Sunday, February 27, 2011

Open Learning as an Avenue for Higher Quality - #PLEK12

Facilitating an open course gets you thinking a lot about the benefits and challenges of teaching and learning in this environment.  There are definitely challenges.  The focus of week #3 was digital responsibility.  Kristin Hokanson provided an excellent perspective on copyright amid some technical difficulties with Elluminate.  We just chalk this up to part of the learning adventure, but I personally know how frustrating it is when a presentation doesn't load correctly or the audio doesn't stream well.  In any case, Kristin handled it eloquently and we had some very positive feedback.

My aha moment this week highlights a potential benefit.  The focus of week #3 was digital responsibility.  We posted some resources from various sites providing guidance on copyright.  Kristin, as an invited speaker, reviewed the course resources and noticed that some of our references took an outdated, highly conservative stance with regard to fair use.  She provided updated resources and we were able to revise the content immediately.  Think about the walled garden approach in the traditional classroom where one person's point of view is predominant.  The content we posted was not wrong, but it didn't provide the whole picture.  What would happen if all university courses, especially those that are offered repeatedly across the country or around the world, were open to feedback from others?  Would that have an impact on course quality?  In what other ways might quality be improved in this scenario?

#PLEK12 Week #3
#PLEK12 Resources
Kristen Hokanson's ISTE2011 Workshop on Copyright Clarity

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pulling it all together in #PLEK12

Well, we finished week one in the Personal Learning Environments for Inquiry in K12 course (#PLEK12).  I have already had conversations with students about the experience.  Organization of content is always a challenge.  Chris and I have tried to provide structure to the course to allow students to access content easily.  But, once people dive in, they are often confused about what to do next.  I try to be transparent in my teaching and learning.  In all honesty, I often feel disconnected from my online students.  I don't know how they are feeling unless they reach out to me and share.  What can we do to feel more connected to one another?
  1. Don't be afraid to ask for help.  If you email me or message me in Twitter, I will respond.
  2. Reach out to others in the course.  Many have already posted their blogs in the week 1 repository.
  3. Set up your own RSS subscription service (Google Reader, NetVibes, Symbaloo). 
  4. Use #PLEK12 on anything you post anywhere.  The RSS feeds will pick up the hashtag.

In an attempt to model personal learning management, I set up a NetVibes aggregation to help.

PLEs for Inquiry in K12 NetVibes Page

There are many ways to aggregate content on the web.  I don't advocate one over another.  Symbaloo is a great option for kids because they allow students under 13 to use the tool with parent permission.  But, ultimately you should use what works best for you.  We will look at this in further detail in week 5.