Learning Pathways – Post 4: Current attitudes about open flexible learning pathways

Current attitudes about open flexible learning pathways – where do they fit in?

We have to trust each other in order to create authentic learning pathways…..



Retrieved from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dobs/

Part of the research process to discover current trends in open badges included asking k12 institutions, consultants, industry leaders, community associations and higher education leaders where learning pathways could “fit” in the system. This is a brief “informal” overview, in my opinion, of key points that came up as I asked guiding questions about the integration of formal and informal learning, learning pathways and how open badges could be applied to k12 institutions and Higher Ed, industry and community association leaders.


An essential element of learning pathways is that they need to be supported throughout all the systems. This means that there needs to be more communication, support and transition between k12, Higher Education, industry (the workforce) and community. Everyone mentioned communication, trust and credibility in order to connect as one system.


The common agreement was a need for a currency that offers credibility for evidence of learning. Open badges were supported by most people because of the ability to increase the credibility factor of informal learning. The badge represents something.


Another common question was around collaboration. There seemed to be a lack of trust between the different stakeholders and an apprehension about working together. Learning pathway programs could offer an opportunity for all stakeholders to build relationships and authentic learning opportunities.  For example, many industry leaders commented on their attempt at collaborative Higher Education projects. Their frustration was over the student choice of projects, rather than an industry choice so that the project could actually be applied to authentic industry problems. Alternatively, Higher Education leaders mentioned that industry did not seem to want students for projects if their companies were big and successful. Students were often welcome as interns for small start ups, but Higher Education needs partnerships and regular collaborative project programs to support scalable and sustainable learning programs for students. Industry leaders generally felt that they could make more of an impact with high school students than Higher Education students, because they could influence and encourage youth’s passions at an earlier age.


Industry and community associations felt that open badges would be most successful in high school ( or lower) as a means to give evidence of their skills, passions and experiences outside of k12 institutions. The open badges represented learner potential.  After high school, open badges seemed to be more representative of how a learner could use their badges to attain employment. The emphasis on passion or student interest was not as important for job training.


Finally, many people felt that learning pathways and the collaboration of industry, community and educational institutions could support learning for more than “just” the students. Industry and community mentors could support teachers and instructors. In addition industry and community leaders could learn about current trends and new or different perspectives.  Learning Pathways could provide a means for many learners to learn together – through collaboration and digital integration of evidence of learning anytime and anywhere.


Learning Pathways – Post 3: What options are Currently being Offered?


Retrieved from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/missmoon/

High School Programs – Integration of credit for Formal and Informal Learning

By creating blended courses based on an interdisciplinary approach, the New Tech Network is a non-profit organization that supports school in the US and in Australia. Based on problem based learning strategies, students complete interdisciplinary projects that meet authentic learning outcomes. New Tech Network depends on the support of industry and community partners to build its learning network. A similar, yet different program is Opening Minds, which developed from Howard Gardners Open Minds Essay from 1993. With five categories of competence, Opening Minds Schools have developed a competency based interdisciplinary  framework that promotes the individual learner. However, interdisciplinary competency based programs do not blend well with current state course credit offerings. Currently, the Ohio Credit Flexibility program and New Hampshire and prek – CEGEP Quebec Education Plan competency based curriculum program best meet the needs of this type of program. There are many other outstanding examples of amazing individual schools offering learning pathways and unique learning opportunities, however; New Tech Network is able to offer a scalable and connected program to networked learning communities.


After School Programs: PASA Providence Afterschool Alliance

PASA programs initiated through the leadership and dedication of the Providence city council. The program is focused on an Expanded Learning Opportunities Experience. (ELO Experience)  Middle and high school students are offered specific learning opportunities outside of their regular school program in partnership with community-based program providers. These opportunities are designed around an authentic personalized student project based experience. Students are then offered high school elective credit for their project. The formative assessment is measured through a rubric and an open badge system. The feedback team includes the community organization or industry mentor as well as the teacher. The credibility of this program is due to the transparent, collaborative and tireless efforts of the PASA team.

Alaska Humanities Forum

The Sister Exchange School program was developed around a desire to connect rural and urban schools in Alaska and  to develop indigenous cultural awareness for all students through a competency based, digital storytelling learning environment. Although the program has been running since 2003, it was the recent creation of a digital learning pathways platform that promoted community, networks, collaboration and an emphasis on formal and informal learning opportunities. The Jibe software company created the learning pathways tool to initiate a hybrid learning environment.


Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program.

The Specialist High Skills Major program promotes bundling of specific high school courses to encourage designing a personalized learning path for focused students towards a trade,apprenticeship, college or university programs. Students will meet the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma with the addition of SHSM seal on their diploma.


