Tag Archives: networked learning

7 Habits of Networked Academics

7 Habits of Networked AcademicsToday Colin Warren and I were very pleased to be invited by the colleagues who run the Graduate Certificate of Higher Education at Deakin, to come and share our thoughts on the evolving concept of networked academics. As it was a late afternoon session, after a day of student presentations, we wanted to keep it simple and just share some practical tips. Keep it applied. We focused on the habits we’ve seen exhibited by networked academics that can be adopted by newcomers and included some quick activities. SO this is by no means comprehensive. We also emphasized that networking habits are a matter of choice, everyone should decide what’s right for them and where to start. No one should feel pressured to do everything.

We prepared a digital handout for reference, and in case we would run out of time, which we of course did. Some of you may find this useful, so we’re sharing it here.

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The LMS as a mixing panel for social learning

Photo by Sergiu Bacioiu, cc licensed on Flickr

Photo by Sergiu Bacioiu, cc licensed on Flickr

(This post is cross-posted from a guest blog post I wrote for Hazel Owen at Ethos Consultancy NZ community site)

I have a hard truth to share with you. Our learning management systems are letting us down. They are not getting the job done.

The slow rise of social learning

Over the last decade, the internet has gone from a primarily static content distribution system, to a social publishing, communication and sharing environment. As we’ve seen this “social web” develop, several social learning theoretical frameworks have been developed and tested, including connectivism, social constructivism and the conversational framework. These pedagogical models of learning remain at the periphery and have yet to achieve mainstream adoption.

That uptake will be slower in coming than some of us might wish, due to many stumbling blocks. I’ll mention just a few here:

  • our policies (both governmental and institutional) are slow to adapt because policy changes are not made at the speed of social media,
  • a “content is king” culture exists in learning and training that is hard to crack,
  • some long-standing organisational habits are not conducive to transformation (timetabling, lectures, a weighted teaching-research balance),
  • there are debates about what constitutes proof of learning; is it tests and exams or projects, group work and portfolios,
  • the struggle for investments needed for large IT projects in an age of funding and budget cuts,
  • digital literacy skill challenges of the parties involved,
  • and a persistent belief that nothing trumps face-to-face interactions.

I’m sure that there are gradations to which these stumbling blocks are present in your organisation and that there are others. And there’s no need to point fingers. These are large complex changes that affect every single part, process and person in our organisations. It will take time, new practices and some very hard thinking to adopt this new social learning. But it’ll be totally worth it. Continue reading

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The 5 P’s of Path

This weekend one of my friends asked me: “So what do we think about Path?”. What DO we think about Path?

I installed it about 8 weeks ago. In fact Path tells me two months and 285 moments ago. I can’t remember who originally suggested it to me. It was at the beginning of a month’s travel around Europe and I had intermittent internet access. This meant I was mainly in capture & broadcast mode (journaling my travels) rather than access & curate mode (monitoring and sharing from information streams). And Path is great for capture & broadcast.

I fell in love with  it, even though I did have to move it to the front page of my iPhone first, so I wouldn’t forget to use it, and go to one of my other services instead. Here’s 5 reasons I do so like Path.

It’s personal

I think the key reason I like Path is that it is intensely personal. Path only lets you post your personal updates. It has various artifacts you can create: a check-in, an update, a picture, a music-update, but all of those are originally created by you, based on an experience you are having. You can’t “re-Path” someone else artifacts either, so only your artifacts live in your Path.

Friends can take several different actions in response to your artifacts, Continue reading

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Project: What My PLN Means To Me – now at #PLE_BCN!

Hola! I’d love your help in explaining the use of a Personal Learning Network (PLN) for an educator – whether you’re a teacher, librarian, manager or educational technologist.

What is this project about?

This project started last year when we combined our annual e-learning conference eFest with the recently established teaching & learning conference. One of the themes was the changing role of the teacher in the 21st century and us education technologists were eager to show that e-learning is all about teaching & learning, just with technology & access to the web. Of course this can be daunting, overwhelming, scary, uncomfortable, risky…. So we wanted to let educators new to these exciting possibilities, know that they’re not alone. That others have gone before them and are willing to help. Besides introducing the audience to various existing communities of practice out there (like Classroom2.0), I also introduced the Personal Learning Network concept to them.

