MOOC as Learning Experience – #OpenEdMOOC Week 3

For Week 1 I shared ‘Open Matters‘ with a bit from the reading, and an Open Education Manifesto that I put together in 2011.

For Week 2 I shared ‘“More Free” #OpenEdMooc Week 2‘ with a reflection on Stephen Downe’s 2012 post on the topic of why BY-NC-SA is more free than suggested in the Creative Commons.

I really haven’t done much more that summarize the readings, add a bit of reflection, and some of my thinking (previously) influenced by others… nothing really new, just summaries and review of things I’ve already thought about.

For that reason, it was refreshing to see Lisa M. Lane discuss OERs again.

“I’ve posted a number of times on Open Educational Resources, and mentioning these might help explain why I subject the entire issue to serious criticism, a small sigh, and a raised eyebrow…”

Go ahead and read the post, and the comments (please).

I found this refreshing because this was the first of the learner contributions to the course that went beyond summarizing the reading or past thinking, and it was also critical of the conversation.

Even my post on “More Free”, while somewhat argumentative on the Creative Commons ideas of what is more or less free, was still just reiteration of Stephen Downe’s idea, which he again mentioned in the last 38 seconds of his video, in this week’s course content (shared below).

In the course so far, Lisa’s post was the first student contribution that I’ve found, which promoted conversation and discourse. Discourse is actually the thing I most appreciated about a previous project involving George Siemens and Stephen Downes, “Online Connectivism Conference: Healthy Discord

This discourse is something that I have seldom seen in the world of educational blogs. There seems to be an unspoken etiquette about being non-confrontational when discussing ideas on other’s blogs. Essentially teachers don’t criticize others’ opinions. Even when there is disagreement it is often polite, reserved and… well, annoying. On the other hand, there seems to be thoughtful discord and discourse happening in the Connectivism conference forums.

Yesterday, Donna Fry connected with me on Twitter (she is the reason I jumped on board to take this course ‘with’ her and others. She linked to a Tweet about another open course Learning Creative Learning, and also said, “…I am so far behind in already (right ?)

My response:

This morning we connected and had a great Facetime conversation. This conversation was the second time my thinking has been challenged in the course. Donna helped me re-evaluate the value of the ‘No Derivatives’ aspect of CC, which I didn’t see a purpose for, because I thought of it as equally as restricted as copyright. Her example was sharing something controversial, where ‘altered’ works could then cause mis-attribution and confusion about your original message.

Another key topic discussed was that we both learn from healthy discourse (and even discord)… something lacking (so far) in this course.

Donna shared with me (and on Twitter with #OpenEdMOOC) an article by Margaret Wheatley, “Willing to be Disturbed“:

“There are many ways to sit and listen for the differences. Lately, I’ve been listening for what surprises me. What did I just hear that startled me? This isn’t easy – I’m accustomed to sitting there nodding my head to those saying things I agree with. But when I notice what surprises me, I’m able to see my own views more dearly, including my beliefs and assumptions”

and Doug Belshaw “On CC0

• CC0/Public Domain: “No Rights Reserved” — I have created this thing, and you can do whatever you like with it.

…For me, the CC0 decision is a no-brainer. I’m working to make the world a better place through whatever talents and skills that I’ve got. While I want my family to live comfortably, I’m not trying to accumulate wealth. That’s not what drives me. So I definitely feel what Alan says that he’s “given up trying to be an attribution cop”.

Both of these articles have pushed my thinking a bit, both are initiated not by the course content, but rather learner relationships.

And so with the following 2 tweets in mind, I planned to call this post “Open Discourse”:

@_Ms_J contributed:

However, I started thinking about why this idea of disagreement and discourse was missing, and that got me thinking about course design. So far, I can see this course being more informational that conversational and that makes me question the value of it being a MOOC, and not just an online course where the student, teacher and content are the primary focus.

To me, the value of a MOOC is that the participants get to openly engage with each other and the curriculum in a way that fosters greater value than if students immerse themselves in the course without the networked connections of other participants.

So here is a little image that I’ve put together to look at the MOOC as Learning Experience.

Venn diagrams are about the relationships between things and I think these relationships are key in a MOOC. Donna says above, ‘MOOCs are more about conversations & connections than content’, and I think learner experience in a MOOC is really about the relationships we have with each other, as much or more than the relationships with the content… if not, where is the value in being ‘open’?

