Chronicles of Sarnia and… Durango?

There is now a pretty strong neural connection in my brain between Sarnia, Ontario…and Durango, Colorado. 

This is not something I ever anticipated happening to my brain, but I am very happy about it. I was in Sarnia on Tuesday with a group of Ontario educators and we were getting outfitted to jump in to the Ontario Extend community.  As it turns out, we needed a little help from Durango.

Alan gives us a tour of The Daily Extend site, from Durango, to Sarnia

You see, Alan Levine (aka CogDog) is obviously the best qualified person to give us a tour of his architecture: the layout of the Daily Extend, Activity Bank and Domains sites of the Ontario Extend Studios.

I think that many Canadians should be rejoiced to know that Alan is, right now, MOVING TO CANADA!

Just think. He didn’t even wait until he was finished moving to start showing the Ontario Educators in the Extend West Community the ways of Extend and how it can greatly benefit their technology-enabled teaching and learning skills. He was on his way, driving from Arizona to Saskatchewan, and stopped for an entire day to join in on the Sarnia kick off via Zoom. His wonderful hosts in Durango gave him their kitchen and WiFi all day to make it happen.  He’s even stopping again a little farther along in Fort Collins, Colorado to whip up another blog post for us to keep us rolling. Look for that in the West Cohort Domains page tomorrow.

So, in trying to think of a way to say thanks and give something back to Alan, I think I came up with an idea for tomorrow’s Daily Extend. I am going to do it right now so that I can be ahead of Greg Rodrigo on the leader board, even for a short time.

Daily Extend #169: Welcome CogDog to Canada.

Alan Levine is coming. Let’s make sure he knows why we love Canada. Feed him some tidbits of Canadiana to make him feel at home.

Here is my response. On the way to Sarnia, I had my (ancient) cd binder with me in the car. It is full of 90s Canadian music. I popped in Spirit of The West’s “Save This House” and was struck by the lyrics to “Turned Out Lies”. They could be written directly to some of them big e-learning companies or publishers that may not have the best interests of learning at heart. I thought Alan would get a kick out of the lyrics.

I remember a promise for a new tomorrow
I remember a promise to save our youth
Well I remember security for our aging
But when you made the pudding
You left out all the proof

I seem to recall you mentioning the word hope
I seem to recall you mentioning solutions
You made it sound like an angel had landed on our doorstep
Gave us more like two steps back than any evolution

Your empty promises are filling people’s heads
You have us crawling round in circles
Instead of walking straight ahead
I remember what you passed for truth
Turned out lies instead
Yes I remember what you said
Yeah I remember what you said

Read more: Spirit Of The West – Turned Out Lies Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Also, Alan, “Home for a Rest” is probably one of the greatest Canadian songs FYI. Welcome to your new home!

images: “Bluewater Bridge” flickr photo by Loozrboy https://flickr.com/photos/loozrboy/3917569265 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license and “Rotary Park and Animas River Trail” flickr photo by daveynin https://flickr.com/photos/daveynin/9480978976 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

Extending Time & Space

You can give an Ontario Extend Cohort a name (and even a watch), but you can’t make it obey the normal rules of time & space.

Next week, we kick off The Ontario Extend West Cohort at Lambton College, and live online! (If you’d like to join in, pop your name in at bit.ly/ExtendWest)

This cohort follows in the footsteps of the Ontario Extend East Cohort that kicked off in March. But what does “East” or “West” or “a set time and place” mean to an Extender? As it turns out, not much. Extend East was kicked off in Peterborough which is kind of in the east part of Ontario. Extend West will kick off in Sarnia, which is west of Western University, so that must count as west, right? But none of that really matters because anyone and everyone are and were invited to join any and all cohorts no matter where you are.

What I mean is that a cohort is more like an on-ramp to joining the greater Extend Universe (if Marvel can make its own universe, so can we. Extender super hero costumes, anyone?). Have a look at what joining the Extend Universe has meant to one such participant (and as a bonus, Lynn will be joining in on the Extend West fun, too!)

If you’re wondering how Ontario Extend works, I am happy to quote my past self from this post:

Together we’ll experiment, curate, and collaborate with technology for teaching and learning. We’ll do it all in the open.

