Posted by: lindapemik | December 8, 2010

Life after EC&I831

If I thought eci831 was over last night, I was wrong!  When I got into my Google Reader account this morning I had 16 unread blog posts from my classmates.  This is a good thing, as I am sure that I would experience blog- post-reading withdrawal without them.  However I have heard that there is life after eci831 so I have prepared several survival strategies.

Survival Strategy 1:  Care and Feeding of the College Community blog: “20/20 Vision, Taking the long view”, my eci831 project.

Our project assignment was to design a “ digital project related to using technology in teaching and learning”.  Since our college is still at the thinking stage of adapting to the digital world and I am currently an administrator not a teacher, I decided the most useful project would be a community blog, designed to encourage communication that will contribute to planning for distance learning at Nunavut Arctic College.  A blog seemed to be the best choice for us at this time as it provides a virtual space to not only share information and create dialogue about technology in education but it can also be a place where we can provide links related to pedagogy and continuing professional development and others can easily comment or become authors.  This project was not technically challenging however the challenge lies in engaging staff, improving College-wide communications and developing a connected network of educators throughout the college.  Communication issues are historic in our organization: the college is geographically dispersed across three time zones and 25 remote, isolated fly-in communities; the majority of the staff are working full out and often doing the work of several people; program, community, and regional silos abound; internet service has been dismally slow or non-existent. The blog provides the means but will it help change our attitudes and help us see beyond the boundaries of our community learning centres, programs and campuses?

Much that has been written about building online communities advises starting small, making personal connections, soliciting input and recognizing contributions from members.  With this advice in mind I initiated the project by:

1.  Involving our Public Affairs Officer and creating a 4 person media team in the local office where I work.
2.  While on duty travel throughout the college meeting with staff 1-1 whom I know have an interest in technology in education and soliciting their support.
3.  Pitching the blog to the Senior Management Team and seeking the President’s support.
4.  Establishing a schedule for “guest bloggers” both internal and external
5.  Sending broadcast emails to announce each fresh blog post.
6.  Eliciting support through my eci831 network for comments and resources.

The blog is up and running.  No college staff have posted comments yet but we have had several interesting comments from outside.  I am starting to get encouraging email responses from staff and one tweet in response to the broadcast emails; hopefully, public comments from staff will follow. We will continue discussions at our next senior management meeting and I fully expect  those discussion to result in the development of a concrete plan for IT staffing and a “Distance Learning Plan”.

As for 20/20 Vision,  I will continue to personally invite individuals to participate and build our network one node at a time.  I will use the site to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our staff and consult with them more to identify what information, tools and resources will make the blog more interesting and useful to them.  Perhaps I feel a wiki moment coming up?

Survival Strategy 2: Care and Feeding of a newborn techie teacher

EC&I831 has hatched a newbie Tech teacher–me, and like a new born chick I am hungry for more.
First, I’m going to take a peck at formalizing my own PLE, and continue to follow the work of my fellow eci’ers. That process will include documenting a personal learning plan and re-examining much of the eci831 information.  Sorting out the 100’s of references to tools and information that I have collected in the last three months will keep me busy for quite a while.  I plan to get a domain name and set up my online portfolio– something I have wanted to do for some time.  Creating the online portfolio is a major learning project in itself, one that will encourage me to learn to use new apps and become more comfortable with different technologies, situated learning at its best.

Then it’s more online learning for this chick.  I wrote on my very first blog post: “As I think about a change of careers and a move back into the classroom I am intrigued and challenged to learn how to use social media and open learning as tools to enhance my teaching”.  It is still my plan to return to classroom teaching soon, however my definition of classroom is now expanding to include a virtual classroom.  What a perfect time for me to develop the skills and knowledge to become a certified online teacher.  So–next step, more online courses and a PCOT.

Survival Strategy 3:  Seek balance in life:  Don’t forget little chick that there is both a virtual world and a tangible world!    Spend time in both and plan to:

Enjoy our beautiful land and

Enjoy your awesome grandkids

Watch your hockey star son lead his team to victory in the Avataq Cup

Take a Caribbean cruise with your BFF

The possibilites in a connected world are endless!

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Responses

  1. Did you really think that you were getting rid of us that quickly? 🙂 My hope is that we will all continue to read one another’s blog and if time and willingness allow, comment on what we all have to say.

    I love the survival tips. Sometimes it is a good thing to remind each other of basics that we all take for granted.

    Take good care of yourself Linda. I have enjoyed reading your weekly posts and I look forward to following your thoughts and ideas as they continue to develop. Your college is lucky to have you and your desire to educationally improve the learning environment for so many others. Keep at it. Good Luck!

    Kind Regards,
    Shawna

    • I agree Shawna, I have a feeling that many of us will remain connected for sometime to come. I am planning to be in Regina in May for a meeting at the U of R. maybe we can get together f2f!

  2. What a great post! I love your connection to the newly hatched chick and it’s immediate and future needs.

    Our lives are paralleling and my next step is also online teaching. Not sure what a PCOT is but I plan to do my at Fresno Pacific, in CA, US. Good luck to you!

    • Hi Katie, PCOT=Professional Certificate in Online Teaching..I am interested in one offered through the University of Wisconson, all teh basics and very affordable. will check out the one at Fresno Pacific. Thanks for the tip. Hope we “meet” again someday.


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