Are you going to #blend14? Join the Unconference session (#unblend14) & More in the Rocky Mountains!

The @SloanConsortium 2014 Blended Learning Conference and Workshop (a.k.a. #blend14) is less than a month away! I am excited to be attending and facilitating a workshop in the rocky mountains (Denver, CO) this July.  As blended learning models for curriculum and program development increase in post-secondary education, learners and instructors are being more invested in different mode and models for education. Last year, I found the mix of programs, discussions, and people at #blend13 very refreshing.  If you have interests in design, development, or research in hybrid and blending learning environments than this might just be the conference and workshop for you!

blend14 banner

For those you who ARE attending #blend14, let me entice you to join in the UN-conference session.  This year, I will be helping to host the Blended Unconference (#unblend14) with Jessica Knott (@jlknott) and Patrice T (@Profpatrice). Unconferences are great opportunities to interact, discussion, and dig into topics that YOU are most interested in. As an a-typical session, the unconference is guided by participants who attend, and are flexible to the needs and wants of the group. It will be YOU who takes control of the agenda, content, and conversation. We will help by providing a basic infrastructure to keep things organized and moving, but this is the opportunity to really make the conference YOUR OWN. Typically unconference sessions introduce a topic or issue, and discussion, debate and ideas ensue.

Should I Attend the Unconference?

Yes!  Well, we think so. If you answer yes to any of the following, the unconference session is JUST for you:

  • Do you sometimes find yourself thinking “I wish they had covered X,Y, Z more deeply” in regular conference sessions?
  • Do you wish you had the chance to ask further questions or expand upon session content?
  • Are you looking for ways to get involved & meet others at #blend14?
  • Did someone ask the perfect question during your presentation & now you want to talk to them further?
  • Do you like interacting with colleagues to expand on ideas, share techniques, debate current trends, or collaborate on research?

Come to the Unconference Sessions on July 9:

  • 1:30 PM – Gather in the Unconference room and review the topics and votes; select top topics
  • 1:45 – 2:45 PM- Break into groups and discuss the top three topics.
  • 2:45 – 3:00 PM – Short break
  • 3:00 – 3:15 PM – Reconvene and revisit the topics and votes
  • 3:15 to 4:15 PM – Break into groups and discuss the next three highest voted topics. (Again, the individuals who submitted the topics will facilitate each of these three groups, with a scribe assigned for note-taking and organizational purposes.)

SIGN UP and submit YOUR UNCONFERENCE TOPIC for #unblend14:

Check out and VOTE ON the current Unconference Topics on Ideascale:

About the Sloan Community on IdeascaleA few ideas to vote onIn other #blend14 news, I will be a “Chef” in the “Technology Test Kitchen.” This NEW addition to the conference will provide participants an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with different tools and technologies they want to use back on campus. Bring your own device (BYOD), and let’s getting developing with audio and/or video, collaborative platforms, communication tools, or presentation resources that YOU want to learn more about.

Are you planning to be in Denver for #blend14? Want to learn more about the #unblend14 Unconference or Test Kitchen? Drop me a line. :)

Q: Should I Start Blogging? A: Maybe.

A common question I field from teachers, faculty, graduate students, higher education professionals, and researchers these days:

Q: Should I start blogging?

My response:

A: Maybe.

write-your-own-blog

Image c/o Blogiau

Blogging and maintaining a blog is not for everyone. I often ask a follow up question to this inquiry to learn more about the motivating factors for the blog:

  • Why do you want to start blogging? [purpose, goal, sharing, reflection, etc.]
  • Do you enjoy writing? i.e. beyond 140-characters & comprehensively
  • What format do you want your blog to be? Written or other, i.e. video, photo-sharing, podcasting?
  • Do you want to express and share your ideas in a public, online forum?
  • What focus will your blog take – work, education, learning, research, or all of the above?
  • Who is your audience? Professional group affiliation? Research discipline? Just for yourself?
  • What platform are you thinking about? Blogger, WordPress or other?
  • Do you have an idea about how often you want to post to your blog?
  • Where will you be getting ideas for your writing? [Content IS king.]
  • How will this contribute to your learning, professional development, etc.? [depending on the person]
  • When will you post to you blog? Daily? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?