Here is a brief description of the relationships that I see between a MOOC, the teacher(s), and the participants:

MOOC content <-> Teacher

  • If the material is Open and Online, the design around how things are shared needs thoughtful consideration.
  • Participant contributions are distributed and so a component like the ‘Learner Activity‘ page is essential.
  • Social sharing/hashtag/conversation beyond learner activity content is essential.

Participants <-> MOOC Content

  • Content is open and easy to access and share.
  • Learning activity is open and easy to access and share.
  • Content is designed to go beyond information delivery and designed to promote dialogue and discourse.

Teacher <-> Participants

  • Focus on open, publish sharing
  • Teacher as provocateur, agitator. The course delivers the content, the teacher inspires the conversation.
  • Teacher as questioner, not answerer (more socratic rather than a focus on content delivery).
  • Social interaction – connections and conversations with other learners – are fostered.
  • I think there also needs to be intentional teacher presence if the conversation isn’t happening, and perhaps intentional teacher ‘tongue-biting‘ when participants are asking the right questions and contributing to each others’ learning.

Ultimately, learner experience in a MOOC is about fostering relationships between the teacher, the content, and the other participants to add value to what the course would be if it were not open.

It is about connectivity and networked learning, not just a student <-> teacher <-> content relationship.

I invite conversation, by all means, go ahead and disagree with me… ask questions, provide alternative perspectives. Help me learn.

“More Free” #OpenEdMooc Week 2

Part 1 – The commons

Understanding Free Cultural Works

Creative Commons provides a range of licenses, each of which grants different rights to use the materials licensed under them. All of these licenses offer more permissions than “all rights reserved.”

To help show more clearly what the different CC licenses let people do, CC marks the most permissive of its licenses as “Approved for Free Cultural Works.” When you apply these licenses to material you create, it meets the Freedom Defined definition of a “Free Cultural Work.” Free cultural works are the ones that can be most readily used, shared, and remixed by others, and go furthest toward creating a commons of freely reusable materials.

What does “Approved for Free Cultural Works” mean?

CC uses the definition of free cultural works at Freedom Defined to categorize the CC licenses. (Freedom Defined is an open organization of free culture advocates and researchers; the definition was developed by its community as a parallel to efforts such as the Free Software Definition, to have a standard for defining Free Culture.) Using that definition, material licensed under CC BY or BY-SA is a free cultural work. (So is anything in the worldwide public domain marked with CC0or the Public Domain Mark.) CC’s other licenses– BY-NCBY-NDBY-NC-SA, and BY-NC-ND–only allow more limited uses, and material under these licenses is not considered a free cultural work. 

Part 2 – Stephen Downes


According to Stephen Downes: (On the topic of CC-BY-NC and CC-BY-NC-SA licenses)


  • licenses that allow commercial use are less freet han those that do not, because they allow commercial entities to charge fees for access, to lock them behind digital locks, and to append conditions that prohibit their reuse
  • works licensed with a Non-commercial clause are fully and equally open educational resources, and are in many cases the only OERs actually accessible to people (because the content allowing commercial use tends to have costs associated with it)
  • the supposition that works that cost money can be ‘free’ is a trick of language, a fallacy that fools contributors into sharing for commercial use content they intended to make available to the world without charge the lobby very loudly making the case for commercial-friendly licenses and recommending that NC content be shunned consists almost entirely of commercial publishers and related interests seeking to make money off (no-longer) ‘free’ content.

“…people may attach licenses allowing commercial use to their work if they wish. I have no objection to this. But such people should cease and desist their ongoing campaign to have works that are non-commercial in intent, and free in distribution, classified as ‘not free’. Content that cannot be enclosed within a paywall, and cannot be distributed with commercial encumbrances attached, is just as free – indeed, more free– than so-called ‘free’ commercial content.”

Part 3 – My Reflection

Is BY-NC-SA ‘more free’ than the commons page above suggests?

Before going into this, I want to first state that I believe “No Derivatives” is very closed. If you can’t build on previous work, the work is being locked down.

