Open Up and Share

Managing to get back and watch the recorded session True Stories of Openness with Alan Levine was well worth it.

I have never been one to hold my thoughts, ideas or questions to myself.  Some people have mentioned that motivation not to share comes from a competitive or selfish base.  I disagree with this completely. I am an extremely competitive person.  I want to win every game I play, regardless of who I am competing against! This does not equate to me holding all my cards to my chest.

Insecurity was another reoccurring theme throughout the recording. People suggested feeling self conscious recording themselves, or sharing their ideas because they considered them “mediocre” and were worried about “other people’s judgements”.

I find this intriguing that as lead learners we have this expectation of our students to stand before their peers and talk, record and construct in a social arena yet we struggle with these things ourselves.

We live in a world of over 7 billion people.  To think that our experiences and ideas are completely unique and not  shared by someone else is somewhat irrational. When we open up and share our experiences we connect and build upon our understandings. What we won’t know is how this may positively impact on others.

Today I also read this blog by Angela Watson responding to a keynote by Maya Angelou as part of the ASCD conference in Chicago.  Angela wrote:

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

”… the truth is, I had a lot of rainbows in my life. Black ones and white ones, fat ones and skinny ones, pretty ones and plain ones, gay ones and straight ones, rich ones and poor ones. All sorts of rainbows in my clouds.”

She told us about several important rainbows in her life, beginning with her uncle Willy. She described him as “poor, black, crippled, and living during the era of lynchings.” Disadvantaged in every way. And yet he taught her to memorize the times tables so she could work in the family’s store. She learned later on that her Uncle Willy has done the same for other children, including a young boy who  later became a mayor in Arkansas. Uncle Willy didn’t let his limitations keep him from teaching what he knew, and he was a rainbow in the clouds for countless others simply by doing what he could to give them opportunities and hope.

Creative Commons Double-alaskan-rainbow

Creative Commons Double-alaskan-rainbow

I love reminders like this, because as there is a huge push for teachers to take advantage of the amazing technology and opportunities to connect using social media (twitter, google+ etc) we dont have to be connected globally to share.  ‘Uncle Willy’ gave of himself what he could and we all should.

We all have a story, a passion, a skill that we can share with others, so let us be rainbows in the clouds.


Be Like a Kid!

Will Richardson said something during his blackboard collaborate session T3S3 – The Challenges & Opportunities of Modern Learning which struck a  chord with me. Something I hadn’t realised that I had already embraced and something that I can now identify that frustrates me when I am supporting other teachers’ learning.

“Stop waiting for Professional Development Workshops, if there is something you want to learn, be more like a kid and go out and learn it!”

Photo Credit kids playing with sand image by Cherry-Merry from

Photo Credit kids playing with sand image by Cherry-Merry from

When I see something, hear of something or experience something I want to embrace or use, I find out how!  I determine whether this new skill or understanding will support my teaching, or develop my understanding and I make a choice whether I invest my time in it.

When kids learn things, they share it with their friends, they build their understanding together. When I learn something new or discover something interesting, I share it and try and develop it further. When staff approach me about supporting them to use a tool or develop a skill, I always say yes, or point them to the person or place with more expertise than I.

Instead of being frustrated by colleagues who don’t pursue any learning, I need to address WHY their interest in learning has faded.

Digital What?

It seems the last two weeks have flown by and I have completely missed Topic #2 Digital Storytelling! I have not had a chance to catch anything via google+, see anyones creative pieces, nor engage in any #etmchat. I have resorted to just sulk and peek shamefully at the 100plus messages in my gmail 😦 reminding me how much I have missed!

What I HAVE done to keep my learning progressing, is to utilise a few tools to increase the story telling in my classroom and as an example to my peers.

I used videoscribe to tell my own story to my peers in a demonstration, I used the App Dash of Color with my students to tell a story around an image and tonight I played with popcorn webmaker.

I do tend to preach to my peers about deciding the “what” they want to say before choosing the tool in which they “tell” it, but I was so desperate to play that I do admit I started with the tool, then came across this YouTube clip I couldn’t resist! There is something about the “Aussieness” of this (guessing 1970’s) clip that is both embarrassing and endearing.  One regret was that I did not create my account first. As a result I lost my entire project, which I then had to recreate. Definitely sign up first before you start creating to avoid tears!