Everyone has different reasons for the WHY they blog, or even how they started blogging. Some use blogging as a forum to connect to a professional or academic community. Others use their blog to share resources and ideas. Bloggers often present concepts and challenge the status quo in their field. Then there are other bloggers who use it for shameless self-promotion and self-marketing. The main point is – you should blog because you WANT TO BLOG.

My blogging tale started back in 2006 when I initially took up blogging to share my travel adventures and general life happenings on, Souvenirs of Canada, for family and friends who wanted to stay in touch. In 2008, I created TechKNOW Tools as a professional development space for an academic advising technology seminar for NACADA, and after that I continued to use this space to discuss my own work experiences, research projects, and share what I have been learning.

blogging requires passion and authority

Image c/o Gaping Void

There are a number of reasons WHY I blog.  Thanks to a researcher reviewing educational bloggers, I audited my own blogging experience, and I have considered what [really] prompts me to blog and continue to blog. For me, blogging and writing about my progress is very reflective and I enjoy documenting, sharing, critiquing, and writing about what is going on in my professional (and sometimes personal) sphere. I appreciate the community of research and educational bloggers who play in this blog sandbox. I like their comments, questions, challenges, and support — and at the end of the day I LIKE BLOGGING — otherwise I would not blog. Really.

If it sounds blogging might be just space for you to share your interests and express your ideas — go get your BLOG ON! Here’s a quick “HOW TO” Set Up a WordPress Blog I created for my learners, with a few helpful resources posted at the bottom to get you fired up for your blog writing. Want some more ideas? Here you go:

Do you have resources for the beginning blogger out there? Any advice or comments for new or potential bloggers? Post it in the comments, and also be sure to say HOW LONG and WHY you blog. Blog on, my friends. Blog on.

Are You Coming to #et4online in Dallas? You Should.

The Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium (#et4online), hosted by the Sloan Consortium and MERLOT, is just around the corner. This 7th Annual #EdTech conference will be held in Dallas, TX from April 9-11, 2014, and based on the program you can expect a number of talented individuals to be in attendance. Registration is OPEN!

et4online

I know that the #et4online is giving you 7 Reasons Why You Should Join Us…

7 reasons

However I will give the reasons I am attending:

  • I get to talk about my #ugstSTORY class in terms of student development, learning design, social media applications, and my own lessons learned for instructional design.
  • Yours truly invited the Featured Sessions speakers to the conference, based on the amazing things they are working on in the field of Ed Tech and my own interest in meeting them. :)
  • I always learn something new from any of the interactive workshops and information sessions I have participated in.
  • You are able to order (almost) FREE MOO cards to help with your networking and such. This could also be handy as you attend the Career Forum (#edtechcareers) this year with some fantastic panelists c/o @RMoeJo
  • If you don’t know Jim Groom (@jimgroom) & his work on Reclaim Hosting – you should. He’s an #EdTech bad ass, and I look forward to his keynote.
  • The discussion, debate, & idea swapping in the Unconference is brilliant. All sessions are user-generated and led by those who attend these meetings. There is usually something for everyone, with regards to topics, and I usually leave with some interesting take-aways and things I want to work on as we wrap up the conference.
  • Last, but certainly not least… I attend #et4online because of THE PEOPLE. This conference is a fantastic meet up for a number of graduate students, early career  researchers, experienced scholars, instructors, entrepreneurs, faculty and more! From my previous #et4online experience, I have been fortunate to collaborate and connect with a number of folks beyond the conference to research, publish, and play. 

Can’t travel to the Big D? Learn more about our virtual attendee option.