K12 and Higher Education: 3D Game Lab

The 3D Game Lab is based out of Boise State University and is led by Chris Haskell and Lisa Dawley. Chris recently shared the iNACOL Innovation Award for Online or Blended Learning practice. The 3D Lab is based on Quest Based Learning  (QBL) which, incorporates game mechanics, and gamer-like learning communities which focuses on individualized and flexible curriculum experience. (Haskell, 2013) The experience is set up in a game like experience and students can create their own quests, teacher and student directed quests and receive badges for their learning. The 3D Game Lab is used by Chris Haskell and Lisa Dawley with Boise Education students as well as k12 schools. They currently have just over 4000 players.  The learning is tracked and their progress can be self-monitored between a linear gradebook approach to learning versus a non-linear quest-based learning:

Image retrieved from: http://gogolabs.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/QBL-Whitepaper_Haskell-final.pdf


Higher Education: Purdue Passport and Purdue PUPIL

Purdue Passport is considered a badge powered flexible tracking system for evidence of student learning at Purdue University. The passport system is the tool developed by Purdue studio projects to meet the personalized digital evidence of learning of students including their personal learning environments (PLE’s). Purdue passport offers a self-directed and instructor- directed tracking system. Where Passport differs from QBL, is that it is one part of a bigger vision which is a personalized integrated educational system based upon the PIES Framework.” PIES is a conceptual framework for a new educational software format that is designed to systematically support the entire learner-centered learning process, including facilitating the activities of all stakeholders” (Watson, W.R., Watson, S.L., & Charles M. Reigeluth, C. M., 2013,  p.6). Purdue has also developed Purdue University’s Passport to Intercultural Learning. This is an institution wide, volunteer based, core competency framework to distinguish the following foundational learning outcomes: Human Cultures, Global Citizenship and Social Responsibility, and Intercultural Knowledge and Effectiveness. “ PUPIL is a tool to assist faculty and students in assessing and documenting the acquisition of these very important skills specific to Intercultural Knowledge and Effectiveness.” (Purdue Centre for Instructional Excellence.  n.d.)


The PIES primary functions include:


1. Record keeping for student learning

1.1 Standards inventory

1.2 Personal attainments inventory

1.3 Personal characteristics inventory

2. Planning for student learning

2.1 Long-term goals

2.2 Current options

2.3 Short-term goals

2.4 Projects

2.5 Teams

2.6 Roles

2.7 Contracts

3. Instruction for student learning

3.1 Project initiation

3.2 Instruction

3.3 Project support

3.4 Instructional development

4.  Assessment for (and of) student learning.

4.1 Presenting authentic tasks

4.2 Evaluating student performances

4.3 Providing immediate feedback

4.4 Certification

4.5 Developing student assessments


Higher Education – Alternative Education Models:

Similar to PASA’s work with middle and high school students, there are numerous examples of higher education collaborating with industry or community associations to create authentic learning projects for students and develop research and innovation initiatives for outside institution partners. One of these examples is the Vertically Integrated program at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. Students are offered the opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary and collaborative research project in their first year, which develops into an authentic personalized project into their 4th year. The projects are a team effort between the university and a variety of outside partners. Similarly, the University of Alberta is known to have offered numerous engineering – industry partnership projects in order to promote research and economic growth in the construction and  oil and gas sector. These partnership programs also promote mentoring for students and digital literacy skill development for the mentors. The program, “  has been a pioneer at developing computer programs — 25 and counting — that increase the industry’s efficiency.” (Simpson, 2013) Learning to collaborate and participate in projects that develop authentic learning skills (formal and informal) can offer students an edge for their future careers.


Open Badges in Higher Education

While Purdue University has examples of instructors of formal courses and informal courses and communities offering open badges and designing learning pathways, there are other examples of open badges in Higher Education. The UC Davis’ Agricultural Sustainability Institute has developed a competency-based approach for badges for the sustainable agriculture and food systems major. Badges can also help support the transition from grades based assessment as exemplified by Quinnipiac University and the Interactive Communications Courses. Badges are emerging as a viable option for competency based and alternative assessment models.


Degreed – Cloud Based Tracking of formal and informal learning

Degreed is a free web 2.0 tool that can be used as a curation system for any formal and informal learning. Degreed tracks a wide variety of learning opportunities and will give a Degreed score. For example, college credit courses and ITunesU MOOC courses will both be considered and integrated to create a Degreed score.


Uncollege is a newly created model based on the GAP year between high school and college. However, instead of just taking one year off, then going to college, Uncollege advocates for a four phase system – Launch, Voyage, Internship and Project. Uncollege suggests that the informal learning from a GAP year for learners will be more cost effective, save more time and will be a more authentic learning experience than spending four years at college/university/.


QUEST University

Quest University offers arts and sciences undergraduate degrees based on interdisciplinary block scheduling. A similar inquiry based learning  approach with small classes is also offered at a wide variety of liberal arts colleges in the United States. The focus on authentic personalized and interdisciplinary learning opportunities and projects make the QUEST Model an example of how to consider integrating formal and informal learning for credit.


