Posted by: lindapemik | January 31, 2013

Learning Community-the Critical Ingredient

During the Dave Cormier session last week, Alec Couros used these words to describe etmooc:  “we all decided to walk through the same door on the Internet so we could think together.”  And think we do.  And chat. And share. And blog.  And tweet.  Many of us think about learning; how to define it, how to recognize it, how does it happen?  And because we are educators, how to support and cultivate it in our students.

thinkerI’ve been reflecting on my own learning in etmooc and wondering what elements of this learning experience have lead to a “learning explosion” for me and I have connected with a few other bloggers who are asking themselves the same question.  Thomas Okon  wrote: ” no other class has ever pushed me to do this kind of personal upgrade”.  See his blog here.My experience with etmooc has been equally stimulating.  In my comment to his post I suggested that several elements contributed to my learning:  learner-centered, culture of sharing, tools to support skill development.  Later that week I read a post from Lorraine Boulos, who said, “I have met wonderful and inspiring educators that I have connected with”.  She went on to say,  “I am not just learning HOW to connect, but WHY connect.  I never anticipated how much thinking I would be doing in this MOOC!”

Another key element became clear.  The social connection!   Whether we work in a large urban school or a widely dispersed College in the wilds of Northern Canada, as I do, educators can and often do work in isolation.  By walking through the etmooc door we suddenly find that we are no longer alone and that there are many people out there who care about the things we care about and who want to work together to reform education at all levels.
What actions do you take to build connections with colleagues both near and far?
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Responses

  1. You are so right about the value of discovering just how many other people there are on the same wavelength. Sometimes I’ve wondered if maybe it’s not worth the effort and maybe the pedagogical changes I am trying to make are wrong. When others in your own school seem reluctant or disinterested in moving with you. But contact through etmooc has re-energised me. While in my small pond I feel like there aren’t enough of us, I now have no doubt that I don’t really have to look far for more than enough like minded people.

    • Hi Donna and thanks for your comment. I strongly believe that we have an obligation to prepare our students to be fully engaged in the world and prepared to be life-long learners and I am also convinced that we can;t do that if we don’t teach them ” 21st century learning skills”. Using educational technology in our schools is a necessity not a “nice to have”. Those of us who understand this must continue to model, engage, lobby and entice other educators to see how important this is. Joining a passionate international community such as etmooc has given me new enthusiasm for the task.

  2. I agree with your point about the social connections. Connected learning makes me part of a community of similarly-wired educators. Just like “nobody knows you’re a dog on the internet”, so also there is no geographical distance between Melbourne, Helsinki, New York, Pusan, and the wilds of Northern Canada on the internet. There is only the rich exchange and mashing of ideas. Where else could I have got the idea, or found the confidence, to invite colleagues to join me in a connectivist-type discussion group while we take a 4-week xMOOC together?

    • so true Jim, I’ve just set up a Connecting Arctic Educators google+ community that I’d like for you to join if you are interested. Just set it up today. Going to add some northern context tonight. thanks for your comment and all the best in your continued learning journey, Linda

  3. […] to his EdTechTalk and read resources by Christina Hendricks, which I found through my new friend, Linda Pemik. I’m not sure how Linda’s work on her blog and Google Plus led me to those resources, […]


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