#ocTEL Week 1 recap

My goals for this week of the #ocTEL course were to watch the weekly webinar and complete one of the activities.

Webinar notes

Presenters: Kyriaki Anagnostopoulou, University of Bath & James Little, University of Leeds

Learning design

  • systematic way of developing and describing experiences
  • includes a description of the learners, the environment, and the tools they use to interact with each other

Learning design frameworks

  • break tasks down to see which tool would be most appropriate
  • provide vocabulary and structure when working in a team-based approach in developing learning modules
  • consider the developers’ view of technology: is important to have those well-versed in learning theories and technical skills


I particularly liked the analogy of learning technologists acting as a bridge. The points on the summary slide were helpful take-aways to wrap up the webinar.

Activity 1.4 What’s the theory?

I chose to watch Helen Keegan’s talk that described an augmented reality game she created for an Advanced Multimedia class. I picked this one as I don’t have much experience with ARG use in an educational setting, and was curious to see what it was about. Wow…what a surprise. She described how she created a game with a fictional character at its center and the set up of the game in the months before class began. Students were given clues via mail, and some of them reacted quite negatively. Over time, their perceptions changed, particularly as they became more heavily vested in the activities and clues. Throughout the presentation, I kept thinking about the ethical implications of such a game, plus the many opportunities for it to take a bad turn. The students’ comments at the end of the course about their experience and their amazement at how much they had learned were overwhelmingly positive.

Week 2 kicks off today – we will be talking about understanding learners and learning.

Webmaker training and #netneutrality

Next week kicks off the start of a new round of Mozilla Webmaker training. It’s set up as four one-week long modules in which participants will explore, build, facilitate, and connect with various aspects of the web. And, it will be fun! It’s all about making and remixing stuff in a low-stakes, low-key environment, with friendly and helpful people that can lend a hand if/when needed.

On a deeper level, this training is important as it prompts us to question why we value the web, and gives us the tools to do something with and about it. If we choose to do so. I’m looking forward to the first week’s discussions about the open web, connected learning, and ownership and authority. Learning more about how the web works is a component of digital literacy. Head over to the sign up page if you want to join in!

Thanks to Mariana Funes, I came across Vi Hart’s explanation of what Net Neutrality is all about and why it matters to each of us, whether we realize it or not. Best line from her video: “You’re paying your ISP to deliver the content you choose.” That sums up the crux of the debate for me. Her description of common carriers (around the 7-min mark) seems to resonate a bit with the idea of the internet as a utility.

She also has an extensive listing of resources, and contacts for FCC & legislative representatives. Harness the power of the web to ensure your opinion about how the internet is governed reaches your elected officials.

#ocTEL 2014 beginnings

The first week (aka Week 0) of the #ocTEL 2014 course closed yesterday. I’m using this post to recap and collect notes from the week.

Activity 0.1 asked us to consider the big and little questions that brought each of us to this course: What is the most important question about technology enhanced learning that matters to us? That might also look like a group of many interrelated ideas.

The big question that prompted me to participate in this course is the same one that I brought to my M.Ed. program: What does high-quality online learning look like, and how can I do it? I wanted to see how this course was structured, who participated, and what kinds of conversations took place. I also wanted to hear stories of educators and fellow technologists about how online learning looks from their perspective. How does the pedagogical approach for medicine differ from biology, for example? From rhetoric?

During the Learning the Ropes webinar, the course tutors/organizers offered their perspectives for navigating, connecting, and charting a learning pathway:

  • amount of information can be overwhelming
  • no right or wrong way to approach the course
  • What will your level of involvement and learning pathway look like?
  • beware of distractions
  • develop a support network – reach out and respond to tweets,  blog posts, and/or discussion forums (Sue Folley has already modeled this)
  • make use of Week 0 by reading through the participant handbook, introductions, set up a Twitter account or blog
  • start out small
  • being a lurker is ok! It can take some time to find your voice.
  • visit the course when it’s comfortable for you
  • allow time to read, reflect, and think
  • how to save resources? Do you want a separate space (ie., use existing social bookmarking site) or a new one? Elizabeth Charles described her use of Storify, which I am looking forward to trying out
  • read and digest information offline, then pop back into the course to contribute

On to Week 1!

Settling in and claiming space

Greetings and welcome to my new online space!

I’m realizing that moving to a different space online is strikingly similar to physically moving to a new house…it takes a bit of time to settle in and acquaint yourself with the new surroundings. The move to a self-hosted site was no different. Reclaim Hosting has great documentation available, which helps immensely. Small victory = I was able to figure out how to modify the standard WP footer, thanks to a tutorial via The Geek Girl. Looking forward to other site tinkerings and finally having a place to put the ideas that have been swirling about in my head for a while.

More to come…