A Summer of Making: Reflections on CLMOOC

If you’ve been reading my blog at all you know that I participated in something called the CLMOOC this summer.  The Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration was an opportunity to experiment with the principles that underlie Connected Learning.  This short video gives some more information or check the link above.

When I originally signed up to participate in the MOOC I thought I would stay on the fringes, read what others posted, and think about how the participants interacted.  I knew I would be time challenged, after all I would be facilitating the SDAWP Summer Institute during the bulk of the MOOC.  But somehow, I was quickly drawn into action.  I used my photo-a-day work as my introduction and posted a couple of photos.  Immediately I began to get feedback, comments, and links to others’ work with a similar focus…I was hooked!  Then came the #vineoffmonday. I was already playing with Vine and with Instagram video, so it was fun to see what others were doing.  I loved Kevin’s invitation to make a seven second story and even though I wasn’t particularly successful, the challenge was valuable–and it’s something I can see having my students try (even if they don’t use a social media platform like Vine to do it).

I’d been thinking about starting a blog for a couple of years…and have had a couple of false starts where I posted once or twice and then never returned.  With the CLMOOC community around me, I decided to create a new blog AND to challenge myself to posting 30 days in a row. Remember, this was not a “summer’s off” undertaking–with this community around me, I made my decision to blog right in the middle of the SI I talked about earlier.  (And if you know writing projects at all, you know that it is an intense and focused time of meaningful, challenging work–even as a facilitator.)

My blog became my space for “makes.”  I explored my photography in a variety of ways, thought about learning and spaces for learning, considered my own classroom and how I might approach my teaching differently, and wrote and wrote and posted and posted…today is my 34th consecutive post!

And…I earned my first badge!

badge_be1ee794-764e-4739-981e-69a447770c74

To earn the badge I had to submit one of my makes, reflecting on its significance.  I chose my Spaces for Learning post that I wrote in response to an invitation from Terry to respond to a Washington Post article about teachers and teaching.

I am strangely proud of my badge.  It represents a summer of exploration and of putting myself “out there.”  It has been about writing every day even when I am busy and tired and would rather just hang out or watch some mindless TV.  It has been about being public with my learning process and trying things beyond my comfort zone.  And I still see lots of spaces for my learning to grow.  I definitely have a better understanding of the Connected Learning principles and how they support my own learning and risk taking.  I plan to create more spaces for this kind of learning for my students…and for the teachers I come in contact with.  It has definitely been a summer of making and connected learning for me…and I don’t want it to stop!

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