Monthly Archives: September 2012

Thank goodness for #etmooc

I am catching up on blog posts and RSS feed suggestions today and made it to one of my favourite topics – #etmooc.

Alec Couros is leading the way to create some kind of open online learning community for learners anywhere to come together and learn. He created a collaborative  google.doc to create some kind of instructional design plan – and most recently had a google hangout that brought about the creation of the #unmooc.

Alec’s #unmooc blog post emphasizes a lot of the ideas I have been discussing in the development of the Open Classroom. I am going to examine his reflection and collaboration to see where I can connect the OC and the #unmooc.

Some great starting points are:

100 Great Ideas by Keri Smith

Student Summaries of Work – Alec Couros ECMP 355

DS106 – What is it ? Can it be defined? Should it be defined? How can I integrate DS106 ideas into k12 Open Classroom? What scaffolding is required?

23 Things at NEFLN – Amazing

GitHUB – How is it different from other platforms? I’m still swayed towards Canvas Infrastructure – I need somewhere for students to register so I can create walled gardens for those who “choose” that learning space. (I am k12 still)

Well – off to explore!

Verena 🙂


Open Learning….Principles to follow? #oped12 #vsmooc12

This week my MET course and my #oped12 course are focusing on copyright and some aspects of the “ethics” of teaching online.

The copyright aspect is only one part of the whole picture of learning online – and I appreciated how Tapscott mentions Intellectual Property as one aspect of Open Learning.

Intellectual property is huge in open learning as we begin to think about focusing on the “creation” and not on the “content”

I was going through my “Open Resources” on the weekend and thought I should take some time to watch the whole TED Talk video by Don Tapscott

Tapscott speaks to many key issues in Open Education – although he calls them – Four “Principles” of the Open World.

1) Collaboration

2) Transparency

3) Intellectual Property

4) Empowerment

How do each of these principles influence the k12 Open Classroom?

1) Collaboration – Students in traditional f2f and online courses are typically kept within “walled gardens”. The students that they interact with are in their class, or their grade. The use of social media tools is limited to blogs and what the teacher deems appropriate for  their students.

The OC is developing an opportunity for students to discover opportunities for learning by collaborating with people outside of their regular classroom. They will choose whom they interact with while having a facilitator “guide on the side”.

Examples of a teacher who encourages his students to connect outside of the classroom walls:

Preston Learning students:

Interview with Ian and Trevor in Blackboard Collaborate (July/12) about “how” students can collaborate and learn as a result of “open” environments.

The prestonlearning website is down for maintenance today – but I’m hoping it work at some point – HERE

2) Transparency- To me, transparency infers that I document, link and produce digital artifacts to publish what I am doing and thinking in an online way. Take this blog on the openclassroom as an example.

Students in the Open Classroom will be encouraged to “demonstrate” how they are learning, thinking and reflecting in an online environment – being open to criticism and amazing feedback of like minded passionate people.

3) Intellectual Property – The Open Classroom will be licensed with a Creative Commons License. I think I will use the Attribution-NonCommercial
License because I want the created course content to be “reused” in an educational context, and not for money. What a great conversation to have with your students – how would they want their work licensed?

4) Empowerment – By encouraging collaboration (new ideas), transparency (how did you find these new ideas), intellectual property (where is your voice in these these ideas?) I think that students will reach “empowerment” through open learning. Knowledge and power will be more fairly distributed – if I can ever use the word fair in Education. Learners will be able to express themselves in their own unique ways (personalized learning).

In conclusion – The Open Classroom offers students an opportunity to learn for themselves, but also explain how they are learning to others. This type of learning opportunity has yet to be examined in k12, especially in terms of copyright and intellectual property – as the content has always belonged to the “teacher” or the government/state”.

I’m looking forward to the discussion on encouraging students to “own” their own learning.



Wendy Drexler – Creation of PLE in Grade 7 science class #oped12 #vsmooc12

I think that Wendy Drexler’s research on the creation of PLE’s in the science classroom is the very close to what I am thinking in the creation of the Open Classroom – courses. Although the courses will be much shorter, but ultimately lead to a project, Wendy’s student completed their Open Course -in their regular f2f classroom.