Let me know if you’re heading to Dallas for the #et4online conference. If enough people are around, there could be rumours of me hosting a Texan BBQ at my homestead.  Until then, I look forward to following the banter about it on Twitter:

Hashtag: #et4online 
Handle @et4online

My #edu13 Sampling Tour at @EDUCAUSE

With limited time in my October schedule, I was only able to drop into the 2013 EDUCAUSE annual conference (#edu13) in Anaheim, CA for a couple of days. It’s unfortunate that I was not able to stay longer; however I’ll share my sample of the #edu13 higher education and technology conference. {This is what happens when you are traveling to conferences, writing a dissertation proposal, advising for Spring 2014 registration, teaching a class & training for a marathon all in the same month. Lessons learned for next year.}
#selfie at our #edusocmedia precinct at #edu13

Inside the Actors Studio @ #edu13

I was fortunate to be able to attend #edu13 since Tanya Joosten (@tjoosten) asked me to co-facilitate a virtual workshop on Social Media for Teaching and Learning. Much of this session shared ideas from Tanya’s book, our research article, and our practical application for utilizing social media for learning/teaching. During the session we modeled our teaching/learning expectations by encouraging participants to interact & dialogue with us on Twitter. Our emphasis was not on the tool, but more on the social learning and interactions you can have to augment educational experiences:

Let's get social #edusocmedia ....its not the tech #edu13Here is our digital handout from the workshop: http://bit.ly/edusocmedia13

Before I had to leave EDUCAUSE on Wednesday, I attended the #edu13 Prepare for Lift-Off: Becoming a Successful IT Pilot Site Panel and took a few digital notes: http://bit.ly/pilotpanel

How can the solution improve student learning? Ask @tjoosten @amcollier & @Veletsianos #edu13

During this session, Tanya Joosten (@tjoosten), Amy Collier (@amcollier), and George Veletsianos (@veletsianos) discussed the TOP 10 questions every institution should ask before piloting a technology solution for learning at their campus:

  1. Why should this solution be introduced to the campus?
  2. How can the solution improve student learning?
  3. Does your institution have readiness or capacity to pilot a new solution?
  4. Who is the audience and are the stakeholders?
  5. What is the pedagogical model that will lead to the greatest?
  6. How will a vendor be selected for the new technology?
  7. How would faculty be selected to participate?
  8. How do you evaluate the impact of the solution on the identified outcomes?
  9. How do you diffuse the innovation on campus and beyond?
  10. What are your questions?

Since I missed out on the live happenings, I made sure to follow the #edu13 backchannel and my tweeps while traveling home. If you don’t have much time or interest in text mining all the many tweets, The Chronicle curated few conversations on Twitter and EdTech Magazine compiled a list of people to follow at EDUCAUSE 2013.

Good morning #edu13

Help My #ugstSTORY Class Tell Their Story

It seems that all is quiet on the TechKNOW Tools blog front… Sorry about that.

The start of the academic semester came fast and furious, and I have been busy engaging with and learning about my students’ stories for my #ugstSTORY class this Fall 2013 semester. This is my UGST 1000 – First Year seminar class where my students explore their major/career options, get support with transition to college, and learn more about themselves.  Feel free to follow along with our “story” this Fall if you would like:

ugstSTORY Pic

With this seminar class, a great portion of the focus is on self discovery and exploration for personal, academic, and career options. Like many students who are “undecided” or exploring their options, many of my #ugstSTORY students have more than one interest and want to make sure they are going down the right path for them. In learning about many of their talents and skills, I can see why it might be a challenge to just focus on one major. They are a creative and involved class who what to include what they VALUE in their future world of work and life.

What My #ugstSTORY Class Values
During the Fall 2013 semester, my #ugstSTORY students will leave a digital footprint, and will be encouraged to explore their personal and professional options. In their research to make an informed decision, a number of my students will reach out to professionals and industry leaders in the world of work to answer: “What do I want to do with my life?” and “How did you get to where you are?” I am not sure these BIG QUESTIONS will and/or can be answered in just one semester; however I think a few of the assignments and projects will hopefully get them started.

