Tag Archives: 2013

Mystery Skype. A truly collaborative event.

Last week, the ENG3C class participated in a Mystery Skpye. What an adventure!

A Mystery Skype is an online event held through Skype in which neither group knows where the other group is in the world. Through a series of closed questions (yes/no), participants piece together where they are calling from until one group guesses the correct location of the other group.

Minds On

This opening exercise was certainly a fun and engaging way to set the stage for the real purpose of the call: a conversation between teens about their lives. As the conversation about First Nations people grows in the public domain, more and more people are realizing that they do not know very much about First Nations people or the issues emerging from their communities. What interferes with the general public’s understanding of First Nations’ issues is the ongoing use of First Nations’ stereotypes, and this is a topic that some educator’s meet head on in their classrooms. Sarah Le from Orangeville District Secondary School is one such teacher. Through a variety of texts, Mrs. Lee, pushes her students to understand the multiple perspectives that must co-exist in our society, including that of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.

Our camera person listening intently for the next question.

Action

The Skype went off…with a couple of hitches. We were met with the challenge of acquiring the right gear (external webcam and tripod), finding an Internet signal that would give us enough bandwidth to enable the video to work, and overcoming our shyness and nervousness to both be on camera and to think on the spot! But we did it. We had coaches scrounging up the gear for us and teaching me how to get the technology ready, we had students problem solving how we might solve our weak Internet issue, and we had students who stepped up to the plate at the last second to take on larger roles than they had originally prepared for. What’s the definition of collaboration? To create something together that we could not create individually. We certainly nailed collaboration in this event!

Consolidation

When the Skype call ended, the first question we had was, “When do we do this again?” We were energized and engaged, and we wanted more. Our reflections about this event are ongoing. Students are / will be posting to their own blogs using the “What? So What? Now What?” reflective model.

from Commons Wikimedia.org

What?

What happened?

What did you observe?

So What?

Did you learn a new skill or clarify an interest?
How is your experience different from what you expected?
What impacts the way you view the situation/experience? (What lens are you viewing from?)
What did you like/dislike about the experience?
How did the experience relate to your coursework?

Now What?

What learning occurred for you in this experience?
How can you apply this learning?
What can be done to improve this type of work?

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Re-thinking Assessment in OOE13

Co-Creator: I received credit from Open Online Experience. http://cred.ly/c/42307

Open Online Learning 2013 presents an opportunity to re-think how educators and learners go about assessment. What is evidence of learning? Who decides? We can, of course, co-create the success criteria, but as we move to more self-directed learning the success criteria will need to be individualized too. As we move toward student inquiry, what students present as evidence of their learning will vary; and as students push their learning to where they need to go, their products will uniquely represent that learning.

When we step outside the box, there are so many possibilities. When we begin to understand what it is we need to learn and what we care about learning, then, how we might go about that learning will not only surprise us, but will challenge our notions of what evidence of learning looks like.

About a year ago, I ran into the idea of badges as ways to symbolize learning. Of course, I thought it was hokey. Badges are good for Scouting  and Guiding,  not real learning.

Now don’t jump all over me…I realize my thinking here was flawed, but that is the way many people view badges. You get them for swimming levels and skating levels; you certainly don’t get them for academics.

By participating in experiences like OOE13, educators have the opportunity to experience learning in ways that are completely new to them. As I learn online via my PLN, moocs, blog reading, and/or participation in Twitter chats, Connected Educator Month events, or a whole host of other venues, I might want to acknowledge that learning in some way. And that’s what badges do. The process allows me to select the evidence that I believe is relevant, meaningful, and valid to me, to cite that evidence, and then to be acknowledged.

Twitter Vs Zombies: I received credit from Open Online Experience. http://cred.ly/c/42278

I am so proud of the badges I have earned to date. They inspire me to reach for more. Isn’t this the role of assessment?

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#Cyberpd 2013 ~ Collaboration for learning

This is the final day for the incredible book study on Alan November’s Who Owns the Learningfor #cyberpd 2013. This event is hosted annually be the marvellous Cathy MereJill Fisch, and Laura Komos. To read what others are saying see the Jog the Web that houses the #cyberpd blogs.

