Surgery Day

For all of you associated with UD and beyond, send your prayers and strength to Meg and her family as they deal with surgery for her young son, Jack.

Finding the Road

1:51p.m.  Just learned they are closing Jack up…. Dr. Piatt will be out with our next (and final) surgery update.  The nurse said he asked how WE were doing out here.  🙂  The social worker found us a sleeper room for the night.  The road is about to get harder before it gets easier, but I think we’ll still be on the road by the end of the day, and that’s all that matters.  Still holding Jack’s rattle in my hands.  I wonder if he will ever be able to believe and truly understand how many people care so much about him…

1:10p.m.  Wow!  Just learned that Dr. Piatt is finished with the microscope and has called for Jack’s derma patch (sp?)  The nurse explained that this means he is finishing up the tumor removal, and that closing up is not far away.  I can’t believe it- seems far ahead…

View original post 598 more words

#udsnf12 more than a class

expanding-universe

#udsnf12 is a very meaningful hashtag as it exploded the social networking world for me.

Matt created a safe environment to explore what it means to connect to learning networks. Not just what it “means” but what it really feels like to experience it first-hand. He demonstrated why our online profile is important and how to increase our online presence in a positive powerful way. We not only learned about Seimen’s theory on Connectivism, we experienced it! I became a thoughtful consumer and connector with a more educated perspective of what I really needed and wanted in this realm of connectivity.

The class experience felt like being thrown on a sail boat and not knowing how to sail. He gave us a bunch of tools, but we really didn’t even know how to hoist the anchor until after a few lessons when we could really begin to harness the wind and sail!

Because Matt made his thought processes known to his students, I think we all felt that we were in this together. His honesty and enthusiasm were critical components to the success of this class and his students appreciated it.

And do you want to know the super-cool thing? All of the resources that Matt creatively pulled together for us were absolutely 100% free.

Thank you!

Dear Social Networking Class at UD:

flowers for youI just wanted to say, thanks!  Wow, what a trip, eh? That Canadian dude sure had us connecting, collaborating, curating, content aggregating, cooking. Wait, no, we didn’t cook, well, in one sense, yes we did! We were cookin’ all semester. Creating accounts all OVER the web, following more sites and streams than I ever thought possible. With a little help from Netvibes ;)

Oh, and guess what? I blogged. Yea, I expressed myself publicly. For me, a big step. So thank you to everyone in class and in cyberspace who supported me and commented. It makes you feel a little less alone out in the great big web when someone says a little something.

Looking forward to next Monday!thank you1

merci

Information Control

Image representing Netvibes as depicted in Cru...

Do you have information overload? Are you tired of checking a million places for your social updates? I know I am. So I have been looking for a solution to help me improve my personal productivity which will also improve my professional development. I want to be able to see the important news feeds, twitter updates, linkedin info in one area.

First of all, lets talk Dashboards. What are they? According to several sources (Dendas, NetSuite, Wikipedia, SAP) dashboards are user interfaces that allow you to view real-time information, i.e. data, like “key performance indicators” (KPI) and real-time trends. Many times these are created very specifically for businesses to manage their productivity. They can provide analytics that are helpful in making decisions and monitor trends and they do this in a very visual, graphical way. One company, Data-to-Dashboard.Com describes a dashboard as a way of visually describing data in order to achieve goals.

The Netvibe Dashboard we will be reviewing does have a similar high-level data analysis capability for their paid accounts; however, we will be looking at Dashboards as a way to control information.

Does your browser usually look like this with a billion tabs open?

Yes, when we are researching information our information flow tends to look like this; however, when we are “just” monitoring our professional networks, do we really want to have this kind of information system?  Probably not, or at least I definitely do not. I am tired of information overload.

There are browser dashboards that can help manage this flow. The one I really like is called Netvibes. I am primarily interested in Netvibes for the following reasons:

  1. to help control the way in which my many sources of information is displayed
  2. to keep me connected to my social networks

Check out my Netvibes Overview Here:

 

Also you can check out another YouTube video by MrClarkYIS. He wanted to share how he is Using Netvibes for Teacher Blogs. He describes how Netvibes can be used to manage class blogs. Check it out!

Have fun Netvibing!

The Age of Aquarius in Professional Development

Let’s chat for a minute about what you need to be successful at work. Is it online training seminars, more webinars, more workshops? Maybe… but you probably need a little bit more than that.

