The Reflection Pool

Jump Start Your PD

Did you wish you could do this at the last meeting or learning session you attended?

Boring Presentation

Maybe you did! Or maybe you just spent most of the time surreptitiously checking your email or texting your friends and family. Maybe you even arranged a “fake call”, so you could get out of the session early.

Time for a reflective question:

Do people ever feel like that in your meetings or learning sessions?

(If you don’t know the answer to this question, ask for some honest feedback. It’s the best way to find out.)

We all know that the problem of boring PD and meetings is a common one.  Many books have been written about it, including Death By Meeting by Patrick Lencioni, which I recommend. While I can’t fix all your problems in this area (you’ll have to do some hard work on your own), I can share this experience.

The third topic in ETMOOC (Educational Technology Massive Open Online Course) was all about digital storytelling.  Alan Levine, @cogdog, recently presented a session on this topic as part of the course.  In it, he talked about how the energy in a room changes when people are asked to contribute creative ideas or add parts to a story. My brain lit up when this exact thing happened at our latest learning session.

Organizers of ETMOOC had challenged us to experiment with digital storytelling.  Six Word Stories caught my attention immediately. They present a seemingly simple challenge but are difficult to get right. I introduced them to staff at the beginning of the  session and shared Hemingway’s legendary efforts, said to be the genesis of the genre. Then I challenged staff to come up with their own six word stories about school life. Wow! The energy in the room changed. People talked. People collaborated. People scribbled. And there was a lot of laughter.  When we shared our stories, topics ranged from disgruntled rants about our parking lot to inspirational words about newcomer experiences at our school. It was a great way to see what people were thinking about as well as introduce a new teaching idea for a classroom. It also set the stage for the discussions that followed, as staff had had a chance to share something personal and have some fun.

What about you?  At your next session, how can you expand the energy in the room?


Why You Should Try Mobile Learning

Photo Credit: DavidMadden via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: DavidMadden via Compfight cc

As I was mulling over all the ideas presented in Week 1 of ETMOOC, I came across Steve Wheeler‘s post on Game Changers in the Training Zone .  In particular, these lines struck me:

“I think ultimately, the biggest game changer which has been going on for some time now, is mobile learning. Using your own personal devices to access learning, access peer groups, access social networking, access the ability to create and share content, anywhere and everywhere…I think we’re going to see that impact a whole lot more.”

This is exactly what I have been doing for the past week.  The impact is huge!  At every opportunity I have been using my tablet, my smartphone and my laptop to read and comment on ETMOOC blogs, to participate in Twitter chats and follow links. I’ve been investigating the difference between collection and curation and whether Evernote, Diigo or Delicious is the best application for me. I’ve fooled around with About.Me and Vizify. I’ve connected to the ETMOOC archives to learn from @SueWaters about blogging. I’ve pondered what it means to be a connected learner.

My learning continues as I struggle to make sense of all this and where it fits into my life and my work. And how will I do it?  I can’t imagine sitting in a classroom or even tied to a desktop and trying to bring all this together. I am learning on my couch, or at a conference, or waiting to have my hair cut or even during my morning run. This is mobile learning.


Do you want to change the game? Do you want the opportunity to learn wherever and however you can? Do you want to take charge? Try mobile learning.

Commenting is Connecting

ETMOOC Post #1


When I blog, I do it for me.  The act of writing provokes more focussed reflection. It takes my thoughts about a topic or issue and forces me to bring them to order.  Every time I blog, I learn about what is really important to me and how to communicate it.

I also have to admit, however, that it’s quite thrilling to have people comment on my blog posts. Not only does that mean that someone is actually reading my words, but they are interested enough to ask questions or continue the conversation. Often a comment will spark another thought or lead me to a deeper understanding of my own words. Sometimes a reader will even find something I didn’t intend, but upon reflection I realize that meaning was hidden in plain sight from me. Those epiphanies are a true gift.

I follow some amazing blogs which teach me and inspire me. I am amazed how insightful these writers are. I often find myself thinking about a post later as it builds new schema in my understanding.  Others’ words can have a profound effect, so why don’t I share?  I have commented on a few blogs, but usually I make some excuse to myself about not having time. That’s going to change!

After Orientation week at ETMOOC, one idea really took hold. By commenting on blog posts I read, I can connect with a much wider network of people.

That’s my ETMOOC resolution. Are you with me?