Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reflections on #OOE13 so far

Our end-of-month task for #OOE13 (ooe13.org) is to reflect on what we've gained from our MOOC so far, particularly in terms of connectivity. I've been letting this sit in the back of my brain for a few days, collecting my thoughts and considering what I wanted to say, when this morning something characteristic of my whole experience happened on Twitter.

By pure happenstance, our Earth & Space Science lesson on radioactive dating fell on Hallowe'en. I normally do a half-life activity involving pennies, but decided in the spirit of the day to use M&M's instead. I was pretty excited about this happy coincidence, so I tweeted it.

Here is the interchange that followed:

Who is Steve Mefford? He's an 8th grade science teacher in Iowa. Like me, after a number of years in teaching, he decided things needed to change, and made his classes student-centred (if I sound like I know him well, I don't... all of this I gleaned from his Twitter profile & posts). I think he followed me on Twitter first, and I reciprocated... how he found me, I have no idea. 

But here's what I'm quickly discovering:

Here are two teachers, almost 1000 miles apart, whose paths would never cross in a million years, sharing resources. 

What makes things even cooler, is that using Twitter, G+, blogs, MOOCs, etc., we can easily share with not just one, but dozens (if not hundreds) of teachers... all over the world! 

EVEN BETTER STILL, by choosing with whom and how we're connecting, we can have access to all sorts of amazing materials/resources/professional development that focuses on what we specialize in. If I am interested in BYOD, or math, or English, or making videos in class, my various feeds feed me information tailored to those topics. As teachers, we can grow by leaps and bounds in ways that make the most sense to us! And it's so easy to connect!

Mind. Blown.

Within #OOE13, or my growing PLN, or even within groups of random people in chats (#BYOTchat, for example), I have come to realize the power of connectivity. I am becoming more comfortable in sharing my experiences, asking questions, and learning from other professionals. On a technological note, I am learning more about apps/software/resources I would never have found or tried before, many of which I pass on to my students.

Our next topic in #OOE13 is Digital Citizenship. This will be of particular interest to me as my tiny digital footprint gets a little bit larger, and I help my students create their online presence as well.

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