The long-awaited Fall, 2009 issue of OnCue by the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators association appeared in my mailbox today featuring my article, Engaging Learners Online: Part 2 – Building Online Professional Learning Environments. It was the cover article! (Woohoo!).
Thanks to the MassCue folks for publishing my work in their State! While it’s nice to be global, it’s also nice to find you’re worthy of being published in another state in a print magazine that’s actually mailed to people! Thanks to Jean Tower, Managing Editor, for soliciting and publishing my two articles!
A year ago when I actively started working to use Moodle to impact professional learning in my school district, I had no real clue as to what I was doing. Having built my professional learning network–composed of a global education community that reached as far as Spain, New Zealand, Australia using tools like Twitter and my blog–I was able to rely on the help of many who have gone before. Doing this kind of work is nerve-wracking, because you are facing the equivalent of a “blank slate.” You simply don’t know what you don’t know.
This short article highlights our discoveries of ignorance, and then recommends steps to take. It also includes our best thinking on the subject of online learning facilitation, the essential elements an online course should have, and links to sample courses designed with this in mind.
In a recent MIT Press report, the following quote underscores the importance of building professional learning networks that employ easy to use technologies:
- “New technologies allow for small groups whose members are at physical distance to each other to learn collaboratively together, and from each other; but they also enable larger, more anonymous yet equally productive interactions.”
- Source: The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, by Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg
Moodle is one of those new technologies that enables teachers hoping to facilitate online learning to learn together and from each other. The exact logistics of accomplishing that facilitation, though, caused me some angst early on. It became apparent–due to our lack of knowledge about online learning–that the desire to teach online would require some serious deliberation and consideration. To that end, I turned to my team of talented professionals, begging them to join me in my effort to learn how to facilitate professional learning in my urban, inner-city school district.
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure