#etmooc Always Learners


walkthrougsamedoor coursoa

Inspiring as always, Educational Technology Massive Open Online Course  Community gathered together for the Third Anniversary of ETMOOC [ #etmooc ] ! More than twenty etmooc-ers met in Zoom to honor Alec Couros who started the waves rippling across the universe of connected conversations on the Internet.

etmooc year 3


Yes, the course ended three years ago, but the communities that formed from that online course still ebb and flow in connections, conversations, collaborations. We learned to be open, to connect, to start conversations and take the chance to start something new — to try something new. Although we worked with technology, the essence of success was the openness in choice, the acceptance of where each was, and the support from all to try, fail, try again — together. It was the reciprocal relationships and conversations encouraged by the facilitators and developed further by the participants that kept the course inviting and inspiring, allowing each to “choose their own adventure,” as Alec expects and reminds us.


So, yes, we are still a community, now building our own communities that resonate with our learning from #etmooc.  We learned to be learners again — and felt the struggle and the wonder of change. Change in mindset, change in possibilities, and change in our outlook of the world of education.

shift with it balen

Because #etmooc-ers so appreciate the learning we gleaned from the vision of  Alec Couros, we decided to do something that he [ with an idea from Daniel Bassill ] had suggested at the very end of our course:

The bigger question for me is always, “So I’ve developed a digital identity, and I’m connected to a powerful network of individuals from across the planet – what can I do with this to change the world in a meaningful way?”

We knew we wanted to honor Alec — how could we do so and change the world?

The idea from the lead team [ @rljessen @sspellmancann @christinahendricks @debbiefuco ] was to create a scholarship fund in Alec’s father’s name. Please read here [and donate if your can]:

The Mario Couros Memorial Bursary

The Mario Couros Memorial Bursary will help newcomers to Canada in reaching their dream of being one of tomorrow’s educators by providing financial assistance to pursue their Education Degree at the University of Regina. Mario came to Canada from Greece on December 14th 1957. He lived, worked and raised his family in Saskatchewan. He wanted to make a life and a difference for his family. Mario was a volunteer, a caring supportive father, grandfather, a loving husband and an extremely hard working man. He was a great role model for his children and others as he continued to be a lifelong learner with a fabulous work ethic until his passing. This award is dedicated in his memory.

It is also a tribute to his son Dr. Alec Couros who continues his father’ s legacy by inspiring and encouraging others to pursue their educational aspirations and follow a path to life-long learning.

The bursary will make a meaningful impact by breaking down the financial barriers to higher education and encouraging outstanding academic achievement. By contributing to this bursary you will enable Education students to focus on what matters most : their education.

The goal is to raise $ 25.000 to create an endowment that will allow for a permanent bursary at the University of Regina ‘s Faculty of Education. Your contribution to the Mario Couros memorial Bursary will live on in perpetuity in memory and honour of Mario’s legacy.   

Go here to learn how to participate: The Mario Couros Memorial Bursary Information

So, we continue to learn and grow together and help others. Isn’t that why we’re here?


Thank you  Alec Couros for dropping a pebble into a puddle that grew into an ocean connecting a world of passionate educators and that continues to ripple in learning and sharing in so many ways that we will never know. Thank you to your family, including George and mom Mary for your thoughtful and encouraging ways.

Thank you Susan Spellman-Cann and Rhonda Jessen for all the behind-the-scenes effort and tonight’s awesome anniversary party!

And, remember, #etmooc welcomes all.

Please join our community here in Google Plus.

water droplets

#etmooc Look Back to Move Forward



Make meaning from the bits and act to create change in education. 


  • Key Words: Connect, Contribute, Create, Curate


Look Back:

In January, 2013 an event started:Educational Technology Massive Open Online Course – ETmooc with Alec Couros as lead contributor  (conspirator) and originator.

Twitter brought me to it, and a journey began, a journey whose path still is one that I choose that is connected, personalized, and collaborative, and that is inspired by the people, projects, and conversations in the various neighborhoods to which my path flows.

From #etmooc, as I reflect on that first topic of “Connected Learning,” I still believe:


Move Forward:


Are you an experienced user of educational technology, or a novice just starting your PLN: Personal/Professional Neighborhoods?

Whichever you are, learn from #etmooc:

  1. Choose the connections relevant to you
  2. Interact as you can; keep balance in your life
  3. Dig deeper through reflection on the conversations, connections, and information as you apply their meaning to your life
  4. Share [with colleagues, through blogging, or in your online communities] the meaning, the work, the questions you’ve considered
  5. Curate your reflections and sources so others can view your path

If you step into refreshing online communities to both learn and share, you will also develop friends you may never meet, but whom you will treasure forever.

