Interrupt Yourself

Yesterday morning I had a moment where I realized I wasn’t too sure what to do next, work-wise. So I decided to take the moment to check in on Benjamin Doxdator‘s writing, because that stuff will fill you right up with things you maybe need to think about. It’s so good.

I think I was drawn to click on a post called “What Should Give Educators Pause in 2018” because I was kind of taking a little pause from just constantly trying to “do stuff” and taking a moment to read a few things. I mean, obviously I check out and read things often enough, but I haven’t been consciously telling myself to stop and take in rather than just trying to keep putting things out there. As a self-described open educator, I want to remind myself to take and take as well as give from the commons that we have. And by take, mostly I mean take in more the openly shared thoughts, ideas and plans that open educators tend to share on their blogs or podcasts.

Benjamin’s post was a two phase thing in which he originally asked people to contribute audio about “what should give them pause” and he then put it all together into a podcast and updated the post with the final product. It’s a wonderful, peaceful piece with eight responses from around the world. I especially enjoyed joining Alan Levine on a walk with Felix.

It just so happens that later that day I was chatting with Helen DeWaard and she brought up something that fell together with Benjamin’s “productive interruptions”, for me. That was the #OneWordONT challenge in which you choose a word to focus on for the year. Helen chose “frames” so she will spend the year being cognizant of the frames she sees the world through and see if she needs to do something about it.

I am going to take a simpler route and choose “pause”. I’ll take a cue from the cows above and look at the vista views. I’m going to interrupt myself when I feel the wheels are spinning, stop, and just take in what’s around me. I guess I don’t have an answer to Benjamin’s question “what should give educator’s pause?” other than to say, “Good idea! Let’s pause.” Maybe I’ll even pause the pause to track what I’ve read during these little pit stops so I can see how productive my interruptions have been.

Featured image: “pause” flickr photo by amysphere https://flickr.com/photos/amymichon/2482489038 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Overjoyed – A Ghost of Ed-Tech Past

If there were an ed-tech museum, there would likely be a whole wing dedicated to the overhead projector. In its day, it was used and abused like it was going out of style. You know, like PowerPoint.

Also like PowerPoint, it had its moments. One of my all time favorite school moments is owed partly to the overhead projector. And human error of course.

It was the typical elementary school assembly, holiday edition. Everyone sitting cross-legged in lines on the gymnasium floor. The biggest overhead projector they had in the centre, spraying its light on the big, white screen. Christmas carols playing on the speaker, an acetate with hand written lyrics to each song. I remember the handwriting and little doodles of sleighs and holly in colour around the words. “Deck the Halls”, “Santa Claus in Coming to Town”, “Jingle Bells”. Me sitting there, mouthing the words and not actually voicing them.

And then it happened. Time for “Joy To The World”. (play the song below to get the tune in your head now)

I remember the doodles. A frog. What the heck did a frog have to do with Christmas?

And then we all started to read/sing the words we saw:

Jeremiah was a bullfrog!

He was a good friend of mine.

Whoever had taken such care to lovingly write out the lyrics and add doodles to the acetates, had written out the lyrics to the Three Dog Night rock song version of Joy to the World. The music and the kids screaming “Joy to the fishies in the deep blue sea!” did not quite match up harmoniously.

They had meant to bring us closer to Bethlehem, but we ended up closer to bedlam. And it was amazing.

And it wouldn’t have happened without the overhead projector.

 

Gettin’ Bigger Air

A ways back I told you how I was getting a little bit of air time on voicEd.ca. In that post was a link to the pilot episode of Gettin’ Air.

Now we are up and running with 7 episodes!  Using the analogy of getting some air on our bmx bikes, we are now at the point where we are not petrified to ride up to the jump. And we will do it with a little more speed. That means we get a little more air time, which is more exhilarating. We are also at the point where we don’t crash land so much and do not need too many stitches in the aftermath.

But definitely when we are in the air/on the air, it’s nothing but fun. Well, fun for me anyways. You’ll have to ask the guest stars if they had a good time or not.

So far it has been fantastic to host the likes of Giulia Forsythe, Jenni Hayman, Joanne Kehoe (and to in turn be hosted by Joanne), Peg French, Ali Versluis, Claire Coulter, Sean Kheraj, Tom Peace and Aaron Langille.

