Unofficial CV #digiwrimo

I’m going to join DigiWriMo for the first time. Our first task is to write an unofficial CV. What is DigiWriMo?  For me it’s a chance to join people I know (or don’t yet) virtually to do some writing together and have some fun.

There have been some creative Unofficial CVs. I’ve been stuck but finally made myself whip something up.

Unofficial CV #digiwrimo – Tania Sheko

Education:

Kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, Russian Saturday school, university, Life. During moments of brief lucidity;  through hard times, mistakes, reluctant lessons.

Professional Development:

Life: Life has been a constant teacher and the course is quite comprehensive and rewarding although, at times, relentless. No clear outcomes provided so flexibility required.

Motherhood – learning from my children; getting a second and third chance to grow through stages of development with some distance.

Partner: Rewarding course with fulfilling outcomes;

Teacher: Not very different from being a student, and not limited to the classroom.

Friend: More experience with single friends than groups; some experience with virtual friends (and much enthusiasm).

Teaching experience:

Teaching English, French, German, Russian and English as a Second Language in schools.

Teaching my 2 sons how to be thoughtful, respectful human beings;

teaching them how to stand up for themselves; that there are always other options; that they should go with their passion; that happiness is more valuable than success (and what is success anyway?)

Skills summary

Listening skills especially reading between the lines; noticing details; having big and slightly unorthodox ideas; creative alternatives; ability to create environments that make people feel comfortable and respected; ability to be alone and not get bored.

Interests

Understanding myself, other people and life; finding people to play with; finding stimulating ideas and tracing them back to people I can get to know; finding the wonder in small, everyday things; developing compassion.

Achievements

My most rewarding achievement was attracting the attention of some very creative and generous people who played with me to remix a quasi play I’d written as part of Rhizo15 MOOC.

From the DigiWriMo website, some unofficial CVs:

Doing the #twistedpair with teaching colleagues – taking a risk!

Flickr photo by Anktangle

As part of a couple of professional exchange days, I decided to use Steve Wheeler’s #twistedpair idea to invite my colleagues to write. When I say ‘I decided’, I mean I spent several weeks agonising over whether to do something safe or take a risk with the #twistedpair. See this post for the history. Finally I decided to take a risk and go with the writing session although I was convinced that nobody would choose my session over the other, more obviously traditional, professional development sessions.

I promised Steve that I’d report and here it is. I actually had 10 teachers come to my session (with 3 other choices). It was so much fun! With the changeover from the previous session, we actually only had 10 minutes to write after a shortish explanation with examples of #twistedpairs to get people going. We all shared; that was the best part.

Some people were happy for me to share their #twistedpairs (some in the early thinking stages due to time limit):

Professor Dumbledore and Frida Kahlo (group effort by 2 Art teachers) –

  • They are both larger than life
  • They both command an audience
  • They both express themselves through their clothing
  • Big picture philosophy
  • They have an intimidating presence yet they draw people to them at the same time
  • They are both story tellers
  • They are both very open-minded
  • They are both risk takers

Thanks Vanja and Mihaela!1

Joan (English and Performing Arts) wrote about how Ken Robinson and Doris Day inspire her:

Ken Robinson is someone who inspires me because he talks about creativity being central to education. His books The Element and Out Of Our Minds made me shout out loud as I read each new idea on the page. “Yes, I agree with that!’ or “Yes, that’s what I think/do in my classes!”

Doris Day also made me shout – I played Calamity Jane in year 12 and the musical was about a mix of love and feminism. As the character of Calam I got to explore ideas relating to feminism, I was in my ‘element’ as described by Ken Robinson, singing, acting, thinking and discovering things about myself and the world. The song that encapsulates all these things for me had the line about ‘my secret love, not being secret anymore’. “Now I shout it from the highest hill.”

We also heard about how Florence Nightingale and Nike worked as inspirational #twistedpairs for Jenny. We heard about Josh Thomas and Michael Long.  Some #twistedpairs I’ve forgotten because I didn’t force people to hand over their writing.

