Sunday, August 21, 2011

Filling holes--

There are huge holes in my learning-- big hunks, so big that I am so ignorant of them I have no idea what they are until I run into them head on. (I think they are a result of my "just in time" learning and my total immersion in my classrooms over a number of years, but at this point the why is unimportant.) What is important is that knowledge building ran into me head on in the PLP ecourse teaching online. I am embarrassed; for a bit I thought I won't admit that I didn't have a deep understanding but decided learning and this rush was too good not to share.

I have used the term knowledge building and had a sense of what I believed it meant for learning. Yet when I searched the web prior to the posting of the week's discussions, I discovered terms and concepts with which I was unfamiliar, traveling from page to page skimming, then off to check another term-- some serious wayfinding. And when I started to explore the topic with some of the breadcrumbs Sheryl left for us to follow, I couldn't stop, I was even more hungry. (So these analogies to breadcrumbs and wayfinding are muddled here a bit but they fit where I am right now.)

Why did I not know this? Why don't I have a clear understanding of cognitive presence? What are the phases? What is the knowledge forum? What are rise above notes? Is all of this new; where have I been? And I went looking-- and my to do list, well it's still there waiting for me-- there are about 30 tabs open in my browser around what I have been exploring.

And then as I read, first I lamented not having this base from which to refine my practice prior to this; then I began making connections--

Rise above notes intrigued me--- what a wonderful use of technology! I wonder if it is clunky technically in the Knowledge Forum? It's similar to the interventions we learned to create in MOOM, an inquiry online course into facilitating online in an inquiry environment where initially the moderator would take snippets of discussion to highlight concepts folks had contributed and end with a question. As the course progressed the learners in the course followed the model. What has struck me, that I didn't fully recognize before, is this takes learning to a completely new level.

How to create the environment enabling this happening in the e course I am planning? How can I help all learners make connections so they can begin new discussions? Would it make a difference if we included in the title or tag high rise? I'm thinking on this and other ideas-- just beginnings. I continue reading, seeking deeper answers to my questions. What a rush!

I love when stuff begins to come together-- from one of Sheryl's tweets later in the day:
"1. Start with a question.

2. Zero in on unfamiliar words, phrases, symbols or expressions. “Bayesian analysis,” “Fourier transform”—Wikipedia, Scholarpedia or Wikiversity might be good places to start, but you’ll want to follow the links from there to source materials, papers, textbooks, book excerpts on Google, and others.

3. Do some serious reading. You may have several tabs open at this point. This phase can last hours or days. You may also want to try sample problems or exercises.

4. Ask someone a question. You may want to locate some experts on the topic, through Slideshare, Youtube, blogs, Twitter, or more. Or you can search forums or other online learning communities for help.

5. Test and demonstrate your knowledge. MIT Open Courseware, Khan Academy, and other sites may have sample problems. Or you can go onto a forum and answer someone else’s question. Or blog about your discoveries!"
That's just what I was doing. Open, inquiry learning yet there's still a big piece missing and that is my participation in my community to share, be questioned, make connections, find patterns and build knowledge with my colleagues.

If I can get this excited at this age, just imagine classrooms full of youngsters, schools full of teachers engaging in knowledge building and inquiring into topics for which they have an interest -- the synergy-- the learning--

Photo credit

Sunday, August 14, 2011

We may never pass this way again--

Not always the biggest of music lovers, Seals & Crofts touch my soul in so many ways.

This melody and these lyrics. have been playing and replaying in my head following a conversation with one of my favorite co learners, Marsha in the Powerful Learning Practice e course Teaching Online where I lamented my lack of participation and what that might mean for my learning and that of others.

As I've been humming to myself all day,
Like Columbus in the olden days, we must gather all our courage.
Sail our ships out on the open sea. Cast away our fears
And all the years will come and go, and take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again.
It's struck me even more that in our times, this has such a universal call--

To our politicians--
To those who treasure our planet --
To those of us who seek a transformation in education--
To those of us who envision the potential of learning in community--
To those of us learning--

At this moment, we are in unique places--
We can't afford to let any opportunity pass us by--
We may never pass this way again
Of course, this is nothing new--
But there is an urgency in every area--
We are on so many precipices--
Like Columbus in the olden days, we must gather all our courage.
Sail our ships out on the open sea. Cast away our fears
And all the years will come and go, and take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Animals/Habitats team is on their way!

I just posted this in the group room of the Animals/Habitats team of the PLP ConnectU walled garden community.

The members of this team are really on their way to planning an exciting PBL experience for their students.

In their second Elluminate team meeting, every member of the team attended; every member's voice was heard. Under the extraordinary leadership of Jane, the team leader, this team has developed driving and supporting questions, selected VELs that will be addressed in the unit, looked at possibilities for assessment, thought through a WOW beginning activity, created a project timeline, and begun to blog about their journey and is sharing all of this transparently.

I am anxiously waiting to hear about the initial walkarounds they and their students will be taking as they explore animals/environments in their local areas and asking questions of them as they respond to Jane's latest Ning posting around Scaffolding the Personal Learning - Helping the Learner to Learn how to Learn!! Really exciting!!!