Tuesday, 31 December 2013

So I got tagged in this blog meme…

Well, we can blame Cathleen Nardi for tagging me in a blog meme! Cathleen was tagged in Nancy White’s blog … and so it goes.
Strangely, it’s been good to produce eleven random facts about myself: to see how I would label and place myself in the world. I also enjoyed answering Cathleen’s questions. A small reflective moment totally right for New Year’s Eve.
So I’m passing it on – and even as I do I know that some of the people I’ve tagged below would saw off their own feet rather than join in… BUT – it’s a good way to pass on some of the great bloggers that I’ve been reading this year – so it’s win/win either way!

Random Facts about Me
I left school when I was still 16 (okay a month away from my 17th birthday).
My first job was as a laboratory technician.
I loved going to Technical College – I found ‘vocational education’ really emancipatory – may be I was lucky.
I have made a low budget and sadly unsuccessful feature film.
With my partner, I have taken a production of Godber’s ‘Bouncers’ on a tour of Crete discos.
My mother was Belgium – and was a teenager in Brussels when it was occupied by the Nazis.
My father was from London and was involved in D-Day when really just a kid himself.
We lived in a flat above a launderette and a shop on a main road in North London.
We escaped to a caravan at the Kent coast at weekends and for the long summer holidays – this was my salvation.
I was the first in my neighbourhood to go to College – I studied Education and Literature and trained to be a secondary school teacher.
I actually taught English A’levels to adults in the evening.

Questions from Cathleen Nardi (http://cathleennardi.wordpress.com/):
1. Where do you go when you want to think?
I walk to think and to de-stress. I can walk in London, I can walk in the countryside – and best of all I love to walk by the sea.
2. What is your comfort food?
Chocolate… cakes … chocolate cakes!
3. What do you do when you want to relax?
I always used to read to relax – I also love to watch video – most recently I have taken to MOOCs to relax.
4. Name one thing on your Bucket List.
I am lucky enough to do a job I enjoy – better than a bucket list!
5. Why is education important to you?
Like all loves, education is flawed, it can be unfair, it can be corrupted (by bad policy) – but it offers space for energy, excitement, potential, engagement, change…
6. What is the Boldest Act of Defiance you’ve ever attempted?
I think making a feature film with my partner. We were both the first in our families to get a degree – but making our film was the moment when we felt we had gained a ‘voice’. It was so transgressive to do this thing – we lost our house because of it – and still it was the best thing to have done!
7. How do you problem solve?
I wrestle with a problem for a while. I may write about it – I may brainstorm – if it is a really tricky one – I go for a long walk and hope that it becomes clear as I tramp over hills… This usually works.
8. What is the last thing that you made?
This week I have been painting quite a bit. I ‘blind draw’ something and then watercolour it; but also this week I made a collage. I tried a picture of my papa – of when he was holding me when I was just one month old. I tried to get his face – and the texture of the background behind him. I got the background okay – and his hair was excellent – but not the face…
9. What is your favourite piece of art in your home?
This sounds terribly solipsistic, but my favourite piece at the moment is the first collage that I did for #artmooc. I had never made one before and I really got into it. I thought of a small poem that I had written as I chose my pictures and then placed them on the board… It is a dense piece – I made it out of dull newsprint pictures to suit the mood – and most people do not like it… But I love it.
10. What’s is the most creative thing you’ve ever done?
Trying to live life for joy and with no regrets.
11. What would be the title of a book about you?
Memoirs of a working class zealot.

Questions from Me:
1. What do you love most about your life?
2. What is the best thing you have ever done or made?
3. What is your favourite book/author/film?
4. What is the secret of a happy life?
5. What cool thing have you discovered recently?
6. What are you currently fascinated by?
7. What is the secret of your success?
8. What is the source of your joy?
9. What is the most creative thing you have done?
10. What is the latest thing that you have made?
11. What would you most like to make or do?

Now It’s Your Turn: Tag –You are IT!
1. Eloise Sentito: http://esonlearning.wordpress.com/ @ESonlearning
2. Andy Mitchell
http://andydmmitchell.blogspot.co.uk/ @AndyDMMitchell
3. Emily Purser
http://uncontente.weebly.com/   @erpurser
4. Willa Ryerson
http://wryerson.wordpress.com/  @willaryerson
5. Debbie Holley  
http://drdebbieholley.com/ @DebbieHolley1
6. Amy Burvall  
http://www.amyburvall.com/ @amyburvall
7. Rajiv Bajaj  
http://www.rajivbajaj.net/ @rajiv63
8. Rick Bartlett
http://drrbb2nd.blogspot.co.uk/ @rbb2nd
9. Kelcy Allwein
10. Angela Towndrow
http://angelatowndrow.blogspot.co.uk/  @angelatowndrow
11. Maddy  
http://mymoocadventure.wordpress.com/ @maddiekp

When you are tagged
Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
Share 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
List 11 bloggers.
Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you, or anyone on the above list… and Pass it on!
At the very least, check out the bloggers I’ve listed – they have all inspired and informed me this year…
And here’s hoping that 2014 brings us all much joy.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

#EDCMOOC2: MOOC madness: After the Gold Rush

I’ve taken Edinburgh University’s E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC (Massive Open Online course) twice this year. The first time it was my first ever MOOC and it provided some of the most immersive and engaging learning in which I have ever participated. 44000 students took #edcmooc that first time – engaging with it and each other months before it started.
We were in FaceBook and on Twitter then Google+ and into Communities… This social side kept me engaged and happy. I found support and encouragement – and made friends of strangers (Fraingers). Brilliant.

I told myself that I needed to take the course again to engage with the technical tools – which I’d sort of avoided … But – then came Penn State’s #artmooc and MoMA’s #artinquiry - courses only tangentially related to my work. I found that so much benefit came from these contingent encounters - and blogged about that (below).
Then #edcmooc came around again and I was one of eight people invited to act as a Community Teaching Assistant (CTA) – and I just could not resist.
My first #edcmooc was to learn MOOC… and now we could learn CTA by being CTA. Fabulous! (Also – frankly – I was really flattered to be asked!)
It was a delicate task to be a CTA attempting to add to the experience of new #edcmooc’ers whilst not in any way diluting their experiences. But we plunged in with good will and optimism and positive regard for the new students … and hey – it seemed to work. Rajiv Bajaj blogged about his #edcmooc experiences (http://pursuingmoocs.wordpress.com/) – and the CTAs. He said that we had been light touch but supportive enough to hold on to those who might otherwise has spun off. We had been friendly and caring and useful and valued.
With my own students, rather than *teach* digital literacy, I wanted them to discover the joy and potential of digital learning the way I had. All were encouraged to join either #edcmooc or #ds106. A final joy for me has been that one of my ‘meat’ world students has taken and passed #edcmooc.
Next http://becomingeducational.wordpress.com/ - blogging about our new module. #becomingeducational has embedded within it everything learned from #edcmooc, #artmooc and #artinquiry. 
2013 – what a year for MOOCs! Happy 2014!