Alex is happy to share what she wrote:

Here Emily Bronte converses with William Shakespeare.

EB: I want to ask you whether you travelled to all the places that you wrote about. Italy, Africa and India.

WS: No but I was a robber of tales tall and true from the sailors at the docks.

EB: I live in a parsonage in a tiny village. I can’t move beyond my own footprints nor can I escape the influence of my family.

WS: Well of course you are a woman, and remember ‘your name is frailty’, you aren’t to be trusted in the world beyond your father’s house and will always need to be protected from ‘ the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune ‘.

(Excuse me for quoting my own work, but then again, on one else has ever come close)

EB: Too true, by your reckoning and insistence.  I have been gazing into the world of the human heart, having neither knowledge nor opportunity for experience I have had only human behavior as a model. What else might I have written if I had seen the world?

WS: Too many of your Victorian novels have remained in drawing rooms.  Even men were too bound by their own watch chains to look outside. At least you did examine the human heart.

EB: And you were excited by the prospect of defeating Spain and conquering the world. The age of exploration was dawning.

WS: Yet you Victorians in your plump complacency had conquered, but still you didn’t understand. You believed that you were the pinnacle of human civilization and the apex of intellectual life. That no one else could write or rule as well as you could.

Themes: feminism, gendered discourse, colonialism

Motivation: Looking at the contrast in political, social and economic contexts from the epochs represented by these two writers. More of a disciplinary focus, stimulated by the change in VCE Study Design and the introduction of a comparative essay for Year 11 next year.

Thank you for taking a risk with my session. I think we had fun. I learned a lot from all of you. In particular that I am blessed to be amongst intelligent, creative and talented people. I wish the students would see this side of you more often.

If you’re interested in reading what other people have done with #twistedpair see this list.

 

 

Why not #twistedpair for professional exchange?

I’ve mentioned my idea of using Steve Wheeler’s #twistedpair to inspire writing for a professional exchange session at school. I figure teachers are always attending PD which teaches them how to teach or how to use new technology in their teaching. What about just doing something instead of learning how to teach it? Why not? Just an enjoyable session being challenged to write something creative. Steve’s #twistedpair seems perfect. So here’s the slideshow introducing the session. (I hope someone comes to my session. Please come. Yes, I realise it might be threatening.)

Thank you to people whose examples of #twistedpairs helped me explain the challenge in this slideshow.

How Seinfeld and Maria Montessori influence me as an educator #twistedpair

I really like the way Terry Elliott started his #twistedpair post and so I’m going to re-use his opening:

In the spirit of infinite play I am following a recent prompt from Steve Wheeler.

Thanks to Steve Wheeler’s blogging challenge I not only have a reason to write but also something different to contribute to our professional exchange at school (more about that later). Steve’s post paired Socrates and Julie Andrews as influences on his teaching. Terry Elliott paired Epictetus and Mojo Nixon.

Are there any other strange (twisted) pairs that would inspire people to write thoughtful blog posts on education and learning? Well, if anyone is up for this challenge, here are a few very strange pairings to get you going. I bet you can think of loads more.

Batman and John Dewey
Michaelangelo and you
Paulo Freire and the Hunchback of Notre Dame
Eddie Izzard and Pavlov’s dogs
Jack Sparrow and Nelson Mandela
Pablo Picasso and Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Micky Mouse and Adolf Hitler
Han Solo and Queen Elizabeth I
William Shakespeare and Buzz Lightyear
Marshall MacLuhan and Madonna
Tarzan and Jean Piaget
Paddington Bear and Barack Obama
Jean Jacques Rousseau and the Easter Bunny
Walt Disney and the Grim Reaper
Sir Winston Churchill and the entire cast of Frozen
Doctor Who and Snoopy
Jack Bauer and the Teletubbies
Mr Spock and Margaret Thatcher

So, challenge accepted albeit quite late (which doesn’t matter in the hashtag world). I’ve been reading some of the responses and enjoying the twisted pairings.