Software and learning assessment tools:


School Pathways – BrainHoney – PLS – Personalized Learning System

The personalized learning system creates learning pathways for individual students within a LMS (Learning Management System) like model. Students receive digital individual learning pathways that still fit and integrate into larger courses and programs. School Pathways is primarily based out of California.



This SCORM software can help track student learning by collecting data into a Learning Record Store (LRS). This data could be connected to a Learning Management System or a teacher could use it for an individual course. Students have the ability to go to websites or complete online activities based on set locations, and then send their data back to the Learning Record Store. The data can be collected from any online environment.

Image retrieved from: http://tincanapi.com/overview/

Keiro – the JIbe (Vancouver)

Keiro is a learning pathways tool and social network that can be used to support competency based, personalized, inquiry and collaborative learning by integrating a supportive ePortfolio like tool with a digital repository. Keiro could be described as a hybrid mix of a LMS, ePortfolio, markbook, content repository and interactive learning system.  Keiro will offer a foundation for the new curriculum developments in k12, in particular BC and Alberta. Currently in the beta stage, Keiro is used by the Alaska Humanities Forum, Educurious and is currently looking for pilots with k12, Higher Education and industry training stakeholders.

Mozilla Open Badges Backpack


Mozilla open badges has created a platform for learners to collect their open badges. Open badges from a wide variety of organizations can be stored in an individual mozilla backpack. The badge criteria and authorization is determined by the badge offering institutions, and not Mozilla Open Badges.

Competitions and Research


The Digital Media and Learning Hub is a non-profit organization with a mission to advance research in the service of a more equitable, participatory, and effective ecosystem of learning keyed to the digital and networked era. The DML Hub holds competitions to support this mission as well as offers multimedia resources (blogs, webinars, resources) and an annual conference.


HASTAC is the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory. With an alliance of more than 11,500 humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists and technologists working together to transform the future of learning for the 21st century.  HASTAC offers an innovative integration of people with digital support to distribute change making research for education.


Mozilla Open Badges Community: The Mozilla open badges community offers weekly calls, digital resources, professional learning opportunities support and connections for any institutions trying to initiate open badge programs. They offer their support to industry, community associations and educational institutions for free. The Mozilla team also models transparency, openness and collaboration and how to integrate open badges – or any of their projects – into authentic learning environments. Current research from Glover and Latif (2013)  on the possibility of open badges in higher education suggests that  “The reaction from the staff and students was overwhelmingly positive, with both students and staff seeing significant potential in the use of badges as a way for students to standout from their peers when applying for graduate jobs, placements or further study. The students were particularly interested in using badges to support their professional identity and stated that earning a badge, especially a ‘rare’ one, would motivate them to put in more effort or do some extra additional work. Staff were generally interested in being able to use badges to track the progress of their students and to encourage students to make use of support programmes, for example, those around information skills such as referencing.”


Learning Pathways -Post 2: What are the Benefits of Learning Pathways?


Learning comes in pieces – waiting to be attached and connected in all means, shapes and sizes……

2) What are the Benefits of Flexible Learning Pathways?


High School Student:

Susan is attending a High School in Nelson, BC.  Susan is interested in science and passionate about art and design. Her school does not offer integrated courses or advanced courses in any of these areas. Her current course schedule is full, but it is not full of courses that she wants. Susan decides to take an Anatomy and Physiology MOOC through an American College online for free as well as participate in a Makers Faire weekend workshop. Through the MOOC, she discovers that she is passionate about drawing and creating detailed physiology images. She has had to learn new computer programs, create her own App and has developed her digital skills as a result of participating in the MOOC and in her Maker Faire weekend project. She is frustrated because none of her courses seem to connect with what she is really interested in – or at least she cannot see the connections. None of these courses, workshops or skills are learned in her regular high school courses. If she had the opportunity to take her course through a common tracking tool as well as upload her the digital components and evidence of her learning from her Maker Faire project into the same tool, her teachers, her parents, Universities and future employers would all have the opportunity to see who Susan is as a learner.


High School Parents:

Susan’s dad is a programmer with a Vancouver software company – but he works from home in Nelson, BC. He has been part of the open source community where programmers have shared their code with each other, and he was able to become financially successful as a result of collaborating with others. He helps Susan fill out her university application and notices that she is not asked about her skills, experiences, abilities as a learner or evidence of her ability to collaborate with others. He is frustrated at the focus of academics over authentic career skills. Knowing they have to get the application in, Susan and her dad focus on a course that Susan needs to redo in order to get into the faculty she wants. He is anxious about the time she will need to retake a course and wonders how that will affect their family vacation.


