Category: social media

Gearing up for #etmooc

(Image adapted from picture by Ed Yourdon on flickr CC)
Let’s use technology in class for learning. (Image adapted from picture by Ed Yourdon on flickr CC)

You know what makes me cringe? When a professor complains about his not paying attention in class “because they’re on their computers [dramatic pause] facebooking!”

My instinctive response is to ask

  1. Do you know their on facebook and not working on an essay or checking their email or watching sports? Don’t presume to know what your students are doing when they’re not entranced by your presentation.
  2. And just why do you think that is, anyway? Why don’t they need to be engaged with the concepts you’re lecturing about? Hint: it probably has something to do with “you’re *lecturing* about”.
  3. Why do you believe laptops and smartphones in class are evil?

I don’t actually say these things, though. Bad for recruiting faculty into committing their time and energy to transform their instructor-centered lectures into student-centered instruction.

Instead, I just grimace, shake my head a bit, and say,”—” Honestly I don’t really know what to say to spark the conversation that is the first step of changing their misconceptions about computers and smartphones in the classroom.

I have a vision of what I’d like to see in university classes when it comes to technology:

I want every student so engaged with the material and actively constructing their own understanding that they have neither the time nor the desire to disengage to check their smartphones, or

I want to see everyone using their smartphones and laptops for learning: googling things, running simulations, writing a googledoc with the rest of the class, tweeting the expert in the field, finding a Pinterest collection,…

That’s a long way from a grimace and a head shake. What I need are the words, concepts and tools that can bring technology into education in an effective and efficient way.

etmooc_logo
(etmooc badge from etmooc.org)

Which is why I’m so excited about #etmooc. It’s a massive, open, online course (mooc) about educational technology and media, starting in January 2013. I’m interested in the content and tools we’ll be exploring. (Psst — and secretly, I’m interested in watching how the thing runs. If there’s anyone that can figure out how to make a mooc effective, it’s Alec Couros @courosa and the team he’s assembled.)

Each participant (there are over 1200 of us now) will be using their own blog to post reflections, opinions, whatever else he’s got in store for us. I’ll be tagging all  my posts with etmooc so their easier to find.

New Year's resolution: start blogging again

Ahh, that feels good.

Six months ago, I completed my job at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC and moved 2200 km south to San Diego, CA. Make that 1400 miles.

The Sun is rising on a new adventure. (Image: Peter Newbury)
The Sun is rising on a new adventure. (Image: Peter Newbury)

Posting to this blog fell off the bottom of my list of tasks that included getting immigration papers, getting across the border, finding health care, buying a house, starting a new job, getting the kids in school,… I promised myself I’d start blogging again as soon as, well, you know, when things settled down. Yeah, like that’s going to happen anytime soon. So, over the Christmas break, I bit the bullet, set up this new website, and here I am, writing my first post from San Diego!

I’ve got to say, I really missed blogging. I can’t count how many times in the last few months I’ve thought to myself, “This would make a really good post. ” I have a stack of post-it notes of potential posts. It’s hard to go back through that stack, though: I need the adrenaline of that moment of discovery or realization to write a post.

I’m looking forward to this new adventure.

My tweeps are coming with me

[Note: this post began as a comment I left on a post by Maria Anderson (@busynessgirl on twitter). She announced she’s heading to a new job. I recently did that, too…]

As I announced recently, I’m leaving UBC and Vancouver for a new position at the University of California, San Diego. Amongst the hundreds of joys, sorrows, thrills and frustrations of leaving one community and joining another, twitter is playing an important part for me.

Yes, this is another post recommending you get on twitter if you’re not there yet. And if you are there, here’s another reason why that was a good choice.

One of the things that is making this move easier, and harder, is twitter. I already chat regularly with dozens of colleagues around the country that I’ve never met in person. I’m not leaving them behind when I move. They’re only an arm’s length away in Tweetdeck on my laptop and hootsuite on my phone. That’s only as far away as they’ve ever been.

There are lots of people I know, I like, I [gulp] love in real life, here in Vancouver, that I’ll continue to work with, laugh with, #happytears with, and occasionally #damnsomethinginmyeye with via Twitter.

It’s comforting that my followers and followings are coming with me. I waved goodbye to a few colleagues yesterday and felt almost no twinge of sadness because I chat with them almost every day on twitter.

Of course, getting together with colleagues and friends is important. We’re social animals, we need that interaction. I’m not suggesting I don’t value that or crave that. I am suggesting that twitter softens the gash of leaving your community.

It’s funny but I felt bad, almost guilty, during the time between applying for the job and getting it because I couldn’t share my job-getting experiences with my Twitter community. You know, confidentiality of who’s applying for jobs, not wanting to reveal any info that might come back later. And honestly, not wanting to reveal going after a job and then not getting it. I’m so used to sharing my professional and personal adventures, I felt bad hiding the thrill of emailing my CV, or how nervous I was just before the interview, or the adrenaline rush when it was over.

It was such a relief to finally share my news.

There you have it:

Reason #781 for being on twitter: Your followers and followings come with you when you move.

(Image: adapted from Boxes by james.thompson on flickr (CC). I added the twitter logos, myself.)

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