#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.


What does learning mean?

by langwitches What does Learning mean?
Originally uploaded by langwitches

Silvia Tolisano at Langwitches expresses the energizing wish that we educators (teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, and ed-technicians) come together to conduct learning in the 21st Century.


Technology is here. And as Bill Ferrier states:  “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m tired of schools hammering out wonderful cliches like, “We’re teaching students to be life-long learners,” yet doing little to examine the ways in which “learning” has changed over time. We’re stuck in the mindset that “learning” means sitting at desks plodding through a pre-determined course of study delivered by a teacher.”

Read Kevin Conion’s review of Tony Wagner’s “The Global Achievement Gap” to understand what learning and teaching mean today– and tomorrow.

Then come back to Langwitches whose words prompt me to think:

How can we achieve the big picture of learning if everyday we focus on one skill at a time? — and neglect the role of technology in learning skills — or applying them as we learn them in collaboration with other students around the world to explore and understand the world and each other?

The shareholders do support the conductor — the teacher — who orchestrates learning so students can choose and apply skills when needed to accomplish the tasks of his/her everyday life in positive and successful ways. We just need to extend our support to the current realities.

What are the tasks of everyday life? How about these:
The Kiwis for Kenya Project
Culture Quest
Planting a Hummingbird Garden.

What does learning mean? Learning means understanding the world to live successfully in the world. Projects like these look at the world through human eyes instead of through mandated skills because it is in living that we desire to learn. And the teachers’ orchestration of the learning environment encourages and supports all students, guiding them to become powerful through knowledge and action in their lives.

“The conductor of an orchestra does not make a sound…he depends for his power on his ability of making other people powerful.” Benjamin Zander

This beautiful image created by Silvia Tolisano sings for all shareholders — the tech-world hums around us, so let’s look at the tools available, and let’s blend the rhythm of the tools with the melody of curriculum so our students will dance to the beat of learning. Do help us harmonize because the kids are already there.

Thanks Silvia.

[also posted here ]

Digital Learning as Digital Citizens

Net Gen Geek Loves Connectivity

Net Gen Geek Loves Connectivity

A debate brews today on digital learning, with many honored people sharing varied views on the convergence of technology with teaching and learning given the plethora of exciting resources available to and plucked up by kids.

I think we tip on the edge of a revolution, and I see both sides of the debate:

http://grownupdigital.com/ Don Tapscott — Suggests in part that digital natives demand participatory web; prefer text and image with lots of choice

http://netgennonsense.blogspot.com/ Mark Bullen — Asks: Is it generational? Are these valid traits?

As a geeky grandmother, my grandkids and I identify with many of Tapscott’s “digital natives;” We want participation, not passivity. We love learning with others and from others with the ability to find those others all over the world, although my grandkids simply connect mostly with those important peers around them, and maintaining those connections if the friend moves far away.

In my classroom of Title 1 students, access determines the traits. Once I started technology-infused lessons, students now prefer the interactivity and choice as well as the connections and sharing with other peers and teachers across the continent. As soon as they obtain cell phones, etc. they become the netgenners, but availability to connectivity is key.

Access and exposure builds the attributes and expectations, not necessarily the generational component.

The important issue is twofold: 1) that all of us can acquire access and 2) that educators fully engage students in responsible and ethical participation through authentic connections.

Once students encounter the power of networked participation and choice, they will demand it. Our connected world depends on our ability to wisely participate as global citizens in this fantastic resource.

But which kids will be connected? And schools (with or without walls) are the focal point from which the critical, creative, and ethical application of these tools will reach the most net citizens.

What do you think?

Yes, We Can Serve…

Check out the writing classroom at Nespelem School.

We’ve started a voicethread that other students across the country are joining. President Obama asked for a new spirit of service to our country. Our students heard that call in the Inaugural Address and responded in small ways to improve their community. In fact, we’ve started new goals after our first round of service.

Listen to what we started and other kids in Wisconsin who have joined us have to say. Another school in San Diego will also join us. Click here. Voicethread may be forwarding the final version to President Obama.

The fifth grade class is working with a class from Memphis, Tennessee; you’ll see comments from this school on student pages. We’ll be working on projects and skyping each other for video discussions. Our Dance Group under the direction of Terrie Sanger will share traditional dancing via video Skype. Students in both classrooms are thrilled to work together.