I’ll be talking about my #twistedpair in terms of myself as an educator. The teacher librarian role is different to the classroom teacher; I learn to locate and mine the best networks to glean and curate what is needed by teachers and students, so what I do every day to support teaching and learning depends a lot on my own learning and learning behaviours.

In a twisted way Seinfeld (the TV series) and Maria Montessori have influenced my thinking and development as an educator.

When my sons were very young (and I was also younger) I was switched onto (as all parents are) how my boys were awakened to the awareness of new things and how they responded to these things, how they were engaged and wanted to understand things and to develop knowledge of things. My boys were not alike in any way so I was able to observe two very different examples.

I was fascinated by the focus and determination to grasp, understand and expand knowledge, by the passion. Since I had been teaching in secondary school before that time (English, French and German) I could see the enormous difference between the desire to learn in children of preschool and early primary school age and the common disengagement with school and learning manifested in the secondary students.

I was determined to do everything I could to keep that desire for learning going in my boys for as long as I could. In my research I came across Montessori preschools/schools and the founder, Maria Montessori. Her description of Sensitive Periods in children interested me.

We have already seen that for Montessori, growth from conception to adulthood is not a vague “progressive accumulation of material”; nor an “inherent hereditary necessity”, shaped by our genes towards a limited set of pre-determined characteristics. Rather, she saw growth as “… a process meticulously guided by transient instincts which give an acute sensibility and an impulse towards specific forms of activity …”. Furthermore, these acute sensibilities and specific forms of activity “often differ very plainly from the activities of the individual in the adult state”.

Richard Restak offered a description of what could be happening at the cellular level during these “critical periods” or “windows of opportunity”: “… the brain literally creates itself during our earliest development. At various times in the developmental process from fetus to newborn to infant, nerve cells migrate, many die off, and many others stick to one another and send out processes whereby neuronal connections are formed and re-formed. ( in Brainscapes: An Introduction to What Neuroscience Has Learned about the Structure, Function, and Abilities of the Brain. New York: Hyperion, 1995, pp. 93-94. )

Origins of the Term The Dutch biologist and geneticist, Hugo DeVries (1848-1935), first identified and named Sensitive Periods in 1902, through his study of insects. In The Secret Of Childhood, Montessori cites DeVries’ example of a Sensitive Period in the caterpillar of the Porthesia butterfly. Here is Montessori’s description: (The caterpillar) must feed on very tender leaves, and yet the butterfly lays its eggs in the most hidden fork of the branch, near the trunk of the tree. Who will show the little caterpillars hidden there, the moment they leave the egg, that the tender leaves they need are to be found at the extreme tip of the branch, in the light? Now the caterpillar is strongly sensible to light; light attracts it, summons it as by an irresistible voice, fascinates it, and the caterpillar goes wriggling towards where the light is brightest, till it reaches the tip of the branch, and thus finds itself, famished for food, among the budding leaves that can give it nourishment. It is a strange fact that when the caterpillar has passed through its first stage and is full grown, it can eat other food, and then loses its sensibility to light. This has been proved in scientific laboratories where there are neither trees nor leaves but only the caterpillar and the light. 4

Montessori’s use of DeVries’ example of a Sensitive Period in the caterpillar made an impression on me, and I started to think about trusting the child’s innate, instinctive desire to learn. I appreciated the way that the Montessori classroom welcomed one child at a time to give the teacher time to guide the new child until he/she was familiar with the routines of the class. I liked the quiet order of the classroom which seemed to run itself while children appeared to be largely deciding their own order of activities and selecting whether they wanted to work on their own, in pairs or in small groups. The teacher would rarely address the whole class but instead chose which individual child or group to work with or guide. I saw children develop skills, knowledge and confidence through activities which embedded the discovery of knowledge and skills. For example, for the very young children (aged 3) there was an activity for which the child would fill a bowl with water and then place different objects into it and then observe whether they floated or sank.

Sometimes the teacher observed from a distance to make sure that children spread themselves across all types of activities (eg spelling, counting, science, art, etc.) over a period of time, and sometimes she took a more active role when new things were taught. The child who desperately wanted to concentrate on a particular activity was permitted to concentrate on this activity for as long as he/she was absorbed. In the mainstream classroom there is counter-intuitive interruption of activities and separation of separate ‘subjects’ into preordained time-slots. There is no willingness to allow a student the opportunity for deep learning during the period of intense desire for this type of learning.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have this vision for learning because it creates a dissonance with everything school stands for. I wonder how we can expect engagement and a desire for learning when we have created a system and routine which cuts everything up into separate chunks and hurries them through a study program in preparation for tests and exams.

And now, to Seinfeld. I keep saying that there is at least one PhD in the series (and there are probably theses in existence). It seems you either love or hate Seinfeld. My family and I adore Seinfeld and happily watch repeat programs. I think that the writers of the program have a wonderful grasp of human behaviour, usually the things we try to conceal. The series identifies human quirks and failings or weaknesses and unpacks these in a very funny way. Somehow the humour and absurdity enhance and even intensify the illumination of these human frailties.

I like to think that teaching and the creation of teaching resources/lessons can be enhanced by humour and a sense of fun. And I like to amuse myself if I’m teaching, otherwise I bore myself. You don’t have to be entirely serious in your demeanour when exploring serious issues. I love the way you can always think of a Seinfeld episode that corresponds with situations in life. Seinfeld lovers share this language and quote from Seinfeld prolifically in the same way as some people quote the literary greats.

Maybe this is a wide sweep, but Maria Montessori and the Seinfeld series both use play to instruct. The Montessori classroom sets up an environment in which students play to explore and to construct understanding. In Seinfeld insights into character studies and life situations are beautifully illustrated through comedy. The playful depiction reveals complexities in a seemingly simple way. At school, also, play is an ideal vehicle for learning, not just teaching, and allows students/audience to discover their own understandings and expand on these in concert with others.

So, that’s my #twistedpair story. I decided to do a similar thing in a professional exchange session at school. Originally I was going to show different ways to annotate text online but then I thought – when do teachers get a chance to do something which they may have enjoyed doing – like writing – instead of always learning discrete skills which are all about their TEACHING.  This is how I justified this session in the Google doc:

Outcomes (and incomes):

  • to have fun (we deserve to once in a while)
  • to exercise that writing muscle
  • writing as modeling (not just marking)
  • creativity – another muscle
  • possible ideas for your own class
  • remember when you loved writing and then you became a teacher?

The only thing is I have a feeling I won’t have any takers. Will they think it’s not helpful/relevant?  Will they be afraid of the challenge? Do they think I’m nuts? We will see.

Cut the teacher librarians last! A message from Kim Yeomans, Nick Earls and me

Yesterday I wrote a post in my school library blog about my visit to Kim Yeomans’ primary school library. I wrote it because I feel strongly about voicing the uncertain future of school libraries and teacher librarians. Kim’s current principal values her and her library but next year is uncertain with the appointment of a new principal. The same goes for me and my school library when our principal retires if I’m to be realistic. The fact is that while we do the best we can in our roles as (teacher) librarians, we can never be sure how much we are valued and what our future holds. My post about Kim’s library and how it is a shining example of the heart in her contribution to the learning and wellbeing of her school can be read here.

I believe that we need to stand up and let people hear our voice, fellow teacher librarians,  because we can  be and sometimes are overlooked or misunderstood by principals and the school community for whatever reason – whether they are too busy to notice what we do or perhaps their perception of teacher librarians is stuck in a stereotype that does us no favours, or whether it is because what we do is not intrinsic enough to what they do in their classrooms. Perhaps what we do remains for teachers and principals as ‘what they do in there’ instead of what they are doing with us for our students. Whatever it is, we cannot remain silent if want to ensure our continued survival.

Kim wrote this comment after my post:

Thank you for acknowledging the importance of primary school libraries. I am saddened and frustrated that primary school libraries are rapidly disappearing along with teacher librarians. I am currently one of only two full-time primary teacher librarians in our zone. I am fortunate to work in a school where both my teacher librarian role and the library are valued, but a change of Principal means extinction could be lurking around the corner. Earlier in the year I wrote this blog post, “A school library without a librarian is a room”

Recently author Nick Earls won the hearts of teacher librarians when he wrote a blog post advocating the importance of teacher librarians and school libraries.  

