, #OpenLearning17, #ds106 etc.). Your friends are here to help, but it’s up to you to ride through new terrain and feel the wind blow your hair back. It’s great fun that you have to work for.

“Bike near campground First Landing State Park” flickr photo by vastateparksstaff https://flickr.com/photos/vastateparksstaff/33089545372 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

featured photo: “riding bikes” flickr photo by jonny.hunter https://flickr.com/photos/jonnyhunter/1043775061 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

 

Petition to Adopt Reddit into The Open Ed Family

“Fishing spot” flickr photo by Patrick McConahay https://flickr.com/photos/pat_mcconahay/15106445506 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The way Reddit works is really quite conducive to open pedagogy. I think, if I’m understanding the meaning of this saying properly, it is one of those things that is ‘of’ the Internet and not just ‘on’ it. The structure wasn’t designed specifically for educational purposes, but it sure does a better job of it than most things designed with ed-tech in mind.

Here’s how it works, put simply:

Subreddits:

are subdomains with their own topic/category/culture/set of rules. r/hockey is a place to talk hockey. r/Toronto is a place to talk about Toronto (helpful if you live there!). r/Askscience is a place to ask science questions that you hope somebody who knows more than you to answer. r/shittyaskscience is the same thing only with deliberately shitty answers, just for fun. There is a whole suite of ‘shitty’ subreddits, which is hilarious. Subreddits can be whatever the community wants and you can create your own.

Posts:

You can post a link, image or just some text to a subreddit. See something cute and educational anywhere else on the Web? Go post it to r/awwducational

Comments:

Each post basically gets its own discussion board by default. Know some more info about that cute thing on r/awwducational? Add your knowledge and link to more in-depth info. Or just ask for more detail if you don’t know.

Voting:

Each post, and each comment, can be upvoted or downvoted. The stuff with the higher +/- in votes is higher up, with the idea being upvoted stuff is the best stuff. It doesn’t always work that way as hive-minds can get carried away, but it often lets you find the quality stuff more quickly. You can also sort by new comments or controversial etc.

And all those things together gives us what?

What we end up with is a place where we can create our own community, easily contribute ideas and things, discuss, and vote on (to give more/less visibility). If the Open Education community were to post the awesome things that they find or do on Reddit (say, anything that someone would Tweet out) what we would have is a stream with a little more permanence than your Twitter feed. If Twitter were a rushing creek or waterfall, Reddit could be a slowly plodding brook or river full of life meandering through it.

The most interesting Subreddits seem to grow organically. Here are some neat communities:

Explain Like I’m Five

Cool Guides

A whole bunch more

Thanks for the inspiration to blog, Gardner!

 

 

Dispatching The Patchbook

Patches the cat almost did me in. We’ve been conceptualizing our Open Faculty Development Textbook for a few months now and were searching for a foundational idea to build the project around.

The other day, on a not-directly-related search, I was trying to find an image for a badge or patch for faculty to wear once they’d agreed to contribute to the text, so I CC Flickr searched for ‘patch’. I was inundated with images of Patches the Cat, sometimes with his owner, sometimes not. I’m glad you love your cat, buddy, but it wasn’t helping me.

I thought it was funny to see so many pictures of Patches, but was disheartened that I wasn’t finding what I was really looking for. And in the back of my mind that this project didn’t have a hook yet. I don’t remember exactly the mental steps it took to go from Patches the Cat, to The Faculty Patchbook, but it happened, and here we are with our hook.

Patchwork. A community quilt. This is what we’re trying to make. A community built collection of ‘chapters’ or whatever you want to call it. Each individual telling the story of one pedagogical skill in order to build an entire quilt. Tales about pedagogy for teaching in-class, online, designing/redesigning lessons and courses. Whatever the community quilt needs to cover our teaching and learning needs.

It seems serendipitous that in further searches for ‘quilts’ and ‘patchwork’, I came across a very fitting image by the cogdog himself, whom I take a great deal of open learning inspiration from. This image is now the feature image on the About this Project page for The Patchbook. The link is coming, don’t worry! 🙂

Farm Quilt flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Check out the quilt in progress here. There you’ll see a description of what we want to do and how you can get involved, too. Fleming College’s main campus is in Peterborough, Ontario, (also known as The Patch!) and we are dispatching The Patchbook out to you and with you.

Maybe it should be dedicated to Patches the Cat.