Sophia is an independent digital designer with a software company. She was just granted a contract to create new updated images for the Vancouver Hospital for the physiotherapy department. The new software tool is very simple to use and she wonders if she could hire an intern or someone new to help her with her contract. She does not know where to find someone like this and she wishes that there were a common cloud based environment where she could go and find students to work with so she could start her own consulting firm in the future. Sophia would be willing to mentor someone and support them, if she could have some help in creating the project that she needs to complete. She also knows that her digital skills need to be upgraded and wonders how her skills compare to others, including the new students. She would be willing to pay to upgrade her skills to compare her abilities to learn with others.

Community Associations:

Chris is the Director of Learning with Ashoka, which is a leading association for social entrepreneurs.  Based out of Vancouver, BC, he is developing a program to create open badges so that students, parents, employers and educational institutions can have a clear criteria of the skills, abilities, experiences and attitudes of learners. He is browsing the web for great designers and comes across some of Sophia’s work. He knows that if he is able to work with other BC entrepreneurs he would be able to apply for a grant to create open badges using her designs. He considers how to connect with Sophia and in Facebook, he sees a Makers Faire post describing a design project. He clicks on Susan’s Facebook post to learn more. If he could have access to more of her work and connect her Facebook posts with her Maker Faire videos and designs that she created with her Maker Faire team, he could connect her with Sophie and add her to the grant application. He wonders how he could be a mentor and support future Maker Faire projects.


Learning Pathways ensure that the “learner” is the center of an ecosystem of diverse learning opportunities. A learning pathways is a flexible means to track the connections, skills, experiences passions and abilities of individual learners to extend a learner’s opportunity and develop their digital identity.


Learning Pathways can give learners the opportunity to put a currency on the learning they are doing outside of a formalized institution. As Teitle (2013) suggests,


“Educators have given relatively little scholarly attention to young people’s non-school lives. Ignored or valorized, non-school spaces show up in educational research only as a backdrop, implying that school learning is the yardstick by which to measure the young people’s lives. Even scholars who focus primarily on non-school spaces are limited by their inability to theorize non-school learning without framing it in terms of school learning (Sefton-Green, 2012; Teitle, 2012).


UBC has the potential to support and validate the informal learning currency already developed. As a Higher Education leader, UBC has the opportunity to collaborate with k12 educational stakeholders, industry supporters and community association advocates to initiate a change in how we could define learning opportunities.


For more information about perspectives on Open Badges for Lifelong Learning, the Mozilla Foundation and Peer 2 Peer University,in collaboration with The MacArthur Foundation have written a paper that can be found HERE

Photo at top of blog post was retrieved from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharynmorrow/


Learning Pathways – Post 1: What is a Learning Pathway?

Flexible Learning Pathways for UBC : integrating Formal and Informal Learning

Verena Roberts

MET- UBC – ETEC 580 – Final Project

December, 2014


Rather than thinking of public education as a burden that schools must shoulder on their own, what would it mean to think of public education as a responsibility of a more distributed network of people and institutions?…what would it mean to enlist help in this endeavour from an engaged and diverse set of publics that are broader than what we traditionally think of as educational and civic institutions? In addition to publics that are dominated by adult interests, these publics should include those that are relevant and accessible to kids now, where they can find role models, recognition, friends, and collaborators who are co participants in the journey of growing up in a digital age.

(Ito, 2010, p. 353)


Retrieved from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/

Executive Summary:

It takes a village to raise a child. This proposal is an attempt to establish that informal learning is just as credible as formal learning, especially in a flexible networked learning environment.  Everyone has a role and contribution to learning. There is a currency for informal learning; however, there is confusion over the credibility of informal learning compared to formal, institutionalised learning. Looking back at the 10 Predictions for 2013, (2012)  flexible learning pathways offers an opportunity to meet many of these predictions:

1. Connected Learners

2. Mobile Devices

3. Communities of Practice

4. Evidence of Learning

5. Taking Risks

6. Storytelling

7. Learner Voice and Choice

8. Unpacking Standards

9. Transforming Learning Environments

10. Building a Common Language


In my opinion, flexible learning pathways offer the most potential to meet these predictions.


This proposal will define flexible learning pathways and describe how flexible learning pathways can be used to integrate formal and informal learning. I will begin by describing how flexible learning pathways are relevant to different learners from different perspectives. I will describe the current opportunities that blend or measure informal and formal learning. In conclusion, I will present conditions to consider in creating a flexible learning pathways program for UBC. It is my hope that every person who reads this proposal will consider how they can contribute to creating a learning pathway system and develop the currency of informal learning.


1) What is a Flexible Learning Pathway?


Using flexible learning pathways means to integrate an interdisciplinary curriculum by connecting competency based learning with evidence of problem based learning to meet the personalized needs of each learner.


Learning pathways promote the integration of formal learning and non-formal learning in one learning environment. Learning pathways offer authentic, individualized, personalized learning opportunities to demonstrate evidence of learning and a means to describe and measure the mastery of competencies for a learner. Clement (2000) defines a learning pathway as,


“The sequence of intermediate steps from preconceptions to target model form what Scott (1991) and Niedderer and Goldberg (1995) have called a learning pathway. For any particular topic, such a pathway would provide both a theory of instruction and a guideline for teachers and curriculum developers.”