Nick Earls is very clear about the importance of school libraries staffed by teacher librarians – bravo to your post, Nick! –

Each time I’m told that a school no longer has a teacher-librarian, I’m told that the school still has a library, as though the building does the job all by itself.

Some advice to anyone running school budgets anywhere: CUT THE TEACHER-LIBRARIANS LAST. Cut other things and give the T/Ls more money. Cut other things and hire more of them. Sell as many lamingtons as you need to to keep them. Because I’ve seen what they do.

Kim: As a passionate teacher librarian I will continue to the best of my ability to ensure our library is a welcoming, vibrant and inspiring learning space that is an integral part of our school’s teaching and learning program and the hub of our school…for the 530 students I teach each week.

Thank you for writing such an affirming blog post. Your photos have provided a lovely and rare opportunity for me to see our library through someone else’s eyes…

Kim 🙂

Thank you, Kim, for being such a shining example of teacher librarians as essential to the learning in schools, and for alerting me to Nick Earls’ post. I’m pulling out some more of what he says:

Promoting reading promotes literacy and prepares students for life. Promoting reading promotes questioning, exploring and thinking. Reading broadens a student’s view of the world, knowledge of it and understanding of it. Reading can dramatically increase a student’s options for the future. Reading can help erase disadvantage and create advantage. Reading can increase understanding and empathy. Time Magazine recently headed an article Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer because there’s evidence it can and it does.

In her post after having read Nick Earls, Kim lists what will no longer exist in schools if the teacher librarian is not valued enough to be worth funding –

If there is no longer a teacher librarian who will…

  • Greet students with a smile and welcome them by name as they enter the library
  • Create a warm, vibrant and welcoming space that is open to all and a haven for many
  • Provide spaces where reading can be shared and social or done alone snuggled in a bean bag
  •  Purchase books that will inspire; fuel imaginations; enable walking in others’ shoes; foster an understanding of self; and move readers to laugh, cry and ponder
  • Expose students to a variety of illustrators and explore the power of visual images
  • Read and skilfully bring books to life with genuine love, appreciation and knowledge
  • Enthusiastically talk about and recommend books
  • Make reading fun and positive
  • Take time to match students to the ‘right book’ to meet their needs and interests
  • Organise books to make them appealing and easy to browse and access
  • Design activities where literature can be explored, discussed and brought to life in various ways
  • Encourage and celebrate reading with Book Fairs, Book Week, Author visits, Premiers Reading Challenge and other fun reading events
  • Teach students skills needed to access, use and present information ethically
  • Plan with teachers and provide resources for classroom reading and inquiry
  • Believe in and promote the power of reading for enjoyment and learning

I could add more from the secondary perspective but perhaps it will keep for another post.

Kim finishes with this quote:

“It is not enough to have a school library, however clean and airy and stuffed with books, e-readers, computers and tablets. A library without a librarian …is a room” Alan Gibbons

I hope with all my heart that principals and members of school communities will value their teacher librarians and libraries so that they are no longer an endangered species but an irreplaceable part of learning and teaching in schools.

Creativity for learning in higher education

It seems I don’t know my place.

Again I’m sneaking into an online course designed for educators in higher education. ButSandra Sinfield, Senior Lecturer in Education and Learning Development, LondonMet @danceswithcloud, one of the Open Course team, said it was okay, so I’m doing it.

The course is called Creativity for learning in higher education and I’m not sure exactly what to expect but I like the idea of creativity in education and I’m also interested in working with people online around the topic.

Within this course, enablers and barriers to creativity in higher education will be explored, together with related pedagogical theory and literature. Participants will experience learning through play, games, models and stories and will actively experiment with such approaches. This will help them further develop their understanding, knowledge, skills and practices in these areas. Students will be able to critically reflect on their practice and identify opportunities to design, implement and evaluate an imaginative and creative innovation that fosters curiosity, and maximises meaningful active engagement and discovery learning.

