Saturday, July 27, 2013

My curriculum models chapter proposal

I was asked to submit a chapter proposal into a coming book focused upon "Open Learning and Formal Credentialing in Higher Education: Curriculum Models and Institutional Policies." The writing of this chapter fits very well into my OnPhD work; in particular, my skills and knowledge development and my increased commitment to publishing my work.

Curriculum models that incorporate credentials for open and lifelong learning
My understanding of open is that anyone can gain entry; like an open door. Openness also means there is no barrier, other than identifying yourself. Even then, you may still enter a truly open space anonymously. This means that an open environment has no fee for entry and no security guard checking you on the way in. I believe open learning is no different, people should be able to learn wherever, whenever, with any and all resources (copyrighted or otherwise) they choose. Having a more knowledgeable and skilled population, makes open learning good for all communities, regions, countries, and the planet as a whole.
I believe life-long learning encourages people to acknowledge that they will learn for their whole lives. People need to commit to learning new things to assist and encourage them in being better friends, neighbors, community members, employees, bosses and more engaged in their own lives. Life-long learning encourages people to pursue life-long passions and interests.
Given this understanding of open and the belief in life-long learning, people should drive toward entering into their own learning with reckless abandon with a disregard for conventional restraints toward accessing the people, materials and resources available for their learning. Life-long learners should be bold and create their own personal curriculum and attach open credentials to their learning whenever milestones are achieved within their learning journey.
This book chapter will explore a model for mapping out a personalized curriculum, creating learning plans and attaching digital badges into this curriculum and learning plans. The topic of focus for this chapter will be "Curriculum models that incorporate credentials for open and lifelong learning". The curriculum development model it will follow is described in this blogs previous post titled "The self-determined learner".

A growing list of references for the writing of this book chapter are;

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Self-Determined Learner

Most of what I do is toward deepening my abilities as a self-determined learner. I believe any adult learner can develop their own curriculum, attach accreditation to this curriculum and work towards the tasks and learning to fulfill the curriculum and earn the credentials. I believe we need to teach people to teach themselves, and these abilities should enter the education system at age fourteen (or grade 10). I believe these skills and knowledge can and do enter the education system earlier. The one big challenge is that teaching people to teach themselves is a big change from our current social order around education.

An example concept map: Learning to play the pipe and tabor.
My approach to self-determined learning has a number of basic steps
  1. Identify and commit to learning a subject domain
    And all this can start with a single word or picture written in the middle of a page. And all you have to do is start reading, researching, playing with and discussing this concept and move into step 2.
  2. Begin a creative project or concept map about the subject domain
    This where it becomes even fun, begin a creative project of some kind around the word or concept. As you learn more about your chosen subject domain through your research, reading, play and discussion, add to your creative project.
  3. Research (in detail) items or themes within the subject domain
    Identify words, concepts and themes that can be researched. Choose the ones that excite you the most, research these in detail. Invest considerable time and effort in this research.
  4. Add to your creative project or concept map as your understanding deepens
    Update your existing creative works, continue to build the concept maps and creative works. Write about your research (reflect upon all that you have done), create, publish, do your work in the open.
  5. Seek out peers and experts within your subject domain, engage these people
    Engage your learning community. Invest time in seeking out the communities of learning (both online and off), consider building your own community if ones don't exist. Seek mentorship, become a mentor.
  6. Build and utilize a personal learning ecology
    The personal learning ecology consists of the people and learning objects within reach. Connected learning works best when it is blended with learning and resources that can be found within close proximity (online , virtual and otherwise). Create and nurture your personal learning ecology.
  7. Build a personal curriculum map of how the subject would best be learned
    The personal curriculum map provides the map and learning pathways for your personalized learning journey. It is taking your concept map or creative work and identifying learning pathways and fitting them all into a personalized curriculum. This development of a personalized curriculum is an amazing way to deepen your understanding of your chosen subject.
  8. Reconcile and align your personal curriculum map with other existing curriculum
    To further deepen your understanding of your chosen subject domain try reconciling and aligning your personalized curriculum map with other related curriculum (institutional or otherwise). Other curriculum may not exactly match your personal curriculum map or your subject domain may not fall into a realm where curriculum has never been developed. This should keep you from trying an
  9. Create learning plans for items within your identified personal curriculum
    Choose items from within your personal curriculum to build learning plans. Always choose the item or items that interest you the most. Items may come in clusters, or they may stand alone. Create learning plans which describe the details and scope of the learning, make it all up if you have to, confirm it with existing learning plans. Include a schedule for your learning, make a commitment, put all this in your learning plan. If you are wondering how to create a learning plan, there are many references on the internet to help. You may even find that creating your own learning approach and related learning plan works best for you. This is how you will develop skills and approaches for how you learn best. You may even consider developing your own learning methodology, one that works best for you.
  10. Create badge systems that align with learning plans and the curriculum
    Once you have your first learning plan, be sure you have identified the learning objectives you are wanting to achieve with your learning. Be sure to describe identifiable criteria as on outcome of your learning. Publish your learning plans to the internet. Create an open badge for your learning and have the criteria linked to the badge. Invest some time in developing a badge system that is aligned with your personal curriculum.