With respect to By-NC-SA, I predominately use this for things that I share. That said, my default for family photos tends to be full Copyright when I can (on sites such as Flickr). But for educational work that I create, I use By-NC-SA specifically because I think this makes my work ‘More Free”.

Continuing on a personal note, I have gone after a few people that have shared my work in inappropriate ways. For a while, my ‘Pair-a-Dimes’ blog was ranked very high on Google, I’m not sure what I was doing right, but since then Google has gotten wiser, and my ranking has plummeted. Before that happened, my Statement Educational Philosophy was on the first page for many searches, and often one of the first 3 hits. As a result, it is pretty well read, and unfortunately, fairly well plagiarized too. A search of just the first sentence in quotes will give you a listing of some appropriately and some appropriated copies of that sentence. Other sentences in quotes will find more of the same.

In most cases, I roll my eyes and try to take it as flattery, but in 3 specific instances I have gone after people:

  1. A student teacher that took my work then added fake references to make it seem like it was a research paper she had written, when every word of the work was mine.
  2. A professor that had all his copyrighted work linked to his page where he shared my philosophy as his own.
  3. A “Buy Essays” site that was offering a heavily copied version of my work for sale.

I have also (inadvertently) found my work behind paywalls or in moodle courses that I don’t have access too, but I have not gone after these uses, although they are the very reason that I think BY-NC-SA is more free than other licences. In the case of a Moodle course, it is likely that the students in the course had to pay to get into the course, and rather than linking to my work, it is copied and the Share-Alike aspect is not respected, and since I can’t see the work, I’m not even sure if it is attributed to me?

So that is a look at my personal experience with work being copied. I’m honoured by some of the ways things I’ve written have been quoted, and shared, but I also want that sharing to be as ‘Open’ as I have been, and I think that making work Non-Commercial does that. It keeps the work in the open, and not where others can profit in the process of withholding what should be free.

In fact, I absolutely love it when someone takes one of my ideas and runs with it… expands on it, and yes, even disagrees with it. When conversations like this happen out in the open, we all benefit.

So when Seth Godin shares, “Why I want you to steal my ideas“, I totally understand what he means:

“Ideas can’t be stolen, because ideas don’t get smaller when they’re shared, they get bigger…

There is, of course, a difference between stealing and passing off. When you pretend that those taken words are your words, you’re no longer taking an idea — you’re taking an implementation. When you pretend that you are the originator, the original source, and you’re not, you’ve corrupted your work by claiming authorship, when you are merely contributing synthesis. This hurts your reputation as well as the person you stole from, because our society values authorship and origination.

The amazing thing about giving credit, though, is you never run out. Like ideas, the more credit is shared, the more it can be worth, to the giver and to the recipient.”

If a work can not be used in a way that closes it off for commercial reasons, without consent, then isn’t that ‘more free’ that a work that is only attributed, but then used and re-used on walled websites or in courses or programs or presentations that cost money?

Originally, I had intended to redo this image, rather than write a blog post. However, I’m not sure that I would know how to order this with BY-NC-SA being ‘more free’?

And yes, it was Stephen Downes and not me that came up with the idea of this being ‘more free’.

And yes, I want any good ideas that I might have to be ‘stolen’ in the way Seth Godin wants his to be as well. 

I’ve benefited from open sharing and learning and I want others to be able to do the same.

Why Open Matters #OpenEdMOOC

This one sentence really grabbed me from the readings: SPARC – Open Education

Technology holds boundless potential to improve teaching and learning. Open Education ensures that teachers, learners and institutions can fully explore this potential. 

It reminded me that I wrote an open educator manifesto over 6 years ago. In the spirit of this quote from the same article:

“Open” permissions are typically defined in terms of the “5R’s”: users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute these educational materials.

  1. Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  2. Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  3. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  4. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  5. Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

I’d like to put this out to be reworked and revised. Not necessarily even what I wrote, but perhaps the ideas of Dean Shareski around being a giant derivative and having a moral imperative to share… and Alec Couros on Open Teaching or Networked Teaching. (Links all below).

I love the simplicity of the Remix Manifesto.

Can someone take this 6 year old Open Educator Manifesto and make it both simpler and better?