I particularly like this sentence:

“Participants will experience learning through play, games, models and stories and will actively experiment with such approaches.”

Sounds like fun.

Outcomes are good too:

On successful completion of this open course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically discuss creative teaching and teaching for student creativity, as a driver for student engagement and learning in their own professional context.

2. Develop and implement an innovation in their own practice and appreciate how their own creativity was involved in the development and implementation process

3. Critically evaluate their innovation.

4. Appreciate and recognise unanticipated outcomes that cannot be predicted in advance.

The open course will incorporate the following themes:

  • Conceptualising creativity in higher education
  • Enablers and barriers of creativity in higher education
  • Learning through play, games, models and stories
  • The role of curiosity and other intrinsic motivations for engagement
  • Developing creative methods and practices
  • Evaluating a pedagogical innovation

The course is part of P2PU.

The Peer 2 Peer University is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. P2PU creates a model for lifelong learning alongside traditional formal higher education. Leveraging the internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU enables high-quality low-cost education opportunities.

Let’s go! Trust me to join another online course in the last few days of my term break.

We host a Teachmeet @MHS #tmmelb

Last Saturday we hosted a TeachMeet in the school library. A TeachMeet is an informal gathering of people working in the education sector coming together to share ideas and expertise. It’s a great way to hear about what educators are doing in the primary, secondary, tertiary and public (eg museums) sectors. TeachMeets happen all over the world and meetings are held wherever people are happy to host. The format is simple – you can turn up or you can volunteer to present for either 3 or 7 minutes. There is usually a break for refreshments halfway through and it’s also customary for the hosts to suggest a nearby venue for drinks or dinner after the Meet. And it’s free!

Using bots to teach kids coding (Steve Brophy)

You can see in the wiki that we had a decent number of people attending, from a range of educational backgrounds. I always find that, as a secondary school educator, I learn so much from the primary teachers, from e-learning leaders, from people who work in public libraries and museums. And since the sharing sessions are so short, there is time for what’s most important – the conversations. Many people are also on social media so it’s a good chance to keep in touch later on Twitter or through their blogs, for example.

Order of presentations (see TeachMeet link for shared presentations):

Steve Brophy @stevebrophy Ivanhoe Grammar School K-12: Paper and programming

Bernadette Mercieca @bernm9  Xavier College E-Learning coord/teacher: What are we doing to help early career teachers flourish?

Eleni Kyritsis @misskyritsis Firbank Grammar School: Student Inquiry

Jan Molloy @janpcim Immigration Museum P-tertiary:   #AskACurator Sept 16 Getting involved

Catherine Morton @gorokegirl Melbourne High School Teacher Librarian and Fiona Matthews Whitefriars College Lead Coach – Learning, Teaching and Technology : One Conversation at a Time: Peer Coaching

Kim Yeomans @kimyeo St Martin of Tours primary TL: Connecting with authors via Twitter.

Tania Sheko @taniatorikova Melbourne High School How to really get to know people online.

Mel Cashen @melcashen Princes Hill: My reflection from camp

Kristy Wood @Kristy_M_Wood Primary teacher K-6: Teacher wellbeing

If you are interested in learning more about the presentations – since you can’t really get much from the titles – I would encourage you to go to the wiki where some people have already shared links to their presentations next to their names in the program. I’m sure there will be more shared later so check in again.

When I wrote a blog post about my talk – how to really get to know people online – I shared it on Twitter with a few people whom I’d met in an online course (MOOC), Rhizo15. These were people I had mentioned in my post. The morning before the TeachMeet I noticed some feedback from these people (none of them in Australia) which I was able to quickly add to my slide presentation. It was a lovely example of how these relationships continue to evolve long after the course (MOOC) has finished. After the TeachMeet I noticed Kevin Hodgson had even created a comic for us – very special.

