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Entries by a MOOC participant

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat!

Do you remember the iconic opening sequence to ABC Wide World of Sports from the 1970’s?  

At the mid-point of this MOOC, we have been tasked to form collaborative groups to design and implement a project plan.  As a whole, chances are that 50% of the people who started the MOOC are no longer active participants.  (Were they defeated by hitting the wall of failure?)  In the case of our group, we have already lost two members to other commitments, but fortunately, we have added additional members to our team.  The success of each project will be dependent on following through on the process recommended: design-build-learn. We must start with a plan.  We must anticipate design flaws.  We must solicit feedback and adjust accordingly.  We must embrace failure as a learning experience.  We need to use the collective energy of the group to experience the thrill of victory!

Instead of using the “Indigenous Tribe in the Amazon” team building exercise assigned this week, our group proceeded to flesh out our ideas for the project using a 6-3-5 Brainstorming Activity in GoogleDocs to develop our ideas for “Promoting Creativity in the K-12 Classroom through Professional Development.”  We felt that we had already coalesced as a team with a common purpose during a Discussion Thread on LinkedIn.

In order to bring the group closer together as a team and have a better understanding of what each member brings to the table, we  shared our affiliations and skills  and our Creative Styles (49-58).  We also completed the Four Color Personality Test (Research has shown that there are only four basic personality temperaments in the world. If you know which color personality you are – you may better understand your professional role, your role in a team, how you react to certain situations and what you can do to improve your situation) in order to identify cognitive gaps in our team.  

The group is diverse in terms of skills and abilities, but is passionate about creating a culture of creativity in the K-12 education arena.  We are adaptive to innovative, and recognize that in order to improve education, it must be disrupted.  As a whole, the team felt that we were working collaboratively, communicating through commenting on our GoogleDocs, participating in and using the Chat Function in Google Hangouts, as well as continuing our discussion in LinkedIn,  We also started a Group Pinterest Board to curate our research findings.

In a second Google Hangout (not embedded here due to technical difficulties in broadcasting), we discussed the pros and cons of our communication and creative styles.  The group felt that we may have strayed further from the original core idea of the project due to time constraints (12 hour total difference in time zones), different backgrounds, and lack of complete understanding of the essential project idea.

Instead of using a “group think”  process to develop a collaborative vision statement, the team used probing questions to help me further articulate the vision for others.  We determined that the next step would be for me to draft the Design Statement in a collaborative environment for discussion.
Based on my research of similar existing programs, I began to wonder “What really makes this idea different.  How can we utilize this difference to our advantage?”  Unless I could get to the root of this question, it was beginning to feel as though my idea would end up in the scrap heap before it even had a chance to take off the ground.  The following excerpt from a conversation with my teammate, Tracee Wolf sums it up.
The project idea stems from the energy that comes from participating in a MOOC.  The group energy is intoxicating and the synergy allows us to create something that would probably not happen in isolation.  The global nature of the MOOC is also important.  However, it is very easy to get lost in a MOOC because of the noise.  What I want to do is create modules that can be used in a cMOOC (connected) format so that teachers can experience this creative energy and share the experience with their students in the classroom.  
The notion of the creative energy of the group is discussed by Jeremy Knox in In eLearning and Digital Cultures: A multitudinous open online course, “the observer begins to get a sense…of the collective energy and intensity of the multitude…a shift away from thinking about individuals to thinking about connections, flows, and relations that exceed us as human beings.”
In a recent ‘Mooc Up’ (see below) with CIC team members Jack Matson, John Bellanti, and Dan Lucas, I explained that the synergy was “like magic.”  John Bellanti commented that the Jungian archetype for Creativity is the Magician and that there is power in co-creation.
Because MOOCs are relatively new, they have not been embraced by teachers in the K-12 environment as an ideal method for Professional Development.  Additionally, as (Debbie Morrison) points out in her blog, “learning in the open does not come naturally—one has to learn how-to-learn in an open environment. After participating in numerous MOOCs, it’s apparent that a very different and unique skill set is required; a different set of competencies than what is used in traditional learning environments.”
It is from the following springboard, our Vision Statement,  that we will proceed with our Design Phase, to share with our peers for feedback, to weed out what does not align with our vision, and to determine the best method to test drive the model in the K-12 environment.
Here is a first stab at it… Develop and model the skills needed to take control of one’s own education by moving from passive consumption to active creation through cMOOC participation.
Ideas welcome!

6 comments on “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat!

  1. mtmaher
    October 2, 2013

    Cathleen, the thrill of our small victories is well worth any defeat that may ensue. I am certain because of everthing that I have read, experienced and hold to be true, that the kind of learning that this project aspires to implement will happen. It’s just the way things are supposed to be…we are ignited by that connection and it is spreading…rapidly

    You do a great job of summarizing what has gone on thus far. Love the quote by Jeremy Knox and the blog link to Debbie Morrison. Great reminders from visonaries and forward thinkers. Excellent interview with CIC peeps! You were very honest and direct and not the least bit prone to flattery:)

    • cathleennardi
      October 2, 2013

      Thank you, Maureen! Sometimes our education systems take so long to catch up to the real world. I am convinced that IGNITE is the correct word, and am glad that you are part of the team, providing insight and inspiration along the way. As for the flattery, generally, I like to have big boots when they heap it on 🙂

  2. Claudia Saint Clair
    October 2, 2013

    The school I work in has just introduced MOOCs as a semester subject choice for year 10. I’m thrilled.

    • cathleennardi
      October 2, 2013

      How exciting, Claudia. I am hoping to increase the exposure to the K-12 community as a viable blended learning alternative. If teachers could see how powerful global learning in a MOOC can be, surely the contagion will spread to the students!

  3. Felicia M. Sullivan
    October 4, 2013

    Cathleen, I agree that K-12 educators could make great use of MOOCs as a sort of “living library.” At the same time, in working with such educators around technology adoption and new learning processes, it seems that often only most well resourced and high capacity schools are able to make the most of such innovations. This leaves countless struggling and low-performing students and school out in the cold. It is a shame, since I think the sort of agency and energy possible within these environs would speak especially to these populations.

    • cathleennardi
      October 5, 2013

      There is no doubt that this is an issue to contend with, however, I am confident that accessibility will be ubiquitous in the future. We need to change the priority and focus now, so,that we are not consumed by Common Core and teaching to the test. In fact, it is the ability to be able to take mandated standardized testing that will most likely create the network architecture that will be needed to really create a culture of global collaboration in the education arena. Ironic, huh?

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2013 by .

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