Week 1 Thoughts

1. Think about your teaching practise, what are you passionate about?

I really love those moments where you can see the learner just grasping the material and taking it somewhere that you never envisioned. That moment where they realize they get it, and you in turn can give yourself a short little pat on the back (which is a bit higher than one probably deserves).

2. How is that evidenced in your practise?

Well, I try to build in those a-ha moments and allow learners to run with the ball I’ve tossed them. I’m not locked into my material, and we have plenty of time to deviate from what I bring to class. In fact, I’m liable to be short when we don’t deviate from the planned course of action, which is why I’ve always brought in some sort of back up “oh, this is an interesting sidebar to the topic tonight” kind of moments.

3. Where do you hope this will all lead?

I’m kind of fortunate in that I get to teach computer skills that are probably going to be life skills. Searching the Internet is a very fundamental skill to have in a modern society, so it’s important to understand what you’re doing when you’re searching and what you’ve got when you find it. It’s very open ended. I hope my introduction to this huge topic begins their journey to being able to discover whatever information they need to that’s out there, and to have some level of confidence in the information that they’ve found. Hopefully, when things change in the future, they won’t have to take a class to figure out the new way of doing things, they can discover it themselves.

A Brief Introduction

Heh, here I was believing that I could get away without blogging in my life. Anyways, my name is Jon and I work in some ways with e-learning (whatever that means…) at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. I also teach web based technologies (searching techniques, Fireworks, XML) through Continuing Education at the college. The purpose of this blog is to collect my thoughts about Connectivism and the course that is being facilitated by Stephen Downs and George Siemens. Some of those thoughts will be required course work (like this introduction piece), some of them will be personal observations of what the course and the learning means to me.

At the college I assist professors using several different e-learning platforms, including First Class (known locally as FRED), Blackboard and Can8. I also dig up nuggets of information that might be useful to teachers using technology. As a student at Brock University in their Bachelor of Education (Adult Education) course, I’ve used Sakai and WebCT so far, and I’m sure I’ll use many more as we move forward.

On a personal level, I think I’ve situated myself well for this e-learning thing – I graduated from Sheridan College with a diploma in Media Arts and continued my education at Mohawk College for computer programming. Both taught me skills that I use today and most days, so I guess that is the definition of a useful education. I also chuckle at the notion of edupunk, as I’ve been involved in punk rock for most of my adolescent (and adult – whatever that is!) life.

I’m interested in the Connectivism course as I’m interested in the ways people learn. Aside from that, I’m very intrigued by the decentralized notion of learning – Paolo Freire’s beliefs certainly come into play here – and the relationship between connectivism, common knowledge and authorities in subject matter.

My requirements for a successful course is a difficult question to answer – certainly gaining knowledge and a greater understanding of connectivism is the ultimate goal. Some lively discussion will have to take place; I’ll certainly be interested to see how the course plays out as the sheer numbers seem staggering to me.