We’ve chatted about open and technology enabled learning with all of these fine people and we can’t wait to do it again! Add a comment if you want to get some air with us and listen to an episode or two if you’d like.

Photo by Pamela Saunders on Unsplash

Don’t Save a Thing For Later

My tanks aren’t empty, but I want to try my best to use it all up while I’m here.

I’ve been on secondment to eCampusOntario for two and a half months now. Its official end is March 31st, 2018. I know it could possibly go longer, But I want to work with what I for sure have to the best of my ability. I feel it’s time to make a concerted effort to extinguish all my resources, connections, and ideas while I’m here.

By that I mean I want to try to make and share out all the connections I can. Not just between myself and the people of Ontario’s Post-Secondary Education-isphere. I also want to help connect others together, connect people with resources, connect resources with resources.

eCampusOntario has a lot of cool stuff going on. I’m going to list a few of the things I’m involved with and beg of you to help me make some connections.

Let’s try to run out of ideas together.

The Catch – This is a “fortnightly” blog post. The idea is reporting on the technology-enabled learning things that the four eCampus Program Managers catch on to in their day to day program managering. It’s doled out in bite-sized categories. So, would you like to see something you are working on written about with levity and brevity and shared to all? Nominate yourself or your friend or an idea here > thecatch@ecampusontario.ca. You can see one of the recent issues of The Catch here.

Ontario Extend – These are resources that can help educators fill their buckets in the different areas of Simon Bates’ “Anatomy of the 21st century Educator”: Teacher (obviously), Experimenter, Scholar, Curator, Collaborator and Technologist. What I would love from you is your take on one of the activities to add to the Ontarioextend.ca site. This will help to help bring it all to life and leave a trail of participation for those that follow to learn from. It will also help to build a community of “Extenders” who like to dabble in this stuff. Call dibs on an activity here. You don’t need to have done the whole kit and kaboodle to add your take on something. You can also just email me tgreene@ecampusontario.ca to chat about it.

Gettin’ Air – Another way I’m trying to connect with the people who do the things we admire (namely open and/or technology-enabled learning experiences) is through a radio program on voiced.ca radio. The program is called “Gettin’ Air”.  Each episode I connect with someone to get them some air time to share a bit of their story. I have done two episodes so far and I really enjoy hearing about what people are up to, how they got there, and where they are hoping to go with their work. So, if you’re up for a 30 minute chat on the air (or recorded beforehand), I would love to chat with you! Email me and we can set up a time for a call: tgreene@ecampusontario.ca

Here’s a “rough cut” of episode 2, which is a chat with Dr. Aaron Langille of Laurentian University. We chat about his work with gamification and how he also plans to leverage open educational resources into that world.

As I said, I want to try to empty the tanks. Help me use up all the ideas and plans and connections we can and let’s see where it takes us. I hope to hear from you.

“Empty Empty” flickr photo by DaveFayram https://flickr.com/photos/davefayram/4744862344 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Don’t Tell Me What the Learners Are Doing

I want to hear it from them.

The Open Faculty Patchbook is an ongoing collection of stories by post-secondary educators about their teaching. It was meant to serve as a community collaboration of how-to-teach tips and tricks that can be patched together to form a sort of manual on how to teach.

What it became, however, was a bit different than that. It is a book and it is about teaching. There are a lot of great ideas on how to go about your teaching. That is for sure. There are some gaps. But what it is more than anything, I think, is an warm invitation to enter the community of open educators. The Patchbook itself got a number of educators to write about their teaching. Often for the very first time. It got them to think about their teaching and to think about sharing their teaching. And by putting it out there it has lead a few more to write about their teaching, adding new voices to the world of open educational practices. That is what has excited me the most about The Open Faculty Patchbook. We’ve only scratched the surface. There’s much more to hear.

What excites me even more, however, is that there is another, bigger surface to scratch: The learners. I’d wager that when you teach a course of 30 learners, the content is learned in 30 ways, despite your teaching methods.

I want to hear their stories. I want to see them writing those stories. I want to see that learners are thinking about how they learn.

So, I’m putting myself back to that moment with The Open Faculty Patchbook where we had the idea and were looking for a starting line. Jodie Black from Fleming College provided it by pointing us to the University of Michigan’s High Leverage Teaching Practices. That list of practices provided faculty with a nugget to build their story around. If they wanted, they could claim a skill and write about how they used it in their own teaching. Many ignored this list completely, with wonderful results. But it certainly helped get the ball rolling.

