I’ve been doing a lot of digital “makes” this week for the Making Learning Connected MOOC, and it seemed like it was time to get off the screen and get my hands dirty. While I am not a gardener (and don’t play one on the Internet), I am the vigilant Compost Man in our home. So, what I make is black gold — the rich soil that grows our veggies and flowers.
We hosted our first Twitter Chat last night, and boy, talk about a mad rush of ideas. I’ve taken part in chats before, but to be (with my friend, Terry) one of the facilitators as tweets come fast and furious was interesting and little breathtaking in its pace and speed. The hour flew by and before I knew it, we had begun and ended. In between those time warp moments, though, a slew of folks chimed in about where they were from, what they were doing in the Making Learning Connected MOOC, how they were making connections, and more.
Topics moved from the digital versus non-digital “makes,” and the use of infographics in the classrooms, and how to make connections with others outside of the MOOC. There was more sharing of technology tools, and instructions on how to begin to establish stronger connections within the community.
It was fascinating to see the conversations unfolding, blasting down the screen. Terry and I had a list of questions ready, which we popped into the mix every now and then, but for the most part, our job was welcoming folks and validating ideas, and asking questions to spur the conversations further along. You know the phrase, herding cats? That was what it was like, but in a good way, as if all the cats were purring and ready for play.
And in fact, the beauty of the MOOC community that we are helping to establish is that it can be self-sufficient, and supportive from within, with only minimal structural help from the facilitators. That’s a wonderful thing.
We invite you to come join us for the first Twitter Chat for the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration (MOOC) as we explore how the first week of the MOOC has been going, give some teasers of where the MOOC is headed, make visible some of the connections to the Connected Learning principles, and answer questions that YOU may have about the summer project (already with hundreds of teachers involved).
A Twitter Chat is a freewheeling conversation that is anchored on Twitter with a hashtag (in this case, we are using #clmooc) that then later gets archived and shared back out to the community.
It’s OK to lurk and see what it’s all about. We do invite you to participate, too, if you are interested, and we encourage you to make connections with others in the Making Learning Connected community. This could be done any number of ways, but finding common hashtags in Twitter and Google Plus is one possibility. (We built a resource about Google Plus, too.)
I hope to “see” you there, as we extend our MOOC conversations in every little corner of the Internet.
In the span of just a few days, I’ve come across some amazing ideas for digital “makes” in the Making Learning Connected MOOC that I am helping to co-facilitate. Here are a few of the things I’ve been creating as part of the introductory activities.
Yesterday, a member of the community began to make memes for the MOOC, and she is going to try to set up a system of memes to emerge over the six weeks of work. Memes are interesting, but only if they come viral in a community, and if you begin to try to make them, you realize how difficult it is to wed the right snarky words to the right snarky picture. I gave it a try but I don’t think either of these will be viral. I’m going to keep trying, though.
Using an app called WordFoto, I was able to upload an image of myself and then add in key words that I wanted to layer on top of my image. The result is interesting — it’s as if words become the picture. I liked that I did have choices, and there are just a few tools that can use to manipulate the texture of the image. Still, I wish I had more options in the creating. If I did, I would have pulled the words back a bit as shadows, instead of having the photo be in the way back (the result is a bit like a zombie, don’t you think?)
During the first days of the MOOC, lots of folks jumped into Vizify, which is a graphical biography that pulls data from your social networking connections. You don’t do much, other than allow it access to your streams. But I did find its Twitter tool sort of interesting, as it makes your Twitter data into a video.
I had also used a Mozilla Thimble site that my friend Chad had set up for folks to share out their “last 10 books read” and it came out pretty nifty, but now, my Thimble book site seems to be down (Mozilla did some updates on Thimble and other tools this week and so I am hopeful this is just temporary.) So, I can’t share out the site but I can share out the image of the books that I used as the centerpiece of the site:
My friend, Terry Elliott, and I created the first “Make with Me” video for the Making Learning Connected MOOC, and we decided to focus on podcasting. Using audio was one of the suggested “makes” for the first week of introductions, and we wanted to be able to share out a few simple tools to lower the barrier for folks. We urge you to give podcasting a try, and to put your voice out into the world.