November’s message is that students must have the opportunity to experience purpose and ownership in their work.  We can create such opportunities by incorporating roles or jobs for students that enable them to contribute to the learning of all. When students are tutorial designers, scribes, and researchers for their peers in their classrooms, and importantly, beyond their classrooms, and their work is available on-line, they leave a legacy of their contribution. How exciting and engaging is that!

My personal goal for this summer is to become better versed in creating visual content. I have where ever possible to represent my thinking about Who Owns the Learning? visually.

A few posts back, I wondered about the learning that would emerge by annotating an existing video in Popcorn Maker. What I discovered was that not only did the process of annotation deepen my understanding of the content, it also extended my editing skills.

By chance, I came across a post by Kim Wilkens in her Google+ community Women Learning Tech about using Popcorn Maker as a collaborative tool. She asks “What does open and closed mean in the digital age? Members of the community were invited to view her video and then to add their thoughts. What do you think of their collaborative experiment? This remix represents two contributors. There were more, but the challenge in making this a collaborative project is that each participant needs to ‘pick up’ the most recent remix to add his or her thoughts, not the original version.

I decided, since Chapter 5 is on the student as global communicator and collaborator, I would give Popcorn Maker a go with the #cyberpd crowd. I Tweeted out the idea, and Amy Rudd jump into the project. The first portion of this video is mine, and Amy’s portion is the VideoScribe.

If you would like to try your hand at Popcorn Maker and at collaborative content creation, click on the remix button found at the bottom of the screen below.  Add your ideas, save, and Tweet out the new remix.

For some reason, the Popcorn Maker begins to play as this page loads…so I have removed it for now. You can access the remix HERE.

Reflection:
I do like this idea, especially for assessment as learning. I envision my students each creating 30 seconds of video (either in Popcorn Maker, an Animoto type tool or in Movie Maker) and then annotating the video with links and text  that illustrates their big learning (synthesis) of a unit. Students can post their individual Popcorn Maker video to their blogs, but we can also connect them all (remixing) and post the class reflection on a wiki.Thanks to the #cyberpd folks for engaging in this book study in such creative style! We have definitely moved from thinking and writing about the ideas, to creating visual content too! Thanks to Cathy Mere for gathering our posts at Jog the Web and for initiating our own board on Pinterest. 

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#Cyberpd 2013 ~ The Student Researcher

Darren Kuropatwa speaks about the shift of control from teacher to student as we ask our students to take on more of their learning responsibilities. Central to ensuring that this is a successful shift is preparing our students to cope with the volume of information to which they have access. If I am no longer the disseminator of  the content, then I must ensure that my students have the strategies and the critical thinking skills to find, filter, assess, and attribute information.

 

The Process:
I have made many Glogs over the years. I use Glogster when I need to create layers of information that my audience can choose to access. As you scroll over the Glog, those elements that are linked to on-line text will have a WWW appear. Click, and you are whisked away to relevant, supporting information. Normally, I would have the Joyce Valenza video embedded in the Glog, but it is in Vimeo, and for some unknown (the temperamental nature of the tool) reason, Vimeo was not going to embed for me today. I first made this Glog in a horizontal template, forgetting that I wanted to embed it  here. Although, you can chose code for a blog size Glog, it still appeared squashed. So, I reconstructed the Glog in a vertical template. As an aside: My grandmother used to say “stupid head makes for sore feet”. I need to update this saying to reflect the consequences of not thinking through my on-line work!

The Reflection:
I have spent hours on the ideas emerging from chapter 4 because in spite of being a teacher who has always taught researching skills, the shift of control that I want to happen in my class room means that I am not the sole purveyor of content. I want to teach with student inquiry. I want students to decide what part of “Why is global dignity important?” (for example) is meaningful to them. I want them to engage in the research process- find, filter, choose, create, attribute, share-because the work is meaningful to them. I want students to be excited about learning. 

Questions I am thinking about:

  1. How do I gain the attention of students who already think they know how to research?
  2. How much time will each step in the process need?
  3. Where will students think about their work as researchers? Journals? Blogs? Wiki? Is there choice here for students?
  4. What tools will students use to gather their research? Paper? Google docs? Wiki? Word?
  5. Will they work collaboratively? And if so, how will that happen? Google docs? Wiki? 

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