Getting ready to start… a new stage…

During the last days I have been getting ready to start this new coming year.  During this past (or almost gone) one, I have learned a lot of things.. mostly about myself.

I think it is good to have a moment every 12 months when you can stop, think, learn… and move on… I have been trying to do so in other moments of the year, since I’ve realized that things were not really moving smoothly along the way, I felt like swimming against the current or trying to keep going with a flat tire in my car…. now I can change it, even change the car… for a bike ;).

I have the problem that I want to do so many things and by focusing in only one, usually i get troubles with the other ones… I learned that this year..

I know one can take any time to check and resume, but I’m starting to finally understand the importance of the ritual of “new year”, where one can take the global momentum for summing up and see life in perspective…

some times one sees coming new years, now I see coming a new stage…

Publicado en Bitácora | Etiquetado | Deja un comentario

Flexible learning… thinking as student

I remember that last semester when I got to know that we were going to work in a “flexible” way in this subject, I was very curious to know what that exactly was meaning. One thing was clear, we were going to have  more flexibility, whatever that meant…

Now I have been already in the course for some time and I am still confused about what “flexible” means. Initially the teacher explains us that we will “have a flexible level in our learning”, I still didn’t get what that means, but I thought “ok, that means I will learn when ever I want, whatever I want, that sound interesting!”. But then he presented the structure of the course, which didn’t look very “flexible”, we had well structured content and clear deadlines to deliver some assignments related to each topic. he was explaining that it was to be able to track or process and guide us when needed. I also found it a very good idea and I was excited about it. But then I understood that it was not learning what I want, since the content was pretty much defined and when I wanted because I must be ready to next topic on time.

Some of the tasks where to be done individually and others collaboratively, but beside of this, it was from the beginning introduced the idea of a community where we can share ideas and knowledge and discuss at any time we wanted. Then I thought, ok, that’s interesting and it bring me the flexibility part, since I will be able to discuss ideas and doubts at any time…

Everything was looking very interesting and organized from the beginning. Then the process started and I will try to summarize my experience that brought me to write this reflection.. At the beginning was the process to get along with the tools we will be using, it was not a big deal I already had a G+ account and the teacher created a community, so all fine. So the first topics where ok. I had to post things, I had already a blog that I used for some personal things very sporadically. I lost a lot of time figuring out how to manage to keep separated my personal posts and the posts that my colleagues will read, at the end I decided to create a new Blog. problem resolve, but during this time I was overwhelmed with other subjects assignments and I realize I was slow in the topic that was about to finish, so I rushed to finish it (by luck it was to be done individually!). The next topic i realize I was not understanding so good the previous one, although I could manage to finish the assignment and even have a got a good mark. I was confused and this week I got sick, so I was not able to really keep track of what was going on in the community. we had to collaborate, but I was really lost when I came back from my sick period.

When I came back the teacher supported me and gave me some literature to check and some videos so that I could catch up the current state of the topic, but i was already delayed with the previous topic and topics of other subjects as well, so I started posting questions in the forum so that I could know where they where… it was very good to have my classroom mates there to support me as well. I think without the existence of the community I would have not been able to recover the time.

In general the teacher was also very supportive, he was always answering my mails really fast. He was asking me to contact him in the forum, but I felt more comfortable contacting him via mail. I am happy that he was flexible enough to allow me to skip this rule and have this one to one communication as well, beside of the community. But what it was not working so good for me, was that after delivering the assignments we sometimes didn’t even get feedback before starting the new topic or I got sometimes interesting feedback and recommendations how to improve my knowledge about the topic so that I could manage better the next one, but I didn’t find the time to read the recommended literature or see the videos, since I had to jump into the new topic already…

So, I think it is very interesting the fact of having a community where we can openly get in track with the content in different ways, but has been a bit stressful to have to organize the collaborative work having limited time to deliver the assignments, I have sometimes the feeling that some topics need longer time than other to be digested, and some also need longer time for personal reflection than others where I was missing more opportunities to share and elaborate ideas collaborative. It must be difficult for a teacher to define that, but it would be great to have flexibility on that as well. the experience has been positive at the end, because the teacher has been always there to support us, and the most interesting thing was that it was not expected that we give correct answers, but that we even use mistakes and misunderstandings as opportunities to learn from each other.