Although a learning pathways may be considered a new concept, peer reviewed articles to support it can be found in the research about personalized learning (Reigluth, Watson & Watson, 2013, Kitsantas & Dabbagh, 2011), self regulated learning (Zimmerman & Schunk, 1989) and social constructivist theory in global networks (Enonbun, 2010). Learning pathways as a means of learning design are alluded to in vision papers about fluid learning (Falconer, Littlejohn, McGill, (2013) and centrifugal schooling (Williamson, 2013). Learning pathways are being scaffolded at the New Zealand CORE conference and are now more commonly used to support professional learning tracking and progress.


Currently, learners have the opportunities to learn inside and outside formal learning institutions. However, learners are not always given credit for their learning outside of school walls.  Learning pathways offer the learner the opportunity to develop a way of tracking, and creating digital evidence of learning which would help create a description of who they are as a person and what they can do. Their learning pathway may include evidence of what they are passionate about, what experiences they may have, what skills they may have developed, what academic strengths they may have, references who can endorse their skills and a specific frame of reference to identify what makes every learner unique. The key component of a learning pathway is the learning design to promote evidence of personalized learning and the emphasis on competency based learning integrated with alternatives measures of learning.


What Does Learning Look Like? Integrating Formal and Informal Learning into Learning Pathways

I have spent the last six months working on a final project for my Masters in Educational Technology Degree with the University of British Columbia.

The goal was to figure out -What I am passionate about as an educator, parent and person?

What Does Learning Look likeÉ


The answer is: I believe that learning takes place everywhere. Flexible learning has given every learner the opportunity to learn in ways, with people, and through means I never thought possible. The learner is different because the opportunities are different. I advocate for local k12 curriculum as well as and with an integration of informal learning opportunities.


My passion is about measuring all the different types and means of learning and creating a common learning currency. I want self-directed learning in free open courses, learning in Minecraft, learning how to play the guitar from youtube, learning through DIY.org and learning by leading a social protest against about a hidden agenda – to all be equal. Because what we learn in a classroom or institution is only one form of learning.


How can we create a credible currency for informal learning?


I started my focus on how flexible learning applies to flexible learning environments, and in particular opportunities for High School students in the pilot m101 program at UBC. When I was asked to write a literature review for my ETC 580 project about k12 open learning I hit a huge barrier. I had been investigating and researching k12 open learning opportunities and models for 18 months – and I was stuck. I needed a huge push to figure out next directions.


For me – that next direction was flexible learning pathways. I needed to focus on how learning could be measured in formal and informal learning environments to support personalized learning opportunities.


These are the steps I took based on my own giant learning flexible pathway. One of the primary goals was to create a transparent learning pathway so others could see how and where I learned.


Learning Pathway – ETEC580 Individual Project

Verena Roberts – UBC MET

Graduate Student Researcher, Innovator

ETEC 580

Advisor: Dr. David Vogt


1. To Research and Examine current flexible open learning in k12

2. To Research and Analyze open and informal measures of evidence of learning in k12/Higher Ed

3. To Research, Examine, Compare and Contrast criteria creation for open badges, including competencies

4. To Examine and Describe how flexible learning offers access to new learners in M101

5. To Research and Design  the open badges learning pathway for m101

Higher Education (UBC focus)

6. To Research, Synthesize  and Propose flexible learning pathway potential at UBC


A. Integrate Flexible Mobile Learning

B. Model Integration of  Formal and Informal Learning

C. Consider Transparent Research

D. Develop Authentic Connections

E. Demonstrate Entrepreneurial Spirit

F. Personalized Learning


Evidence of Learning:

Blog: http://www.openclassroomonline.com

Tracking ETEC580 Research: ETEC 580 Updates


Rubric Measurement :

Em: Emerging

F: Formulating

C: Consolidating

Ex: Exemplary

Numeric Rubric: Click HERE




Evidence of Learning






To Research and Examine current flexible open learning in k12

A. Integrate Flexible Mobile Learning

B. Model Integration of  Formal and Informal Learning

C. Consider Transparent Research

D. Develop Authentic Connections

E. Demonstrate Entrepreneurial Spirit

F. Personalized Learning

Curation of Literature Reviews about k12 Open Learning throughout MET program

Hybrid Pedagogy Article (Process and Product)

k12Online – Conference Presenter

State of the Nation – Summary

Received iNACOL Innovation Award in Blended and Online Learning

iNACOL Preconference workshops and presentations on open learning k12

Webinar Panel: Open is an Attitude

Project Focus TRANSITION


To Research and Analyze open and informal measures of evidence of learning in k12/Higher Ed

C. Consider Transparent Research

D. Develop Authentic Connections

E. Demonstrate Entrepreneurial Spirit


To Research, Examine, Compare and Contrast criteria creation for open badges, including competencies