You can start by visiting some of the platforms on the PLN image above, especially #etmooc and Twitter #etmooc. Find Twitter users that resonate with you through Twitter chats, and then follow, comment, and connect on their blogs. [How to Twitter Chat]

So, what would you add?   What did you learn about Connected Learning from #etmooc?



About ETmooc, created by Alec Couros

Topic One Post #ETmooc Google Plus: Overwhelmed

Going Deeper: Making Meaning Vialogue (@bhwilkoff @thecleversheep )

Rodd Lucier’s socialcam post, “Like Spokes on a Wheel.”

Coalesced Connections (embedded Vialogue)

Clarifying ETmooc

The Fellowship of the Open Spokes

ETmooc Community

About Connected Learning

Personal / Professional Learning Neighborhood (PLN) from @bhwilkoff

2013 Build Your Neighborhood info from @thecleversheep and Silvia Tolisano @langwitches

2014 Reflection

My 2013 Personal Learning Neighborhoods

Twitter chats

How to Twitter Chat


Thank you to all the people I’ve met and continue to connect with from #etmooc and #clmooc.


#TribeofBloggers Challenge #etmooc

A Tweet:


Do you want to blog, but time gets away from you?  That’s my issue — making time. Here’s a challenge anyone can accept:  Twice monthly blogging challenge.

I’m so glad I dipped into the twitter stream to see Jennifer’s tweet. A challenge creates commitment.

Let’s do it!

Challenge tossed to #etmooc in anticipation of our upcoming anniversary.  How about it?

#140WC #etmooc

#etmooc: Educational Technology & Media massive open online course occurred two years ago! And yet, the relationships built during that experience are still strong. Tonight [December 3, 2014], we Twitter chatted [ here’s the storify]. We are still drawn by the power of the #etmooc experience — learning and sharing, trying and growing together.

The group even started a PostEtmooc community, but then brought it back to the main group again #etmooc. We learned that together we can succeed. We learned that together, sharing openly, we share a humanness that thrives on the Internet. Yes — online! Across and around the world. Some joined together to create smaller Moocs for their own staff, some stay connected in smaller projects. Some formed a blog reading group. Many stay connected via Twitter and the #etmooc community. The #etmooc group came together in September to “Hang Out” and plan twitter chats and more “Hang Outs” during the next year.

What did they learn? How Educational Technology can connect learners into a powerful community. Why? The world is changing… Here’s a thought on #etmooc and student agency and here’s one on the one-year anniversary.

The members are from all over the world, and are teachers at all levels, counselors, administrators, parents.. and we’re still learning together!

Be part of it!  Follow both #connectedlearning and #etmooc on twitter!  To learn more about connected learning, see Why Connected Learning.

Will you join us?

WC: 235

Join the #140WC Challenge


Rhizome: Grow, nurtured together #etmooc

Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz CC3.0

Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz CC3.0

Rhizomatic Learning:

I sense so I grow; I need, so I grow; I grow, so I discover; I discover, so I connect; I grow, so I share what I am; I intertwine, so I choose; I choose, so I communicate; I am one rhizome among many, nurtured to grow and learn together in a community of individuals and associations, interconnecting and reshaping both the neighborhoods and the self.

In #etmooc, I listened to Dave Cormier‘s presentation and later listend to his EdTechTalk and read resources by Christina Hendricks, which I found through my new friend, Linda Pemik. I’m not sure how Linda’s work on her blog and Google Plus led me to those resources, but they did, and I thank her.

And, to me, that’s the point. When I listened to Dave Cormier’s presentation, I thought: that’s what I’m grappling with in the classroom. My students, and I think students today, at least the ones who “don’t do school,” learn in this exploratory, discovery, and self-propelled way, in spite of our over-directing with required learning. To engage them, I need to tap into their personal learning journeys.

I’ve been musing over this for last week or so, this organic learning I see within my classroom. I review:

Dave’s Comments
My Comments

My Notes on Dave’s Comments

5 things

1 The best learning prepares people for dealing with uncertainty

2 The community can be the curriculum — learning when there is no answer

3 The rhizome is a model for learning for uncertainty

4 rhizomatic learning works in the complex domain

5 students need to be responsible for their own learning (and the learning of others)

My Comments

Uncertainty is the state of life in this community; my student will succeed when they can adapt, which they don’t often. Our work together inspires when we gather as a community of learners for some question or activity the students suggest or accept, and so they feel the responsibility to participate. So when the sixth grade students know that the fifth grade students need help learning Google Apps and being safe online, they jump in to create, design, and teach a curriculum they create based on their experiences. While last year I developed a process for this, this year’s student have proceeded on their own based on their past experiences. The flow of project development is much more organic and more engaging than in the past.