It works a little (maybe a lot) differently than most P.D. events you may have come across. There are four pieces. One of them stays still and the others are on the move. The one piece that stays still are the modules themselves. Six of them: teacher for learning, curator, collaborator, technologist, experimenter, scholar.

The moving parts are where the fun happens.

  • The Activity Bank – A place to add your response to all of the various module activities. You get to see what your peers do with it rather than everyone hiding their work in a dropbox. For example, the “Please Allow Me to Introduce My Field” activity already has a few responses. You also get to add more activities. It’s a bank where any deposit one person makes can be withdrawn by anyone and everyone.
  • The Daily Extend – A place for short and sweet daily activities. Why? Two good reasons are that it allows us to easily connect with each other on a regular basis and gives us all low stakes opportunities to dabble with new tools and ideas. This is the Experimenter module reaching full actualization. And it tries to be fun. Like this one: Taylor Swift Curriculum Design
  • The Domains – This is the flow. Maybe sometimes a trickle, sometimes a babble, sometimes a flood. A central place where all of everyone’s work will appear. You’ll see blog posts that are responses to module activities, posts that are new activities, reflections, calls to action, new ideas and new plans. Hopefully even stories about misprinted fundraiser tickets.

What I hope and believe the Extend community can be is a slightly informal and loose yet strong and lively connection of faculty members engaged in teaching and learning with technology in the open. If you’ve ever felt lonely in your pursuit of providing great learning experiences to your students, you can say goodbye to that. It’s going to be awesome.

That was from the post I sent out a week prior to the Extend East Cohort Kick Off. I was right. It was awesome. And it still is awesome. It’s like that because the people extending didn’t worry about time and space or getting it done, they worried about sharing what they do with each other. they worried about connecting and building a network of shared experience.

I can’t wait to kick things off again, with that shared experience behind us and still with us. As you can see here, we have an outrageous check out policy. See you next week!

Image credit: “Brokenness” flickr photo by col_adamson https://flickr.com/photos/57855544@N00/340654162 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

One Set of Infinity

This is a response to Loop It from the Ontario Extend Activity Bank:

Highlight  a topic or concept for _____________, math, literature, philosophy, etc., by creating one of those looping GIF things.

I always thought that a great use of the under appreciated GIF could be to have them looping all over the place at a gym rather than diagrams of how to perform an exercise. I had to find the silliest exercise video I could to make examples. And that video is called “This Aerobic Video Wins Everything

These examples are silly, but i do think a GIF of someone doing a perfect squat or deadlift on a tablet next to the squat rack would go a long way to helping people use proper technique. Although it may just drive you crazy that they seem to be able to keep going forever.

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

 

Did I happen to mention I’m imPRESSED?

The PressEd Conference (still going as I’m putting this together) was today. It’s a conference on Twitter, about WordPress in education. No travel. No expenses. No fees. Maybe not even pants.

THERE WAS SO MUCH COOL STUFF. Take the rest of the year off and sort through #pressedconf18.

What better way to collect the stuff from my presentation than on WordPress (good suggestion, fellow #pressedconf18 presenter, Alan Levine!)

Here’s my collection of tweets about Ontario Extend.

Walk, Don’t Run

There’s no rush. This week in the Ontario Extend East Cohort, we are kicking off the Collaborator Module. There’s a high chance that you haven’t finished any of the previous three, yet. And that is more than okay.

This is open learning. The modules are there waiting for you to go back to them when you’re ready.

One of the main influences to the way Ontario Extend was built and is delivered is something called ds106, a wonderful community/way of life. Its content is all about Digital Storytelling and it grew out of a more traditional course at the University of Mary Washington. We mimic much of the structure of ds106 through our Daily Extend, Activity Bank and, most importantly, by asking participants to house their work on their own domains so that we can syndicate it all to our Domains page. In fact, the person that built the WordPress themes that make this happen for ds106, did it for us, too! Thanks CogDog! What a treat it was for me to get to work directly with him.

source: I think Giulia Forsythe made this image. Update: YUP https://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/7016352577/

I started in on ds106 as an open participant in Fall of 2015 and there are still a couple modules I haven’t been through yet. I have every intention of doing so. But because I am a part of that community (#ds1064life), I feel no rush to get through it all. I don’t want to move on. I moved in.