Feature photo: “Patches” flickr photo by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue https://flickr.com/photos/waffleboy/8918477914 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

A Spartan LMS

Spartans flickr photo by Masked Builder shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

I am currently in an in-between phase of figuring out what is wrong with the traditional way we use Learning Management Systems and how to move along. Although I do like to refer to them as Learning Constrainment Systems. What would you put in a basic, spartan learning management system? You know, the things that are actually pedagogically helpful, but so you still end up with no bloat. The current LMS that I work with, which I do not desire to reveal at this time, has a huge whack of tools, most of which don’t get much use. What can an LMS do better than just a Domain of One’s Own system? What can we get rid of to finish with something more SPLOTy that would actually be really helpful? Is the ideal a combo package of the two? I’d like to know what people think.

I’m thinking, if anything, include in the LMS:

  • A class roster. Basically a tool to show which students are in which courses with which instructors.
  • A grade book with good feedback functionality
  • Assignment dropbox (where students submit links to the assignments actually housed in their own domains that they wish to submit for feedback). Possibly it could also be used for submitting sensitive type work that really shouldn’t be out on the Web.
  • A ‘journal’ type discussion thing for sensitive discussions that only certain people should be involved in like instructors or tutors with the students. Certain subjects like Counselling would find this more useful maybe.
  • A quiz tool (just a ‘grandfathered’ tool to get the masses to come there and then slowly make it fade away)

I’m thinking the things that should not be housed inside the LMS, but outside in the World Wild Web include:

  • Syllabus and week by week instructions for what is going on.
  • Assignment instructions. Ideally a place that allows students and others to also submit assignment ideas. Students are then able to choose the ones they want to do.
  • A central list of URLs to classmate’s domains
  • Any content delivery including instructional videos of talks with lecturers and guest speakers and slide decks, set up instructions, readings
  • Any live video chats or collaborative annotation exercises
  • Collaborative notes produced by students
  • Obviously all posts and pages students create for their domains (in a central flow as well as on individual domains)
  • A general discussion board.
  • A social media layer like Twitter for students to informally share and discuss things they are working on and connect throughout the course

Housing these tools outside the LMS invites openness, collaboration, riffing, remixing and generally (hopefully) bootstrapping everyone to a higher level of performance and creativity.

So, we’re left with 5 tools in the Spartan LMS (one of which has an expiry date) instead of the 42 in my current LMS. That means there are 37 tools I don’t really desire 2 use. 

So, do we need any of these LMS tools at all or should we leave the LMS to head off into the sunset? Throw out the bathwater, the baby and then smash the tub while we’re at it? I’d be interested to hear about anyone who uses both by choice (or if they have to). Comment below to let me know!

Sunset flickr photo by Jason O’Halloran shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Terry Greene

@greeneterry 

Shropin The #NETNARR

From Aspen Extreme, ‘Top Gun on the Slopes’ Touchwood Pictures 1993

Shropin’ The Gnarl is slang for really killing it on the slopes. Maxing out your skills and mixing it up to try to do something new. You know, like, really shredding.

But those gnar-gnar two-plankers hucking sick filth off booters got nothing on the digital alchemists playing in the #NETNARR (Networked Narratives) world (@cogdog & @MiaZamoraPHD being chief alchemists). I’m trying to keep up with it all but just wanted to say, here in my space, keep on shropin’ every day and helping us make new connections.

from Networked Narratives Digital Alchemy 

p.s. my vote for what OPML stands for is Overly Practical Magic Lens.

See more about #NETNARR here (while I try to catch up)

#DoOO #DoOO #DoOO Lookin Out Our Backdoor: Toward A Domain of One’s Own

backyard flickr photo by gagilas shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license Moving Toward a Domain of One’s Own

My wife takes our daughters out every day to Early Year Centres, the library or any other drop-in she can find. The girls can enjoy the crafts and songs and socializing with other kids and she can commiserate a little about the trials and tribulations of raising these little hurricanes. (Lucky hurricanes to have such a good mom who takes them to these hurricane meet-ups every day. She should have a business card with Storm Chaser as her title). One of the songs that’s invariably sung goes simply something like:

a smooth road, a smooth road, a smooth road, a smooth road

a rough road, a rough road, a rough road, a rough road

a windy road, a windy road, a windy road, a windy road

a bumpy road, a bumpy road, a bumpy road, a bumpy road

You have your kid(s) on your lap and you bump them up and down according to the lyrics. It’s fun and easy enough that I remember how to do it for the most part.

At my work, we’re on a road with similar varying conditions. One which I hope is leading us toward being a Domain of One’s Own (DoOO) college. It’s baby steps, it’s not written down anywhere yet, and we don’t want to force it. But it’s one of them number one, ultimate goals. We don’t need to call it DoOO yet, for now it’s just “Hey! Blog a bit! Put your work out there! Have a look at your peers’ work!” To me, DoOO truly encapsulates all that online learning can and should be. It’s open, it’s human, it’s connected, it’s constructive. It’s not Internet bells and whistles so that a machine can teach you something and then tell you what you should do next. It’s sharing your take on something so that we can all scaffold off of each other. So we can understand each other. Choral explanations, in a sense.

