The Web We Weave – Curation in Action

samuel-zeller-483391Teachers are collectors. They collect and weave resources together in all kinds of ways. As part of planning lessons, building units, and designing courses, teachers collect and store stuff for ‘some day’. It used to be done with file folders full of ideas and worksheets which are now buried in a filing cabinet in the basement. With digital and electronic options, it’s become a disparate collection of links sprinkled across a variety of curation sites. It’s often a challenge to figure out where to start, which curation tool to use and for which purpose, since there isn’t one tool to rule them all.

  • How do teachers apply specific curation tools.
  • How do educators make decisions about where to curate, how to build their collections and when to share with others?
  • How do educators weave the web we want?

Two catalysts prompted these questions to reframe my thinking about curation, since I see curation as a necessary critical digital literacy. It is not just the digital collections we keep on Pinterest or YouTube, or the artifacts we create and share on Facebook. It’s the analysis and reflection about the items we put into our digitally curated collections and how we collaborate with others in the spaces where we chose to share what we’ve found.

First catalyst: Jennifer Casa-Todd (@JCasaTodd) blogged about curation – Content Curation: A necessary skill for today’s learner. I couldn’t agree more with her statement –

In our information-rich age, not only is it necessary to curate, but creating content from curated resources is an excellent way to consolidate understanding and provides students with the opportunity to think critically and creatively” (Casa-Todd, 2018).

In today’s classroom, curation is a strategy for critical digital literacy when students are using, analyzing, code breaking, making sense, reflecting, creating collections, and developing their digital identity. She asks a question at the end – “What is a curation tool you use to curate social media links?” which triggered my thinking. So, my first response is – blogs are a form of curation. This is not a new idea but has been heightened by a post written by Alan Levine, aka @cogdog, (Storify Bites the Dust) about using WordPress as a self directed curation tool.

Jennifer’s blog post came to my attention through a curation of blogs done by Doug Peterson (@dougpete) in This Week in Ontario EduBlogs. Each week, Doug collects, analyzes, reflects on and shares a selection of blogs from Ontario educators. This is further shared into digital spaces through Twitter under the #FollowFriday hashtag (a form of curating a conversation). Doug extends the conversation on another curation resource, his VoiceEd.ca podcast.  VoiceEd.ca has a curated bank of podcasts relevant to a variety of topics in education. So, my second response is – podcasts are a form of curation.

Second catalyst: a conversation with Sarah Lalonde as we talked together for an upcoming edition of her podcast Que Sera Sarah? She pondered how teachers can manage to learn about, learn with and find digital technologies for their teaching practice. Since there are so many tools, techniques and applications (apps) that teachers can and are using in their planning and design of lessons and units, it’s a challenge to figure out which ones to use, when to use them, how to integrate them into classroom use, where to support students to use them, etc.

This is where educators who build curated resources can support one another as they share in the open – and that’s where critical digital literacies are applied. It’s not just about building a collection, for example popping a pinned resource onto a Pinterest board. It’s about refining, defining, analyzing and reflecting in openly curated ways that will help other educators, designers of educational resources and even students see how these particular tools, resources and apps can become effective pedagogical resources in the classroom. It’s less about sharing, for example an ABC chart of apps for Chromebook users, in a variety of curated collections and locations (Pinterest, LiveBinders, Evernote, Diigo, Symbaloo, Thinglink, etc), and more about digging into those apps and sharing the affordances, barriers, issues and benefits of using and creating with those tools in the classroom. Maybe it’s creating a curated, annotated bibliography of educational technology tools that is crowdsourced similar to Ed Shelf, but one where pedagogical and classroom integrations are shared and discussed. It could be more like ones I’ve curated for the A Kid’s Guide to Canada project to introduce educational technology resources for specific purposes. It should be more like building collections with purpose such as I’ve done with #CLMOOC where educators try different tools for specific purposes and share results and reflections in a collaborative community space.

thai-hamelin-371279

Curation is the web we weave.

Curation is about individual, collective and shared reflections that will improve teaching and learning in some incremental way. Mihailidis & Cohen state “the preservation and organization of content online is now largely the responsibility of the individual in highly personalized information spaces. This has created a need to understand how individuals choose to pull together, sift through, organize, and present information within these spaces. Sharing, appropriation, and peer-to-peer collaboration are at the centre”.

