Monthly Archives: January 2013

Why #etmooc? My path to educational change

Why I am taking #etmooc?

I am dedicated to changing the way we learn, the way we teach in k12 and ultimately the way we “see” learning. I promote creativity above anything else and I see an education system where every learner is engaged and passionate and positive about learning.

To get there – we need to think about learning differently.

I have had the opportunity to hang out in Mexico. I have spent more time online and sitting on the computer than in the gym in months. As a result, getting into a swimsuit and tanning was a little scary for me. Kind of like some people see technology? But it is hot and sunny in Mexico, and you would overheat if you dressed like it was time to ski, like in Canada.

In Mexico I have started to take Zumba classes. They are taught by an amazing teacher named Stephani. She spent the last year in New York trying to make it on Broadway, but has decided to come back to Mexico to spend more time with her family. Needless to say, she is an “expert” in her field, and I am in her class.

steph 1

Stephani – Club Med Ixtapa – Zumba Queen…


What makes her an amazing teacher?

She has a variety of different levels in her class, and we all think that we are Zumba princesses. Luckily Stephani’s class in Mexico, so none of you saw me Zumba, other than my family. If you did, you would not say that I was an advanced student, or “gifted” or had any special skills. In fact, you would see my red face and probably think I needed some water as soon as possible. But in Stephani’s class – I am a Zumba princess.

I was in the middle of some mumba move today and wondered why I was having so much fun? I could tell that I was having difficulty, that I am not the best in the class, that I miss moves and need to constantly watch Stephani to figure out where we are. Dancing does not come easily to me and I know that there are others who are doing a better job. Yet I still see myself as a, “Zumba Princess”.

Stephani makes me feel like a Zumba princess because she creates relationships with every person in the class – even if we are only here on vacation for a week. She is passionate about her “expertise” and she loves what she does. Her love of dance (and Zumba) is apparent in her class, and in her smile. She connects with me, and her connection has made me feel human – like no matter how “bad” I may look to others, I am a Zumba princess in my mind – as long as I try.

From an instructional design point of view, Stephani ensures that we know the basic moves before we start a dance, we start out slow and get faster, we have some repetitive songs as well as some new ones each day and she always leads the group and shouts instructions as we go along. She consistently asks us, “How are you doing?” and she always tells us to, “Drink Water!”

I never hear her complain about the fact that she is constantly getting a class of new learners who are all at different levels and that they are always lost. Instead I see a leader who sees an opportunity to share her love of dance. When I asked her about New York, she says, “What an experience! Now I can bring back what I have learned and share it with you!”

In this “new world” where I consistently hear people speak about the fear of “computers taking over the role of teachers” – Stephani proves to me that teachers are essential to learning in any world. They motivate, encourage and build essential relationships to help their students learn.

I am a passionate edtech teacher devoted to changing the learning paradigm, and it’s teachers like Stephani who remind me why I am taking #etmooc.

1) Learning is about getting off your butt, and trying. Trying for the sake of trying and being proud of your accomplishments.

2) Learning is about accepting that we are all different – and it’s ok to learn in your own way.

3) Learning is about going into the day with a positive attitude and accepting yourself for who you are.

4) Learning is about being vulnerable and taking risks and not worrying about what other people think.

5) Learning is about depending on other people and collaborating and connecting  to learn more.

6) Learning is happening everywhere and it is up to you as an individual to find it!

7) Teachers learn with you and inspire you to do your best. They develop relationships and connections to encourage a network of learning.

I thank Stephani for encouraging me to get off my butt – and I hope that other learners will learn with me in #etmooc as we take risks, try be creative and promote vulnerability together!

That’s what I’m here for…

Verena :)

Open Learning Starts for January 2013!

open loop-oh

Attributed to loop_oh from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loop_oh/4313629167/

Open Learning Options…..starting January 2013 – My choices….

MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses:

Educational Technology and Media
#etMooc – Developed by Alec Couros – starts: Week of January 13, 2013
http://etmooc.org/
Duration: 10 weeks with the goal to develop a community of learners in educational technology.

Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum
#oldsMOOC – Developed by a team – Open Learning Design Studio – starts: January 10, 2013
http://www.olds.ac.uk/
Duration: 9 weeks

#MOOCMOOC2
A course to investigate Moocs – January 6-12, 2013
http://www.moocmooc.com/

Introduction to Openness in Learning
Through the canvas network, facilitated by David Wiley – starts January 7, 2013
https://www.canvas.net/courses/introduction-to-openness-in-education

Open Learning:
CEET Open Courses: LearnNowBC
http://www.learnnowbc.ca/educators/moodlemeets/default.aspx