I’m lucky to have a nice and healthy PLN and I owe its inception to ds106. I hope that what we have tried to bring from ds106 to Ontario Extend can do similar things for you. DS106 contributes to a PLN simply due to asking that everything we do be in the open. So I got to know the others involved in it. I followed others liberally on Twitter, curated a blog roll, read those blogs, commented on them. Following someone who interests you gives you a glimpse into their network, too. Many of the leaders in ed-tech and pedagogy whose thinking excites and influences me now are only known to me because I saw that they were followed by other ds106ers and I checked them out. As you make new connections to people who interest you, their influences must be interesting, too. As you can see (look at the sidebar to the right if you’re on a desktop/laptop) by the not-at-all frightening doll/friend who authenticates me as an official character of the Internet, the connections themselves can be very interesting.

We hope that, by being involved in Extend, you can expand and super charge your PLN. My advice, should you want to heed it, is just to start walking towards the things that interest you and get to know the people there. No running.

So head on over to the Collaborator module and let the wonderful creators of it (Michel Singh from Collège La Cité and Joanne Kehoe of  McMaster University) guide you to start pumping up your PLN. See you there!

“Discovery Walk” flickr photo by Mark Morgan Trinidad B https://flickr.com/photos/markmorgantrinidad/6191026012 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

I’d Like This Better If It Looked Like That

This tiny post is a response to the Ontario Extend Technologist module activity “Tell a Tiny Tech Tale” where you share a little software thing that you find helpful.

Mine is not new and likely widely known, but I just use it so much and it is a very satisfying tool to use:

The Format Painter aka Make This Look Like That.

Select some stuff that you like the look of for something else, click on the format painter, and then select your target. It will automatically change the format allowing you to remain blissfully unaware of what font/size/heading etc. it even is.


You can find the format painter in any of the Office products and all the Google Drive thingies. Look for a little paintbrush.

“painter” flickr photo by tinou bao https://flickr.com/photos/tinou/453593446 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

Enter Stage Right

This post is a response to the What’s In It For Me? activity in the Ontario Extend Teacher for Learning Module.

Brainstorm a list of WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) from a student perspective.

If you can’t think of more than “because you should know it,” then you need to talk to your students and get a better sense of where they are in their learning and where they are going.

So I will WIIFM from the perspective of someone who might be thinking of starting (or continuing) through the Extend modules, in what I think is screenplay form:

(YTQE – You, the Questioning Extender; OEP- Ontario Extend, personified)

Two figures enter stage right, dressed to the nines and looking quite dashing.

YTQE: Why should I do this Ontario Extend thing?

OEP: Well, since it’s an open and shared experience, you have the opportunity to expand your professional learning network.

YTQE: Hmm, that’s nice. What else?

OEP: You get to be a part of investing in and growing a bank of teaching and learning activities that anyone can use. Including you, obviously.

YTQE: And then?

OEP: Also, there’s the benefit of working with a whole bunch of tools and technologies, like running your own domain, hopefully expanding your own personal “toolkit”.

YTQE: Please give me more.

OEP: Well, no matter how much time and effort (or lack thereof) you put in to it, we still consider you a part of the community so… membership in a community like the East Cohort, for example.

YTQE: More.

OEP: The opportunity to have some simple fun by interacting with your new professional learning network by trying out the short and sweet Daily Extend activities on a semi-regular basis.

YTQE: I’m gonna need more than that.

OEP: Well, to go back to the basics, we’ve posted the six modules with an open licence (CC-BY-NC-SA) so you can take them and use them in your own conext in your own institution if you’d like.

YTQE: Cool, cool. You got anything else?

OEP: Umm… Oh! If you do all the activities in the module, we can give you a badge! And if you do them all, you get the Super Extend badge!

YTQE: Okay yes, these are all cool. But what about socks?

OEP: (mumbles) The socks are all gone.

One figure exits stage left, the other reaches out as the lights dim. 

 

image credit: “Theater” flickr photo by Hitchster https://flickr.com/photos/hitchster/8754280878 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

 

 

 

It’s the Tortoise, Not the Hare

I was just sitting there making my way through the Ontario Extend Teacher for Learning module, and lo and behold! I see a link that says “Take it to The Bank”. What’s this then? I put my take on the activity right there? Ok! This is my response!

Misunderstood

Identify a concept that is often misunderstood in your discipline. Can you think of an analogy that can help make the concept make sense to students?