The best way to see some of the ideas and passion shared on this day is to look through the Storify below which captures some of the tweets and photos on Twitter.

View the interaction about this TeachMeet on Twitter (Storify).

How to really get to know people in an online course – ask a child #rhizo15

(This post was written as a transcript of a short presentation I gave at a Melbourne TeachMeet at Melbourne High School September 2015).

How do you really get to  know people in an online course? Ask a child! What would a child do? A child would play.

And so we did in Rhizo15, the connected MOOC. It was new to me and I loved every minute.

I wanted to be playful so I wrote a play. In response to the weekly prompt: “Learning subjectives: designing for when you don’t know where you’re going.”

I was unsure about how people would feel about the play – and if they would read it at all – so I was surprised when I received lots of positive comments (blog comments don’t always happen for me) and Terry Elliott suggested we make it into a radio play. Simon Ensor added the comment: “I second Terry. I’m in for rhizoradio or other play. Do we have to do casting for the role of Mr X or do we crowdcast?”

I felt encouraged and sent out an invitation to a Google Doc so we could write the play collaboratively.

Hello there. My name is Tania Sheko. Thanks for responding so positively to this short piece of fiction/non-fiction. I’m taking up the suggestion to create something for #rhizoradio (suggested by Terry Elliott and seconded by Simon Ensor) and other suggestions to do a collaborative rewrite eg include a larger cast so we can actually (somehow) create a podcast for #rhizoradio (which is going to be a thing I think). Hope you can join me here!
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oBqaFkUkRgirz-l8jhh4RKSEGfmLr4j649kJKKGirFg/edit

But how would we bring everyone together to produce the radio play/podcast?

Maha (from Cairo) was thinking about a live reading:

It’s near impossible to organize across timezones but if you sleep really late and I wake really early we might catch the ppl in the US ? or the opposite, if u wake really early and I sleep really late we can make it at a good time for everyone. Usually around 10pm my time that’s 2pm EDT and I think early-ish morning for you?

In the end we decided to record our own parts on SoundCloud and send the file to Kevin Hodgson who generously took the time to put it all together.

Other things also happened – you can’t keep up with the rhizome.  Actually, so much happened while I was sleeping last night:

Autumm Caines created a really neat video promo.

Autumm used the image created by Angela Brown in Pulp-O-Mizer.

Kevin Hodgson used Thinglink for his promo.

Sarah Honeychurch had fun remixing a popular Christmas tune forher promo.

Here’s the final version of the play (although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Google doc version continues to evolve).

My THANK YOU:
My original story, Mr X loses his battle for objectivity, has been stormed, hacked and now exists as an evolved creation belonging to those playing and learning in the rhizome (#rhizo15). It is no longer mine and that’s a fantastic thing, something I’m excited about. Thank you, everyone, for the experience – in particular to Kevin for putting together the audio files – but also to those contributing voices, to the voices in the chat comments for the evolving Google doc, to those on Twitter and other social media platforms, to the creative people designing promos, and anyone else I’ve forgotten.  I know it sounds as if I’m accepting an Oscar (haha) but I really do want to thank all of you for the fun we’ve had together.

#Rhizoradio presents a radio play courtesy of the #rhizo15 community:

A Multitude of Voices

(aka) Mr X loses his battle for objectivity ( original unevolved title fromthe original story)

 

Was this a success in educational terms? We had fun!

Maha: it was some of the BEST fun I ever had… wish I could find a way to encourage my students to do something like this of their own initiative, but that’s not thinking rhizomatically… so I should think of how to create an environment that encourages the spirit of this kind of thing and see what emerges from their work!!!

We unpacked rhizomatic learning collaboratively and creatively. We got to know each other through play. We were amazed by each other – as each person initiated ideas and created things because they were inspired to do so. We keep in touch – in subsequent MOOCs, through hashtag conversations on Twitter. We reach out to each other with questions and challenges. We jump in when we see requests for collaboration and opportunities to do things together. I learned about different tech tools but more importantly why and how to use them. I added their blogs to my Inoreader, so I could keep reading them, I followed them on Twitter and made sure I added a Tweetdeck column to see what they were saying/doing, I explored what else they did online eg Soundcloud, Slideshare, Google +, in Facebook groups, and wherever else they were.