It’s a smooth, windy, rough, bumpy, smooth road. It’s been a little windy lately so I wanted to write this down, for myself, to remind me that the journey is the best part. So today I’m just stopped, looking out the backdoor, and remembering to enjoy the journey. I hope we get there. it’s worth it regardless.

Now back to those hurricanes.

Y’all Down with OEP?

OEP

oep

O.E.P. how can I explain it
You take your learning and share it
It’ll have us all all jumping, shouting, saying it
O is for Open, E is for Education
The last P, well that’s not that simple
It’s sort of like, well, teaching AND learning
It’s nine little letters that are missing here
You try some things and let the other’s know how it goes
It seems we gotta share the learning, bust it open
Ever explained ideas and went and heard a nice response?
Students get the gist and can explain it back to you?
You get home, wait a day and share it out to peers
They Tweet you back and they’ve tried it out themselves.
They took your idea and built upon it more! It’s a P, to the R, to the A, to the C, to the T, to the I, to the C, to the E, to the S.

 

Something Brewing Out of #OpenEd16

I’m involved in a weekly blog that my department puts out for faculty. We provide short excerpts in set categories meant to give some tips and distill the things faculty need to know about our college. We try to put them out at the right time and in a bit of a ‘gateway drug’ format. As in, get a taste for the topic, get hooked, and click the links to learn more; go down the rabbit hole. Drugs are bad, mmkay, but they have a heck of an on-boarding process. We try to mimic that, but for good!

We call it the Teaching Hub. Here are the categories.

teac-hing-iconEngaging Teaching: A pedagogical skill. We try to enlist ‘guest speakers’ from faculty to provide these tips and examples for how you can use them.

tech-icon1Learning Technology: The default setting for ed-tech articles is to provide a list of no less than 60 new tools that you should feel bad for not using yet. We try to show one or two uses of one tool.

polci-iconPolicies & Procedures: This is where the timely thing comes in. For example, hey, it’s week 10, you might start to get some appeals… here’s how our appeals procedure works.

dept-iconCollege Departments: Every department does something for faculty so we pick one each week to show faculty exactly what that is. The bonus here is that we make up a fake department-competition-of-the-week like rap-battles, the ska battle of the bands and an extreme skipping 24 Hours of Adrenaline race. We then award a department member the championship. I think they feel strangely proud of their accomplishments when they win.

student-service-iconServices for Students: we’re hoping for trickle down with this one: Hey did you know your students have access to _____? Tell them about it! An example is our co-curricular record

pdiconProfessional Development: In this category we show a thing we think might be helpful, and also take suggestions from the audience like ‘Who’s Line Is It, Anyway’.

communicate-iconChatter: Here is where we round up any discussion from the previous week and bounce ideas around.

Why am I telling you this? Well, we think it’s been going well and it’s been a good way to reach a larger amount of our audience so maybe you want to try some of the ideas in your department?

But more importantly, and hence the title of this post, I wanted to report back to those involved in Open Ed about a project we plan to do. We are using Monday’s edition of the Teaching Hub as a call for help edition to ask for buy-in on the project. The idea came from #OpenEd16, specifically, Robin De Rosa’s (@actualham) Open Textbook Project which has inspired us to try something similar to create open faculty and student manuals for our college.

This link to our call for help edition is scheduled for Monday morning. So please sit where you are and wait until then to click this link: https://fleminglds.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/the-teaching-hub-post-12-week-11 or I can tweet it out again when it is live.

But in the meantime, if you’re so inclined, check out past episodes here

teacherhub122-1

And please, let me know if you have any comments, ideas or suggestions. Thanks for reading.

 

An Opening Move

I got home from OpenEd16 about 30 hours ago and I’m already behind the times. Why? Well, here’s a huge benefit of being involved in Open Educational Practices: people blog, in the open, about their insights, what they took away from a conference and what they are going to do with that knowledge. Now we can all learn from those thoughts, borrow and riff off of those ideas and plans or even just reassure ourselves that what we took from it rings true.