    It may seem like a large investment of time and a lot of effort to create learning plans; The creation of these plans deepens your understanding of your chosen subject. This goes back to the idea; the best way to learn something is to have to teach it.

  11. Continuously engage your learning network, ask for feedback
    Whenever you create new learning plans or make updates to your concept map or create work, contact your learning network. Ask for feedback frequently and continuously. Be sure you have others review your learning plans and how they tie to your personal curriculum. Get feedback on your badge or badge system.
  12. Assist and provide feedback to others within the subject domain
    Practice reciprocity, engage your learning community by assisting others on their learning journeys. The more you help other who are learning similar subjects as yourself, the more you will learn about your own subject, the more you will get help.
  13. Complete learning tasks from your learning plans, earn badges
    Focus your efforts, keep to your schedule, complete tasks within your learning plans. Be sure to publish all the evidence you have in completing tasks. This evidence may come as short videos, published papers, songs, photographs, etc. Just do all you can to provide evidence of what you have done. Create blog posts about your learning and the steps you took to complete a task. Once you have gather together all your evidence of a completed task, added information about your learning journey, and summarized it all with a blog post; award yourself the related badge, or have another in your learning community award you the badge. Complete learning tasks and earn badges.
  14. Return to step 1. recommit to the subject domain, iterate. The completeness of your work will come through time and the learning will deepen and become more extensive with each iteration. Keep working on developing your learning, don't allow yourself to see this work as too much or have you stop because of effort. Small steps of progress and small iterations of learning are also very powerful through time. Life-long learning takes a life-time!
Note: an important part of this learning approach is to do it in the open. Being public and open helps others, increases the quality of your work, and deepens your own understanding.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

auto-delete all email

My life has offered me an opportunity to go off the digital grid for an extended period of time; five weeks, or 36 days to be exact. On July 27th I fly to Calgary to join my Family as we move from Vancouver, BC to St. John's NL. On August 31st I arrive in St. John's to start a new life adventure.

How I define off the digital grid:
  • No social media - No Google+, No facebook, No linkedIn, No Twitter! Essentially, I never open a browser on any device. I will post a status update to my being off the grid, so people know to contact me on or after September 1st.
  • No email -I will not check my email ever, on any device. I will set-up an out of the office notice, and I'm going one step further; I will auto-delete all my incoming email.
  • No browsing - The only reason I will ever open a browser is to research travel details, book accommodations, or to get further information regarding a site we will be visiting. If I need to leave contact details with a booking or something, I will use my cell phone number.
Why I am auto-deleting my email?

Because I don't think there is anything so important that could be in an email. Most important information in my life is face to face or a voice conversation. But why auto-delete and not read my email when I am back on-line? Because its the past... its forever gone. If something matters to someone so much and it can't wait a few weeks, they can call me or send me a text. I also want not to have a a massive email box to go through at the beginning of September, and I don't want the possibility of thinking about the build-up of email and think about getting a jump on emptying the email box at any point in my vacation.

The morning we departed Bowen Island
I believe this gets into a conversation about mindfulness and being present. As I grow older I find that being present within a situation provides the most success for everyone involved. What I mean by present is I am not distracted by tasks and/or information from another context or situation.This holds true for when I am with my children, being with my spouse or family, when I am at work, and just going through my day. So really, why should I be concerned about an email that was sent a few weeks back. In a way, all email is spam.