April 12, 2011:  My Open Educator Manifesto

[Version I: Just the Manifesto]

My Open Educator Manifesto

‘We’ educate future citizens of the world

Teaching is my professional practice

I Share by default

I am Open, Transparent, Collaborative, and Social

My students own their own:   (Learning)

• learning process

• learning environment

• learning products

• learning assessment

My students belong to learning networks

Every student deserves customized learning

• Student voice

• Student choice

Every educator deserves customized learning

I have high expectations

I Care, Share, and Dare

I am a role model

I am the change I want to see in Education!

______________________          ____________________          ____________________

Chris Kennedy asks:

How do we move from being a connected network to becoming a group of influence?

How can we aggregate our thinking in a way that has influence in the larger community?

In response to my comment, Chris says,  (& I’ve added emphasis & links…)

“… I think we (those inside the system) need to come to some agreement on what we believe and want – in thirty seconds be able to explain what schooling could / should look like. We then need to find ways to take this out to the larger community in a coordinated way.

Here is one you might have some thoughts on – What is the new “product” we use to share our thinking. The old way was we would produce “white papers” or “thought papers” on a topic and circulate it in the community and maybe create some sort of one-way feedback. Is the new way a website like Born to Learn, is it a video like New Brunswick did, is it a multi channel approach. If we actually can agree on some basics pieces – almost universally in the province about the system we desire what is (are) the vehicle(s) we use to share it. When I hear people are commissioning a “paper” on change I just don’t think that is going to do it.”

My blog is not the new “product”, but it is my starting place. I’m not sure what the ideal venue will be?

The manifesto above, by itself, is a 30 second explanation of what schools and education could be like. Here is the manifesto again, with some ‘discussion’ added. Hopefully others will share their thoughts and their manifestos too. However, please note: as Dean Shareski says, “I’m a giant derivative… I won’t pretend that I’m going to share something new and original. That’s really hard.”

… And in fact, I remember reading some great Manifestos on Steve Hargadon‘s School2.0 wiki years ago. I even wrote a Participant’s Manifesto a while back, to look at what I think is an underutilized aspect of learning: the responsibility of the learner! Other influences to this post include Subbaraman Iyer’s “The education and learning approaches” and Jennifer Dalby’s “Down in Front“.

This manifesto is my attempt to ‘agree on some basic pieces‘. I hope this is a conversation starter.

______________________          ____________________          ____________________

[Version II: With explanations, multimedia, and links added.]

My Open Educator Manifesto

‘We’ educate future citizens of the world

“The goal of education is to enrich the lives of students while producing articulate, expressive thinkers and lifelong learners, who are socially responsible, resilient, and active citizens of the world. Education is about teaching students, not subjects. It is about engaging students in their learning, and maximizing the potential of each and every child. Education is about looking beyond the child’s intellect, and seeing the whole child. Education is about providing students with opportunities to be challenged and still succeed.” (Link)

"Statement of Educational Philosophy Wordle ~ by David Truss"

“It takes a village to raise a child” and so ‘We’ must communicate, collaborate and coordinate opportunities to authentically work together. We must meaningfully cooperate with all stakeholders in education. Parents (and grandparents) are our partners in education. Businesses are not just future employers, but intellectual and financial stakeholders too. Teacher, support staff, and student unions all have a say. So do school boards and elected officials. ‘We’ can only find success in being open to cooperative ventures and adventures with the common goal of being in and of service to our children. After all, we all want the same things!

"What I Want For My Children ~ by Heidi Hass Gable ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

Teaching is my professional practice

I have a responsibility to be current, and I must prepare my students for an unknown future, where adaptability and creativity take precedence over ‘book’ knowledge.

"Did You Know - Shift Happens ~ by Karl Fisch and modified by Scott McLeod" "Sir Ken Robinson ~ Do Schools Kill Creativity? ~ TED Talk"

We practice teaching. “We have an obligation to do our best, but that will ultimately change as we… practice. If we want to apply ‘best practice’ to teaching, then we need to look at ourselves as role model learners. We need to be relentless learners striving to be our best. We need to be self-reflective… We need to ‘practice teaching’ to the best of our ability.” (Link)

I Share by default

I am copy-left "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)", not copyright. In the words of Dean Shareski, ‘Sharing is a Moral Imperative‘, “I’ve been blessed to work as part of a larger community of learners, teachers, explorers and innovators who, in the spirit of sharing have thrown their ideas onto a giant whiteboard for others to use, critique, and mash up.”

