Posted by: lindapemik | February 5, 2014

Who owns the learning?

stepping stones

I connected this week with Judy Smith, director of Community Education Programs at Simon Fraser University.  She was sharing with me details about a community based program she helped develop, the Stepping Stones Community Capacity Building Program.  This program was designed to give learners the skills they need to create the kind of community they want to live in. Each learner lays down stepping stones toward realizing their own personal learning vision, while also inspiring a ripple effect of change in their communities.

Judy mentioned in our chat that her goal was to work with the four communities involved in the project to the extent that the communities developed a sense of ownership for the program.  This idea of ownership of learning resonates and challenges me.  How many of our formal learning programs and courses are designed for learners to take ownership?  Not many I think.  My thinking as an educator has been shaped by an education system that sees education as something you do to people, not something we do with people.

I am beginning to realize that as an educational leader and instructional designer that  helping learners develop a sense of ownership is a critical factor for student success, whether I am designing for delivery of a community –based program in a physical, on the ground community or designing an online course for a  virtual online learning community.

Please share your ideas about how you support students to take ownership of their learning by sending me a comment.

Posted by: lindapemik | January 26, 2014

Bloggers get writer’s block too

I recently started another online course about how to teach online. This act usually is followed by more blog posts, as I try to make sense of my learning, but so far this hasn’t happened.   The first week stimulated the usual flurry of enthusiasm and creative thought.  Then I crashed—my creativity dried up and I have found it hard to pay attention to the discussions and assignments and to write about my learning journey.  Something happened that made the topic of online learning more than just a theoretical exercise.

I took a risk and failed when I wanted so desperately to shine.

As I reflected on my sudden dampened enthusiasm for learning I thought back to another online experience that sparked my enthusiasm for learning and tried to identify how the two experiences differed.  During  #etmooc last year I experienced a period of intense learning and creativity and became very interested in researching the concept of creativity.  I discovered the theories of Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, including his thought s about creative flow. That knowledge led me to reframe my understanding of creativity as a genetic “gift”  to one of “creative intelligence”, to recognize that all humans are born with creative capacity.

This year, I dug deeper into Csikzentmihalyi”s theory and was caught by his statement that, “creativity results from the interaction of a system composed of three elements:  a culture that contains symbolic rules, a person who brings novelty into the symbolic domain and a field of experts who recognize and validate the innovation”.   He compares creativity to a fire:  you need a spark, tinder and air.

campfireLearning for me is about creative thought, sparking new ideas and new ways of understanding information and the world we live in. The spark needs tinder which is provided by the rich and seemingly endless knowledge and information afforded by the internet and connecting with knowledge holders to co-create new knowledge; and finally air, the recognition and validation of “the field of experts”, in my case my community of practice.   If anyone of these three elements is missing the spark dies.

What does my experience tell me about how to teach online?  Some ideas for instructional design that enables learning (a far from conclusive list):

  • Recognize and validate learner contributions.
  • Encourage and facilitate sharing of knowledge.
  • Appreciate the risks involved in online learning, even with mature sophisticated learners.
  • Don’t assume that learners are doing OK.  Check back with them often;
  • Provide a mechanism for class feedback, such as an easily accessible general discussion board where students can share their feedback on the process of the course, not just the content or a tool such as Padlet
  • Insure that learners know how to use the learning platform and provide tutorials, videos, screen casts, etc.
  • Use both small group and large group activities
  • Encourage creative techniques: drawing, collage,graphics, digital stories, etc.  for those who think differently.  These help learners find their voices in different ways and in different media.

I’d love to hear from you.  Please tell me when do you feel most creative and excited about learning? and what fuels that spark for you?

Posted by: lindapemik | November 24, 2013

oh the times they are achanging

If you have been following my blog you know by now that I am a 66 year old academic–born and raised in the 20th century where the printed word reigned supreme and all knowledge worth knowing could be found in books. (Or so we western scientific types thought). I think you will also have noticed that the web is changing all that. Enter the 21st century and the connected generation. If you need to know about something now the first instinct is to “google” it. Look for the answer to your question on the web where you not only find the answer you are looking for but you will likely see a great graphic image to go along with the written information and maybe even an interactive activity. This easily accessible and visible information may even stimulate your curiosity and lead you to dig deeper…after all it all so easy to follow that curiosity and deepen the search. So what you may ask? On a personal front, I have rediscovered an interest in cooking and baking , thanks to all my Facebook friends sharing their recipes. On a professional front, my experience shows me that we will have a better chance of engaging learners if we communicate with them in ways that are familiar to them. and guess what? It’s not with books!564020_10202174390985882_1473336306_n.

Posted by: lindapemik | October 28, 2013

Another MOOC

I’ve been taking a few days off to be a full time Grandma.  Love my family dearly as you can tell if you have viewed my first digital story, Family of Firsts.   I truly enjoyed making that short video.  I was totally in the flow of Dr. C.’s creative zonE and am determined to spend more time writing and creating stories in many different ways.   Interesting experience being totally self-directed on this quest.   It’s almost like I keep waiting for “the teacher” to tell me what to do next!   I think working with the Arviat Film Society will definitely help me develop the technical skills faster and now I have enrolled in a MOOC with iversity,   I guess being self- directed doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone.  Learning after all is a social activity.