For educators, it shifts our thinking. It’s about thinking like an archivist and acting like a librarian while critically pondering the WHY before embedding the artifact, connecting the code, adding the tags, or applying the html link. It’s reflecting and connecting. It’s a weaving within our own minds and reweaving between our chosen digital resources, It starts as a solitary process, reaches out to others in open, web-connected spaces and comes back to solitary reflections on actions, in action, for learning. It’s how I chose to weave the web I want.

So I’ll add my own question to Jennifer Casa-Todd’s – As an educator, teacher, learner and open educational practitioner how do you define curation? How do you build curated resources reflexively, alone and together? 

Curated Resources:

Casa-Todd, J. (2018, January 4). Content curation: A necessary skill for today’s learner. [weblog].

Lalonde, S. (n.d.) Que sera Sarah? [podcast playlist]

Mihailidis, P. & Cohen, J.N., (2013). Exploring curation as a core competency in digital and media literacy education. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2013(1), p.Art. 2. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/2013-02

Peterson, D. (2018, January 12). This week in Ontario edublogs. [weblog]

Peterson, D. (2018, January 10). This week in Ontario edublogs with Doug Peterson. [podcast]

Voiced Radio On Demand (n.d.) Our voiced radio broadcast community. [website]

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Sitting Down, Side by Side

Come on, sit down. There’s space here beside me. Where ever you’ve been or whenever you need to go, that’s OK. You’re here right now. Take some time to sit beside me and let’s talk.

matthew-bennett-425573I’ve recently travelled, with lots of time spent in planes, trains, buses and boats. When we travel, in most forms of transportation, we are seated beside someone. The focus is not face to face. Our seats are adjacent, so we are close. While we are seated elbow to elbow, we look toward something else – the direction we’re travelling, the vista view through the window, the screen embedded on the seat in front of us, or the tech gadget we may be holding. Our conversations are shaped by our positions in this space. Our relationship to each other is altered by this positioning. We talk about things while we focus on something other than each other, and sometimes our conversations go quite deep.

The deepest conversations I have with my children happen in the enclosed space of the car, while driving from place to place. I will quickly offer to drive them anywhere just so we can have ‘car-talk-time’. When sitting side-by-side with my husband, focusing on a campfire, our conversations evolve into deeply reflective, problem solving discussions. While our eyes face forward, looking at the road or the fire, our voices become less about US as individuals, and more about US as partners, collaborators, or even co-conspirators. Thinking about online learning and talking in digital spaces, I wonder how this positioning of sitting side-by-side can be accomplished. How can a shared focus on the learning enhance instructor/student conversations and reflective practice? Rather than sharing in face-to-face conversations, can we focus the camera and our eyes onto the subject of the learning?

These thoughts are shaping my personal examination of assessment practices in online learning spaces. If the term ‘assessment’ comes from the Latin word assessus “a sitting by,” past participle of assidere/adsidere “to sit beside” (Online Etymology Dictionary), how can I create the feeling that I am sitting beside a student as they share their learning? If the focus could be on the ‘artifact’ created and the process of production as a representation of their learning, it may be easier to sit beside a student (virtually or in the same room) to ponder this ‘thing’ they’ve created. Screen share in a video chat can provide the illusion of sitting beside, but it’s a mindset over ethereal space that needs to shift. It’s an ‘imagine if’ scenario with me keeping the student’s face in my mind’s eye as we talk about the craft of learning and the object they’ve crafted as they’ve learned.

This also links to reflection. How can this focus on an object, idea, vista view, frame engage our internal voice or bring understanding with external voices? How can talking out loud, to ourselves or with others, enhance our thinking? How can audio recordings promote deeper listening. I’ve had an opportunity to do a podcast where I am able to re-listen to my words and re-frame my thinking on topics that are important to me. I’d like to build this activity into my teaching. This could be done in any course where students record their voice in reflection on topics, content or assignments to reframe their notions of learning. 

So, I’ll continue to invite students to sit down beside me, talk about their work and learning, even if we’re separated by space or even time. It’s an intricate evolution of the campfire conversations that continue to be great places to talk.

Reference:

Siemens, George. (2017, September 14). Learning as artifact creation. retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2017/09/14/learning-as-artifact-creation/

Image: Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

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My FRAMES are changing

clem-onojeghuo-143743I’ve been wearing glasses since I was a young girl. The frames that hold the lens in place are updated every few years and, in reflection, are a time capsule through the trends in eyewear over the years. As I look back through a collection of pictures of myself, I wonder how I could have ever chosen those particular frames. What was I thinking? What influenced my decisions to pick those frames since I was ‘stuck with them’ for two or more years? Do those frames really represent who I was or what impression I was trying to make? Those frames are NOT ME nor do they determine what I see, but they do influence how others see me. My frames have an impact.

