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Monday, 28 January 2013

Two Weeks into ETMOOC; How Have I Changed?

I am two weeks into my first ever MOOC - Massive (Gargantuan, Humongous, Ginormous) Open On-line Course (Community?) and I'm looking for signs of learning.

I signed up for this course, a newbie on Twitter, to learn more about digital tools.  I wanted to learn about how to help my students become "connected learners".   I hoped that the mysterious Twitterverse would begin to make more sense to me; I wanted to learn about Digital Storytelling, VoiceThread and Google Docs.

I am getting SO MUCH MORE than I bargained for!

Yes, I have learned how to use Google Docs - today my students and I created our very first Google Survey  for our unit on Data Management (we tweeted it, we emailed it, I think I should probably post it on Facebook - we can't wait to start reading the results!) I am using Twitter regularly to connect with other educators, I have even been using TweetDeck to manage the lists and hashtags I am following! I'm getting in there and tweeting, no longer just a lurker.  Last week, I created a Twitter account for my class!  We are now looking for other mid-level classes to follow (@SixesRSuper).

I've got a Diigo account to collate, high-light and annotate my e-reading material, and I've signed on to Google Reader to help manage all of the amazing educational blogs I've been following - so much simpler!

But that is not what I'm excited about.  I'm excited because I've discovered there is a WHOLE BIG WORLD out there that has welcomed me, that I am a part of, a world of other passionate excited educators who want to collaborate with ME!  That amazes me...

After I clicked the submit button, and signed on for this MOOC, I went to Youtube to get an idea of what I had signed on for. I found this video by Dave Cormier.  At the time, I was doubtful that it could happen the way Dave portrayed in the video.

But much to my delight, it happened!  I have met wonderful and inspiring educators that I have connected with. Together, thanks to Sheri Edwards, we are a neighbourhood.

I have learned how to learn from other educators just like myself.  I wanted to learn how to "connect" my students, I learned also how to "connect" myself.


I am not just learning HOW to connect by WHY connect.  I never anticipated how much THINKING I would be doing in this MOOC!

On his blog, Dave Cormier writes this about learning:

(It is) "Not a series of remembered ideas, reproduced for testing, and quickly forgotten. But something flexible that is already integrated with the other things a learner knows. Most things that we value ‘knowing’ are not things that are easily pointed to. Knowing is a long process of becoming (think of it in the sense of ‘becoming an expert’) where you actually change the way you perceive the world based on new understandings. You change and grow as new learning becomes part of the things you know."

As defined by Dave, I AM LEARNING.  

Last week, I was sent a link to a blog post entitled:
Let's Stop Talking about Teaching with Technology, and Start Talking about Teaching by Krista Moroder.
Basically, she reminds us that good pedagogy should always be our focus.  Technology is only the tool that helps good educators do their jobs even better.  I would now change the title of this post to:   Let's Stop Talking about Teaching with Technology, and Start Talking about Learning with Technology. 

I don't recall anyone actually using the term "pedagogy" in this MOOC, but really, all of the conversation that has taken place is NOT about technology but about pedagogy.  I've been thinking about pedagogy in ways I never thought about it before.  I have been examining why and how we get our students to collaborate.  I've been considering whether education should be a "bazaar or a cathedral", I've been thinking about whether we are growing "consumers or creators" and tonight my brain is on fire thinking about how a rhizome can be a metaphor for learning! "Learning is about preparing for uncertainty" - now really, that is a game changer, isn't it?


  1. Nice post. In the words of Chris Lehmann, technology should be like oxygen, ubiquitous, necesary and invisible.

    1. I had not heard that quote before. I love it! Thanks for sharing it with me.

  2. Hi Lorraine

    "I am not just learning HOW to connect by WHY connect." why it matters to so many of us. Once you experienced it yourself you appreciate how you want it for your students.

    I used the word pedagogy in my Intro to Blogging session. Although knowing the way I sometimes speak it may have sounded like anything. My emphasis was on more of an intro to the pedagogical aspects of blogging as opposed to the technical.

    1. While I may not have caught the word "pedagogy", the emphasis on the pedagogy came through loud and clear! I have been finding that throughout the etmooc.

  3. Thanks for sharing these reflections Lorraine. Like you, I have been a bit surprised and thrilled by the amount of learning I'm doing in #etmooc. I'm so energized by all of the sharing and discussions that are taking place that I feel like my mind is bursting full of pedagogical dilemmas and approaches that I want to reflect more on. Of course there is still a lot of tool and resource sharing happening as well, which I think is extremely valuable since without the modes and mediums to implement pedagogical change, we will be stuck with theories instead of practice. I'm looking forward to combining the two (tools and pedagogy) together as I engage with more #etmooc participants.

    1. Thanks for the comment Margaret. You voiced it all so much more eloquently than I! I agree wholeheartedly.

  4. Hi Lorraine

    Do you mind if I use the following quote

    "I am not just learning HOW to connect but WHY connect" - Lorraine Boulos

    in my presentation on student blogging this week? Quoted and referenced as above.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Lovely post Lorraine.
    I was having trouble understanding Dave Cormier's "The rhizome is a model for learning for uncertainty" I found the answer to my doubt in your post: "Learning is about preparing for uncertainty" - So any doubt how much we can learn together?
    Thanks again and love this feeling of closeness. (just a click away)
    Debbie (Buenos Aires)

  7. Thanks Debbie. A month into this MOOC and I'm still learning at an exponential rate!

  8. Yours is the intended and hopeful outcome for these kinds of experiences. Just over the hump of the fear of uncertainty is almost boundless opportunity, all you have to do, as you have done, is to jump over that first bump.

    I'd really appreciate if you could record for me a short video story that re-iterates your message here, it would be invaluable to other teachers -- see Seeking True Stories of Open Sharing


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