Tag Archives: challenge

A Challenge of Change.

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Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Ana C. via Compfight

“As knowledge becomes networked, the smartest person in the room isn’t the person standing at the front lecturing us, and isn’t the collective wisdom of those in the room. The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins the people and ideas in the room, and connects to those outside of it… Knowledge is becoming inextricable from – literally unthinkable without – the network that enables it.”
From: Too Big to Know by David Weinberger 

 

Last week, on April 8th, I contributed my first post for Ontario School and System Leaders Massive Open Online Community (OSSEMOOC) 30 days of learning event, and I received some push back about it. The concern was not about what I wrote, but that I did at all because I am not a school or system leader.

What this feedback highlights is the dark side of special programs and titles and reminds us of how narrow the learning might be when birds of a feather flock together.

If we agree that the smartest person in the room is the room; then opening up the room—flattening the walls between educational rooms (within K12 and between K12 and higher ed), if you will, can only make the room smarter. 

This is my understanding about the online room. I am as smart as my PLN (and am I smart!). There is rarely a distinction made about title, rank, or level in this room.  Rather, the bond that we have is our passion for education as a means of offering every student (of any age) the opportunity to have a happy, successful, satisfying, interesting—you pick the adjective—life, and our emerging understanding  of the types of changes that education must make in order to realize this opportunity.

The learning with/from our PLN is the collegial conversation, the openness to ideas, the inquiry stance as we question back and forth, and the understanding of and the empathy toward risk-taking.

Following in the tradition of moocs like Education, Technology, and Media Massive Open Online Course (ETMOOC), OSSEMOOC has created a new space for educators to share their learning that is supportive, engaging, meaningful, timely, and inclusive.

And that thing about being a school and system leader?

Every teacher, in every building is a leader.

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The lighter side of blogging.

A few weeks ago I received the blogging challenge that has been making the rounds. Donna Fry reminds us that there should be joy in our writing, and I agree. The joy that I feel about teaching and learning needs to emerge from whatever I am currently thinking through. But the lighthearted tone that some writers are seemingly so easily able to generate (like Dean Shareski) is something that I always have to work on.

Here’s how this blogging challenge works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

1. My nominating blogger:  PLN Cheer leader Donna Fry is exactly the kind of person you need in your corner when you’re learning.

Am I Ready For This??!

2.  Eleven Random Facts About Julie Balen:

1. Christmas is not my favourite holiday. It’s never been, even when I was little. Extreme consumption is an activity that I have trouble with.

2. It follows then  that shopping is a struggle for me…even online. 

3. I spent many summers working for mining companies, but never in an office.

4. Salt snacks over sugar.

5. Peter Gzowski is my all time favourite radio host.

6. The tapping of fingers drives me crazy.

7.  I once performed in a fringe festival.

8. I have no Native, French, or British blood. But I am Canadian.

9.  I believe in having large windows through which to view the world, and a larger door through which to invite the world.

10. I won the silver medal in the Quebec Regional Winter Games (curling).

11. I met Pierre Elliot Trudeau twice.

3. The 11 questions Donna created for me:

1. What was the first “subject area” you studied after leaving high school?

English Literature…haven’t strayed far from my love of learning about the world through the lens of literary works.

2. If you could cook anything, what would you cook for supper tonight?

Chicken parmigiana—-olive oil, fresh parm, free range chicken and homemade pasta…mmmm.

3. What makes you stop and pause during your day?

Light. Winter light glowing through snow or glistening off of ice. Sunrise and sunset of course, but also shadows and angles of light in the yard and house. First light, twilight, starlight, and moon light. We live deep in the country where there are no street lights or store lights, so night lights give rise to wonder and possibility. And then there is summer light, you know, that quality of light that makes everything look like a post card.

4. Cats or Dogs?

Haha…dogs. I have had many dogs in my life: Scamp, Napoleon, Akela, Baloo, Satchmo, and Hawkeye. BUT, I do have a 12 year old cat, the only cat I have ever had and he makes me laugh more and more each day.

5. If you could have only one Pinterest Board, what would the topic be?

Gardens. No question.

6. What was the catalyst that got you blogging in the first place?

Cathy Mere. She hosted both the Peter Johnston Opening Minds book study in July of 2012 and then the PB 10for10 2012 event. I stumbled upon these events, and they catapulted me into the online learning environment.

7. What is one (funny) childhood misconception that you had, or that you have experienced with a young child? (for example, we lived near Manilla, Ontario during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. My 5-year-old daughter watched the news and thought it was right near our house!)

This is really tough…My first-born child, when he was 3 years old, loved the original Land Before Time movie. He fell in love with the story and the characters…he was Little Foot. However, maybe because he had no experience with TV prior to viewing the film (or maybe this is quite common with kids regardless), I can remember him standing in front of the TV, faced pressed against the screen, lamenting that “I want to be there, mom…inside there with Sarah.”

8. What was your favourite summer job?

Working at the mine and making a ton of money so I could afford to go to university.

9. Where do you find flow?

In conversations with others, not necessarily like-minded and not necessarily face-to-face, but with anyone who will honestly and truly engage with me.

10. What was one personal challenge you faced in 2013?

Finding as much time as I could to participate in ETMOOC!

11. What are YOU passionate about?

Moving people to do great things for other people.

 

Are You Ready For This?

 4. My list of bloggers includes  those who have encouraged me and those I hope to encourage:

1. Jenn Chan @jennzia

2. Rhonda Jessen @rljessen

3. Sarah Le @sarle83

4. Cathy Mere @cathymere

5. Brendan Murphy @dendari

6. Lisa Noble @nobleknits2

7. Amy Rudd @aruddteacher100

8. Peter Skillen @peterskillen

9. Yana Bauer @arachnemom

10. Mackenzie Sayers @macksayers

11. Heather Theijsmijer @HTheijsmeijer

5.  And my 11 questions for you are:

 1. What does online learning mean for you?

2. What makes you laugh?

3.  Satellite vs. Netflix?

4. Movie or Novel?

5. Who is your favourite Canadian author?

6. If you could go on vacation any where in the world, where would that be?

7. Favourite wild flower?

8. What educational event do you REALLY want to attend?

9. What is the one tech tool you cannot live without?

10. Hottest educational trend/author for you right now.

11 List three high points of 2013.

Whew.

That’s if folks. It took me way longer to write this post than I thought it would….maybe it’s the time of year? In any case, enjoy the process!

Wishing everyone a terrific end to 2013 and an inspirational start to 2014!

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