Tuesday, 12 July 2016

OSSEMOOC – were have you been all my life?!

Why am I just learning about this blog?!?!?  

Over the last few days I have been exploring the OSSEMOOC blog.   imgres

One word: WOW!

It is a great resource for Ontario Educators who have any interest and experience in EdTech. There is no username or password to remember.  It is just a wonderfully curated resource of blogs, live sessions, book chats, and 10 minutes learning modules by teachers, consultants, system leaders and other stakeholders in Ontario education.  I feel like Alice down the rabbit hole...only I don’t have a lot of interest in finding my way home.  There is so much to explore.

What I love most about OSSEMOOC is the mandate.  About 6 years ago I joined Dr. Mary Kooy at OISEUoT for a study funded by a $250,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.  It was entitled: Teacher Learning that  Matters: Expanding a Longitudinal Study into a Technology-Mediated Professional Community. (If you are interested, here is a great 3 minute audio file highlighting what we got out of the experience compiled by Mimi Masson -@mimi_masson.) [audio mp3="https://virtualgiff.edublogs.org/files/2016/07/Storytellers-SSHRC-Mimi-Masson-1rheu40.mp3"][/audio]

Through our exploration in this project we came up with a list of what makes great PD - and it is virtually the same:
  • considers all learning preferences.
  • allows for all levels of readiness.
  • provides numerous entry points.
  • is flexible.
  • allows choice.
  • respects limitations of time.
  • supports a variety of learner interests.
  • promotes the development of connections and connected learning.
If this could be the mandate of ALL PD imagine where we could take the profession! Indulge me while I share a few things that struck me in my (very surface) first few days of exploration.
  1. 10 Minute Learning Sessions.  They offer 30 days of learning to get your feet wet (or wetter) with technology.  The first session: Day 1 - Dedicating Time is a great place to start if you think you are reticent toward or "too busy" for tech.  
  2. Use Flipagram as Promotion! - For their Innovators Mindsets Book Club they created this Flipagram to share on social media.  I would normally do a slide deck and hope it moved forward an/or looped.  This is a simple, yet genius, little hack.
  3. Use LiveBinders to curate websites!  I used this about a decade ago and forgot how useful it can be.  OSSEMOOC has a Live Binder linking to over 100 blogs by Ontario Educators...what a resource for quick, easy, as you need it PD!  It is also a great classroom tool (like Symbaloo) for a one stop site for web links.
  4. Free Books! Who doesn’t love a free book.  I can’t wait to get into  It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd.  Maybe I will even start a book chat with other high school teachers interested in Social Media and the Teenage experience.
  5. #PicAndPost!  What a great idea for annotating and sharing text.  OSSEEMOOC ran a activity wherein they asked community members to identify one thing they read that resonated with them.  They were to grab a screenshot, annotate it with a sentence or two, and send it to OSSEMOOC via gmail. Selected pictures were shared and discussed.  HUGE classroom implications here.
  6. Blogs are Still Important!  My husband and I had a chat last night and he said “but haven’t blogs gone the way of the dodo bird?!”.  Two days I may have agreed with him but then I read a great blog on OSSEMOOC about why writing and reading blogs is so important; short answer - blogs get around big corporation/capitalism/consumerism and allows for real voice.  It struck me so much that I had started a blog for my kids to “write” (with thanks from a tool called EasyBlogger Jr I found on one of the blogs by a primary teacher in the LiveBinder that I failed to note - sorry!)
Remember, you can learn anything - as the Khan Academy reminds us in this video (which, by the way is a FABULOUS video to share on the first day of school) So what are you waiting for?  Start exploring!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Looking for good PD…try Podcasts


 I have loved Twitter as a PD medium for some time now.  I love hearing voices from around the world and clicking through links for great resources and innovative ideas.  That said, it is a resource I can only use when I am at my computer or on my phone.  On top of that, I am an avid audio book listener.  Since having my first son it is my go to way to "read" books.  On my commute to and from work, I almost always listen to a book over the radio or other media. 

 A couple of months ago I accepted a new job in my district...it means tripling my commute time (don't feel bad for me - my current commute is only 10-12 minutes).  When I realised this, I decided, given my car listening habits and MANY recommendations from friends and colleagues, to give podcasts a try.

 Well, I am hooked.

  It all started with Serial.  You may have heard of it...the narrator tries to uncover the truth behind a 1999 murder of a 17-year-old girl allegedly committed by her boyfriend.  It got so much attention that Adnan Syed, the boyfriend, has been granted a new trial.  Basically, think Making a Murderer as a podcast.  Great listen with interesting twists and turns.

 I got to thinking, if I enjoyed this so much, maybe I could find some good podcasts.  After a quick iTunes search for EdTech I found a TON! Things I have loved about podcasts include:
  1. More people to follow on Twitter: I have loved hearing so many great EdTech voices and started following dozens of new peoples.  I have even had a number of them follow back!
  2. Quick Ideas and Tips: I've learned more about makerspaces, voxer (which is mentioned in about 75% of the podcasts I listen to), tools like raspberry pi, and how to stop second guessing yourself as an educator.
  3. Deep thought to get me work ready: One day I listened to this great podcast about moral licensing.  It really made me think..and I couldn't stop talking about it.
Some of my favourites to date have included:
  1. House of #EdTech:  hosted by Christopher J. Nesi, it explores how technology is changing the way teachers teach and the impact that technology is having in education.
  2. Every Classroom Matters With Cool Cat Teacher: A candid, look at the new big ideas that are transforming classrooms everywhere from a practising teacher's point of view.  These are quick tidbits...but I do find her voice to be a little irritating.
  3. Techlandia:  The mission statement of Techlandia Radio is simple, great educational content without taking things so seriously. Learn and laugh on your commute to work with Techlandia Radio. But skip their Grumpy Old Teachers episodes.
To be honest, I do not only listen to podcasts for PD purposes, I also really enjoy Jesse Brown's Canadaland, and Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History.

Are you a podcast listener?  Do you have any to suggest for me?  Please comment below.  Oh....and I am looking for a new podcast player.  I find the integrated on on my iPhone a bit clunky...ideas?