This project was inspired by Alan Levine’s Amazing Stories of Openness for #OpenEd09, but my project is on a much smaller scale.

I’m asking you to answer the question: “What does my PLN mean to me?” and share your thoughts in a short video/animation/slidecast, about 2-3 minutes. If you work in education, I’d love to hear from you – teachers, librarians, educational technologists and managers. Feel free to answer as you will. However if you get stuck, here are some suggestions to include (use these as guidelines only – remember this has got to be personal!!!):

  • Who you are, where you are & what you do
  • How your PLN has affected your own learning?
  • How your PLN has affected your practice?
  • Something really neat you learned through your PLN recently
  • Which tools you use in your PLN?
  • How you use technology in your teaching or educational practice
  • How you’re adapting your teaching or practice for the 21st century?
  • Your most ‘fruitful’ connection made through your PLN
  • Any words of encouragement for educators new to this 21st century, ‘techie’ way of teaching & learning

After you’ve posted your video/animation/slidecast somewhere on the web, please also embed it on the What My PLN Means – wiki here. And send me (@catspyjamasnz) a tweet to let me know – include the hashtag #mypln. That way I can thank you.

Your task

1. Think about your PLN/PLE and what it means to you. Work together in group of 3-5 to have brief discussion about this.

2. Record your video/screencast. You can do this alone, but probably handier in a group. Use Flip videos available (3), the iMacs provided by Citilab, your own recording devices (iPhones, Flips, digital camera’s) or…. go to the professional Citilab recording studio where Jordi will be operating the professional equipment!

Citilab Video Studio

3. Upload your video to YouTube. Use a title like this: What My PLN Means To Me – @twittername or real name – #PLE_BCN.

4. Link on What My PLN Means To Me wiki

5. Send me a tweet @catspyjamasnz with a link so that I can thank you, moltas gracies con petons (thanks v much with kisses ;-))

Why participate in this project?

  • For you individually, it’s good practice to reflect on your PLN/PLE
  • For our PLE/PLN community, these videos can act as resources, evidence showing this new personal learning in action
  • For teachers new to technology, these videos can act as encouragement
  • A cross-section of these videos, will be mixed together to create an overview resource
  • The videos will be harvested for themes & ideas to prompt further research into the PLN/PLE concept

Thanks for your help, PLN_BCN people! Moltas gracies!

Here’s my video about what my PLN means to me.

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Project: What My PLN Means To Me

Next week Thursday I’m giving a presentation at a teaching & learning conference. The theme of my talk is “You are not alone”. And I’d love your help in explaining the use of a Personal Learning Network (PLN) for an educator – whether you’re a teacher, librarian, manager or educational technologist.

This is the first year we’re combining our annual e-learning conference eFest with the recently established teaching & learning conference. One of the themes is the changing role of the teacher in the 21st century and us ed techies are eager to show that e-learning is all about teaching & learning, just with technology & access to the web. Of course this can be daunting, overwhelming, scary, uncomfortable, risky…. So we want to let educators new to these exciting possibilities, know that they’re not alone. That others have gone before them and are willing to help. Besides introducing the audience to various existing communities of practice out there (like Classroom2.0), I also want to introduce the Personal Learning Network concept to them.

Now I was going to introduce the PLN concept with the classic tweet-out (“Please say hi to my audience…”) and I’ll probably still do this. However, I’d like them to hear a little more from you than 140 characters. So inspired by Alan Levine’s Amazing Stories of Openness, but on a much smaller scale, this is an advanced tweet-out from me.

I’m asking you to answer the question: “What does my PLN mean to me?” and share your thoughts in a short video/animation/slidecast, about 2-3 minutes. If you work in education, I’d love to hear from you – teachers, librarians, educational technologists and managers. Feel free to answer as you will. However if you get stuck, here are some suggestions to include:

  • Who you are, where you are & what you do
  • How your PLN has affected your own learning?
  • How your PLN has affected your practice?
  • Something really neat you learned through your PLN recently
  • Which tools you use in your PLN?
  • How you use technology in your teaching or educational practice
  • How you’re adapting your teaching or practice for the 21st century?
  • Your most ‘fruitful’ connection made through your PLN
  • Any words of encouragement for educators new to this 21st century, ‘techie’ way of teaching & learning

After you’ve posted your video/animation/slidecast somewhere on the web, please also embed it on the What My PLN Means – wiki here. And send me (@catspyjamasnz) a tweet to let me know – include the hashtag #mypln. That way I can thank you. Hopefully this project will go beyond my presentation, and provide us all with some additional evidence of the usefulness of a PLN for an educator.