Adam Croom even had his thoughts up and out there from the plane on the way home. Adam Croom not only is someone I look way way up to even more now than I did before the conference, but also the people he works with are scary good. Keegan Long-Wheeler (@keeganSLW) and John Stewart (@jstew511) ran an amazing session showing how to use a game to build a faculty community of learners to learn gamification itself via fighting Goblins. My kids love the sweet 20 sided dice they got out of that session, bee-tee-dubs. It’s not just that the game is such an engaging way to learn, it’s that they hand everything they have to you openly to use for your own games in your own schools. Adam also brought along some student-colleagues of his (hint: do not compare your past, present or future self to them, it will hurt)

badge
f-bomb badge

to chat about some of the mind blowing projects they are working on that came out of the Indie Ed-Tech summit held at Davidson College in the spring. Check out Andrew Rikard’s (@anrikard) work here.
I’d also like to award Andrew a badge for best delivery of an F-bomb at a conference that I’ve ever seen (“…and Minerva… whatever the f*#k that is”) Here is your badge, Andrew. Well deserved.

Now back to me. I got to meet some heroes and actually tell them that I am a big fan of their work including Alan Levine, Audrey Watters, & Gardner Campbell. It is VERY satisfying, when you get up the nerve to tell someone you admire their work, worried you might just be annoying them, to see them seem genuinely grateful for the praise and interested in who you are. Y’all are nice folks. There are others I wish I did the same for: Robin De Rosa, Martha Burtis, Martin Weller, David Kernohan, Kin Lane, Jesse Stommel, Sean Michael Morris, Amy Collier. The list goes on and on. Too many heroes. It was like a real life Open Ed Avengers or Justice League going on. Gardner Campbell laid down hot fire with his keynote. A seven layered spicy burrito on the power of insight and how some of our common practices (like rubrics) stifle the shit out of just the insights we’d all love to see. I would highly recommend going back in time, signing up for this conference and attending his keynote on November 2nd. It would be well worth it.

I want to keep this post short so that someone may read it to the end, so I’ll start my descent to the finish and get to the most important point of making post conference posts. What am I going to do with what I got at the conference? Well, my whole reason for going was to get some tools, juice and ammunition to help open up the practices at Fleming College. Here’s what I realize more now: Everybody is somewhat open. It’s not binary, open or closed. No one is completely secretive about what they do in the classroom. All faculty search at some point for learning activities and what not for their classes. What I want to do is open some eyes that sharing way more often and way more openly will inspire you, motivate you and give you some sweet, sweet free ideas. As a concrete example of that, Robin De Rosa (@actualham) showcased her work in which she had her students, together, create their own open textbook. That inspired me to want to meet one of our pressing goals in our department at Fleming in a similar way. We need to refresh and revitalize and expand our faculty development. I would love to follow her model to build out the ‘manual’ or whatever it is in the same way, with contributions from faculty and students from all walks of the college. Thanks, Robin!

I’ve now used up my extra daylight savings hour and small children are demanding yogurt so I have to wrap this up, but I want to say I met a lot of people there that I considered friends about 10 seconds after meeting and I appreciate your welcoming nature. I will follow up with proper shout outs and other great experiences like VCconnecting and approximately 148 other amazing takeaways I got from Opened16.

18 Myths Uncovered About Learning

Daily Create 1717: Get a random blog post title and then write it

In light of number 2, in which we find out a myth is not a myth, for clarity’s sake the list below is a list of things that are true as far as I believe.

1. Having a numbered list in your Ed-Tech article is not mandatory. My list will probably not make it to 18. Or it will in a totally bullshit way.

2. Myth doesn’t even mean myth like you think it does

Folklorists often balk at the common usage of the word “myth” to mean “lie.” A myth, by their disciplinary definition, is quite the opposite. A myth is a culture’s sacred story. It involves supernatural or supreme beings — gods. It explains origins and destinies. A myth is the Truth.  http://hackeducation.com/2013/05/24/disruptive-innovation

3. The more open and shary you are with your learning, the more you will learn. Also, everyone else will learn, be happy, be more confident and live longer.

4. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself by saying you have a learning style, think of them more as preferences. You ain’t going to learn bird calls very well if you’re only a ‘visual’ learner now are ya?

5. Education buzzwords are great because they fizzle out and then we get to make fun of them. Let’s start a new one right now! Listify your learning! Everything should be in a list of at least 18 in order to learn anything! In the end, however, we’re just trying to get learners involved in our learning… is that so much to ask?

6. Seven, eight, nine

10. No one really wants to do group work, but some of the best learning happens in groups, teams,  communities however they form. So take that for what it’s worth.

11. Twelve, thirteen

14. Knowing what cognitive load means is pretty helpful, when you’re teaching.

15. If learning is tied to positive emotions of feeling part of something, it ain’t forgot none time soon. So, like, leverage that, eh.

16. Seventeen

18. We are finally there, number eighteen! Here is the final myth about learning, which means truth: Everything is a learning experience so just dig in and giver shit.

Bye bye.