Monthly Archives: January 2016

Why celebrate a course?

January 21, 2016 #ETMOOC celebrates its third year anniversary.

Why celebrate a course?

Because it changed the way I approach teaching and learning.


Because it introduced me to Alan Levine, Darren Kuropatwa, Dave Cormier, Doug Belshaw, Audrey Waters, Howard Rheingold,  Jim Groom, George Couros, and Alec Couros.

And Donna Fry.

Because it pushed me to think about technologies in education without thinking about technology.

Because it reminded me that good pedagogy trumps all.

Because it made me create.

Because it made me laugh.

Because it is the only learning experience I’ve had where openness, flexibility, lightheartedness, seriousness, collegiality, collaboration, creation, intellectualism, and generosity co-existed.

That’s why you celebrate a course.

What follows is an excerpt of my 2013 reflection post.

Be Ready to Make the Shift.

This past year I participated in my first mooc–Educational Technology and Media Open Online Course or ETMOOC. This event profoundly changed the way I think about learning in an academic setting. Sure, ETMOOC was an open, online course, but I didn’t know what that meant. I just knew I was taking a course. I knew there would be webinars and Tweet chats and that I needed to blog about my learning. That was all okay with me. I knew about webinars from work and my Masters’ program and Tweet chats from some online communities I had joined and I had started a blog for #cyberpd2012.

I was ready.

Or was I?

What was going on here anyway? Where was the stuffiness? The stiffness that comes when a group of strangers end up in some room together for a mutual, yet individual experience? There’s music playing at the outset of the first “lecture”. The “prof” is super casual, chatting away with folks, and the chat box is flying with comments. There is a familiarity in the room; a feeling that we all belong. There are no titles used, or groups constructed by what level you teach….no map. There is Dave Cormier heckling Alec Couros (an inside job, but I didn’t know that, yet). There’s the whiteboard interaction that clearly gets out of hand.

Then there’s the cow.

This opening learning event set the stage for a learning experience that was challenging, engaging, supportive, integrated, free flowing, always on, permissive, immediate, organic, and …fun!

Did I learn anything?

Beyond learning about digital literacy, digital citizenship, content curation, digital storytelling, open education, and beyond developing increased comfort with social media platforms and tools, and beyond creating digital products like Storify, 5 Card Flickr, LipDub, and writing blog posts, ETMOOC taught me about the changing educational landscape. The ground is shifting beneath our feet, and we must begin now to shift with it.



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Nonfiction Picture Book Event: #nf10for10


In 2010 Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere began hosting a picture book event that celebrates participants’ most cherished picture books.  I joined the conversation in 2012 and had so much fun that I wondered out loud if a nonfiction picture book event would meet with similar success. Never one to shy away from a conversation on books, Mandy and Cathy replied with a resounding “YES!”

And #nf10for10 has been a huge success, with folks posting 10 books on dinosaurs, or 10 books on the wonder of women, or 10 books for girl readers, or 10 books on architecture and building, or …

One year, I wrote about a collection of 10 nonfiction picture books about indigenous people. Another year, I focused on 10 titles around the themes of dignity, human rights, and social justice.

But you can’t read them.

Tragically, they are gone. Lost, somehow…possibly to the most deadly of all dangers— post-migration.

On the upside, I am looking forward to revisiting those titles as I consider my #nf10for10 post of 2016.

Let’s get to the details!

You choose 10 nonfiction picture books to share. You can share via the twitter community, #nf10for10, and you can add your nonfiction link in the Google Community. Just look for the 2016#nf10for10 tab! We also suggest that you leave the link on one of our blogs in the comment section, just in case we have to move again.

Here are the details:

  • What: 10 nonfiction picture books you can’t live without.
  • Hashtag:  #nf10for10
  • Who:  Anyone interested — educators, media specialists, librarians, parents, and book lovers.
  • When:  Friday, February 19th
  • Where:  All posts will be linked on the 2016 #nf10for10 page of the Picture Book 10 for 10 Google Community Site.

It’s nonfiction picture book time!

Which titles are popular in your class? Which nonfiction books are best for read alouds? Who is your favourite illustrator?

There are many ways to approach this event, so come on! Join us on February 19th as we rummage around each other’s nonfiction bookshelves!

Feel free to grab the #nf10for10 button and spread the word.

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