Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Online session, 1st August - Choosing an online presence and participating in the CLC

I will be giving the first in a series of presentations looking at the practicalities of setting up Personal Learning Environments and forming Personal Learning Networks for next week's Online Mentoring Network Tuesday night session.

In this first session we will be looking at choosing a PLE (such as a blog), options for reading RSS feeds, and how to subscribe to this blog and others in the CLC network.

Date: 1st August, 2006
Time: 8pm-9pm (Sydney time)
Venue: Elluminate

It's best if you get in the room a few minutes early to download the software (it happens automatically) and check your sound setup.

If you haven't used Elluminate before, see Instructions for participating in Elluminate sessions at the OMN for for full instructions.

(Visual representation of links within this blog made at Websites as Graphs)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Invitation to a CLC f2f meeting and social gathering

On the 2nd of August in Ultimo, Sydney, I will be giving a presentation about the CLC outlining the progress of the network and how people can participate.

The talk is part of the 2006 NSW LearnScope Advanced Team workshop, but anyone interested in finding out more about the CLC and how to participate is welcome to attend this session.

The meeting will be followed up by our first social gathering - drinks and dinner. All are welcome.

There is also an option to attend a presentation by Jo Kay on the educational possibilities of Second Life - the very popular online virtual world - before the CLC session.

1:30pm–3pm - NSW Advanced Team Reflections and Where to next? (LearnScope Advanced Team Only)

3pm-4pm - Jo Kaye on Second Life
4pm-5pm - Sean FitzGerald on the Connected Learning Community

6pm - drinks at the Glasgow Arms Hotel
7pm (approx) - dinner at the Glasgow Arms Hotel
Full details including maps and directions to the venues, and RSVP details for dinner are here.

If you are unable to make the presentations you are welcome to just come along to the social event and meet other members of the CLC.

I look forward to seeing some of you on the day.

(Photo of Meeting with Grad Students in Second Life by Pathfinder Linden)

Add your details to the members page of the wiki and join our Frappr map

If you haven't already done so, add your name and primary online presence / personal learning environment to the members page of the CLC wiki. I will then add you to the list of members in the sidebar of this blog.

Could you also add yourself to our Frappr map so we can see where you are. You'll have to create an account if you don't already have one.

I'm a big believer that adding photos personalises online communication and can enhance a sense of community, so make sure you add a picture of yourself to the Frappr group photos so we can see who you are as well! I've added a slide show of the group photos (the one playing above) to the wiki.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Networking with the teacherConnect team

A bunch of us headed off down to Wollongong on Wednesday, 5th July to be a part of the first meeting for the teacherConnect Project in Wollongong.

The teacherConnect Project is a NSW LearnScope 2006 project being led by staff from the Teaching and Learning Resource Unit, TAFE NSW, namely Steven Parker, Jo Kay and Les Tasker, who are also members of the CLC.

It is described on their blog as 'An open, global network of educators supporting each other in furthering our professional development and making sense of rapid changes in technologies for teaching and learning'.

We went there to share progress of our projects and to discuss ways we can network our projects together.

Jo Kay talked about their metal:ED project which 'is focused on empowering teachers of Metal Fabrication and Welding to produce their own Video based resources'.

Stephan Ridgway and Diana Khabbaz talked briefly about their LearnScope project - Teaching and Learning in a Networked World which 'seeks to engage management and educational decision makers in the debate around web2.0 and the networked learning model'.

Robyn Jay - NSW LearnScope Manager - was there. She has written her reflections on the day on the LearnScope blog - Connections and Conversations - in this post - Networked Learning in Action.

Also there were Alexander Hayes, James Worner and Julie Collareda.

Leigh Blackall was there in spirit, or at least via a Breeze virtual conferencing session, for some of the discussion.

Even though this project is about using online technologies to communicate and form learning networks, sometimes I still need to have conversations in person to process my thinking, so the meeting was a great opportunity to discuss some of the challenges in facilitating this project.

This lead to a valuable discussion on the tensions that exist in facilitating this type of project and actually putting the principles of a networked learning model into action.

Issues raised:
1) To what extent should the process be managed and controlled as opposed to offering encouragement and guidance? What is the right balance to ensure outcomes are achieved?

2) To what extent are the facilitators responsible for providing learning experiences, resources and content, as opposed to encouraging the participants to provide resources and content?

3) To what extent should learning experiences be presented in a sequential manner, considering the network environment is a non-linear environment, and that if participants are expected to contribute the content it's likely to arrive in a non-sequential manner?
Unlike an EdNA group where you can ensure everyone is informed of what's happening by subscribing everyone to the news forum, and where you can see how many people are subscribed and how much activity is going on, involvement in this network is purely voluntary - we can't force people to subscribe to this blog and other blogs, or post on their blogs or comment on others' blogs - so there is a fear that no one will participate, that project outcomes will not be achieved, and that the amount of activity related to the network cannot be measured.

Personally, I'm learning what a challenge it is to put the new model into practice and relinquishing some control over the process and be less of an expert, more of a facilitator. It forces me to really think and act differently. It requires a real mind shift and can really 'do my head in'. It actually requires me to be different.

Steve Parker showed us a video of a pretty inspiring talk by Sir Ken Robinson in which 'he makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it.'

Jo Kay has posted a great flickr slideshow of pics from the day on the teacherConnect blog.

(Photo by Robyn Jay)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Subscribing to this blog's site feed

Firstly, my apologies for taking so longing posting again and getting things happening with the CLC. I've been busy with other projects, and wow! - how time flies!

An important part of the process of forming and becoming part of distributed, informal Personal Learning Networks is subscribing to the RSS feeds of blogs and other sources of information.

So to keep up-to-date with CLC news, announcements, developments and tips subscribe to this blog's site feed -

(Note that it's actually an Atom feed - a protocol similar to RSS).

I've added the site feed to the template. (I'll explain how to add content to a blog's template at a later date.)

If you don't have a news reader you can check out this tutorial I've added to the wiki - RSS Feeds & Newsreaders. It points to an extensive list of news aggregators.

A lot of educators use Bloglines - it's web-based and lets you share your feeds publically.

Which news reader are you using? Leave a comment and share with us why you made that choice and how you find it. Do you have any other recommendations?

If you aren't ready to adopt a news reader yet, you can also subscribe to RSS feeds via email. A list of email-based services is available in the extensive list of news aggregators.

Please feel free to add to the wiki any links to tutorials and guidelines that can help with an understanding of what RSS is, how to subscribe to RSS feeds and types of RSS readers.

A good resource for learning more about RSS and news readers is 50+ RSS Ideas for Educators.

And remember - if you bookmark any relevant resources in tag them with 'clcommunity'.