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 It’s a bank where any deposit one person makes can be withdrawn by anyone and everyone.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

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