DSC05774As I end this year, I look back and see other frames that have impacted and will continue to change my perspectives over time.

  • Travel frames my perspectives. I’m returning from a six week journey through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos – the events and experiences will frame my thinking over the coming years. Anyone who travels has their frame of reference changed by travel experiences, especially if empathy, patience and open-mindedness are packed into the trip.
  • Teaching and learning frames my work. I’ve been selected as an eCampus Ontario OER Fellow – this will frame my personal and professional learning as I explore into the fields of open education, open pedagogy and open educational practices. This OER Fellowship is framed by the work of others already into OER spaces, my professional explorations into opening my teaching, and many, many, professional connections I’ve made over several years.
  • My PLN frames my engagement. I’m committed to participation in digital, media, educational literacy spaces that challenge me, provide opportunities for my students, and build connections to ideas, activities and events that shift my perspectives and structure my teaching. The spaces and places I play, learn and work are frameworks that surround me. Sometimes these frames intersect and open things up to wider vistas.

Frame (1)With this in mind, my #OneWordONT for 2018 is FRAMES. Those things that hold things up, provide structure, open views, but are never really examined. They’re just there! Where would we be without FRAMES, frameworks, frames of reference, glass frames?

As I step further into the field of open education and share my voice within various media and digital educational spaces, I’ll step back to take a closer look at the FRAMES I’m not always aware of – frames that restrict, support or surround my thinking. I’ll try to become more aware of the structures that encompass my thinking and hold up my philosophical stance. I’ll need to look beyond the door, window, lens, opening, to critically analyze the elements that are holding it up, providing the opening, keeping the space from falling apart. The more I think about FRAMES, the more I see where they impact everything – my view, perspective, opportunities, teaching, learning.

Frames can help me – they’ll hold important and critical things in place. Frames can become a stepping off point and can become a window to new perspectives. Frames can show where something stands but they don’t need to hold ideas back. Stepping through a door frame can establish new views – it’s not the door, but the frame that holds the door in place that’s important.

rawpixel-com-330228Frames can help or hinder, depending on how firmly or transparent they are created. Frames can provide a focus or eliminate the unessential. Images are framed by photographers but it’s how I frame the image that also determines what I see. Books are framed by authors but my framework structures what I read into the text. Frames are self imposed barriers or beneficial springboards for new explorations. Being aware of how frames encompass or expand my perspectives, ideas, next steps, forward motions can either lead to closing doors/windows or moving beyond the frames I see. So, this year, I’ll use FRAMES to change my viewpoint, narrow or open up my perspectives, structure my thinking and teaching. I’ll look at FRAMES for what they can do – open opportunities, open views, connect to new spaces and support where structure is needed. I’m FRAMING my framework already.

How do you see your frames? Where do frames support or restrict your thinking? Do your frames lead into the open?

 

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CC and ME

I’m a Creative Commons teacher. I’ve got a growing relationship with the ideas and people behind the Creative Commons movement. I’ve stepped over the licensing line and made a conscious choice to be a teacher, advocate, and connector for openly sharing  creative works. I’ve blogged about building connections with the Creative Commons (CC) organization (Remixing Recipes, April 19, 2017) and I’m working on building my own awareness of CC licensing in education.

My work as an instructor and teacher puts me squarely in the middle of the copyright and licensing mess where it’s tricky to untangle the ‘fair use’ from the copyright protected and the CC licensed. I’ve been slowly threading through the maze with the help of others. After attending the CC Global Summit last spring, I’ve joined the open CC Slack space where the conversations about CC licenses and global copyright issues spill into awareness. This recent announcement about Termination of Transfer caught my attention. I learn more about Canadian copyright issues by listening to folks within this openly accessible space.

Original Open Ed MOOCAfter viewing the conversations between David Wiley and George Siemens for the #OpenEdMOOC (Week 2 Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) it becomes clear as mud that copyright and Creative Commons licensing has an impact on my work as an educator. I know there are rules and best practice when dealing with ‘fair use’ but those lines are blurred and fuzzy – no wonder teachers have a hard time understanding them. I know that when I create something, it’s copyright mine, and I can choose to share it freely under a CC license, as I did with the #OpenEdMOOC graphic I created and shared on Twitter.

