A List for Learning

Any day now, there are many educators that will be starting Additional Qualification courses over the summer.  There are a couple of things that will be certain to happen during these courses.

  • Some sort of goofy ice-breaking, get-to-know-ya activity.  This activity will definitely take up at least the first hour of any course.  They are a necessity since you’ll be learning with others in a concentrated period of time;
  • What’s your Twitter handle?  Any AQ leader worth their muster will be gathering these names and/or encouraging those who are not online learning to do so.  Then, there’s the mandatory “Hello World” Twitter message followed by “Is this thing on?” and then often little more.

The challenge with additional qualification courses lies in generating value after the course has ended.  This value comes from professional relationships or professional conversations after the last day.  Having taken a large number of these courses, I was bad with that.  At the time, working in groups was a necessary activity since the presentations that you did in for class required group work.  But, once the class was over, that was it.  We departed; often never to see each other again.  I was an out of towner, taking the courses in London and Toronto so it wasn’t even like I could car pool with a co-learner.  When it was over, it was over.

I was recently reminded of this by @pmcash.  We took the Data Processing Specialist course at the University of Western Ontario more years ago than either of us will admit.  I just received a message from Peter that he had found an assignment of mine.


I hope that he hangs on to it so that I can take a look at it.  It will affirm how far we’ve come!  If you know Peter, you’ll know what I mean when I say that he was about the only person I can remember from those courses.  As computer science teachers, our paths have crossed a few times over the years but the rest of the class – sadly, I don’t remember.

Back to the current AQ course.  Your instructor will have asked for your Twitter ID.  For some, that will be as far as it goes.  Why don’t you take it further?

Follow everyone in your class.  For the duration of the course, use that as a way to share resources and enhance your learning.  How do you keep track?  Put them into a Twitter List.  I’ve mentioned the concept of a Twitter List before.  Particularly if you’re a regular Twitter user, it’s the best way to keep track of the conversation.  Put them all into a list and then follow the postings to the list in your Twitter browser.  What a great way to share the learning (and the load) of your class!  Hopefully, all will find it so useful that the sharing continues after the course.

It’s also an immediate way to monitor any back channel that you’ve got going during those hours of presentations that typically form the core of these courses.  Of course, your AQ course supports BYOD and connectivity and encourages a back channel – right?

But the learning and connections shouldn’t stop there.  There will come a time when the course ends and summer enjoyment ramps up.  Keep the list alive.  If your learning is good enough for the AQ course, it should be even better when September returns and you’re all back in your classrooms – maybe even teaching that subject or that grade level for the first time.  Share your resources and ideas – don’t do what Peter and I did and leave it until years later, if at all.  To our defence, we weren’t preparing to be 21st Century teachers!  The concept wasn’t even conceived of at the time.  It would be completely different if we were in Prof. Walsh’s class now.

But you are!  The greatest gift and learning that you may walk away with from your course is your own Instant Personal Learning Network that extends far beyond your few weeks in the summer.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

I was actually quite surprised that I couldn’t find blog entries from the usual suspects about the technology conference that happened in Ontario this past week.  Strange.

But, there was some great reading otherwise.  Read on…

Getting Started ~ Library Research Information Guide for Graduate Students

I really like the concept of a library maintaining a blog and informing anyone who drops by about what’s happening.  Even if you’re stuck for a current idea, there are always hundreds of ideas on the shelves to engage students and their parents.  The Education library at UWO is just full of ideas for students.  Denise Horoky is just full of information and ideas, posting quite frequently to the blog.  This particular link takes the graduate student to a resource for ideas about research as they prepare for research.  Libraries everywhere could take a lesson from the content here.

10 Reasons to Educate Elementary Students about Social Media

Only 10? Deborah McCallum added some more excellent reasons to the discussion.  While I’ve read numerous blog posts on this topic, she has some interesting takes on the issues that she’s identified.  It’s a good post and well worth the read and certainly worthwhile sharing with your colleagues.  It makes me wonder – with the ideas that she’s identified and from others who have posted similar content, why is it a discussion that we continue to have.  You can’t ignore it; it’s time to attack the topic seriously.

What Happens Now?

Many minds landed in the same place at the same time and that place was EdCamp Hamilton.  Aviva Dunsiger was one of the organizers and shared some of her thoughts about the day at this blog post.

It’s typical though – the organizers often don’t get a chance to get fully immersed with the happenings.  Aviva is a good enough social media user to know that she would be able to follow the discussion online.  It’s ironic to having to do so with the participants just footsteps away but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

After the event, she captured the “next steps” in a Storify document and shares it here.  It’s an interesting read to see the different in realities from those who live in cities versus those who don’t.  I can certainly understand.  I got into a discussion recently about the need for television access in the era of the internet.  Those who live in the big centres sometimes don’t realize how the other half lives.  I could never imagine ever streaming a television show.  On a good day, I can watch a YouTube video…

Can we please talk about Infographics?

I thought everyone liked infographics!  But, I guess not.  Read this post for some compelling arguments against the concept of infographics.  It’s difficult to disagree IF you take the infographic as the end product with nothing further.

I still like infographics and good designers will leave their references in the document somewhere so that I can dig deeper if I need to or I want to.  Secondly, where I think infographics really excel happens when students create them as a research activity.  Here, they have to do the research, filter the data, manipulate the information, decide what is important enough for inclusion, and then decide how to tell their story via the presentation.  Of course, knowing how to use the appropriate technology to present the final results is important as well.

An Interview with Cyndie Jacobs

“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”  Or, let me tell you about a blog post of my own!  #ecoo13 co-chair Cyndie Jacobs was the latest of my interviews.  Take a read – you just might find out something new about this incredible woman.

Great reads and my compliments to those that pulled their thoughts together.  Please enjoy the full posts and support these Ontario Edubloggers with a visit to their blogs.  Support is so important.

To read all of the Ontario Edubloggers, follow this link to a Livebinder with the bigger collection.

If you’re an Ontario Edublogger and you’re not listed, please take the moment to complete the form and I’ll get you added as soon as I can.