Don’t tell me that you can’t form friendships online.

How to really get to know people in an online course- Ask a child.

Using Thinglink to curate aspects of evil #heartsofdarkness

Some of our year 10 English students are pondering on the theme of evil. They are unpacking ‘Hearts of Darkness’.

I’m going to show them how to use Thinglink to create an interactive image which contains links to different places on the web which they’ve chosen to portray their picture of evil or darkness.

Thinglink has so many possibilities. After you sign up there really are no limits with what you can do with it. You can even collaborate on one which is a cool idea for small group activities in class.

Kevin Hodgson is a hero of mine who has shared many examples of his prolific creativity online. His collection of Thinglink examples is a good start when thinking about possibilities.

For example, something as simple as an annotated Book Shelfie, as Kevin has done here:

When I thought about helping the year 10 students create a Thinglink for their curated collection of online resources around the theme of evil, it occurred to me that they  might want to start their research in a Google Doc which has very recently added the ability to research within the document. After you open the Google Doc you click on Tools and then select Research. A side-bar will open up on the right and from here you are able to research from the Web, or select images, dictionary definitions, Google Scholar, quotes, tables and anything from your own Google Drive. There is even an option to filter results by usage rights which is exactly what we should be teaching students – ethical use of online material. What’s brilliant is that everything you add is automatically cited in a footnote. You even get 3 options for citation format!

 Here’s my example for what the doc might look like for ‘evil’.  What do you think of these two applications? I think there’s a lot of room for imaginative uses, don’t you?

I’ve been collecting online resources for ‘Hearts of Darkness (humanity’s capacity for evil’) in a Pinterest board. Of course, you now need a Pinterest account to view this collection.

Imagine never being born again. Mike Wesch reminds us why we are teachers.

Mike Wesch can easily collapse your constructed view of learning and teaching to clear a path for a clear vision of what’s essential.  Watch the video below.

Click on “The Syllabus” link below to see Mike’s trailer for his upcoming course. Dr Michael Wesch is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.

The SyllabusI got so excited about my new syllabus that I decided to create a “trailer” for it. Here’s how I introduced it on the first day of class. For more information about how I created my new syllabus, check out http://myteachingnotebook.com/index.php/2015/08/28/rethinking-the-syllabus/

Posted by Michael Wesch on Friday, 28 August 2015

How can I sign up for Mike’s class!

As Mike Wesch says at the beginning of his video, “we create our tools and then our tools create us.”

In a way the curriculum is a tool. It’s a carefully constructed document, a program, a set of criteria and outcomes designed to capture what we want our students to learn and how we should teach this.

The intention is good but what about the outcome? As a tool that is meant to guide us and ensure that we address all the aspects of our subject areas, has it in fact shaped us, and what does this mean?

Are we slaves to a once living conversation and collaborative debate about learning and teaching that educators felt passionate about – now a dry document with boxes to tick and outcomes to begrudgingly limit our teaching to?

Are we imprisoned in a cocoon which prevents us from evolving to our natural and more colourful role as teachers who directly pass on passion and excitement to students, freed from predetermined outcomes which prevent each student to follow his/her learning path as if it were the first time anyone had experienced this journey?

Does our curriculum leave us, as educators, with our hands tied, and thus prevented from being who we could be for students – experts and learners ourselves who can inspire our young people to be fully involved in their own learning journey?

Weren’t we once totally besotted with our subject areas, passionate about learning within our chosen fields?

Do we even have the time and head space to keep  learning, that is, to keep the flame burning in ourselves?

Think about it: how has the curriculum, as a tool, created us as educators? How has it shaped our behaviours in the classroom and affected the way we teach?

What has become of schooling?

School, like college, should really be about ‘learning all kinds of stuff so that the world comes alive’. Let’s keep that at the forefront of the way we teach kids.

Button up, we’re out in the open

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