In which it is quiet on the blog, but I speak in public.
In early February I had the opportunity to talk to and with a few K-12 teachers about the potential of open education resources and personal learning environments. It was a sizable conference, with an attendance of about ten for my particular session, and about six other sessions running at the same time.
The focus of the session was to describe the changing landscape and culture in which ples and oers operate and my experiences in this “new land” — a bit of a tour, rather than outright advocacy, although I make no secret of my support for individualized and connective learning.
In a long-past life in museum ed, I coordinated lots of learning workshops, with a focus on getting to the “hands-on” part. In this case, I figured on half a session of “intro info,” and half for play. That said, my first intro draft consisted of a four-page outline and 62 slides, which took me 2 ½ hours to talk through… and I could have said more. (Be afraid, be very afraid.) Once I got that out of my system, I whittled it down to 12 slides and about a half-hour’s worth of description… with the thought that session participants could then engage with each other and a wiki I had drafted, and I could step aside.
Um… a good plan that went a bit awry due to low tech saturation. All in all, it was a cultural reminder that while I’ve embraced back channel chat, will take notes on the computer and won’t hesitate to look up references mentioned by the speaker while a presentation is still in progress, bringing a laptop to a workshop session is still pretty odd behavior at the K-12 instructional level (even with universal wifi at the conference). But good questions were asked, I hope I provided coherent answers, and an angry mob did not follow me home (nor did anyone’s head explode, which my teacher friend John felt could happen), so who could ask for anything more?
And the session was, for me, a bit of a “final project” for the world of CCK08: could I communicate, in everyday language (avoiding terms like epistemology and ontology, because ologies are known narcotics) basic connectivist concepts in relation to OERS and PLES? I think I was successful at this. (Thanks to Wendy Drexler for her Networked Student video, which didn’t even exist at the time I wrote the conference proposal and thus subsequently made my presentation much easier, and Mike Bogle for his word cloud depicting the CCK08 self-organizing network of communication tools.)
So, I’ve had my out-on-the-fringes say in a face-to-face public. Not surprisingly, the world has continued in its usual orbit and I received no indication that I should hold my breath while hoping that anyone in a traditional education institution will throw off his or her sweater vest and run naked through the daisies into decentralized learning nirvana. But for anyone interested, the “OERs and PLEs” snapshot/starter wiki (one of the billions, I imagine, consigned to the Graveyard of Fallow Wikis) and embedded presentation slides are available.
Keep your clothes on.