Professional Development is much more than what workshops are offered and when.

1st Dimension: Training

There are many spheres or dimensions to development. On the surface we think about training objectives/topics, presenter skills and engagement activities. All of these are very important strategies during training. However, the absolute key to any seat-time experience, whether it is online or f2f, is what happens afterwards.

How do we transfer that learning back to our work environments, our offices?

2nd Dimension: Knowledge Transfer

“Wow, that was a great workshop! The speaker was awesome, the handouts spectacular. Now I am going to put it all in a folder in my drawer….oh, no.”

What does it take to bring that new knowledge into our practice? Maybe we just need time at the end of the session to consider how the information we just learned can impact our current situation. What if, when the training concluded we were given 10 minutes to complete a worksheet or engage in a dialogue that would outline how we could integrate this new knowledge into our practice. If we can’t integrate it for one reason or another, then can we at least list a number of colleagues who may be interested in this information and then pass it along?

3rd Dimension: Fostering Connections & Contributions

The previous two dimensions are important, yet I believe they mean very little without this third dimension.

To be successful, people need to feel that they can actively contribute, engage with their peers, and develop professionally.  I found a great audio excerpt about the Essentials of Engagement which is located at the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) site.

This mini-podcast references the one segment of the following book, 12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James Harter.  When we feel that our workplace promotes these concepts, an engaged and active, thriving environment emerges.

  • I connect with the vision and mission of my employer or division.
  • My opinion matters.
  • I have the opportunity to grow professionally.
  • I am recognized or praised for my work. I am appreciated.
  • Someone at work encourages my development.

So, yes, I need to focus on training strategies that can engage people during the workshop, but I also need to find out how I can support the broader engagement of our staff.

Florescent lights of the lms…

a lonely florescent breakfast

Yep, I love Jim Groom’s description of the florescent light of the LMS.

I completely support the concept of leaving the LMS behind when it is clunky or commercially cyborged. I truly understand the argument for the use of multiple tools and weaving together “whatever” works for instructors. Yet, is this expectation realistic? There are a handful of people I know who can do this…well. Other instructors need the well-structured universe of a standardized tool or “system.”

Good instructors take some risk, great instructors experiment and bring their students along with them. Unfortunately, I think that most people (students and instructors alike) feel that the stakes are too high to experiment. The student says, “I pay too much money for this.” (Whatever this is.) The instructor thinks, “I don’t want to look like a fool.” So, I think the edupunk movement has two-sides to the coin: instructor risk and student satisfaction.

My dilemma now that I am in an employee training field, is that we need to track employee course completion. Has the employee reviewed OMB circular A-21 or has she completed the necessary online training to handle radioactive material? How can we do this on an institutional scale where we can apply reporting and analytics to ensure that we have met the legal training requirements?

yay, legal documents!

Yet what is really interesting to consider is how the edupunk movement can evolve or expand employee training too, not just what we consider “standardized” k-12 education. Todd Hudson at the Maverick Institute considered this when he wrote the article “Lean Knowledge Transfer.”  How can we bring a new philosophy into training? He cites the lack of responsivity that formalized corporate training embodies. And that it is better to implement a “lean” approach where the learner is driving the experience.

I do think that the edupunk philosophy is critical to the advancement of education and should possibly be the foundation of all learning:

          1. Reaction against the commercialization of education

          2. DIY attitude

          3.Thinking and learning for yourself. (quoted from Wikipedia)

Ultimately, it probably is time for instructors to get some real-life sunshine and step out of the LMS’s artificial shadow.

“Quick” Learning on the Web

question from the audience

question from the audience

I attended UD’s First Friday Roundtable on Teaching on 10/5 (and had a blast, I might add!) about active learning techniques and my interest was piqued with the idea of “Bookending the Lecture.” Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to attend the mini-session to get the gist of what “Bookending” was all about.

For my blog post for #udsnf12 I will tell you about my online learning path to investigate this topic.

“Bookending the Lecture” where to start?

Initial Searches for 10-15 Minute Response Time

I came to absolute dead-ends at Class Central and Makerspace. However, when I looked at HowCast my return search topic was “How to Cast a Spell.” I thought this was interesting, but not quite on topic.

I finally went to google and found 23 results for “bookending the lecture.” The content returned was scholarly so I was able to build a foundation of how this engagement concept fits in with other strategies.