Thanks for your help, PLN!

Update: only fair that I go first. Here’s my video about what my PLN means to me.

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The PLE as a subset of the PLN

At the end of last year, Alec Couros led an interesting Twitter conversation about the definition of a PLN. Or a PLE. Are they interchangeable?

I was pulled into the conversation via @bookjewel, as she re-plurked Alec’s questions on Plurk. Somehow her question crystallized my thinking, and rather than responding in 140 characters, I quickly fired up PowerPoint and used its SmartArt (I’m a big fan) to create a visualization of the relationship I see between the PLE and the PLN. Alec then kindly included my graphic in his blog post. And as of this posting, it had been viewed 742 times, which makes it my most shared artefact on the web by quite a stretch. As I’ve never blogged it (it’s only ever existed on Flickr) I thought I would post it here, to re-start my own thinking about PLNs where it left off, in December 2008.

PLE as subset of PLN

I’ve split up the technological connections (in the PLE) from the inter-personal connections (in the PLN). I think of the PLE, the environment, as the ‘hardware’ of the PLN. The PLE can exist as interrelated links, feeds and profiles on a myriad of sites, but it is nothing without the encompassing PLN of the person, their personal connections with others and their interchange of ideas to make meaning of it.

Those were my initial thoughts back then. I’m hoping to do more work on PLNs soon, by running a pilot project implementing PLNs as a staff development tool for teachers.

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Citing & Archiving #opened09 Tweets

The leading thinkers on Open Education gathered in Vancouver last week for the OpenEd09 conference.  It was a sight & sound to behold – an open storm. Ustreams, Flickr pics and a Twitter avalanche, meant many of us around the world felt part of the event, as virtual attendees. (I got up at 4am in New Zealand on Saturday, to watch the Friday keynote at 9am Vancouver time.)

Social media are such an extension of conferences and events. Pre-social media we used to hear from the 15-20 selected speakers at a conference. And probably about the bunions of the man you were unfortunate enough to sit down next to at lunch and were unable to ditch. Now we can hear from everyone at the conference, and select those we want to hear more from. For 6 days, the #opened09 column in my Tweetdeck dispensed precious ideas & information. I began following new people, feverishly bookmarking urls and favouriting tweets for follow-up.

my #opened09 fav tweets in Tweetdeck

my #opened09 fav tweets in Tweetdeck

And that’s where I hit a snag – the tweets.

1. My favourite tweets don’t make much sense without the context of the other tweets. And unfortunately, the Twitter search is ephemeral and will not let you retrieve those later. It’ll let you set extensive date parameters, but these don’t give you the desired results.  This was a harsh lesson from  the EDUCAUSE Australasia conference in Perth this year, which was one of the first well-tweeted events I attended. We lost a lot of witty and valuable tweets…

2. And a more academic problem –  some #opened09 tweets are such gems, I’ll likely want to quote and re-quote them. How do I give credit where credit is due and correctly reference a tweet?

But then I came across Gunther Eysenbach How to cite twitter, how to cite tweets, how to archive tweets which solves both problems. In it he gives a detailed how-to of the WebCite service which not only gives you the correct reference for a website, but perhaps more importantly, also creates a permanent archive for that site. And it works for tweets too.

So I can reference and archive Scott Leslie’s individual tweet like this:

A favourite opened09 tweet by Scott Leslie

A favourite opened09 tweet by Scott Leslie

Leslie, Scott. Twitter / Scott Leslie: are you supposed to get ch… . 2009-08-18. URL:http://twitter.com/sleslie/statuses/3310928225. Accessed: 2009-08-18. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5j7I0nnKZ)

or the entire Twitter stream for the #opened09 hashtag like this:

[Multiple Authors]. #opened09 – Twitter Search. . 2009-08-18. URL:http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23opened09. Accessed: 2009-08-18. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5j79icRhc)

These archived tweets are now static at WebCite so they can be referred to and retrieved. Of course, that was 2 hours ago. The #opened09-ers go on. Even as I’ve been writing this post, the Twitter search tab is showing 7 new results ‘since you started searching’…

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