One of the best things of this experience is that one can continue the conversations that were initiated in the classroom out of it, and it makes us come up with new open questions or ideas to the next f2f session, i love this part!. I still don’t get exactly what part is “flexible” in my learning, but i like the experience I have had so far. And I have the feeling that many things are just starting points and I’ ll digest them maybe after the class better than during it… i hope the teachers is already aware of that ;)…

Publicado en #ONL14, ConnectedCourses | 1 Comentario

Co-learning in the openness

This aare some comments and thought after watching interest discussion about an after mooc experience: the #ectmooc experience

I found very interesting to hear the reflection of students after one year of their experience, where this experience have gone and why have impacted their professional and even personal life in the way it did…

One of the main topics that rapidly pop up in the conversation was the ability of the teacher to make everyone feel involved, welcome, and open to learn from mistakes. This makes me think in the importance of the teacher’s competences when we talk about open learning, or collaborative learning. Most of the participants where bringing positive comments about the way their teacher was welcoming them. In this case we were talking about Alec Couros, who has many years of experience in open and collaboraticve learning. I like the way how he opened the fact that in spite of the experience, they where sometimes making mistakes and learning from the experience. I think this is one of the main competencies that teachers need to learn, learn from the mistakes and overall being open to embrace them. Together with the one dHoward Rheingold was pointing out “learning to shut up as teacher and leave the students take the lead”, by real. The rol that teacher play modeling the behavior as community member was also catching my attention. At the end, as teachers, I think we have to be consecuente with the philosphy behind of the pedagogy choosen. In that concern Howard was also rising a sensitive topic, he open up the fact that it is indeed a lot of work to follow the activity of your students, but I understood it as part of being consequente with the pedagogy you choose. So, I think beside of any action, guideline, steps, recept can be said to support collaborative and open learning (there are many very complete and useful ones), i think non of them are going to work if teachers are not really consistent with the philosophy behind, where teachers are not responsible for having or delivering knowledge, but for facilitating the environment where students can find their way to build it.

Student attitudes and competences was another topic. All the participants stressed the fact that they were having fun while learning, and that was making easier the way to the unknown. I am wondering if there is also not needed that students know exactly that they are going to enter in a different way of understanding learning, and not only let them believe that it is simply another method to pass the exams… the time consumed for participating, for studying the material by themselves, for reflecting, collecting, connecting, sharing…. and even for learning the tools they will use and how to combine them, it is an extra effort that they need to digest as well. it needs to make sense for them to collaborate, to share, to connect…. if they are not used to that, it needs time until they understand what it is about… I am wondering if this can be implemented in a semester, surrounded by claiscal demands from other subjects… i guess this increase the need for teachers’ consistency and modeling.

it lead us to learning cultures, in open learning students are enrolled in a course by curiosity or personal interest, but in the formal environment, students are immers in the system. goig to the open implies to mix formal and informal learning (seamless learning), I honestly think students are ready for that change, but I am wondering if teachers and institutions can cope with it?…

In regard to learning, i found very interesting the idea that learning is something that doesn’t happen when you want it to happen, but when it happen… ALec was interested in knowing how to avoid drop outs, and at the end the discussion turned to be more about understanding that maybe some apparent drop outs are simply non active learniners, but learners as well. People that are participating in their way and who maybe are processing the experience in a different way. My personal case is that i was not active in the current #ccourses, but i’ve been reading the discussions and some recommended references, watching the seminars and videos, and I have been using that to discuss it with in other communities or to digest it by myself…. and I consider  that I have leared really a lot in this course…. So, at least in open learning I think one cannot pretend to control the speed of learning process or eve the direction of it.

I think is one of the problems of collaborative learning in formal education. The curricular structure is build in a way as if learning would be a controlable process. I think learning itself needs time, and the culture of collaboration needs to be established, both things need time, consistency and patience. Confidencde need to be build among participants, it is really possible to do that in a grilled curricular structure, where subjects tend to open and close as it would be a  department store?. I think collaboration among teachers is needed to enable real collaboration among students.

Last but not least (and just for now), technoology is an important factor. What is the relationship we, as teachers, have with technology? it is more than tools, that’s true, but it is needed anyway to manage the tools from a technical perspective. currently there are many tools available for enhancing collaboration… but I think it is needed more technological flexibility in the institutional policy to allow teachers to feel free of trying it out… This is connected with digital literacy, where I think part of being literate in the digital age is to determine how to use each technology and to be able to transfer our knowledge when a new technology can offer us better possiblities to enhace the learning process….