What is the learning skill version of that list? How and where shall we ask learners to share their learning? It’s already begun in Cairo.

Don’t tell us what the learners are doing. Don’t tell us what we think they should be doing. Help us get them thinking, speaking and writing about what they do to learn. Comment below with any links or suggestions you may have about finding and collecting these voices.

p.s. For non-Canadians. This song inspired the title of this post. 

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

Gettin’ A Little Bit of Air

Gettin’ air is one of the all time exciting things to do in life. It doesn’t matter what you’re riding; you can try to get some air on it: Skateboards, roller skates, snowboards, skis, scooters, bikes. Heck, even just your feet count, according to parkour partakers.

The first time you get some air on something new is frightening and exhilarating. And you probably don’t get much, but it’s still great fun. You learn quickly that there’s only so much you can do about things while you’re in the air. It’s all about the preparation and lead up to take off and being ready to land.

I would argue the same holds true for getting some air time on the radio. You do your prep work, technical set up, have questions ready, research your guest… but when you’re on the air, you’re in the air. You can only make minor technical adjustments. You could totally crash. But you soar through it together with your guest. You enjoy the rush and hope you land softly.

With that being said, I’d like to introduce the pilot episode of a (potential) eCampusOntario radio program we’re calling Gettin’ Air, which will air on voiced.ca. We plan to give some air time to faculty and staff in Ontario (and beyond!) post-secondary who like to tinker with technology-enabled teaching & learning and/or open education.

In the pilot, you will hear me (with a low quality microphone) interview Jenni Hayman, eCampusOntario Program Manager (with a nicer microphone). You will also briefly hear my wonderful radio production and intervew tutor from voiced.ca, Stephen Hurley (who has an even better sounding microphone). I need a new microphone.

It’s our first little bit of air. Check it out and see how it lands.

If you’re interested in being on the show, let me know @greeneterry. And thanks to Calgary punk band Chixdiggit for having just the perfect song for this.

“Richmond BMX 3D Photos” flickr photo by Gamma Man https://flickr.com/photos/gammaman/12892016424 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Sheer Stupidity?

This is a story that has passed into legend. In other words, I can’t specifically remember who was involved or where it even came from. Maybe it never happened.

But the lesson remains the same. Take feedback and advice for what it’s worth, but you do you.

Picture two whitewater kayakers making their way down a raging river. One is a little bit ahead and sees what’s coming. It looks a bit daunting. The rushing waters are very loud so he has to shout back his thoughts on the proceedings.

“Sheer Stupidity!”

The other kayaker also has a bit of a view of what’s coming. It looks exciting. He knows he can do it. He sees his partner is shouting back. What he hears:

“Shoosty booty!”

Emboldened by his excitement and the nonsensical words of encouragement coming from his friend he shouts back:

“Yeah! Shoosty booty, baby!”

and heads down the raging river, over some falls, through the rapids for the ride of his life.

Maybe it was sheer stupidity, but it was definitely shoosty booty. If advice is shouted to you as you are navigating the waters, try to hear it. But also trust your gut, believe in yourself and go for it as you see fit. You may just have the ride of your life.

“Rapids” flickr photo by Dawn Endico https://flickr.com/photos/candiedwomanire/18309480 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Escape From LMS

I love the concept and the practices of Domain of One’s Own as a foil to the LMS. For students and for learning professionals. It’s empowering. It’s rewarding. It centres your work around yourself rather than it being all chopped up in different tools in an LMS. You retain full control of your work with a domain. If it’s work towards a credential, then your assessor comes to you. You don’t hide your work in some assignment dropbox or discussion board.

But have you tried explaining DoOO to someone who hasn’t even really had the opportunity to consider the infrastructure of where their learning is occurring? Most people, instructors and students alike, put stuff in the LMS because that’s the thing to put it in. They’ve had no cause, yet, to think about why it might not be the best set up for their own learning.