Check out my creation here – Toad Lovers and Fighters!

Here’s hoping that I can access more of Topic #3 Digital Literacies (fingers crossed).


Isolation – WHY?

“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”
― Haruki MurakamiSputnik Sweetheart

In the lastest #etmooc Blackboard Collaborative Session Dave Cormier talked about “MOOC as a gathering place”.

Twitter is my gathering space, or perhaps the place where I like to hang out to learn. I use TweetDeck to organise my favourite spots to mingle, using lists to ensure I cross paths with people who provoke my thinking. I often invite myself  “home” visiting links and blogs of people who attract my attention!  I am so grateful for the sharing of my PLN. I have learnt so much from hanging around and inviting myself in. It brought me to #etmooc!

My mother was the most generous person I have ever known.  She taught me the rewards of giving, giving of time, support, friendship and love. She was generous to the point of exhaustion, but never once expected acknowledgement, award or returns. What she got was respect and admiration of people from all walks of life. From the grounds keepers son who she discreetly bought clothes for so he could go on school camp, to the Parliamentary Counsel whom she supported through his cancer treatment.  It wasn’t until I stood at her funeral, in a room full of strangers desperate to share their stories of her acts, that I truly got a sense of the impact she had on so many people.  She never once stood on a stage, held a room full of people or gained the attention on any great scale.  What she did do was give!

via the Practice of Generosity (Dana)

via the Practice of Generosity (Dana)

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

― Herman Melville

If we live in isolation, in our classrooms, in our faculties, or in our schools, then we are truly missing out.


Freshly MOOCed

So I completed my first etmooc session today and to tell you the truth it was really fun! If you suspect a hint of surprise, you would be right.  Having never experienced a MOOC before, even having read a little about it, I was unsure of what to expect. Whilst the session was just an introduction to things that will be covered in the course, it was a great taste of what is to come.

What I have learnt already…

1. There are people from other countries who laugh at my jokes!

The chatroom was a buzz with people connecting/reconnecting, commenting, suggesting and providing information and support via links. It was exciting to see so many people engaged in an opportunity to learn or develop their skills and from so many different professional backgrounds.

2. Alec Couros has a good sense of humour and can tolerate being teased.

Alec is a good sport and exemplified the fun in learning. It was quite impressive how he managed to keep his train of thought, talk and read comments fly by all at the same time. The chatroom did at one point become somewhat of a “Couros love fest” with @gcouros being thrown in there, even though he wasn’t a part of it!

…and on an educational note..

3. Blackboard Collaborate is a great tool.

This was my “virgin” experience of this collaborative tool.  It was CRAZY! I definitely see the value in using this space, however, due the the hoards of people participating, the comment feed flew so fast it was hard to keep up AND contribute/graffiti on the slides Alec was presenting. As one participant suggested though, this forum would possibly not be where the significant learning would occur.  Instead, the development of groups and discussion via twitter or Google+ would be where the connections would come to bear fruit.

4. Plenty of folks are on the same page!

There are many people asking questions similar to mine and responding to prompts similarly.  This provides me with confidence that our collective voice will come up with some really interesting ideas and possibilities.  I am also looking forward to challenging some of the ideas presented. Alec prompted us to discuss what is digital literacy? It was amazing to see so many comments that were fear based.  This will be an interesting discussion me thinks!

5. Plenty of folks are on a different page!

There are many people within the etmooc crowd that are well established digital contributors and it is heartening to see their willingness to help those with less advanced skills/experiences. It was also great to see so many people taking the “ski jump” (as Alec showed) and entering the blogosphere and twitterland for the first time.


Needless to say that the first etmooc session has left me enthused for the next round, bring it on!


Excited about #etmooc 2013

I am looking forward to participating in my first MOOC via #etmooc! I am curious to experience the benefits of learning in an open online environment and engaging with and learning from others around the world. I have experienced “online” training in the past few years, however being located away from the “host” country and the time zone difference will be a new challenge. I am hoping that engaging in this course will support my digital skills and knowledge and advantage my classroom time and my role as a leader in my school.

#etmooc starts this week so stay tuned for further posts or follow the discussions at #etmooc on Twitter.

See below for my etmooc introduction and my first play with xtranormal animation!

My #etmooc introduction