The first assignment, the Road Trip Nation (RTN) Project, is designed to help my students explore personal, academic, and career paths. More importantly, it allows them to understand that many directions will lead you towards your goals and dreams. Their recent blog posts identified what how to find their “Red Rubber Ball,” that is, where do they get their inspiration, passion, interests, values, and likes. Specifically, I asked what potential careers, professions or industries would they like to learn more about.  Here’s a short list from their in-depth blog posts this week:

Interview: Potential Careers & Industry

Interests & Passions

Journalism; Sports Journalism; Broadcaster Friends; Family; Hockey; Sports
Artist; Engineer; Philanthropist; Advertising; Therapist Stability; Helping Others
Journalism; Pre-Law; Psychologist Community Involvement; Travel; Family
Clinical Psych; Greenpeace Environment Activism; Animals; photography; food; language
High School Librarian Reading; books; writing
Engineering; Tourism; Economics Travel; Stability; Accomplishing goals
No Clue Relationships; Smile; Creativity; Individuality
Writer; Journalism Music; Belonging; Writing;
National Geographic; Journalism Travel; Photography;
Broadcaster/Journalism Sports Talking; Sports; Opinions to voice
Photojournalist; Forensics; Library Science Cartoons; Anime; Photography; Music
Psychology; Fashion Merchandising; Law People; Cultures; Travel;
Sales Engineering Music; Activism; Star Wars
Sports Analyst; Broadcaster/Journalist NFL Analyst; sports industry
Neurology; Psychology; Editor/Publishing Anime; Neuroscience; travel; career student; small business

The reason I am sharing more about my class with you is to get them connected beyond our class and the UNT campus. Since I have some phenomenal friends, family, and colleagues in my own learning and professional network, I thought a few of YOU might be able to provide some of your own experience and wisdom for their exploration, specifically by:

  1. SHARING A Resource: We tweet with the #ugstSTORY hashtag, so if you see a link, article, website or anything related to major and career exploration – cc: @ugstSTORY or just put the #ugstSTORY hashtag on it!
  2. READING Their Blog Posts: If you have time to read, comment & post on their WordPress blogs, that would be super rad. Although many are just blogging for the first time, a number of my #ugstSTORY students have very thoughtful and creative perspectives about life in college so far. It would be great if they got a response or two outside our #ugstSTORY class – drop them a comment or like. :)
  3. MENTOR Virtually: For the RTN Project a number of the #ugstSTORY learners will be seeking informational interviews with companies, professionals, and different organizations (listed above or might not be listed as they don’t know your about your occupation yet); if you OR someone you know is available and interested in sharing with my students what they do for a living and why they love it – LET ME KNOW!  Yes! I want to MENTOR a #ugstSTORY Student p.s. Pass this link onto a friend you might know as well. Thanks!

#EDUSprint 1: Beyond MOOCs – IT as a Force of Change

I joined today’s @EDUCAUSE 1st #EDUSprint webinar, IT as a Force of Change, discussed connected learning, technological impacts, educational models, and, of course, MOOCs. For those of us who educate, design, and research these items, not much of today’s session was new; however the speakers highlighted some interesting points and conversations around “where we are and where we need to go with higher education learning?” Today’s session was focused on framing large-scale, online learning programs – which is why MOOCs came to the forefront of the questions and discussion with the featured panel: Elliot Masie (The MASIE Center) and Chris Dede and Timothy Wirth (Learning Technologies, Harvard University). #EDUSprint 1 - Beyond MOOCs

MOOCs were called many things and labels were shared about the role of MOOCs in higher education. Here are a few words/phrases to describe MOOCs: unbundle, four letter word, innovation, change, disruption of education, learning model, same-old pedagogy, digital engagement, connected learning, revenue-maker, the future, and even an EXPERIMENT. If this is true…

In thinking about pedagogy and instructional design, I really hope we are considering the impact to our learners and subject material. Too often we go to the “shiny and new” hype for learning trends, rather than using learning outcomes to align curriculum content and assessments. Sometimes, I think our administration and educational leaders seem to miss the point…

Here are a few resources shared during the session that might be useful for those of you wanting to bone up on large-scale online learning with MOOCs:

Beyond the talk and questions about MOOCs, I thought the central thread for connected learning and meaning-making in education was strong. The fundamental question that needs to be ASKED and ANSWERED by more of our institutions was posed by Elliot.  was posed by Elliot is critical for our institutions to ASK and answer:

“How can we build a connected campus?