A. Integrate Flexible Mobile Learning

B. Model Integration of  Formal and Informal Learning

C. Consider Transparent Research

D. Develop Authentic Connections

E. Demonstrate Entrepreneurial Spirit

F. Personalized Learning

Interviews and Data Collection Google.doc

Types of Badges  – Google.doc

Participated in ConnectedLearningTV’s

Opening New Pathways to Learning with HASTAC

Google Hangout Webinar: Open Badge Initiatives (Invited Guest)

Terry Fox – What Badge Would he Get?  Blog post


To Examine and Describe how flexible learning offers access to new learners in M101

A. Integrate Flexible Mobile Learning

B. Model Integration of  Formal and Informal Learning

C. Consider Transparent Research

D. Develop Authentic Connections

E. Demonstrate Entrepreneurial Spirit

F. Personalized Learning

How to Create Open Badge Criteria – Using Competencies Blog Post (Many stages included in blog post)

Mozilla Open Badge Webinar Presentation


To Research and Design  the open badges learning pathway for m101

Higher Education (UBC focus

A. Integrate Flexible Mobile Learning

C. Consider Transparent Research

D. Develop Authentic Connections

E. Demonstrate Entrepreneurial Spirit

F. Personalized Learning

Brainstorming Learning Pathways – Blog post


Complete Research


To Research, Synthesize  and Propose flexible learning pathway potential at UBC

A. Integrate Flexible Mobile Learning

B. Model Integration of  Formal and Informal Learning

C. Consider Transparent Research

D. Develop Authentic Connections

E. Demonstrate Entrepreneurial Spirit

F. Personalized Learning

Learning Pathways Google.doc (Blog Posts)

Develop consulting opportunity – Keiro support and deliverables

Begin possible pre-boarding course conversation with UBC

Begin conversation of consulting and part time job opportunities

This is the first blog post one in a series of posts that define and support flexible learning pathways  as  a possible step towards personalized learning.  I decided to take my final project and split it up into a series of blog posts.


I constantly hear that this a time of change, and there is a great opportunity to change the way we are doing things in education.


I encourage you to browse and skim through the all of the Flexible Learning Pathways posts to see what steps that  you are already taking or could take to:


1. Integrate flexible informal and formal learning opportunities.


2. Consider “how” you are measuring learning – competencies and open badges?


3. Give equal voice to industry, community associations, higher education and k12 institutions for all learners within your learning environments


4. Promote collaboration and flexibility as the key skills modeled by all stakeholders and developed by all learners

5. Create a common currency and meaning around the word: “learning”


6. Share what you are doing with others to break down “silos” of innovation

LINKS to all the Learning Pathways Blog Posts:

Blog Post 1

Blog Post 2

Blog Post 3

Blog Post 4

Blog Post 5

 What are you doing? How can I collaborate with you? What can I do to support you?

Please comment on the blog posts – or contact me directly verenanz at gmail.com

The Truth About Being an Innovator – iNACOL Innovative Blended and Online Practice Award – 2013

download (1)Retrieved from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/artjonak/6250513028/

So – we did it! I received the iNACOL Innovative Practice award on behalf of all of you out there who supported and helped facilitate open classroom projects over the last year! It happened because of all of you who took the opportunity to innovate and think outside the box!   Although I led the pilot project called, The Open Classroom at ADLC,(the OC@ADLC) the award speaks to the power and innovation that we can all discover through connecting and networking together.

My proposal included a wide variety of projects – and if you were part of the project, you are part of the collaborative networked team behind the award.

#DigiFoot12 – Digital Footprint 12, Steve Hargadon, Kim Gill, Scott Monahan, Tracy Poelzer, Imtiaz Majeed, Bill Belsey

#BEFA12 – Beyond Facebook12

#CEETOpen – Creating an Open Classroom

#ETMOOC – Open Learning Weeks!

Grouard Atlantis Remixed Project – Kory Reimer, Grouard School – Northlands School District

#STUHackED – Student Hack Education Video Creation Project , Don Wettrick and Students

#EDCampWest – Online Site Lead

Moocifying k12 – Relationships, Collaboration, Risk Taking – Hybrid Pedagogy

UTTyler MOOC Creation  – iDesignEDU

#HSOLead13 – High School Open – Leadership Course – Stephanie Krammer

I pitched the concept of the OC@ADLC last year at the Open Education Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I remember listening to the emphasis on OER (Open Educational Resources) and thinking, but it’s not about the content, it’s about how we can learn differently. The same day that I “pitched” my pilot, Gardner Campbell gave a keynote that suggested the same thing – Open Education is Beyond the Content – and what we see is not necessarily what it appears to be.  He used the current MOOCs as an example and emphasized,  “That is not it at all. That is not what I meant, at all.” (T.S. Eliot)

Getting an award for, “Being an Innovator”, means that over the last year in particular, I have been criticized, ignored, bullied, frustrated, felt like an evangelist and generally treated like someone who speaks another “education” language.  I failed often, and I had to find the confidence to keep going.  I have not been part of the “cool team” – I have been referred to “that” educator in the corner. But, like Campbell stated,  “That is not it at all. That is not what I meant at all”.