To conclude I think many lesons learned from many years of collaborative learning continue their way in open learning. There are no doubts about the importance of collaboartion in learning, but there is still a way to go until we deeply undertand that it is not another method to be used in our current system but a different philosophy that should could lead us to a transformation into an adequate digital age education.

Publicado en #ONL14, ConnectedCourses | Etiquetado | 2 comentarios

Role of technology…

Although i have the feeling I was never able to truly “jump in” into connected courses, and even keeping with me my frustration feeling, I am enrolled in another similar experience called “open networked learning”. it has a different approach but I think the concept rather the same.

Interestingly, instead of making me be more busy and push me completely away of #Ccourses, now it seems that I have really learned something in my inner reflection during my time trying to catch up… now, magically, I have time and patience for both and I am starting to share between both…  the trick?… I decided to take a nice advice: “just concentrate on one thing and go for it, and it doesn’t matter if it changes on the way” … so now I am very interested in technical issues, how I can organize my personal network space where I can save energy that I now spend sometimes thinking in “did I miss something?”, “did I check twitter? or G+? or the posts RSS in my computer?”… now I’ll learn more in deep how to make a better use of technology to get the most of my network and to explore in a more relaxed way my own interests and focus.

I really believe that nowadays technology is not a thing, it is a philosophy of life. Technology is not only not prescriptive, but is at the end whatever we want it to be. What I mean is, the use we make of technology will strongly depend on what we believe technology is there for… and this is not in the manuals or user tutorials.. it is not a functional or conceptual understanding of the technology, it is a deep understanding of ourselves, of what we are expecting to get out of it, of what means for us to share, knowledge building, collaborating… what means for us learning… what means for us educating (others or ourselves).. what means for us collaborating…

I remember that I when I worked in my dissertation, collaborative learning was already a hot topic. Without entering in deeper conceptualizations or even differences of understanding what collaboration and cooperation means (for example), it is very interesting for me, how the development or better say the deployment and evolution of web 2.0 technologies has transformed the term collaboration into sharing… there is difference? what’s the difference between collaborating and sharing?

I think that sharing is giving something valuable for you with the idea of make it better with the contribution of others. It is not ‘showing’ it is sharing.. if I share it, I am not giving it away from me, I am giving it to you without loosing it, in a way I am multiplying what I have and it is modified by others just by taking it, since we all have our own realities and our own interpretation of what we see and get…

Collaboration is… giving something valuable from you as contribution to create something better together with others… which for me is just another way to describe sharing…. we needed just a step forward in collaboration tools, to make us understand what collaboration was…. before web 2.0 we were not able to understand it in deep, because we were not able to materialize it in the practice in such tremendous and explicit way…

Technology is giving us the chance to understand that there is not the student and the individual, it is only the individual seeking to learn something… same with the teacher, we are not teachers and then other things… we are an individual comprised by all our facets and technology allow us to get to know us better… only if we allow ourselves to explore technologies that will inevitably show us different parts of how we are…

I have to work out how to finish a post… because as a teacher told me some time ago, I am expansive and divergent and I have to learn how to converge…. i leave this part to you, my readers… I don’t know who you are or if you even exist, but sharing my thoughts with you have been a good motive to write this post…

Publicado en ConnectedCourses | 1 Comentario

Trying to get back… to where?

Hi everyone, I am here again trying to #connect with you guys, although I don’t know who are you… it doesn’t really matter now.

I want to share with you my thought right now, and I want to do so, because until now I have been carefully thinking in a blog content, idea, and I realized that this has simply stopped me to write. so, here we go… splashhhhhh… i jump into the cold water.. with a smile 🙂

I came late to the community, so I started late and I was struggling to jump in, someone told me that I shouldn’t care about ‘catching up’ the others, I just should think in deciding what to do. It was reasonable and my rational mind decided to do so…. but my emotional one didn’t care and continue trying to catch up everyone. I have an account in every social network available, which one I use?.. all, no one, all again, no one… and so on.. then I repeated the pattern in #ccourses. Decided to jump in, trying to catch up (opening a blog again, activating my twitter manager again, cleaning the dust of my G+ account, jumping in as much discussion topics I could in the forum, etc)… and finally, i got lost!… I decided to slow down, someone told me that it was actually a topic in the community at the same time when I disappear in my slowing down process… and then I felt disconnected again…

DSC_6214

stopping by

I am reflecting on my feelings, emotions, rational reflections, attitudes, motivation and behaviors. I get distracted so easily… and while I am looking carefully at the nice leaves… they are already gone…