"Sharing: The Moral Imparative ~ by Dean Shareski ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

I am Open, Transparent, Collaborative, and Social

As Alec Couros defines Open Teaching: “Open teaching is described as the facilitation of learning experiences that are open, transparent, collaborative, and social. Open teachers are advocates of a free and open knowledge society, and support their students in the critical consumption, production, connection, and synthesis of knowledge through the shared development of learning networks.”

"Open Teaching - Thinning the Walls ~ by Alec-Couros ~ CC = By::NC::SA"


When we reflect openly, we gain greater insight, and learn more. (Link)

“Being “open” unintentionally changes us so that doing things in new ways isn’t just a possibility, but a necessity and a convenience. To me these are two key point in why social media is changing education:
Necessity – Being open makes us more reflective educators.
Convenience – Being open creates opportunities for anytime learning, beyond the confines of classrooms and schools.” (Link)


“It mattered that I was publishing my daily agenda to the world on the front page of this wiki. I was keenly aware that things went slower than I’d hoped, that I was winging it as I learned to use a wiki at the same time as my students, that I was asking them for public feedback, etc. … Teachers are forced to be more reflective when they are open. When I started to open my classroom and share what I was doing with parents, and the world, I thought more about what I was doing and why I was doing it. My practice changed.” (Link ~ Same post as the ‘Open’ link above.)


“The Interesting Ways series continues to be a great example of crowdsourcing good quality classroom ideas and it has been a privilege connecting with all of the people who have taken time to add an idea. It is remarkable what can be achieved and created together if you give people the right way to do it.” (A collaborative project created by Tom Barrett)


Are you a networked teacher? What Does the Network Mean to You? (by Alec Couros)

"The Networked Teacher VoiceThread ~ by Alec Couros"

My students own their own learning

a) Learning Process: A metaphor to help guide us is“…the teacher as the compass. We point in a direction, (not necessarily the direction that the student is going), and we are a reference point or guide to the learning.” (Link)

“What happens when you: Allow students to determine what they need to learn, and then enable students to manage their own learning activities? (Link)

b) Learning Environment: We need to create shared learning spaces for our students. “I think that our idea of where learning happens has made a fundamental shift from book knowledge of the last century to anywhere/anytime information access of today.” (Link; cartoon below: Link)

"School Limits ~ by David Truss ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

c) Learning Products: “We don’t own a student’s learning; It’s their learning. Whenever possible we need to be thinking about how we can provide students with an archive of their work… and that has to include the conversations (or comments in the case of blogs) and the hyperlinks that made the learning experience richer and more desirable to keep.” (Link)

d) Learning Assessment: Marks do not equal Assessment. Grades are numerical while learning is anecdotal. Assessment is not the end of learning, it is an opportunity to provide feedback which can be acted upon to improve achievement and student success. Assessment should be ongoing, frequent and completed by teachers, by students and by teachers with students.

Why have letter grades? See Joe Bower’s Grading Moratorium! According to Alfie Kohn, ‘From Degrading to De-Grading’, “In my experience, the most impressive teachers are those who despise the whole process of giving grades.  Their aversion, as it turns out, is supported by solid evidence that raises questions about the very idea of traditional grading.”

My students belong to learning networks

Students are nodes in each others learning network. A network of learners is fundamentally different than a group or a single classroom.

"The Networked Student ~ by Wendy Drexler" "Web 2.0, E-learning 2.0 and the New Learning ~ by Stephen Downes ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

Networks also encourage a larger, more legitimate audience for student work. “Being open, and sharing your work and student work online, invites an audience and an authentic audience matters!

Every student deserves customized learning

a) Student Voice: As Erica Goldson says, “We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.” (Link)

b) Student Choice: No two learners are alike. We make accommodations to meet a learner’s needs (and interests). We create projects based on learning outcomes that we want students to achieve. Project criteria does not dictate what students must do… learning outcomes are what we want to achieve, not marks on a project. ie. We don’t ‘do’ movie projects, we do projects where a possible learning artifact might be a movie. Our students deserve to demonstrate their learning in ways meaningful to them.

