Someone outside of my usual teaching and technology life asked about my upcoming presentation at the 4T Virtual Conference on Digital Writing, and they got sort of hooked into the “virtual” piece. I think they heard “virtual” and thought I was going to be wandering through some virtual reality workshop. Maybe with goggles on. I wish. Instead, I will be in a Blackboard Elluminate platform (which is pretty far from VR, believe you me).
I have been asked to do a session at the upcoming 4t Virtual Conference on Digital Writing on Monday October 16 at 6:30 p.m. EST (registration is free, sessions are online, and everything gets archived) with a CLMOOC (Connected Learning MOOC) theme, and I thought it would be interesting to parse through the concept of how projects, collaborations and ideas seem to regularly bubble up from the CLMOOC soil.
I will be exploring the concept of “emergence” in social spaces, through a CLMOOCish lens. This theme of emergence has been part of a thread in past workshops around CLMOOC, as folks from the National Writing Project who began CLMOOC (Christina Cantrill, etc.) noticed from the first year how the unexpected happened, and how to expect the unexpected with CLMOOC folks. I aim to dive in a little deeper, to think about how it all seems to work.
If you are curious about CLMOOC and about the whole emergence idea, please consider joining me in this free workshop. Also, check out the entire conference, which is all free, and get some ideas for the classroom and for yourself. I will also be helping facilitate a final discussion about digital writing and teaching.
It’s International Dot Day. Nearly 10 million people in nearly 170 countries have signed up to be creative today, inspired by Peter Reynold’s The Dot picture book. That’s a whole lot of dots being made in the world with positive ink. What mark on the world will you make? (I made the comic above).
My sixth graders will be making Circle Stories today (writing about round objects in a short story format) and then using Visual Poetry to draw dots with the words of their stories. They will then add then to a Padlet canvas to share out with the world.
One of my goals for my sixth grade students this year is to learn how to do visual notetaking, or sketchnoting. When I asked each class of students how many doodled in the margins of notes, many hands went up. When I asked how many doodled to help remember what the teacher was saying or doodled as they were listening to a video or as they were reading a text to capture main ideas, very few hands stayed up.
We’re gonna bring those doodles into the main frame this year (and hopefully, not suck all of the fun out of drawing for them.)
I’ve started rather slow and simple. I traditionally begin the year reading Rudyard Kipling’s Rikki Tikki Tavi as my touchstone text for the year. It’s a story I will return to again and again as a common experience, and we work the story through discussions of protagonist, antagonist, conflict/resolution, foreshadowing and setting early and often.
Each day, after reading, I have shared my own sketchnotes with them (see the embedded images, which captured my drawings on the interactive board) and then talked my way through how the sketches help me remember characters and story. I also want them to show them that you don’t need to be a great artist to do this kind of work. You just need to have a library of shortcuts and a logical systems approach (my system moves from left to right, and then right to left, with arrows to help move me along in the reading).
That’s what this is all about: active listening. And it is what this particular class of students needs, given what I know about them in the past year and what I am already seeing. I am hoping the art element draws in more of them as learners.
I realize I have some questions yet to tackle when it comes to using this sketchnoting concept with them:
How to help students already easily distracted to listen and doodle at the same time?
How to help them filter out what is important enough to be doodled and how to figure out what to leave out?
How to teach them the use of artistic lettering in order to use words as art in meaningful ways?
How do I demonstrate that sketchnoting has actually helped improve their writing and understanding of complex topics?
How to help them form a personalized systematic approach for the flow of their own sketchtnoting?
These will all be on my mind as I move forward into the school year. If you have experience or advice, I am all ears. This concept got a real boost this summer with my CLMOOC experience, as we used the theme of art to explore visual notetaking in ways that inspired me to begin early, and often, with my students.
I also have used this book — Visual Note-taking for Educators — by Wendy Pillars to think about this whole concept, and now that I have started with students, I need to go back and re-read some of her helpful suggestions and ideas.
Way back in early summer, the first Make Cycle of the Connected Learning MOOC (CLMOOC) was centered on coloring and art. Since CLMOOC is all about collaboration and creativity, the folks facilitating the Make Cycle (led by Algot R.) decided on creating a collaborative coloring book.
We used Google Slides to gather coloring pages from all over the world. But Algot also wanted to turn the collaboration into a publishing opportunity — to create a physical book that teachers could use in the classroom as either art prompts or as an example of how collaborative ideas could turn into publishable works of art.
Our coloring book costs less than $3 for about 50 coloring pages. Shipping is another $3 or so in the US (not sure about in other places around the world). No one is making any profit off this venture, although I wish there was an easy way to add to the cost of the book to act as a fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey recovery.
If you would rather just have a free PDF of the book and the cover, you are welcome to do that by downloading (just click on links).
Thanks to all who donated drawings and artwork, and thank you to the entire CLMOOC community for always inspiring others in the community to do art, be creative, find connections and nurture an online community spread out across all sorts of networks.
A collaborative writing project that began in early summer in the Connected Learning MOOC has just wrapped up, and it was a blast, as a bunch of us engaged in some story writing with an invented character Miss Direction. It all began when our CLMOOC friend, Jeannie, remembered a hacked toy from the first year of CLMOOC that she had mailed around to folks for Vine stories.
Chalkboard Man disappeared that year, never to be seen again.
This year, we used another invented character from Jeannie’s imagination — Miss Direction — and made her out of paper. More than a 16 people from all over the globe downloaded a copy of Miss Direction, took her on an adventure to find Chalkboard Man, and then wrote about it (and documented with images or video) on a shared but secret Padlet space.
I created this as a teaser for the book release:
I have been wanting to do more with iBooks Author, the app on my Mac for publishing, so I took all of the text from the collaboration and created this downloadable book. Each chapter is another writer who hosted Miss Direction. As a bonus, each writer, after finishing their section, was encouraged to mail their version of Miss Direction to the next writer, so she flew through the mail quite a bit in different disguises.
In the final Make Cycle newsletter of Connected Learning MOOC this week, we provided a list of ways members of CLMOOC can stay connected throughout the year. That includes you (CLMOOC is always an open experience and is now facilitated by participants).
I’m tinkering around with a visual typography app that Terry and Wendy shared out called TypiVideo. I like the effects of the moving text but I am having trouble with finding the ways that I can set animation and text (I know the controls are there, and I saw a tutorial that indicated where and how I can do more, but I can’t seem to have get to them to work on mine. Might need to reload the app.)
Anyway, the poem above is for another poetry venture elsewhere.
There’s a cool, strange project going on with some musical collaborators (Wendy, Karon, Sarah, etc.) that uses the concept of “fractals” as a way to build a musical “round” with a common melody that comes from some data points within the Connected Learning MOOC (CLMOOC) community.
Fractal refers to the mathematical concept of patterns, often mirrored and expanding patterns, emerging from a set of data points, but can be mapped visually. Fractals often emerge in nature, which is pretty intriguing. Or, that’s my understanding of it.
The CLMOOC musical compositional activity — being done in Soundtrap so we can collaborate online — stemmed from some sharing of fractal animations last week. We were chatting about how animation might be used for learning, and better understanding of complex subjects.
Someone suggested the link between the mathematical underpinning of fractals and the weaving melodic possibilities of music … and we were off on another collaboration …