A New Year – Lean into Possible Futures

summer beachTeaching is an awesome profession. Where else can you [every year or even every day for that matter] have “start overs” and be inspired by “creative ….   and engage in “possible futures”.  A new year to uncover new ideas and explore more deeply the rich ecologies we create.  And to grow into them – the journey is the most exciting.

Over the summer, I was able to engage in quite a few things to rejuvenate my soul [sleep, relaxation, the spa, visiting family and friends, reading a ton of books, rebuilding my running routine].  And I lucked out in participating in my first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course); this one #clmooc [Making Learning Connected MOOC] was pretty casual, something that my summer brain could handle.  People offered their renditions of “makes” and “remixes” [handy terms for creative play and crafting] so I was able to see lots of examples [something I needed].  I explored a few tools and platforms and wondered how to bring them purposefully into our educational ecology – still mulling.  More importantly I experienced a community of supportive people who provided encouraging and thoughtful feedback.  What a feeling – it made me want to try more.  And even my failures were short-lived. I kept trying simply because I received responses from others. This got me thinking about how we engage with our students and teachers. I wonder when offering new experiences to teachers in PD or students how much time we spend on creating environments or ecologies that truly allow for everyone to experience and grow into the possible. What would these ecologies look like?  And how would these environments capture learning to reflect, extend, or include?

For those of you in our district, consider dropping into our online district Staff Development Calendar [frequently] and join a community to learn and grow with each other.  There are many opportunities.  Or perhaps create a community for others to join you.  Would love to hear how you’re creating ecologies and leaning into emerging possibilites.

Remixing and the Learning Process

The truth has come out. I’m a terrible risk-taker. I’ve been able to drop into the Making Learning MOOC (#clmooc) a few times to soak in the creative energy of a group of amazing people.  There are several remixes using Thimble (Mozilla) that showed powerful messages. Now I’m wondering about the connection between remixes and creativity  – how the process of remixing can help see a different experience.  Or even the notion of ‘remixing’ as new creation.  So in I dove only to find early confusion and frustration. Result? I quit. Then I saw Kevin’s remix and I tried again – this time with a plan by matching the code line by line.  Persistence paid off after multiple trials.

Here’s my remix of a remixed remix.  https://beyondtech.makes.org/thimble/summer-crafting

remix

What I learned is that my overall  success depended on getting a little comfortable with the tool before having a message to share. More importantly I needed immediate success to move forward. OK, not DaVinci success – just enough to make a foothold. Then I looked to the community with their multiple examples [not all at once] to fuel both ideas and persistence over time. The process has lifted concepts such as attachment, trust, community and timely stepped success. I have a new way of looking at the learning process, which is going to change the way I craft professional learning in September.

Be Explorers of Awe

I’m in awe of what’s been happening in the MOOC [Making Learning Connected #clmooc]. Such ideas and remixes to entices the senses – everything from coding to images, to poetry, music and audio. And new tools like Popcorn Maker, Thimble, collaborative hangouts…  Then I saw a postcard, like the one you would send home from camp.   Simple enough that any class from primary upwards can do.  On the ipad, I could have used LifeCards or Bill Atkinson’s PhotoCard. But not all our schools have access. I chose to use PicMonkey [online image editor] as the site just added a collage component.  A layout was selected by deleting some boxes to reflect a postcard look. Once the images were inserted, the editor was used to insert the final objects and most importantly the text. The final product in this round is saved as an image.

postcard_makeconnectedreflect

What I noticed of this process was twofold:  a returning to purpose and intention when it came to selecting a resource tool or platform. I wanted it to be simple, flexible, and provide multiple entry points.  Then I wondered if this could be remixed and sure enough, it could be picked up by another and repurposed or extended. This can happen by using the same resource (PicMonkey) or another. Maybe a movie or a thread in Voice Thread so that conversation can connect to other ideas. Or maybe taking the text and exploding them to reflect a whole different path…   It seems endless.

In My Backyard #clmooc

I was working on a mapping scheme for  Making Learning Connected MOOC and it took me forever. Perhaps it was the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy when I saw what everyone else was doing or maybe having just finished off a challenging year, my brain couldn’t concentrate on one more thing.  In any event, I finally took ideas from the many projects and decided to be a visitor in my own backyard to showcase my story (which has no beginning, middle or end).  I used ComicLife to template some images I had; uploaded the final jpg to Thinglink and added bits of information.  The audio was recorded using  Voice Record Pro app on an ipod/touch.  Unfortunately the animation doesn’t work on this blog so this is the link: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/410535668104560642#tlsite

I’m struck by how using a particular tool enhances or restricts how we share our story. The template format here could have a regular read left to right – top to bottom (like a comic book). Since the story is chosen as snapshots, the story can be read in any order without losing its thread.  Regarding sound files, I didn’t want to use the options offered by Thinglink so I found that I could upload the mp3 to box and it could be shared without a login account [good thing to remember for next school year].