Every educator deserves customized learning

“We” are not all alike either… Educators are learners too. “I think there needs to be a recognition that we aren’t in the ‘teaching business’, rather we are in the ‘learning business’, and if we aren’t constructing a teaching model that supports teachers in their learning then we need to redesign what a teacher’s day looks like!” (Link)

Teachers need learning to be embedded into their day. They need: (Link)
1. Time- Pro-D, preparation, planning & play
2. Co-teaching & collaboration opportunities
3. Models & Mentorship

I have high expectations

I expect great things from my students and from myself. When I create the proper environment, and set high expectations, students will often exceed those expectations. I have high expectations for behaviour, work habits, discussion, participation, and achieving learning outcomes.

"Expectations and Attitude - POD's Interview Part 3 ~ by Sony Woloshen ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

My expectations are high, but attainable, and they are developed with students’ abilities in mind.

“I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.”
~ By Taylor Mali

I Care, Share, and Dare

I am Caring: My students are first and foremost important individuals in our learning community.  They need to be respected and respectful, nurtured and nurturing, given a voice and listened to. I can be firm, I can have high expectations, I can be demanding, but through it all I have let me students know that I care about them and want what is best for them.

I am Sharing: Of my time, my resources, my knowledge, my questions, my challenges, and my (two-dimes worth of) thoughts. I have obligations beyond my classroom, to my school community, my personal community and my learning community. I inherently know that through openly sharing, I benefit from the reciprocation my sharing invites.

I am Daring: I try new techniques and transformative new tools. I give students: Choice; A voice; An audience; A place to collaborate; A place to lead; And a digital place to learn (and play).

I am an Edupunk, and/or I support the DIY educators that are leading the way, and/or  I break the rules, and/or I do not go quietly into my classroom, and I am an agent of changeI am innovative in my practice. I will make mistakes, I will fail, because I know that if I don’t, then I’m not trying hard enough!

"A Brave New World Wide Web ~ by David Truss ~ CC = BY::NC::SA"

I also expect my students to  Care, Share, Dare!

I am a role model

I have a great attitude towards teaching and learning. I am an engaged and enthusiastic teacher and learner. I treat my face-to-face and online connections with dignity and respect. I have a great digital footprint. I care about my family and my community. I care about my school. I care about those in need, and I stand up to injustice. I am tolerant, forgiving, respectful, kind and courteous. I feed the good wolf within me.

I am the change I want to see in Education!

______________________          ____________________          ____________________

…And now it’s your turn!

Share your thoughts, share a manifesto, share a link… participate.

Are these things we can agree on? What can’t we agree on? What’s missing?

Please join the conversation.

Share it!

A great post by Seth Godin, “Did you publish?

They (whoever ‘they’ is) made it easy for you to raise your hand. They made it easy for you to put your words online, your song in the cloud, your building designs, business plans and videos out in the world. They made it easy for you to be generous, to connect, and to lead.

Did you?

Maybe today’s the day.


The world is filled with people who feel that what they do is not good enough to share… It is!

Why I Blog. Why blog with students?

Sharing and Building Upon by Silvia Tolisano

Sharing: The Moral Imperative by Dean Shareski

another reason to share… by George Couros

One link and a handful of sentences is all I’m sharing that is my own work here. I’m just hoping that I add value to a bigger conversation. The rest, above, is from a network of people that share openly, thoughtfully, and have gotten better at it from regular practice.

Start with an audience of one. Blog, tweet, vlog, share on Pinterest, Facebook, Scoop.It, or any other tool that lets you share ideas and links. Do it just for yourself, but do it publicly so others can benefit.

It doesn’t matter what tool you use, what’s important is sharing. Be generous.

Find your ‘voice’ and share it!

(Oh, and comments on blogs are another nice place to share:)

Restorative Practices

Notes from a presentation by Bruce Schenk:

Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices… A model for community relationships:

“Learning is enhanced by challenge and is impeded by threat.” Bruce Schenk – Restorative practices #SD43

Relationships are about sharing:

-Reduce negaitve -listen & acknowledge.

-Promote positive -be affirming.

-Encourage expressing of emotions.

SHAME – An emotion we want to reduce… How do we deal with it:
Attack others (lash out or blame)
Attack self
– defense mechanisms that we can talk through if there is trust and students can open up.