The challenge in the tangle of copyright and fair use arise when the ideas for my lessons or the resources I plan to use in my teaching really belong to someone else – I’m remixing them, or a bit of them, for a particular teaching activity. The flip side to this idea is that my students are also creating interesting items that are then copyright to them. How do I manage that issue as well or should I have to?

I’ve included teaching about Creative Commons (CC) in my courses to raise awareness and I advocate for the use of the CC licenses with creative works produced as a result of learning events. I’ve come to realize that my own creative productions need to have a CC license attached cc licensed BYin order to model for my students how CC licensing works as well as communicating to others how my creative artifacts can be shared. I’m trying to remember that when I write, draw, talk, or present, I need to tag my work with a CC license. I’m trying to make this an important consideration for those I teach and others in the educational community.

I am part of a grassroots organization supporting K-8 children across Canada called A Kids Guide to Canada. Students are creating and teachers are sharing unique artifacts about the country. To build understanding about copyright and Creative Commons, I’ve crafted a video (AKGTC and CC) to encourage teachers and students to use and apply CC attribution and licensing to their creative works. It’s a small step in shifting the copyright conversations into the open. It’s part of a bigger conversation about digital citizenship that is also becoming increasingly important in educational contexts. We need to step out from behind the ‘fair use’ screen and talk about how copyright and CC licensing will impact our work as educators and our student’s work as learners.

Now is as good a time as any to spread this message and work to untangle this mess together. We can unravel this mess a little bit more if we share what we’re thinking and why it matters.

  • How do you attribute the works of others that you include in your own creative works?
  • How do you license your creative work to let others know how they can use or share these artifacts?
  • How do you teach your students about copyright, fair use and the Creative Commons?

Add a comment below and let’s talk!

FOLLOWUP:

This post ignited some conversation in Ontario education spaces thanks to Doug Peterson who took some time to blog (I Got a Zero Once) and respond to the ideas presented here. Doug continued to open the conversation about the copyright and creative commons on This Week in Ontario EduBlogs as well as sharing this topic with Stephen Hurley on their weekly podcast where topics in Ontario education are shared and discussed. Their conversation is found on the VoiceEd Radio archives HERE. I thank them for extending the conversation further than I thought it would go, and prompting some new questions and ideas by doing so.

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Open to Opportunity

image with inspirational statement

Courage

Today, on World Teacher Day, I’m reflecting on what it means to be a life-long educator. I’m sure that many others out there, like me, didn’t set out to be a teacher, but certainly became more aware of teaching as a career choice as I engaged with great teachers. Stephen Downes, in his introductory video to the Open Ed MOOC, mentions that education is sharing. That, at a granular level is what it’s all about for me.

EDUCATION IS SHARING – writ large.

Teachers around the globe share! Every day teachers share what they have, what they know, what they are passionate about and what they fear. Teachers share ideas, images, text, activities, words of wisdom, cultural norms and so much more. Educators across the globe share what little they may have available to them with their students in an effort to bring the world to a better place. Some teachers may not be sharing with such lofty visions of world peace, but they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing without a passion for sharing. So today, I give thanks to all those teachers who have touched my life by sharing their gifts and talents with others. I remember and honour all those teachers who are no longer able to share and those who have left a lasting legacy in their schools, faculties and communities. I am humbled by the hard work of sharing done by teachers the world over, especially through troubling times and catastrophic events.

Open education matters to every teacher! Opening our hearts to accept every child or student into the classroom, be it physical or digital. Opening student’s minds to wonder and inquiry. Opening our hands to sharing with those who may need our help in our schools, communities and global contexts. Opening our emotions so our students can see the power of empathy and trust. It’s more than open educational resources (OER) since this is one part of the teaching/learning dynamic – the what of teaching. It’s more than open pedagogy or open educational practices since this is as individual as the teacher doing the teaching – the how of teaching. Open education is about being fully open to opportunities that arise in the classroom, in the context and in the learning moments. It’s about bringing your whole self into engagement with your students, the subject matter, the moments that matter.

Today, on World Teacher Day, celebrate and share your educational experiences, not just those that haunt you, but those when someone shared openly and freely, giving of themselves to make your world, your life a better place.

Today, be OPEN to OPPORTUNITIES to continue your learning journey and share it with a teacher. Education is sharing – not for sale and no strings attached.

 

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