What is my fear? Well not really...

That I will miss an email that is really important. If it is important they can call me or send a text. What about a work opportunity or a life opportunity that I will regret having missed. Honestly, I don't believe that these kind of opportunities come from a single unsolicited email. If it is important, it needs to be important to all involved, and therefore the others involved will honour my vacation and get back to me in September. If the opportunity is gone, then it wasn't an opportunity that would have interested me.

What is my preparation?

The two weeks leading up to my going off-line I will make status updates across all my social media, so people know of my being unresponsive. And if they want to contact me before my departure they are given an opportunity.

Why am I doing this?

Because I have five weeks with my wife and children, and I want to enjoy every moment. I don't want to find myself wondering off into some other context or perceived obligation. I don't want to be distracted by something other than exploring the amazing country of Canada, every moment. I don't want to miss something in my immediate proximity by an information thread from somewhere else. I also want to read a few paperback books... which has eluded me over the last while. I want to play in the immediate and enjoy all that my five senses have to offer. I believe all this will be more available without a digital connection to my past or my future.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Assignments, Assessment and Badges

I was asked to quickly put some video resources together to provide an overview of my work with assignments, assessment and open badges. There is a day-long conference happening at La Trobe University in Bundoora and given I enjoy putting together resources for the work I am doing toward open education I was happy to take the time.

Deep apology for the quality of these resources. The moving trucks come tomorrow and I'm down to working off my five year old netbook. All these resources are issued with a CC-BY so feel free to use them as you will; edit them, mash them up. I believe these three videos cover the why, what and how of assignments, peer assessment and open badges.

Open Badges and Peer Assessment
Quick discussion of open badges, their meta-data and how they can be utilised within courses where peer assessment is a part of overall assessment.

Flipped Assessment
Flipped assessment has people earlier in a learning journey assess the work of someone further down the learning journey. This creates an environment where people currently involved with a subject reach-out to assist others who are also involved. This encourages peer involvement and adds to assessment.

Flipped Assessment Implemented
So this is what we did to implement flipped assessment and how the assessment criteria was grounded in the rubric that the course was based upon.

Relevant References

Creative Commons Licence
This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Canada License.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Agile Learner Design

My focus on an Agile Learner Design methodology for creating and determining your own curriculum got a renewed focus over the past 18 months. It all started with my last post of 2011 where I revisited and summarized Agile Instructional Design. I have come to the conclusion that what I am doing isn't focused on instruction, but upon the self-directed learner. Therefore, what I am doing is developing an Agile Learner Design methodology, not an Agile Instructional Design methodology. An important distinction in the fundamental focus of the methodology. To build upon my last post of 2011 I kicked off the year by looking at some of the existing research and approaches to self-directed learning. And looked at some of the approaches that I would consider similar to ALD. I also considered some of the people and approaches within my inspired learner series of posts, because it is these inspired learners that drive me to further develop ALD. Listed below is a summary of Agile Learner Design implemented.

The Agile Learner Design (ALD) Methodology
ALD Reference Materials
ALD Examples and Inspirations

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

OnPhD: Skill and Knowledge Development

What areas do I want, and need, to deepen my skills and knowledge in relation to my identified areas of study? These areas fall into three domains; Heutagogy, Educational Technology, and Solution Architecture.  With each identified item I will include a brief description of how skills and knowledge will be developed. The completion of this activity is to fulfill the requirements of the related OnPhD candidacy task.

  • Deepen my involvement with the Heutagogy community
    This will involve my engaging the communities of practice in and around heutagogy and autodidactism.
  • Read extensively about heutagogy and autodidactism (readings list)
  • Write about my approaches to self-determined learning (publish in the open)
Educational Technology
  • Continue development of School of Badges and focus my efforts on Badge System Design and the technical courses on integrating Open Badges with open source learning platforms (Drupal, Moodle, Wordpress, MediaWiki, etc)
  • Deepen my technical understanding (from a solutions architecture perspective) of available open source learning platforms and approaches.
  • Keep learning about Open Badges technology including alternative methods of assessment an accreditation.
  • Investigate and develop mobile learning applications with particular focus on video.
Solution Architecture