learning, knowledge, process

if you like it then you shoulda put a badge on it… thanks to the tip from Laurie, I did the ‘course’ and now have my first badge, yay (too easy)

I'm a Web 2.0 tools master

but seriously folks… one of the things I’m really here in this mooc to consider is how some of the key words at the centre of a thesis I’m writing play out in an educational environment like this, and I’m picking up heaps of links to blogs that are following similar lines of thought. One I was just reading this morning is from a maths educator who was reflecting on an article she’d read by Elizabeth Ellsworth [(1989). Why Doesn’t This Feel Empowering? Working through the Repressive Myths of Critical PedagogyHarvard Educational Review59(3), 297].

The question of interest arising for the blogger, Angela Vierling-Claassen, is: “can a constructivist MOOC, moocified course, or personal learning network” create an educational experience in which “‘knowing’ doesn’t just describe the speech acts of those in power”… what is the potential of a ‘connectivist MOOC’ in that enterprise…?

Being in the middle of this clearly ‘connectivist’ mooc, I’m listening, watching, thinking about this kind of thing… I’m not personally interested in buzz words and pseudo categories, but am always interested in discussions of the nature of knowledge and how that’s perceived in educational contexts, and in the degree to which educators and learners do or don’t ‘acknowledge’ and manage linguistic processes, networks and social contexts in learning environments…

I like the acknowledgement in this post of the ‘fantasy’ element of certain stories we have in mind in education, notably, that of equity of access or of ’empowering’ the voiceless to participate and make choices, and how the stories that might motivate may also undermine the very endeavour (by being in denial of reality and therefore glossing over the very things that need to be attended to)…

But a keyword in all educational discourse is of course knowledge, and in this moocspace it seems a key consideration how we imagine not only what it is to know and to come to know, but also what technologies have to do with it, with our stories about the experience imagined as noun (knowledge as thing to acquire and possess) or imagined as verb and process, or imagined as space, as circumstance…. how is the experience of ‘learning’ represented, and how do technologies feature in it? I guess these are some of the things that will be represented in my assignment, because they’re certainly on my mind…

Meanwhile, I busy myself playing with the various technologies of learning and with proving that I have them…. off to pursue another ‘badge’ somewhere, perhaps to get lost in space….

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kinetic typography

I love text animations like this one based on a talk of Stephen Fry’s…. I have been exploring Matt Rogers’ other work, and discovered this one, based on a talk of Carl Sagan – it seems so relevant to our course I added it to the ‘about’ page of this blog.

I have done a few ‘prezi’ presentations (eg this edited down to just the visuals version of a much longer walk and talk through version that I won’t bore you with here), but I haven’t yet dabbled in the creation of kinetic typography – maybe the assignment for this course will be a good reason to… Matt uses Adobe ‘After Effects’ software, as do most people doing this kind of work.

I really like the videos Elena and Angela have made also, using Sparkol’s VideoScribe software, but I haven’t gone into that yet either… maybe one day, when I find the time, and money, 🙂

There are lots of great videos ‘out there’ playing with animated text and drawing like this – do you have any favourites?

viral trade in tools

Obviously in a course that is being conducted entirely online and that’s focused on the topic of eLearning and digital cultures there is going to be heavy use and discussion of technologies that were designed for (or can be used for) educational purposes…. that much is to be expected – but perhaps not quite expected by me and other participants, naive little things that we are, was the degree to which, and the speed at which, they’d proliferate!

Writing here in the week before Christmas – a good month before the course even begins – we are compiling an ever growing list of tools that we’re all madly trying out for the first time (or picking up and actually using like never before), in order to prepare ourselves for the learning ahead… well this prep time is itself a significant learning curve – imagine how intense things might become once the course takes off!

Or maybe not – maybe all this orientation stuff is the more time consuming part, and we’ll now just sail smoothly through the learning journey…. huh! somehow I think the recommendation that we spend ’3′ hours a week on this course looks like deliberate marketing fraud :)

Anyways, I’m sure the list will continue to grow as we go, but so far here is the list of ‘essential’ tools that will be in use as we do the course (some for daily communications, maybe others more for comparative and evaluative purposes)…

