Openly Networked Learning

Snapshot by @seecantrill from installation at Creative Dissent: Arts of the Arab World Uprisings, Bryn Mawr College February 2015. Images share a common title “Of Course …” by Ganzeer.

Happy leap-forward Sunday!

So far we’ve explored making and production as well as shared purpose in connected learning. This week we’ll dive into what it means to be “openly networked.” We’ll look at this from a few angles — human as well as technological, the possibilities as well as the challenges.

Start by reading Bud Hunt’s chapter in Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom which begins on page 71.  You then can also meet Bud (also known as @budtheteacher and, as well as Antero Garcia and Janelle Bence, plus several of Janelle’s students, in this webinar called “Classrooms as Community Hubs: Developing Open Digital Networks.”

Next I’d like you to look at some of Dr. Kira Baker-Doyle’s work on the very human side of networks and social capital. She brought a group of us together to think about this on a webinar a few months back “Social Capital and PLNs: Discovering, Building, and Cultivating Networks of Learners.” Her book on The Networked Teacher is also a great source (I’ll send a PDF of a short reading from that later this week).

Technological networks, like human ones, also have many levels of complexity. I would say we still barely understand the human ones, let alone the technological! Audrey Waters is an educational journalist who focuses on educational technology and writes a kick-ass blog (excuse … but it is!) I highly recommend called Hack Education. She looks at issues such as the commodification of student data in these networked spaces: check out this talk titled “Student Data is the New Oil” as one important example.

Last week I also posted a MOOC (a Massive Open Online Course, or in this case, Collaboration) event that colleagues of mine are running as a collaboration between the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Tar River Writing Project, the Sacrificial Poets.  “MOOCs” are forms of professional learning that you might hear a lot about – the more course-like ones are being run through Coursera and the like (proprietary online forums). The collaborative kind that my colleagues are running is not proprietary, however, and is running on the open web (similar to this course). Explore Remix, Remake, Curate a bit when you have a moment … what do you notice about this kind of open learning opportunity?

Finally, do we even know what these technological networks are that we use everyday and how they work? The Mozilla Foundation is committed to supporting web literacy, and part of that is understanding how the web works. This beta-activity called Ping Kong is meant to support youth in learning about the web — but I think it could be useful for us all! Take a look … and if you want to try it out with others (youth or adults), this could be your make for the week just FYI!

This week ahead →

Wednesday: We will be gathering again at 8pm ET on Wednesday.

This week I will be connecting to you from SXSWedu in Austin, TX and I hope that I will be joined by Jose Vilson who is also here co-leading a session called “Diversity Needed in Education Technology”. And, if you want to follow what’s happening at SXSWedu, check out the hashtag #sxswedu for more.

Our make(s) this week: Building on three “makes” that I am asking folk here at SXSWedu to do, here are some ideas. Note that while they aren’t all digital each requires you to capture something digitally and share it via social media in an “openly networked” way:

  • Poetry Flash Make: Find a favorite poem; perform it publicly; capture your public performance; tweet to #clmooc #clequity
  • Animate Make: Gather a few things that you can mold and/or move; animate them & digitally capture your animation (either use still frames together or use one of many animation apps you can find online. Vine or Instagram short-form video can work too); tweet your animation to #clmooc #clequity.
  • BeDazzle Make: Put a wide piece of tape (masking or duck) around your wrist, sticky-side up; Gather things in your vicinity to decorate your bracelet; share your new bedazzled jewelry by tweeting to #clmooc #clequity

Alternative ideas:

  • Play a game of Ping Kong (see above); share what you learn as well as feedback and/or edits you would make on this activity to #teachtheweb #clequity
  • Share your “Meme with a Mission” with a community that has a shared purpose around that mission.

Saturday/Sunday: This week, I encourage you to find 6/7 openly networked ways of learning that you believe do (or could) support your inquiry question.

This week’s tech tips →

There are many tools that might support you in using Twitter by helping you organize and follow the things you really want to follow. I use a tool called Tweetdeck, for example (there are others — just search for Twitter tools to find many more).

If you’ve recovered fully from our first Twitter chat together, maybe it’s time to try another? There are twitter chats for educators all the time and across a range of shared purposes and interests. Check them out … you can always “lurk” (ie. read) before jumping in.

In connected learning solidarity,

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