My discipline is educational technology so the first thing that comes to mind is more like a misconceived idea than a singular concept that is misunderstood. That idea is the pervasive thought that technology is progressing faster and faster than ever and that we MUST KEEP UP!

That’s just stress inducing. Let’s chill out. We’re still finding out wonderful, fun, cutting-edge uses of trailing-edge technologies. The Extend program itself is kind of doing that. We’re blogging and tweeting! That’s not new! But it can be so engaging and extending, so let’s start doing that afresh together, in the open.

Have a look at this talk by Audrey Watters from the Digital Pedagogy Lab in PEI from 2016 where she makes it clear that, no, technology is not advancing faster than ever and taking a step back and thinking about why were are using it is a pretty stellar idea.

The tortoise beats the hare, all the time. See it happen in real life.

p.s. is that a turtle, or a tortoise in the image above?

“IMG_20130616_132818_v2” flickr photo by Chasing Light Photography (Chris Martin) https://flickr.com/photos/14798455@N06/9066171055 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Let’s Squiggle

This is just a quick follow up post to thank everyone for coming along for a squiggly ride in the Extend East cohort! Can’t wait to see what we see!

Watch for tomorrow’s Daily Extend on our Twitter

And the Teacher for Learning Module intro post by Valerie Lopes

Or maybe you want to read a little about how to get and give help.

See you out there!

“Gummy Worms 7” flickr photo by digipam https://flickr.com/photos/digipam/3956388234 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

We Go Down East

The University of Alberta Ski Team put on a fundraising party in the fall of 2002-ish. Being of the “drinking team with a skiing problem” mentality, they had themselves a fun slogan to print on the tickets.

We Go Down Fast

The only reason I still remember this is because the ticket printers made a little mistake and printed something else.

We Go Down East

Why did they think “we go down east” was a ticket-worthy slogan? They must have thought the fundraising was for a ski race in Quebec or something. Who’s to say? All I know is, as far as misprinted ticket stories go, it’s my all time favorite.

In another story of going “east”, a group of intrepid Ontario post-secondary educators are about to kick off the Ontario Extend East Cohort on March 6th. Together we’ll experiment, curate, and collaborate with technology for teaching and learning. We’ll do it all in the open.

It works a little (maybe a lot) differently than most P.D. events you may have come across. There are four pieces. One of them stays still and the others are on the move. The one piece that stays still are the modules themselves. Six of them: teacher for learning, curator, collaborator, technologist, experimenter, scholar.

The moving parts are where the fun happens.

  • The Activity Bank – A place to add your response to all of the various module activities. You get to see what your peers do with it rather than everyone hiding their work in a dropbox. For example, the “Please Allow Me to Introduce My Field” activity already has a few responses. You also get to add more activities. It’s a bank where any deposit one person makes can be withdrawn by anyone and everyone.
  • The Daily Extend – A place for short and sweet daily activities. Why? Two good reasons are that it allows us to easily connect with each other on a regular basis and gives us all low stakes opportunities to dabble with new tools and ideas. This is the Experimenter module reaching full actualization. And it tries to be fun. Like this one: Taylor Swift Curriculum Design
  • The Domains – This is the flow. Maybe sometimes a trickle, sometimes a babble, sometimes a flood. A central place where all of everyone’s work will appear. You’ll see blog posts that are responses to module activities, posts that are new activities, reflections, calls to action, new ideas and new plans. Hopefully even stories about misprinted fundraiser tickets. See the “East Cohort” central flow here. You’ll see this post there, because I threw my blog into the mix. We’ll show you how to do it.

What I hope and believe the Extend community can be is a slightly informal and loose yet strong and lively connection of faculty members engaged in teaching and learning with technology in the open. If you’ve ever felt lonely in your pursuit of providing great learning experiences to your students, you can say goodbye to that. It’s going to be awesome.

So far there are approximately 60 people from across Ontario signed up to participate. As in the misprinted ticket story, “east” doesn’t really mean much. Everyone is invited. And if March doesn’t work for you. We’re running the “West” cohort in May. We’ve even got a couple of current students lined up to join in and keep us on our toes.

If you want to join in, add your name here: http://bit.ly/ExtendEast

Comment below if you have any questions or comments. See you “down east”!

image credit: “No Fast Skiing” flickr photo by Joe Shlabotnik https://flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/349939582 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license