So far, what’s been new and particularly of interest to me (in relation to the teaching I do) are:

twitter lists (IF I can figure out how to send messages to just one list and not everyone, I can see myself having separate lists for different groups of students, and colleagues, and using twitter for reminders and questions – much more likely to be read quickly than anything that requires them to login to the course website or institutional email)

pinterest (some of these I’ve seen have been interesting to browse, but I haven’t used this tool yet, and so not sure yet whether I’d use it with students – the best application for it I can imagine in my current teaching scenarios might be to share with the class things about academic English in their other classes that I have tasked them to pay attention to and report back about – this noticeboard effect might work well for that, as the posting could then be done on the go and before we meet, and then be looked at in class as the start up for discussion & learning)

scoopit (I’ve certainly seen these, but haven’t made one before this week, and I can see how it could be an appealing and effective way – sometimes – for students to receive new readings of high relevance to something we’re doing that week – as opposed to set readings that I can plan before class begins – would be good for sharing stuff with colleagues too, although most of mine actually prefer reading emails…. ahhh)

storify (have heard of this one in the past couple of years but haven’t yet explored – but as I do like to get students making digital stories of their language learning experience in their first year doing academic work in this language and country, this may be a quick and easy tool for them to use for that purpose? not sure yet)

vimeo (not new to me, but I haven’t been using it for teaching purposes because I am a Mac person and one’s dotmac account – whatever they are calling it this month – has had terrific website and video sharing software as part of the package – but I like Kyle’s movie here and I need to learn more technologies that my students are most likely to know because they are often not mac people and they don’t waste their limited finances on shiny groovy things from apple and I have to speak their language in order to communicate!)

G+ hangouts (have just today had a look at some examples, and the Sara Lipka one that Eric posted in the G+ community for us –  it seems sort of like skype on steroids – up to 10 people can video chat live at once, AND this software has a broadcast option, ie you can save your conversation to your YouTube channel… as soon as I started watching these I thought, wow, what a quick, easy, hassle free way to get mid and end of course feedback from students! and then have it all on record…. there is the question of permissions when it comes to reporting as research of course, but just meanwhile, the immediate use potential in teaching is obvious and terrific to me! – so much better than the rigmarole of getting formal evaluations done… this could be much more spontaneous and authentic for the ongoing quality improvement feedback loop)

mindmomo and mindmeister (I actually prefer cmaptools for online concept mapping, and have various other tools for visualising processes – but I really liked the mindmap Mr Chips I think posted for us – though now I can’t find it! – and I might make my students aware of this software too, if it’s quick and simple and free to use. Cmaptools is my favourite because it forces you to compose a sentence that articulates the relationship between elements in the map, rather than just to connect keywords, and for all sorts of reasons that is what I prefer my students to do in planning their writing – but hey, all visualisation tools are cool with me, I like to explore them all!)

google reader (oddly I haven’t been using this on my desktop, though I have used it a bit on my ipad… must explore further whether this is a good adjunct to my web-based Endnote, or Mendeley or whatever I or my students are using – got to think about not only quick and easy, but also integration with projects and other online systems, like databases…)

evernote (haven’t tried this yet, just noting recommendations by other students in this course – will have to check it out, though, I may not need yet another tool, I think I really just need to browse and then select according the criteria that matter most in my current work, then just stick with a very small number of really effective tools and focus…. I agree with that video about how to succeed in a MOOC!)

the twit list

am just trying to get my head around twitter and the list feature – following on from reading Ronald Voorn’s post on his excellent blog (and scoop it page) commenting on the neo-colonialist agenda of US MOOCdom, then finding Eric’s twitter list, and then wondering how you join a list, then googling that, then finding that you don’t add yourself to someone else’s list you subscribe to their list and/or make your own list…. there is of course no end to any of this, and it all just takes me back to the one BIG CONCEPT – recursion – the only thing in Chomsky’s ‘theory’ of language I actually agree with – it’s the game changer alright… but that is another story… perhaps I will storify it, when I learn how to do that…. or perhaps I will just go back to my day job!

twit list

how do you put your twitter link onto your blog? I tried a widget, it didn’t work… rather like my rather pathetic attempt to get flickr happening there on the sidebar – have I failed digitools 201? 😦

thematic development

bit of a pun for the linguists out there…. anyway, thanks to all the engagement and sharing on the pre-course social networking sites for the EDC course, I have discovered ‘extensions’… not for my hair, but for my chrome browser (thanks Angela!). One very groovy extension is to theme design, so now when I create a new tab, I get to see this very retro zone by Carla Zampatti – which my daughter will love, she is very into black and white design drawing at the moment

ERP@chrome

and I’ve added lots of hopefully triffic apps into my webby zone, so I can avoid my day job even better 🙂

I’m all walled in

wow that wallwisher app is even cooler than the map app! thanks heaps for sharing that one Steven 🙂 I loves it and will no doubt be using that with students too

mapping

I’m really taken with the map app being used on this course! I can see myself using it in week one of various classes I teach, as all my students are from far afield and this is a nice way to get an overview of where everyone is coming from and start up conversation, and linking from there to students’ learning blogs… love it – thanks Chris, for setting it up for sharing in our course 🙂

mapping participation Dec 12