It’s a funny thing, I decided not to start on my blog post for this week immediately I received the #Edublogsclub prompt email and that slight delay has given me an interesting perspective to start from.
Someone asked me yesterday, “Don’t you get lonely working in this building all by yourself?” I wish! Sometimes lonely or bored would be great! Yes, sometimes I am in the building completely on my own and with the door locked but they are certainly not “lonely” times. They are fantastic productive times when there are no distractions and I can actually get some work done. I absolutely love those precious solitary moments at work.
But mostly, my workplace is shared with my colleague and any number of students and their Tutors. And then there is the other building where the rest of our wonderful staff carry out their duties so I spend time there as well.
I am the Executive Officer of a Neighbourhood House and a Registered Training Organisation. My day at the office is so diverse. Every day is different. But easily the best thing about my work is when I have a past student come up to me in the street and say “I got a job and I love it”. Those are the rewarding moments.
But like every workplace, I suppose, there are times of barely organised chaos. How do I stay organised through all the chaos and distractions? I have a number of really useful digital tools to help keep me on track, including my journal, my google apps but the most important of all is my Toodledo task list. This to-do list is synced to all my devices and works on the principles of “Getting Things Done” which I wrote about in a post here. The work of David Allen has been inspirational to me and really helps me to stay organised.
I have just read a great blog post at Mindset Works about teaching both over-achieving and under-achieving learners. What is the difference? One would probably think that the over achievers would by definition have a growth mindset. But apparently that is not necessarily the case. They might just want to work hard and do what is required to achieve their goals. But really they don’t have a Growth Mindset.
So what is a Growth Mindset? To be truly effective as learners we need to believe we have the capacity to “get smarter”. We need to believe that we can grow in intelligence. Yet so many learners don’t.
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Sylvia Duckworth
I am more interested in under achievers as they are more often our demographic in adult community education. Many of our learners have not had good experiences at school and have often gone through school thinking and being told they are stupid. How do we convince them that they do have the capacity to learn and to grow their intelligence.
We need to be able to teach them how to learn. We can begin by talking about how the brain works and some strategies like practice and getting enough sleep that really help our brain to learn more effectively. Then we can talk about study skills. We need to teach learning strategies as well as content.
We are commencing research for our latest project “Making the Most of Emerging Technologies” This project is funded by the VET Development Centre and we are very grateful for the opportunity to investigate ways to enhance our blended and online delivery using new technologies.
I have come across this fantastic resource which I think will become the bible for this project. The Free Education Technology Resources e-book.
So I have commenced learning in another MOOC. This MOOC will focus on connecting online for collaborative learning and teaching around the world through Second Life.
My observations so far is that the course itself is quite confusing. There are a lot of different areas in which to participate in the course including Moodle, WizIq and Second Life itself. So an aside is that this a good reminder to keep online course content simple for the learner and to provide very clear directions and information.
Whilst I can understand the benefits of using Second Life in education, I am finding it very confusing to navigate so far. I think it is going to take quite some time to feel comfortable and able to contribute in a meaningful way.
However I have received my first weekly badge! So I hope I can get the hang of it all and will definitely be persisting for a bit longer yet.
Exciting times! A new Community of Practice is about to be born. But more on that later. For now it is time to explore best practice for setting up and maintaining a great community of practice.
So what is it that makes people engage and re engage in a Community of Practice. Answering this question will be paramount because without engagement there is no community.
There are lots of resources available. One of my favourite community practitioners in Nancy White. Her fantastic book Digital Habitats has been on my digital bookshelf for a few years now. Finally I have a really good reason to read it properly rather than just skimming.
I have also joined Feverbee. It is also a great resources with lots of active forums to explore. I came across Feverbee several years ago and it has grown and changed a lot since I lasted visited. So they must be doing a lot right.
So the research and planning stage begins! I would love to hear others experiences so I will be sharing in the hope that others will comment.
I have recently come across what is a new concept for me – Working out Load. I recently subscribed to Kate Pinner’s blog Rustic Learning. I really like her tag line of “A personal space for sense making”.
In a recent blog post she writes about Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) and Working Out Load (WOL).
This is Johnathon Anthony’s definition of WOL:
“Working out loud is the willingness to share and to try and to keep things in (perpetual?) beta. Challenge one’s own orthodoxy, inculcate and encourage a tension in the work with others. Make bold promises that things can improve, and also that they might fail: show vulnerability whilst also being full of hope.”
In recent times I have tried to improve my skills as a self-directed learner and understand the benefits of reflecting on learning in different ways. I have done a few posts on this blog to that end.
But the actual concept of WOL is new to me. I plan to research this a bit more but more than that I would like to put the idea into practice on a more regular basis.
Whilst I am a little behind with my participation in the DeMOOC I am really enjoying the challenge. This week I was asked by one of the other participants to review her project design. I found this rather daunting but I hope my comments were useful. But having her ask me to due this review prompted me to get back on course which was great.
Design Project planned and commenced
My Design project is now well underway. Planning has been completed and the stakeholders have been consulted. The Framework for the course is in place and the content for the Moodle course is starting to come together.
I am undertaking the design of this project on my own so working with a team has not been part of the process. But working through the activities in the DeMOOC has helped me to think more formally about the planning and evaluation than I may have if I had not been doing the course.
Now I will ask for a return favor and get my design reviewed by a peer.