From here I decided to try YouTube with Zero results!

Searches for 1 Week Response Time  

calendar

a week or longer…

I then decided to go directly to the source and ask Kathy Pusecker, the director of the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning.

As I was waiting for Kathy’s email response, I went to the ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) web site. Again, searching specifically on “bookending the lecture” resulted in zero results. But then a little chat window popped up and asked if I wanted to chat! Well…yes, I did as a matter of fact. And, again, no resources for this very specific concept.

Now I am starting to feel like I am looking for the elusive Sasquatch.

I received an email back from Kathy and she pointed me to the Google docs they created for the event. At last, I can see the resources the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning used for this very specific topic. Now I have some resources to enable additional searching ideas.

I also went out on a limb and started a LinkedIn discussion with my ASTD group and asked the following question:

Have you used an active learning technique called “bookending the lecture?” If so, what activities did you incorporate?

And as of today, 10/15, five days later, I do not have any replies.

My takeaway from this exercise is that it is important to ask your community for help, even if you do not get a response. The point is to ask.

Connectivism in Action Part 2

My dance with  National Council of University Research Administrators-NCURA’s social web network.

courtesy of aka_serges photostream on flickr

I first looked at their Twitter feed and found that the majority of tweets (and I mean almost all) were pointing followers to their “YouTube Tuesday” sessions. The second most tweeted subject by NCURA was about conference dates and conference related things.  OK- on the surface really good stuff, but not immediate texts and links that I am interested in. Now I dig a little deeper and look into their 456 Followers.

Note: this is where the idea of Connectivism gets real. I am taking a respectable organization’s twitter account and peering into their followers AND I am allowed to. I am not hacking, this is public knowledge. Wow! It is like looking into someone’s contact list.

Behind Door Number 1: Trustworthiness

I see that  John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is following NCRUA, but decide that this Tweeter is focused more on health related topics and not general research related ideas, which is what I am searching for. So, although they are incredibly trustworthy, they do not meet my “follow” criteria.

Door Number 2: Lacking Tweets!

I click on another follower of NCURA’s tweets and see that this person has only tweeted 3 times, which again, does not meet my criteria. The tweeter I want to follow from this group will be an active twitter allowing me to learn something or attempt to build a professional connection.

Door Number 3: A winner! Trustworthy & Lots of Tweets that meet My Professional Needs

Next up is HarvardOSP or the Office for Sponsored Programs at Harvard University. At last, real potential. They only have posted 58 tweets, but it looks like this is a new account and is very active for September.

Furthermore, their content is exactly what I am looking to find : educational resources on the web, funding opportunities and critical issues in my field, news. I think this Tweeter would be a great one to do my next layer of connectivity research.

Door Number 4: Way off Topic

My next Tweeter to research was a woman with a very promising scientific profile. She also had 288 tweets. Awesome, or so I thought. When I dug further, many of the tweets were personal, some political and several had a lot to do with the Mars Curiosity rover, which is interesting , but not what I want to follow. So, she did not meet my criteria.

Door Number 5: Off Topic…again

Found a promising tweeter that is also followed by NCURA and HarvardSOP, so I thought,  “Perfect!” a real person I can follow. Unfortunately, his postings were a lot about sensationalistic news items and fewer references to research development.

During  my review of other resources/websites that I stumbled upon I found other golden nuggest of information and resources.

For some of these I know that I will have to  sift through the (yes, I have to say it) the Connections, I will find valuable opportunities to learn and connect with others in a way that I did not realize.

This is so, so, so very cool. I cannot tell you how much this assignment has meant to me, to my professional life.

Gold Mine for Sale!

My overall observation? It takes a lot of digging to find gold.

Social Networking Course Expectations

dashboard

I need a dashboard!

I am very excited to take this course! I am looking forward to examining social networking options and their implications with the help of my instructor and classmates. In particular, I would like to understand how these tools can be used to extend student learning.  I feel that I can easily see the social relevance of many of these, but would like to better comprehend the ways these tools can be used to support learning in a meaningful way.I am also interested in effectively using organizational tools like dashboards (such as netvibes) that can help me keep everything at my fingertips.

Here we go…..   🙂

PS While I was searching for netvibes, I found a site called, Social Brite, social strategies for nonprofits. It looks like it might have useful information.