My Notes on Dave’s Comments

If confronted with a challenge, will be able to work through it. Community: build and talk and share and interact — the learning process.

My Comments

Like the writing process, the learning process is not linear: it fits the learner’s needs and purpose. If I am teaching a concept, the student may pick up something completely different, yet that which s/he needs to learn. I understand that the requirements I need to teach guide me, but that the learning occurs when the student applies it — and I guide them in what they apply, which means that I reteach and feedback and guide according to the flow of where each student is. One student may be comparing and contrasting ideas while another is still learning to organize the ideas before s/he can compare. …Which brings me to content.

My Notes on Dave’s Comments

  • map in any direction from any starting point
  • grow and spread via experimentation within a context

My Comments

That is exactly what is happening. I may have sixth or seventh or eighth grade students in my classroom, but the range of their knowledge is, as they say in NWEA terms, “Standard Deviation 17.” In other words, no one student is at the “level” of any of the others. So, within the context of language arts, each student maps out from where s/he is, growing through experimentation with the suggestions in my lessons. Which brings me to assessment.

My Notes on Dave’s Comments

  • we need to measure learning
  • the fact that you need it doesn’t make it possible

My Comments

It’s not possible to measure the true learning within a classroom: it’s a community of learners, exploring and growing together on many levels — personal, social, academic, skills, relational, etc. One test cannot tell you where they were or where they are — which will you measure — the second grade writing skill level or the tenth grade writing skill level? or reading level? or math level? In their progression of presentation in projects, one sees and hears their improvement in both skill and confidence, because they learn to deal and solve uncertainty — the learn the heuristics of solving each one’s needs and desires in the journey of discovery. It is through that continued engagement each day in self-chosen explorations that students will learn while applying the skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Real learning is an organic process. If I were teaching math or science or social studies, the context provides the foundation for questions, which nourish the heuristics to explore as mathematicians, scientists, or historians. Coming together as a community to share the resulting learning by each student bring us to a deeper understanding within the context. It is that sharing within the community that demonstrates the true learning, not a test of facts. We learn by doing, and testing is not doing. … Which leads to curriculum.

My Notes on Dave’s Comments

  • amplify what works
  • learning is different for each of us

My Comments

As I teach what is required, I must amplify what works — for each student or group of students because learning is different for each one. Learning is messy and so is teaching. Making it steps to learn or steps to teach detracts from what is important; it is the whole of the question to solve that inspires students to grow and try, so that the teacher then shows the steps as needed, guiding according to needs as the student is ready. 

I don’t know if this is what rhizomatic learning is according to Dave Cormier, but it is what I understood based on the flow of learning within my classroom. I may be teaching persuasive essay, but I frame it with the persuasive techniques close to this age: the Super Bowl advertisements and their demands for fairness (Why do the sixth graders get to go to lunch first all the time?). While my context may be one of the persuasive strategies, for one student we still work on sentence structure and punctuation within the jumble of his use of the strategy, and for another it’s use of metaphor to extend his use of the strategy. A connected topic, one context, many starting points, differing learning, within a community and with a possibility of transfer because it touches reality.


In your classroom, with your students, do you see the differences in each learner, the flow of learning from one idea to another, the nuances in understandings, and the realization that learning is a personal journey in which the context we create could be but one path to understanding?

One place to think about this organic flow of learning in our classrooms is in the passionate work of Hugh, Gallit, and Denise as they develop the concept of Genius Hour: the time for students as they learn towards our “contexts” while following their passions.  What do you think?

Collaborative Video #ceetopen #etmooc

livelearningcurriculumceb12We did it! Our #ceetopen participants collaborated on a video project based on the #etmooc project completed in Darren Kuropatwa’s Digital Storytelling presenation.

Here’s our process, thanks to our leader, Verena Roberts ‏

#ceetopen Collaboration and Creation (Day 3/4)

Let’s make a #ceetopen video !

Sheri Edwards and Verena Roberts will help put it together….YOU just need to send us a 5-10 second video……

Here’s this example:  Darren Kuropatwa and Crew ‘s Beauty Video

Our Topic: “Where” do we learn?”

1. Take 5-10 seconds of video on: Outside My Door.

No words – just the images..

2. Upload it to: dropitTOme 

3.  It will be remixed, uploaded to YouTube.


4. Video is ready for you to PopcornMaker it by entering the YouTube URL  Watch the tutorial ! at Popcorn Maker.

The YouTube Link will be here:  http://youtu.be/XPKloaRN850

Once you remix and create – please be sure to post your Popcorned video to our Create Your Own Classroom community and tweet it using #ceetopen.


And here’s the video:


Special thanks to Scott Boylen and Denise Krebs for adding their videos too! The PLN always pulls through!