Thursday, September 22, 2011

Keeping up with the MOOC

We had our first live session in the Change 2011 MOOC yesterday.  It was a great experience as I'd hoped, but not for the reasons I'd expected.  One reason for  joining the MOOC was just to see how it worked, and the live session didn't "work," at least not at first. 

The session was held using Big Blue Button, an open source conferencing program.  When I tried to enter the conference, I kept getting an installation notice.  Oops. Remembering I was here to learn,  I went to the Change2011 Facebook page and checked to see if anyone else was having a problem.  Voila!  A participant there suggested that switching to Chrome had worked for her.  I switched and got in!  I could hear, but couldn't chat.  I could, however, gather that there was some trouble-shooting going on.  Unfortunately, the 63rd participant apparently caused Big Blue Button to crash.  Oops. 

Once again, remembering I was here to learn, I checked the Facebook group and saw that the live event had moved to Fuze.  I logged on, using Chrome first this time, and got right in to the live event.  This time I could chat, but not hear.  I sent a quick note asking for help and someone quickly replied back with which button to push and I could both chat and hear.  Voila! Success!  I felt nearly as competent as my teen-aged son.

I saw another post about just how exciting it was that we could start the live event, crash it, and join another in only a matter of minutes, with many participants making the transition.  Like that blogger, I tried to explain the rush of having it work to a non-MOOCing friend, and it was a little hard to explain.  For me though, it is a great example to use with my fifth grade students.  We can all learn from our mistakes, adapt, move on and have a great time learning.  Thanks to all those that made it happen yesterday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I am applying for a technology leadership program; as part of the application, I was required to submit a one-minute youtube video.  I suspect that as a part-time, new teacher, I'm a long shot, but I think as a part-time, new teacher, I may be just the person who should be accepted.  At any rate, I didn't want to be disqualified because I wasn't willing to do a video.

As they say in the ad, time spent preparing the video - one hour, time trying to get the video uploaded to youtube -- 2+ hours, joy of being able to submit the completed application -- priceless.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Joining my first MOOC

I am reading The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education by Craig Mullaney at the moment.  I am enjoying it for many reasons and reading the book has surely infused meaning to the morning Pledge of Allegiance in our 5th grade class.  But what struck me yesterday was the description of the author's time at Oxford, which he describes at "the gift of an interval."  It was during this interval that he had time to read, attend lectures, and think about all of the information he was taking in - what a wonderful gift in this busy world.  I want to make time for a mini-interval. 

I want to reflect on what we can do to help our students enjoy learning so they will be prepared for the continuous learning that must be a part of their adult lives.  Technology and information are changing so rapidly that our students need to have strategies for adapting.  I think education is in a time of great flux.  I am optimistic that public education in this country is going to change because of the amazing things innovators in education are doing, but pessimistic that it will happen in time for my three children (6th, 9th and 10th grades) to get to take full advantage.

I want to be in on the discussion about change in education, so I joined the Change2011 MOOC, #change2011. This will be my first Massive Online Open Course and this is just orientation week.  I'm cautiously optimistic about my participation, but it's new to me.  I has spurred me to make this blog public.   My plan is to listen to as many of the lectures as I can and reflect here as I go so that I will have some time to think.  So as Oprah says, "here we go!"