About this blog

Students can feel constrained by ways of communicating and learning that seem opaque and fixed because they are permeated with norms never made explicit, knowledge they do not share, or the language of others.

Janette Ryan and Rosemary Viete
Respectful interactions: learning with international students in the English-speaking academy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reflecting on the MOOC #change11

I've taken on a gamble, signing up to take part in MOOC #change11 to get informed about education technology, blended online learning, sharing, connecting and other things. I'm still not sure what it's all about, but it seems to be - as far as I've managed to work out - an online virtual world of sharing ideas, resources, experiences and opportunities to change education. I'm adding a page to this Blog to isolate my reflections, so look at my MOOC Reflection Page to see my additional reflections on the MOOC experience.

A Massive Open Online Course running over several months, with participants encouraged to plot a pathway through the enticing streams of thought and information, dipping in now and then, or taking a regular plunge into materials provided online by educators from all around the world. Sharing and reflecting on the content, and engaging with fellow MOOC participants, is the substance of the distributed materials thus far.

It just so happens that this week I had a meeting with some visiting academics from Malaysia, from a University not unlike my own, who were traveling in Australia to gather information, meet with practitioners, and see for themselves the ways tertiary institutions and schools were entering into the world of blended learning and mobile technology. They were wanting to hear first hand how our iPad Program was working, and engage in a detailed discussion about the positives and negatives of a major technology change in an established institution. The visitors were our market competitors, and I was aware of this fact as I engaged in the discussion, but eventually found our discussion becoming more of a two-way exploration of the challenges of working with teachers in bringing about change, for the benefit of students. I got a lot out of the morning's discussion, and they even mentioned the possibility of inviting me to Malaysia - somewhere I've never been but would love to visit.

I liked the fact these teachers had come to Australia in person to witness things first-hand. Last month some teachers from a Queensland High School also visited us, and we shared much in the ways of expertise, challenges, failures, frustrations and the rewarding successes of pushing ourselves into new and often fearful experiences. Risk is a frightening thing for many teachers who have established classroom habits and patterns, as it was for me too.

Sharing online is great, and there is much to be discovered, but eventually all that is learned in the online world needs to be applied to a task, to the development of a new process or system, to evolve from information and theory into a new means of supporting and enabling students in their particular education journey or task.

Looking forward to writing more about MOOC on my MOOC page.


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