I hadn’t really yet come up with a succinct reason or way to try to persuade someone of the benefits of running your own domain for learning purposes. It wasn’t until watching the initial week 3 video for #OpenEdMOOC that it hit me; The first step is to try to show students why they should not be too happy about what happens to their work in the LMS. It’s nuked as soon as the course is over. Gonzo. The students are the ultimate “customers” for an LMS and it is designed to purge anything they do as soon as a course is rolled over. I say poo poo to that.

They don’t just lose access to the curriculum material, they lose access to their own contributions to that curriculum.

~George Siemens

Anyway, my point is that it’s all about the escape first. Talk about getting out of the LMS first before you hit them with DoOO as a place to land and build a home. In Escape From L.A. Snake wasn’t worrying about where he was going to build a home before he got out. He just needed to get the hell out of L.A.

giphy.gif
Snake Plissken thinks about the LMS

“Escape” flickr photo by Metaphox https://flickr.com/photos/lonelyfox/2961899020 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

Gift Is Forever

As a 13 year old going to his first rock concert, I did pretty well. It was the very first Roadside Attraction. Headlined and hosted by The Tragically Hip.

The first lines to come out of Gord’s mouth, that I witnessed live:

“Cold wind blowing over your private parts. I know a lack you’ve got and it makes a strong case for art”

~from “Lionized”

His words were always so weird, so smart, and so memorable. Someone should study whether or not obscurish words Gord used, like wherewithal, are statistically more used in Canada. I’d wager they get a little bump. I have been enthralled by his words ever since I first heard them.

To seal the deal for me forever, he even said my name in song.

Here’s the long version of the story: I got in to the Hip after Fully, Completely came out. Went to the Roadside Attraction. Was fully in. So the release of the next album, Day for Night, was my first to anticipate. I just so happened to also be getting my driver’s license soon before the release. There was one store, at West Edmonton Mall, opening at midnight and giving the first one away for free. I was allowed to drive with some friends to try to get that free copy. I ran a red light on the way. Didn’t even notice it. I wasn’t too good at driving yet and I was in a hurry.

We made it there despite my driving. I was first in line. I got the first copy of Day For Night in Edmonton. For free. Thanks HMV. Not such a big deal in world history, but a big deal to me.

The practice of getting a new album and carefully and meticulously going through the song list and listening to them one after another is one that I stopped doing years and years ago. Except for the Hip. I was still doing it for their albums right up until Man Machine Poem (what a great album to end off on btw). Obviously I did this with Day for Night as soon as I got home.

Hip songs are slow growers. I’m pretty sure no one likes them much on first listen. I don’t know at first that Grace, Too will still get me going 23 years later and that when Nautical Disaster comes on I just heard what may be their best song for the first time. I’m just listening to the words. Words like this that we all know now.

“It’s as faint as a sound in my memory

as those fingernails scratching on my hull.”

~From Nautical Disaster

And then the 9th song came on. It’s important here to note that my name is Terry Greene. “The Inevitability of Death” starts off. Upbeat. “Puffy Lips, Glistening Skin…” I listen through the chorus. I’m liking it. Let’s hear the next verse. Here it comes. First line:

“Terry’s gift is forever green…”

What? I just heard my name. Gord said my full name. In a song. My first silly reaction is to think I should change my middle name to “gift is forever”. I’m still considering it. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what the line meant, but he said my name. To me, one of the most amazing coincidences of my life. I love this band, I love Gord’s lyrics, and he happens to use my first and last name in a line.

The fact that the line is in a song about the inevitability of death just adds a little sadness to this memory for me, but the chunk of line in the middle of my name, “gift is forever” now takes on more meaning. We will be able to hear his gifts forever. We will benefit from him for a long, long time. I am thankful for that.

It’s just a shame to lose this masterpiece.

image credit “” flickr photo by Moyia M.Pellow https://flickr.com/photos/mpellow/8469999934 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) lice

Mash All Night

#OpenEdMooc. Reasons for this post, as a “response” or as “adding to the discussion” on copyright and the commons, being the way it is:

  1. It’s very late
  2. I’m behind on my #OpenEdMOOC reading/watching
  3. The Cars
  4. Haven’t seen an #OpenEdMOOC GIF yet

The only thing I can do with copyright, especially this late at night, is mash it.

mashallnight.gifmashitup.gif

These three actual reflections on the week are so good. Please read them.

Opening the Citizenship Commons – Nate Angell

Don’t Gussy Up The Geese – Peg French

California Love – Lena Patterson