It’s a bold new world, and our kids expect to part of it in ways most of people don’t understand yet.

Our goal is to guide students to responsible and positive use of the power of these tools while learning. Our students expect, no; they are demanding this now.

Enjoy our voices, and thanks for supporting us.

Note: also blogged at: Nespelem Eagles and What Else-

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This museum could be online for all.

This museum could be online for all.

Ben Wilkoff’s Learning is Change Blog explained this tenet from the Educon 2.1 conference:

“Idea six: The purpose of school is to expose kids to people who are actually doing what is possible. Perhaps it is in finding out how things really work. Perhaps it is in not knowing everything. Perhaps it is in knowing exactly what you want to do with your life.”


A Reflection

Idea Six embodies the heart of education. Whether at home or in school, we strive in our human capacity to know ourselves, our talents, our skills. We want to improve at that which we show skill. We want to learn how the world works, and find avenues through which our travel adds to our strengths as we search for a way to work throughout our lives in careers that hopefully reflect our abilities.

I know; we have tests to pass and standards to teach. Why? So students know skills to be successful in today’s ever-changing world so our country stays strong and viable. Standards in content provide the background to move forward in developing our ideas and questions. Standards in process provide heuristic strategies to create our stance and solutions. They guide us in our search for how the world works.

But does everyone need to know everything, and pass the same test to prove it? If I buy a new electric car, I expect whichever one I drive home will be the same quality and standard that my neighbor’s car has. However, my neighbor will have different places to go, different ways to drive, and different purposes for his car. The thing is standardized; the people are not.

Isn’t that what we have forgotten in education? the people teaching and the people learning. The people use the standards to reach personal goals, and they grow with each goal in different ways. Remember the adage, “Different strokes for different folks.” When we standardize the people part, we dilute and detract from the possible proficiencies of each person; we funnel the future into today’s tenets instead of feeding the future with the informed heuristic possibilities of lifelong learners, whose individual and collective competencies could solve unimaginable problems.

The word “education” derives from the Latin “educere — lead out.” Education should lead students to find themselves, to strengthen what they do well, to discover hidden talents, and to learn from others who use their talents well so that students, too, become productive, creative citizens. Students don’t need to know everything, and they will learn what they need to know — when it’s needed to learn about themselves or to learn how things work as they create and interact in learning quests of which they have chosen the focus and in which the standards provide background, guidance, and focus.

At home, students choose where, what, and why to learn; the interactive Internet draws them to that which captures their interests and strengths. Unless education mirrors that interactive choice, leading students to known and hidden talents, educational institutions will find resistance from students; it won’t serve the needs to learn and use their own strengths.

Connecting students with people who are doing what is possible — or could be possible — leads students to knowing their own talents; the Internet provides a river of connections in simple texts, expert queries (“Ask a _____”), interactive projects, collaborative quests, and real-time or archived media interactions. How many classrooms today allow this interactive, student-focused curricula that leads students to “knowing what they want to do with their lives?”

How would educators do that? The standards provide the harbor, a reference point in content and process; the educators and students decide the direction of their journey into the river, planning the places and prospects that contain the current and forge the flow of learning, creating their own ports of explorations and expertise to which others connect. These ports are personal docks displaying each student’s possibilities and proficiencies — a lifelong legacy of learning. Moor to the dock to discover the scope of the scholarship and the compass of the course; a test isn’t required. I think classrooms would be more joyful, inclusive, and active places if we help and connect people in their process of developing their possibilities; classrooms would be places where students WANT to go — to augment and evince their odyssey. Wouldn’t that be something?

A Possible Outline

The Start:

A Discipline

The Standards in Content and Process

Standard-Summarizing Scenarios

The Quest:

Your interest?

Your reason?

Your question?

Your goal?

Your knowledge?

Your resources?

Your plan?

Your journey.

Your reflection/revision/retracking.

Your presentation [of the journey; of the learning; of standard (content and process) references; of breakthrough (discovery or obstacle) in thoughts, knowledge, standards, solutions; of collaboration; of peer review; of continuing questions and quests.]

The End:

There is none; it’s a lifelong process.