Posted by: lindapemik | October 20, 2013

PD Roadblocks: Control, Compliance, and Permission.

PD Roadblocks: Control, Compliance, and Permission..

Posted by: lindapemik | October 18, 2013

Demortifying creativity

This has been a fun week.  I have been enjoying the Daily Create from ds106.  Interesting how these little tasks open the mind.  I finally linked up with the Arviat Film Society to share in the learning.  The group is participating in the Adobe Youth Voices Program.  What an inspirational site for anyone interested in the power of digital storytelling.  With these young people to inspire me I just might get more comfortable with video.  Been thinking a  lot about creativity.  We all have it, we often don’t use it and like a limb that is immobilized, it atrophies.  Time to exercise the mind and wake up to Creativity,  so I made a Haiku Deck about that:

Creating in the AFS Mac Lab

Creating in the AFS Mac Lab

Posted by: lindapemik | October 14, 2013

Things you should know about digital literacies

Here is a link to Steve Wheelers, blog entry about digital literacies…deepens my understanding about “learning the language of the web”.. I really like his analogy of learning to drive in a foreign country.  We take the skills and competencies that we have learned in our home country and apply them in a new context where the rules of the road are different!


Photo:, Creative Commons Lic 2.0   

Posted by: lindapemik | October 12, 2013

Blabbering bird

Hey I did it.

I made the little bird sing!


pictures by Frank Reardon

Posted by: lindapemik | October 12, 2013

Practice, practice, practice!

ImageI am on a quest as you know to become a digital citizen, a connected educator.  I am loving the journey but drowning in deep waters again.  There is just so darned much “stuff”  on the Web.  I decided to focus on digital story telling, got a little confused as to just what ds is—the conventional definition describes it as a personal story told using video, but I want it to be more..what I really want to do is to learn to use Web 2.0 tools to tell stories, to  inform and engage people. If decided my ds can be what I want it to be.   Cogdog again to the rescue  with his wiki on storytelling web tools.

DS challenges us to learn to communicate visually.  Many of my web buddies are talking about the visual and the need to make our texts more visual.  (for a lot of reasons, including the fact that pictures and graphics engage the whole brain and facilitate learning).  Visual note taking and visual facilitation are a growing phenomenon.  So of course I had to download a few books and apps about that.  The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde, the Graphic Facilitator’s Guide by Brandy Agerbeck.  Yikes I haven’t even finished reading Lambert’s Digital Storytelling.  LINDA, stop the insanity.  Take it one step, one book,  at a time! More skills to be learned someday.

I did start playing around in ds106, even though I feel like a total imposter—thought I would ease myself into the course by doing the daily create.  Wrote a haiku for October 10, birthday of my first born, visually murdered a moose and drew a picture of what the internet looks like.  I can feel the creative juices starting to flow, coming out of a deep freeze.  Why do our workplaces smother creativity?  a discussion for another post.  Had to reactivate my flickr account but still don’t know exactly how to connect with other ds106’ers there.  Tried another daily create but bogged down in Audacity trying to convert Mp4 files to Mp3 so I could upload an audio file to Blabberize.  I really want to see my bird sing,” I love the Radio” by Taffy!  All in good time.  I will go back to it and make it sing.

Memo to Self:  Just as I won’t get skinny by wishing I was, I won’t become skillful in using Web 2.0 tools by thinking about it.  There is no substitute for practice, practice practice.  As much as I love the research and curating of resources,  I think I will stop and dig into the feast of new ideas.  Check out my diigo library if you want to share in my feast.


Posted by: lindapemik | October 8, 2013

Finding my blogging voice

Human growth theory suggests that we all go through stages of development.  Do you suppose that blog writers have their growth stages too?  I think so.  We are not born fully mature bloggers. It seems to me that it must take a while to find your own blogging style, to find your VOICE.   I read recently that  a writer needs to write 4 or 5 novels before truly finding his/her voice.  I wonder how many blogs I have to write  before I find my authentic blogging voice?

I found a blog yesterday that keeps me coming back-  it’s funny, informative and visually appealing.It’s natural and real.   When I read it I feel like Jen Lara is in the room with me..chatting away. I can hear her voice and her laugh.

Jen has an authentic blogging voice.  I want to be like Jen when I mature as a blogger. Where do I find my voice?  What other blogs illustrate such authenticity?

Just when I think I’ve got it.  I am really on to something!  a better understanding of blogging.  I read something that blows me out of the water.  A link shared by an #etmoocer,  Ary Aranguiz,@trendingteacher, to  a blog written by Alan Levine,.  He wrote, (blogging)” it’s really for me. Not to be found or anything, but for mw to be working out ideas in a visible space– it just makes sense to me”.  So do I write for me or for an audience?  or both?

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