At the end it comes to my mind the question: could it be that #ccourses is mean for determine kind of people? or do you need determined skills before you jump into one of this courses?, should it be that you develop those skills on the way?. I should be very organized (which I am during the time when I am, out of this time I am not ;)). But what that exactly means?. be organized doesn’t mean to have an agenda, it means to be able to set the appropriated technology to know who posted what where, when about what; to let other know when you have done something, but have one place where you can easily see where do you want to ‘do’ something (answering, commenting, liking, posting asking…)… there is simply too much going on at the same time!!!… and I am even shame of saying it, I am usually the ‘technological girl’ among my friends, and here I feel like a digital illiterate… fortunately it is a state that is changing on the way 🙂

It is already more than the half of the course and I am now realizing that I should have done that from the very beginning, although I saw the introductory video where technical things and the importance of technical issues was carefully described. Anyways, I feel now that I am starting when everyone else is ending… but I am trying to make it more relax.

I hope you still be there when I arrive to read your post in the forum, I hope I can comment on your blog post, retwitt your fully tagged and encrypted twitter, answer your gorgeous ideas posted in the forum, join you in a hangout session… and I hope finally be able to gather in one place the notifications that arrive to my personal and work email separately, the ones that only stays in the forum, the other ones that goes to my wordpress and the ones that hide themselves at the up right cornet of my G+ page…. I think when I reach that… then I will be ready for #ccourses :)… see you around!

Publicado en ConnectedCourses | Etiquetado | 5 comentarios

Are we matter?… The Observer Effect!

This video is part of a post a friend of mine shared in Facebook. It is interesting because she is a contemporary dancer, who share a post that use quantum mechanics to explains that our consciousness create reality, and that illustrate what I think research can not ignore when trying to understand an educational phenomenon…. here is the video…

 

The first that fascinated me while looking at this video, was the idea that we think we are marbles and we actually are when disconnected (it is almost impossible be disconnected, but most of us act like it would be possible), but when connected (or aware of connectedness), we are like waves, we interfere with each other at different points creating a main stream of distributed cognition, with other conceptual artifacts built here and there, occurring in parallel although in minor intensity than the main one, which also create patterns and spots of connected energy.

When continue looking at how electrons behave when observed, i can not avoid to think in a fact that some educational researcher tend to forget or ignore… we introduce perturbations when we observe!  (we behave differently when observed), even when we try to don’t do it, most probably then is when we most do it. We can not simply ‘observe’ the subject as researchers… human are not ‘subjects’ of observation, and today I understood that is because we are made of electrons! and electrons behave as expected when observed but they collate to each other and create wonderful patterns if we don’t attempt to look at the individual behavior  to understand the distributed one… what if we focus on what happen when we just through them to the openness, and rather than trying to observe what happen with each electron, we observe what happen with the net of connected energy created … the participants are the only ones able to inform us about their journey, we can not observe what is happening inside them, but we can observe, and be part of what happens in the aggregated space (connected, distributed, networked, or whatever you want to call it)… and if we really want to understand this universe, we need to understand that they will do the journey in the way they want to do it and not in the way we want them to do…..same analogy for teachers/students/evaluation…

This is just one out of four characteristics of a quantum, which makes very clear that no matter what, matter matters!.. here the complete shared post

Publicado en ConnectedCourses | Etiquetado , | Deja un comentario

Welcome connected courses

Hi everybody,

I have struggled with blogging or not blogging. I have already started around 6 blogs in my life, and no one has survive longer than the crisis that makes me create it. This time is a bit different, since I have decided to don’t create a new Blog for connected courses, but use an old one. I have made private all my old posts, since I loved the name (the url) of this one, but I used it before to get rid of an identity crisis or something like that… some another me was using it, so i decided to keep it to my another me to read it ;)..

So, instead of introducing myself to a new space, i decided to welcome you to my old one.

In this image you can see a composition of my computer open in the connected courses main page, a big glass of ice tea, my phone and the mouse at the edges, with a fuzzy background of shlefs with books

Sunday in a coffee-library… connect or not connect? that’s the dilemma!

I hope we get along with each other nicely and feed this space together, so that we can keep it up alive beyond my (short) expectations..

hope to see you often around. (has I don’t know how to end a post, because I usually write emails or write to myself-posts, then I say by like in an email)…. I’ll let the tag open for the moment…

Best,

Vania 🙂

Publicado en ConnectedCourses | 3 comentarios