Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hello, all.
Just a little thank you to the Moodle group- Nellie, your voice was particularly in my head as I was having a conversation about online coursework. Taking my enthusiasm for Moodle down to Puerto Rico with me, I was enjoying the sunshine and warm Atlantic Ocean. I was chatting with a professor who had gone through Blackboard’s 3 month (!) course on learning to be a Blackboard online instructor.  He was vexed about a few problems with Blackboard. Darn if we didn’t have the best conversation about Moodle and collaboration and constructive learning.

The professor was annoyed that his multiple choice tests kept freezing, creating lots of problems. We talked through this issue, and brainstormed ways to assess students without using this method. Then we moved on to the substandard textbook loaded with mistakes which he had inheritedfrom the face-to-face course. We discovered he likes the book for the Glossary,and nothing else. We dissected the attributes of the book, and how they might be replaced by links or other assignments. By this time our toes had turned to prunes.

 I remembered Moodle's clever use of a Glossary created with student input by wiki. Instead of assessment through methods using short term memory, we thought it might be great to have students create the Glossary themselves. With the help of a rubric, this could be done, and done well, by the course participants.

We then talked about why collaboration could work with this assignment; with virtually any assignment. Our talk in the water was a perfect example of a collaborative effort, which I pointed out. He understood immediately.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Inspires YOU?- You can use other people to help you motivate yourself

The message is loud and clear that collaboration is the future of learning. Things will be changing radically in some areas, and things will change very slowly in others. Some brave souls have to light the way. I can see now first hand how frustrating it can be to try to learn new technology....but when you get the moments where you can see the potential of the sharing, and that technology is the only way to do this, it motivates me persevere.
I've been so lucky to learn during the past month with bright learners from all over the world. Learning about the culture of others has been an interesting side benefit of the Moodle course. We have made friends with people who we will probably never meet in person, but who have become important in our lives. 
We've also learned something very valuable, and that is that we do not have to start from scratch to create learning material. It is there, it is available, and sharing it feels great! Learning collaboratively with people from all over the world is something we need to be doing.

Here is a great link  for online resources.

Friday, December 3, 2010

We DO Not all think the same, nor do we LEARN the same, so we should not all be taught the same.

Divergent thinking! In order to understand the history of the educational system that is set up (was set up---- eons ago) to educate our children, take a look at this entertaining illustrated video:

The video was adopted from Sir Ken Robinson's talk on how to educate our children today. One of the intersting points he made is that the epidemic of ADHD, which plagues us today, is shown to be more rampant on the Eastern Shores of the United States. Now,how can that be!
Learning in groups, whether online or in face-to face courses enables all of the students to work from their strengths, and learn from each other. In the process, they might begin to learn how other kids (or adults) faced with the same problem, might look at and handle it differently. If all are engaged in doing interesting activities, and are important to the group, they will be more apt to pay attention and to contribute. Our educational system rewards those who think in certain ways and answer questions correctly; I agree that it is time to pose questions that do not have a right or wrong answer, and that push the limits of current knowledge and stimulate a quest for more information .
As an artist, I am particularly drawn to videos that are drawn by hand. These cartoons are produced as the video progresses, but obviously planned out well in advanced. They are particularly effective in getting across the emotions of the children depicted, including sagging body posture and beautifully drawn facial expressions. Without a doubt, I could understand the video better by the graphics accompanying the lecture. Because I am an artist, I was fascinated at the drawing itself, and almost lost the meaning when I became fascinated by the great drawing ability.
Sir Ken Robinson makes the point that in order not to marginalize and penalize the students who do not learn best sitting up straight in chairs in rows listening to the teacher, we need to learn how we learn best. That is from each other, in groups.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Learning From Those Around You=Learning Exponentially
Here is a short Jing video I made which expresses my thoughts on learning, whether it be face-to-face, or online. Whether you meet your classmates online by Skype, WIZIQ chat, or actually in the classroom... MEET them! Interact with them, and learn from them. Project -centered learning, webquests, blogging, wikis, collaborative mindmaps, video creation, etc. (I could go on!):all of these allow the flow of information from one student to another.

The whole idea of learning from your own inner drive is what idealized education is. If you know that others are awaiting your contribution, you are more likely to pursue information that helps everyone produce quality work. The act of seeking information in itself leads the student around the internet in pursuit of more knowledge.

Learning from the facilitators: Students and facilitators alike add their comments and suggestions for the group's edification and knowledge sharing. I feel like the instructors are there to learn along with us.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's NOT a Vicious Circle of Learning, it's a Vivacious Circle..

This blog post is in reply to Tom, who took the time to write a thoughtful comment on this blog: You wrote so beautifully. I agree with all that you've said, and I still think that this is the way to learn.

Fumbling around creates answers, and interaction creates more answers. But more questions, too!It's a vicious cycle, but instead of using that word, I'll substitute "vivacious". So, its a "vivacious learning circle" that we are part of.  The learning is coming at you from all different sides during this course. It feels disjointed. Yet it all is part of the plan to learn as much as you can as well as you can. Though I'm not even sure how I'll use the knowledge, I am very happy to be expanding and pushing the envelope.

I've been reading the book that Nellie recommended, and it is very clear that the author believes that all good things come to those who think and act positively. Well, I am trying!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Week Zero-Great Discovery!

We had our first class meeting this morning, which was illuminating. Class started at 11 am, and I did not get off the computer doing work related to the course until 3:30. It is completely addictive.  I am so glad to have my fellow students around, be they Skype buddies, Moodle course chatters, or forum fiddlers.

I'd like to share a simple collaborative act that Ruth and I shared while continuing the Skype chat after class. We were trying to figure out just how you share a screen on Skype, and we began stumbling around and playing with the software. Didn't take long for us to figure out how to do that. And we were able to see immediately the amazing possibilities of the Skype screenshare. We were so happy! Such a thrill! Techno-geeks or something- who else would get it?

 I'd like to be able to transmit this knowledge to others. More importantly perhaps, I'd like to be able to transmit the joy of learning a new technology, and its applications, to others. This is the reason that I enrolled in this course (series of courses). That's my goal. And to see the possibilities unfolding week after week is really something I look forward to. Thank you all.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week One- Daunting Class Ahead-Ready to Learn

 A slight sense of anticipated discomfort with the knowledge that I currently possess is what I feel. Yet along with that I feel a sense of real excitement at the prospect of knowing so much more than I do now in a few short weeks. It's very interesting to read the personal statements of the other individuals who are in this advanced Moodle course. I know that I will learn so much from the processes that we go through while we collaborate, and I don't just mean that in terms of the information that I will take in. It is applying the information in real- life situations where the learning takes place.

The idea of writing this blog is a good one. It gives me empathy for the learner, and provides me a trail so I can recall the process I went through (we went through) as we put together our knowledge. No tests! Real, practical activities show how much one learns.