However – being “isolated” within a system helped me connect and find other like minded souls who carry me through the bleeding edge…..It never looked scary while surrounded and supported by my PLN.

I have started almost every presentation and opportunity to “talk” about my ideas over the last year with the poem, “The Voice” by Shel Silverstein. I have constantly looked to my PLN (personal learning network) and my face to face supporters for support and shoulder to cry on. I don’t want anyone thinking that being an innovator in this education system is easy – it is not. But as I look at my own kids – and I am starting to see changes and potential for innovation in every classroom – the pain is worth it!


Retrieved from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bruce_krasting/6757547163/

Being an innovator is not all bad. I was able to explore and learn about what “it could” be all about. I was able to connect, share, collaborate, interact, engage and innovate with others from around the globe. I have learned through, with and among others – I have never really been “that” educator in the corner- ever.

What is an Innovator?

An Innovator is someone who takes what they see, remixes it, connects it to other ideas and develops a new idea based on something “old”. That is what I mean (based on T.S. Eliot’s quote) – I mean innovators consider what we as educators have been doing, “tweek it” and create something new.  Building upon the ideas of others – blending the old with the new to create authentic learning opportunities.

Thank you for your kind words of congratulations – but like I tweeted to Peggy George (one of those people who has supported me and inspired me to always think outside the box) “Innovators can’t innovate in isolation.”

Please tell me about what YOU have been doing to innovate within and transform the education system!

Verena 🙂

The Importance of Open Learning

That video was open to everyone today as part #K12Online Open Learning Conference.

Today is a huge open learning day for me.

I am presenting my first k12Online video, I am facilitating an all day High School Leadership Tweet Chat for a new open online course called #HSOLead13 (anyone can jump in and tweet about leadership using the hashtag) AND I am participating in the Canadian Education Association’s – What is Standing in the Way of Change in Education? conference in Calgary.

The fact that I will be following three open twitter chats in one day – plus participating in a conference (yes we are expected to discuss and engage at this one) suggests that the change is happening in education – and I am excited to be in the middle of it.

 This post is about why open learning is essential to transforming our education system. I would not be the learner and educator I am today, if other educators and learners did not learn and share with me, in the open.

The video that I was asked to create for K12Online was extremely difficult for me. It wasn’t the content and what I wanted to say, but literally “how” to put it together. I do not have great visual design or videography skills. However, that is the key piece to my success as an open learner. I try anyway. I put myself out there knowing that the video is not perfect, it is not clear and it does not really “speak” for me. Ironically, one of the high school students in #HSOLead13 sent out a tweet today about being perfect:

This video is one of many pebbles on my learning path – and it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to created as a foundation for others to construct their own learning paths…..

Before I started learning in the open, very few people knew about who am I am as a person and as learner. Each year I would learn with my students, parents and others in my immediate learning community – but my learning path was hidden to others by too much shrubbery and gates.

012650_3fce2b30Retrieveed from: http://www.geograph.org.uk/gridref/NZ5517

I started to learn how to be an open learner because other people had started to create paths and opened gates for me.

I started on my learning journey by following the paths of other people.

Some people create really wide learning paths.  They provide a wide variety of rocks, pebbles and boulders for me to look at, think about, and add to. Because their rocks are in the open, not hidden in the forest, people can share their rockery with me. I can quote parts of his blogs that I see linked in twitter, connect with learners through skype or Google hangouts, and complete courses for open badges and find out who put the original rocks on paths through creative commons.

Because other people shared their paths with me – I was able to start constructing my own learning path.

Because I was able to start my own learning path – I was able to help others construct their own learning paths and the cycle goes on …..and on…….and on……

None of the pebbles on any of these paths were perfect – and in many cases, people were scared to “put” their ideas out in the open. But these anonymous (at first) people put their ideas “out there” and I learned because of them and with them!

As I said earlier – today is a busy day for me, but ironically I found this tweet that was retweeted by Ariana Cardanas as one of the first tweets for the #HSOLead13 twitter chat:

BXDFo-GIIAA6kVcAnd so the learning cycle continues – I hope that someone “gets” something out of my video and sees me for who I am – an open learner and far from perfect.

So – as I step into a wider path learner path today – I encourage you to consider how you can construct your own path – while helping construct the learning paths of others – by learning out in the open….

Verena 🙂

PS – Please consider tweeting about leadership using the hashtag #HSOLead13 and stepping into a learning path of all ages!