Terry Elliott and I are the two main facilitators for this first week of the Making Learning Connected MOOC, and last night, we hosted the first in a series of Google Hangouts. We invited a few guests and then spent a thoughtful hour last night talking about the art of “making,” the rationale of the MOOC, and how folks can be active participants in learning this summer. We invited a few folks (Michael, Gail and Christina) from the weekend’s first Make Cycle to share their own thoughts, too.
We were certainly busy this weekend, enjoying the ways that MOOC participants have been representing themselves to each other as part of the first Make Cycle. We’ve had photographs, videos, animation, online biographies, avatars, and much more, and the range of work by people is just stunning. Our hope is that the energy of this first week continues into the other weeks of the MOOC, and that even more folks join in.
We kicked off the first day of the Making Learning Connected MOOC with a flurry of activity. It was so energizing to see the variety of ways that folks are diving into the first cycle of making, by creating representative media to introduce themselves. We’ve already had audio, video, artistic, interactive, and more examples.
This animated introduction is how I introduced myself to the community. Since I am asking folks to explain their process of making, I should do the same, right?
First, I used an app called Animation Desk. I paid the upgrade version, but there is a free version, too. It’s a pretty powerful stopmotion animation app. It’s not the simplest one out there, but I like the options for what you can do, and to be honest, I think I have only begun to scratch the surface.
I decided to draw a picture (note: I am not a visual artist and I don’t even play one on the Internet, and I don’t have a stylus so everything is finger-drawn, as if you could not guess) and I thought about having important elements of my life revolve around me. So, I began with my kids, then my wife, and then music and writing and teaching. Perhaps it goes without saying, but this took quite a long time. You have to play with every frame. (I later kicked myself for not doing a simple thing — I should have had my eyes following the movement. That would have been cool. Oh well.)
See this screenshot? This is just one page of frames.
Next, I exported the animation out of the app, and it allows you to export directly to sites like Youtube. But I emailed the file to myself, and then dumped it into iMovie, where I added the titles, voiceover and soundtrack, and then hosted it up on Youtube, in order to easily share with the Making Learning Connected community.
I hope it captures a bit about and maybe inspires you to try something different.
You may be a little weary of my chatting up the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration (MOOC) that I have been involved with over the last few weeks with the National Writing Project. I’m excited about it. I’ve shared out a lot of teasers, but today, we officially launched the MOOC and I want to invite you to join us. If you are a little leery of the time involves, it’s OK. You truly will determine what works for you. If you just want to lurk, go ahead. Just tweet every now and then? Fine. Go knee-deep into the activities? Even better.
There are plenty of informational pages along the top of the MOOC site, by the way, in case you are curious or have questions about how the MOOC might unfold. This one — Getting Started — is the perfect place to begin.
But I encourage you to come along for the ride. The opening post was published this morning, encouraging you and me and us to craft an introduction to ourselves, considering some use of media or symbolic representation. Who are you and how can you represent yourself to the world?
Tomorrow marks the official launch of the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration, and boy, it is exciting to think about getting this adventure off the ground after weeks of planning. As one of the facilitators, I have been working hard with the others to get all the pieces in place necessary for you to have a grand ol’ time this summer. (What? You haven’t signed up? Come join us.) We have tutorials, guides, suggestions, and more … all with an eye to help you get the most out of the MOOC.
On Saturday morning, we will be posting our first Make Cycle post (we’ve designed the MOOC around Make Cycles, which will have various themes to consider), followed by a newsletter, and then the start of some introductory activities. We’re aiming to ease folks into the MOOC experience.
I created this diagram to help me visualize how the interactions and connections might take place. Since we’re really honing in on the open part of the adventure, the sharing and connected spaces are decentralized, hovering around the participants. That mean that things may be taking place in different spaces, at different times, and the challenge is to keep some of those threads together. Maybe this will help you conceptualize it, too.
We will be repeating this message a lot: You are in charge of making meaning of the MOOC. You enter the conversations and Make Cycles where it works for you, you participate when you can, you guide your learning. It’s OK to lurk and check things out, It’s OK to just follow on Twitter, or take part in our Google Plus community, or to blog in your own space, or write in your network area. This MOOC is about you, not us, although we do hope you will make connections.
So, come on and make something with us this summer. We can’t wait to connect with you.