More information and a recording of the 1st #EDUsprint session can be found HERE, and, of course, there are a few Twitter notes from other #EDUsprint -ers for you to take a gander at… and perhaps I’ll see you in the #EDUsprint streams tomorrow…

What Was In The Mix for #Blend13

Last week seems so far away, but not forgotten. Much of my time and social streams had a great mix of conversation in and around around #blend13 – The Sloan C Blended Learning Conference & Workshop. Thanks to the fabulous #blend Conference Chair, Tanya Joosten (@tjoosten), I was fortunate to be invited to present a workshop (or two) and get acquainted with the fine city of Milwaukee over the Summerfest weekend. #MKEwhawhat. Here’s my blogged mix tape of highlights and happenings from #blend13.mixtape

Not only did I fall in love with the city life in MKE, but I was alsoable to attend the 10th annual conference on the topic of blended learning to gain some insight to the history and impact as to where we are going in the field. As educational demands and challenges increase, there has been a great shift to personalized, digital pedagogy. Blended learning has helped to reshape roles for both the instructor and learner to create opportunities for deeper learning and sharing.

Untitled

During my workshop, I asked participants to share what blended learning meant in ONE WORD. A challenging task, as this learning pedagogy and model means so much to so many people. Here are the responses from my session. I learned how blended learning appears to have a number of similarities and differences depending on the academic institution, and the type of characteristics most suited for instructors and our students in blended learning environments.
Untitled#Blend13 connected me to a number of educators,  in both K-12 and higher education, who were using blending learning for curriculum engagement. Blended Learning has encouraged more collaboration and connection to open, shared learning resources. A number of faculty and instructors are finding value in enhancing their subject matter, and the student data on learning acquisition is proving its value. A number of instructors are finding opportunities to mentor and learn in their own personal learning networks, which are strengthening the profession and allowing for growth in education.

#BlendedLearning Word Cloud

Beyond interpreting the blended learning, seeing other models, and discussing effective practices for blending – a larger conversation and discussion thread that was prevalent was around MOOCs. Although I feel as this “hot topic” is appearing in most educational conferences, it was interesting to understand how MOOCs impact blended learning environments, and if they are distinguished from the blend pedagogy.

During the Using MOOCs for Blended Learning panel (#BLmooc), the discussion evolved around the impact (or lack there of) massively open online courses (MOOCs) have within higher education. The debate focused on how campuses should consider wider, strategic solutions for blended learning and the challenges/opportunities MOOCs provide for the learning process, students, open content, and various learning methods.

IMG_20130708_140836-MOTION

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on #BlendedLearning  and #MOOCs  at #Blend13  Karen, Shari, Amy & Tanya. 

There was talk about openness, content, delivery, and more. What struck me was the continued debate or talk about dualism between closed and open methods for delivery and content, which I think was shared in Andy’s tweet/blog post:

The last session I attended was the Unconference Session Around Researching MOOCs with George @Veletsianoshttp://tinyurl.com/moocresearch

There is a number of interesting research questions, methods and more included in the Google Doc — and if you want to connect with any researcher, their contact information is also included. One article I found interesting from Mike Caufield (@holden ) was the x-MOOC  vs. c-MOOC debate shared via his Educause article. I wonder how many institutions consider the space or place their move to MOOC is going, and what sort of learning framework (if any) they place these models.

xmooc is a chewy center

Image c/o @holden in this article 


Last, but certainly not least, I was grateful for connecting with my #PLN of amazing colleagues that I am able to share with on a daily basis on different social media spaces. Who would have thought that this was my first time meeting Dr. Alec Couros (@courosa) in person — it feels like we go back for ages.  With a jam-packed, engaging keynote – I am glad that Alec and others took “notes” on Twitter. We also learned that when you let two Canadians loose in Milwaukee, there is bound to be some havoc. Highlights of our fun with the #blend13 crew (in no particular order) results in collaborative marketing campaigns for MKE, free-style karaoke, BACON love, killer dance moves, great conversations, photo-bombing, and general good times.

Untitled

Name the trouble makers who photo-bombed my #selfie.

Until we meet again #blend13 friends… keep it smooth.