Week 7 – Online Teaching Reflections – POT Course


From our readings – I was most focused on the part about, “Timing and Pacing of course”. In my recent HS Leadership course, since it is a new design, it is blended and it has LOTS of new to online learning learners in it….I decided to open the whole course. This went against my usual design “habit” of opening one module at a time.


Why did I do it?  For a few reasons.

1) The synchronous part of the course is only 2 weeks, then they will go off and complete a project. So I was not totally overwhelming them with content – only “kind of” overwhelming them.


2) The flipped educator in me wanted students to have an opportunity to see the “whole” picture.  I want the students to feel comfortable in their online environment, so I thought it only fair to set them up with as much information when they want it.


3)  Since it is a new design, it is blended and it has LOTS of “new to online learning” learners in it, I wanted them to see as much as possible in the limited time we do have together online.


Since this course will end after the synchronous 2 weeks, I will be able to write some more about my “timing” design decision later.


The second thing that really jumped out at me from our “resources” was from Lisa’s blog post:


4. Online teaching is its own discipline, and we need to study it.

It’s not just a “method of delivery” or a “format” — it’s its own field, with a whole community of practitioners in K-12, college, training and consulting. It pays to be in touch with people who know the latest trends. Entire careers are being built by people who know nothing about teaching, but get advanced degrees researching it so they can get jobs and tell you what to do. Not knowing the jargon or the research, and being able to critique it, could mean less autonomy in your own work. From Lisa’s Blog 

This excerpt really jumped out at me, because I don’t think I had really thought about online learning – teaching it – as a specialization. It is! I have “inadvertently” become a specialist in open learning, especially k12 and High School, and you are absolutely correct. The “way” to study and specialize is to engage and connect with others who are doing amazing things – so you can bring it back to your own learning environments. Although I have some masters levels courses to support online learning, I specialized through experiential learning opportunities.

So- I guess I have commented on how I have integrated the “timing” idea into my new course as well as on the importance of validating the online learning experience.

Verena 🙂

Playing with html and Thinking Critically – POT Week 6

Daks_outlined-660x466Retrieved from: http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/06/women-in-technology/

So this week’s Program for Online Teaching focused on Internet Skills and Critical Thinking.

I was proud to get a decent mark on the Internet Skills Test. I felt like a knew “a bit” about the Internet and computers. Tech Geek has many forms though – and just because I can’t code well – at all – I can still be a Tech Geek.  It made me think about the Mozilla Web Literacy Standard: which demonstrates many ways a person can be competent in web literacy and the Internet….

Digi lit


The Framework is designed around competencies to help us all figure out what skills,behaviours, experiences and attitudes we have around web literacy.

At UBC, I am helping to support a pilot project called m101. The goal is develop web literacy by collaborating, creating, remixing, adding to and designing specialty projects around flexible mobile learning. I’m helping to develop the badges and figure out where a course like m101 would fit in a proposal on flexible learning pathways for formal and non formal learners. This is a youtube video from Erin Fields which has been developed  for m101.

I spent the week working on my High School leadership course. One of the issues I had was to create a cool and easy to use digital resource list for students. I chose Urlist to upload my lists. Unfortunately,  you cannot add youtube to urlist lists. So – I created a wiki in wikispaces called HSOLead13HighSchoolLeadership

I was able to embed a “cool” looking resource list with the youtube videos below.

I could then link the wiki into my Moodle course.

This is a quick video (based on the POT examples) of how I integrated various digital tools to create what i wanted in my online course:

Week 6 – Example of Playing with html to Design Online Course

PS – If you go to the blog I retrieved the image from the blog on…you will see a t-shirt. Just wanted to admit – I own and wear that t-shirt with pride….. 🙂





Week 5 – Syllabus and Organizing Online/Blended Courses -POT Class

It is the week of examining Syllabus options and Getting Ourselves Organized!


I have to admit the amazing timing of this module. I have already forwarded suggestions from the readings, especially the templates, to some of my peers and Instructors that I am mentoring. My fellow learners appreciated the details, especially for the “Start Up” and Introduction modules. They were able to see what information they already have, and what they are missing. I also used the syllabus readings to help me rethink a course I am working on. Here’s the summary of #HSOLead13

Ironically, the timing of Diigo is also exactly what I needed this week. A “pleasant reminder” to use social bookmarking tools encouraged me to create a Group so I didn’t lose the links to my HSOLead Course. One of my instructors had spent hours on her first module, and she lost many of her links – so I suggested diigo from now on.  I suggested it to my son’s grade 2 teacher as an alternative to a list of links on a website AND I started a new group so I wouldn’t lose all these great syllabus and set up examples : I started a new Diigo Group called – https://groups.diigo.com/group/online_blended-course-syllabus

Getting organized calmed me down. It seems that once October hit – the projects started to pile up. The syllabus readings, the quick tutorial about setting up a weekly design inside BB as well as Diigo reminders have really helped me take things one step at a time.

No questions this week – I’m focusing on “organizing” things 🙂

Verena 🙂