Wendy’s Research: A Networked Learning Model for Construction of a Personal Learning Environment

This is the outline of the unit for Science 7:

The Networked Student Unit Plan – 9 Weeks
Unit Objective: The student will model the scientific method through the construction of
personal learning environments to research a self-selected topic in life science.

Preparation – 2 weeks
• Teacher introduces the scientific method, what it means to be a scientist, and how to
think like a scientist. Students embark on a scientific exploration based on the scientific
method. Each student selects his or her topic of study, conducts a KWL (what you
know, what you want to know, what you learn), and establishes a research question and
• Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy is discussed and signed by each participating
• The project is positioned within the following perspective. What if your teachers
disappeared and you had to learn on your own? Would you give up on learning? Where
would you begin? Why would learning be important? You are an empowered learner.
You have the power to learn anything. How much you learn is up to you. How you
manage your learning is up to you. How you manage your time is up to you. A big part
of your success will depend on how well you are organized.

Introduction of Tools – 2 weeksWeb applications are introduced one at a time to give
students the chance to master the tool within the context of the study topic. Digital literacy is integrated into these lessons as needed. The essential questions of digital literacy are presented. Where can you go for good information? How do you know if you can trust what you find? How will you find subject matter experts you can trust to help you learn? Why is reflection important when you are learning something new? Why is it important to share what you’ve learned? How will you share?
Web Application (Networked
Tool Used in
Student ActivityLevel of Structure
Social Bookmarking (RSS) Delicious
  • Explain Really Simple
  • Syndication (RSS) and evaluation of Websites
  • Set up the account
  • Subscribe to each others
  • accounts
  • Bookmark and read at least 5 reliable websites
    that reflect the
  • content of chosen topic
  • Add and read at least 3 additional sites each
Note Taking (InformationManagement) NoteFish
  • Create NoteFish account
  • Begin content collection
News and Blog Alert (RSS) Google Alert
  • Create a Google Alert of keywords associated
    with selected topic
  • Read news and blogs on that topic that are
    delivered via email daily
  • Subscribe to appropriate blogs in reader
Personal Web Aggregator(RSS, InformationManagement) Symbaloo
  • Introduce Symbaloo
  • Customize page
  • Start by creating a social bookmarking gadget
  • This will build as students learn new tools


News and Blog Reader(RSS) Symbaloo RSS Feeds
  • Search for blogs and newsfeeds devoted to
    chosen topic
  • Subscribe to blogs and newsfeeds to keep track
    of updates.
  • Set up gadgets in Symbaloo


Personal Blog (RSS) EduBlogs
  • Create a personal blog
  • Post a personal reflection each day of the
    content found and experiences related to the use
    of personal learning environment
  • Students with similar topics subscribe to each
    others blogs in reader
Internet Search(Information Management,Contacts, and SynchronousCommunication) Google Scholar
  • Conduct searches in Google
  • Scholar and library databases for scholarly
  • Bookmark appropriate sites
  • Consider making contact with expert for video


Podcasts (RSS) TunesU
  • Search iTunesU for podcasts related to topic
  • Listen to at least 2 podcasts if possible
Video Conferencing (Contacts and
  • Identify at least one subject matter expert to
    invite to Skype with the class.
  • Video Conferencing
  • (Contacts and Synchronous Communication)

Daily research, reflection, share 3 weeks

Once the personal learning environment is constructed, the student will continue to conduct research and navigate new content on a daily basis. Daily activities should be divided between introducing a tip or offering a research theme for the day, actual time spent conducting research, ten minutes to reflect, and 15 minutes to share

Content Synthesis 1-2 Weeks Glogster
  • Digital science poster in glogster to reflect
    student research within the context the
    scientific method


This is a student video based on the project:

Now I need to think about how I can apply #oc courses into an open environment. At least I have a fantastic template.