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

 

 

First Steps to A Farm of One’s Own

This post’s purpose is to help the Fleming College Sustainable Agriculture Program take their first steps into the Farm of One’s Own project. It is here as an example of what a post on a WordPress domain might look like.

First off, one thing you can do to add some excitement to your posts is to use Creative Commons Search to find pretty pictures that you are free to use because of open licensing. Like this:

But make sure you give attribution! Photo credit: “100_3695” flickr photo by dugsong https://flickr.com/photos/dugsong/4164468894 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

by the way, that featured image of the boots at the top gets attribution, too! “Clagett Farm Fall Festival 2009” flickr photo by krossbow https://flickr.com/photos/krossbow/4004610129 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

You can add your own images, too, of course! You may even want to be cool about it and openly license your images for others to use!

Another thing you can do is easily pop YouTube videos into your posts. All you have to do is copy and paste the URL into the page and it will embed itself! See it in action below:

And then you have a nice little video embedded right into the page. You can add your own videos to YouTube in order to do this, or use videos already on Youtube. Hopefully the video you post hasn’t broken any copyright rules by being posted. You may want to look into that.

Below is an example of a YouTube video embedded right on in the page. It is relevant to this post because it explains something you need to know about WordPress. It explains the difference between a ‘page’ and a ‘post’.

Another thing you can do is link to other posts or pages. Maybe you will want to link to one of your classmate’s domains when you are writing about where you got your inspiration for an idea, or perhaps to the original Farm of One’s Own page, or even another post on your own domain.

Your FoOO domain will be your space to grow as you reflect and share your Sustainable Ag experiences. You will also teach & learn with your peers as your domain takes shape.

Phase 1 of this project will be for you to reflectively blog while you are off on your co-op experiences. This will be a way to keep in touch with and learn from your peers and see all the other farms your peers are working with. You may even get lucky and not have to do a ‘what I did on my summer vacation’ presentation when you get back, because we will all know about each other’s experiences already!

So, let’s get started with these start-up instructions: Getting Started with WordPress SAG (Thank you to Dennis Vanderspek from COMM 201 for the starting point instructions btw)

The Open Ed Workout

Open Education is like going to the gym. Lifting the same weights together isn’t really what we’re doing (unless we work directly together) but mostly we’re just lifting our own weights and working out in the same place. We’re in the Open Ed Gym getting ideas from each other’s workouts, generally working towards similar goals and gaining inspiration and motivation from each other.

What’s in your Open Ed Workout? Domain of One’s Own? ds106Virtually Connecting? Bryan Alexander’s Book Club? Open Learning 17NetNarr? Antigonish 2.0?

#FeeltheLearn

photo credit “Workout” flickr photo by Carlos Varela https://flickr.com/photos/c32/3173303193 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

 

Flopping Right On In To Open Learning 2017

Not too sure what it’s all about exactly (yet), but I’m going to belly flop my way into Open Learning 17. Why? Because I see Laura Gogia, Gardner Campbell, Autumm Caines, Chuck Pearson, among others, are involved. That’s enough for me to give it a go. See you out there!