“The gift of shame is spirituality” Roy Henry Vickers (a podcast – The 7 emotions and their gifts).

imageChallenge AND Support… Need both when dealing with shame & negative behaviour.
– Separate behaviour from value of the person.

‘Watching’ you

Here is an interesting article I read a few months ago:

Apple CEO: Watch is saving lives – Business Insider

Apple COO Jeff Williams:

Apple has gotten “a ton of emails where people say the Watch actually saved their life,” he says.

“The only thing on the Apple Watch from a medical standpoint is the heart rate sensor,” he says.

And while anyone can talk their own wrist pulse anytime, “having the information readily available and passively tracked in the background has proved to be profound, in a way we didn’t anticipate,” he adds.

“We’ve gotten so many emails where people or their cardiologist have written us and said, ‘This person detected something on their Watch and came in and they had a life threatening situation. If we had not intervened, they probably would have died.”

So, continuous heart rate monitoring can be very valuable, and the article also mentions a Fitbit detecting a woman’s sleep apnea… What’s next?

I can remember my mom having a health issue and she had to carry around a heart monitor for several days. It was bulky, strapped on to her, and needed to be unplugged from her when she showered. It was an inconvenient interruption to her life, but it provided important information for her doctor.

Imagine a few years from now when you go to your doctor and say, I’ve noticed an issue where my heart starts racing even though I’m not exercising… and your doctor says, that’s interesting, will you please download your last month’s data onto my tablet? A couple clicks later your doctor knows when this happened, your step count for the day, the last time you exercised, your blood pressure, your heart rate, your sugar levels, the oxygen levels of your blood, and a whole host of other data that she has at her finger tips.

She won’t have to say, I think I need to run some tests, but rather she will have a plethora of historical data that actually extends beyond what she might have tested for. She might have advice to share that she would not have known to share if you hadn’t provided her with this data. Maybe she injects a small sensor under your skin so that your watch can provide her with more information. And then you can set your watch to ping your doctor the next time you have an issue.

And then the next time the health issue does happen, your phone actually warns you before you feel your heart racing. As the sensation hits you, you get a text message from your doctor saying, “Don’t worry, it will pass, set an appointment with me next week, we will work to settle this down”… or, “Are you with someone that can drive you to the hospital? I’ll meet you there.” This might be a bit scary, but not as scary as the text message not happening and you having a medical issue that is much better or far worse than you think.

Yes, there are some worrisome questions like ‘who owns this data’, and privacy is a concern, but this is really exciting and can become something that saves your life more than once. The issue of private data being shared is something we will all have to figure out. People are already working on this, listen to CBC Spark with Nora Young to learn more: How to empower patients with medical data.

On a lighter side, maybe this watch that you wear (or maybe it’s a cyborg-like addition to your body rather than something you wear) can actually help you maintain a better lifestyle. Maybe it knows you are on a diet and locks the fridge when you try to get into it after 8pm, or it beeps incessantly and annoyingly when you are eating something unhealthy. Or it reminds you that you have missed your scheduled workout and prompts you to set up a ‘make-up’ time.

We are entering an interesting time of wearable technology and some time soon, accessories like watches might be watching us far more than we are watching them!

Luke Skywalker's Hand - May The 4th Be With You! :)

Luke Skywalker’s Hand – May The 4th Be With You! 🙂

Student Presentations

Today I got to watch 3 teams from the YELL class, Coquitlam Open Learning‘s Entrepreneurship 12 Course, practice their presentations for the YELL finals happening this Saturday.

Students from Coquitlam, Richmond and West Vancouver will compete again this year, at YELL Canada’s 3rd Annual Venture Challenge – “A Dialogue in Youth Entrepreneurship”.

Emily Naing, one of last year’s students from the Coquitlam team, that went to the finals (and came a close second to the overall winner), started us off with a little motivation and she answered questions about her experience last year. Emily is continuing the development of the pitch her team gave… with the help of a $300,000 grant that her team got after the finals. She spoke about how 2nd place actually pushed her team to prove themselves even more than if they got the 1st place spot. I still remember the email her team sent the night of the finals:


This is SWAVE from the venture challenge. We were so impacted by the connections made today that we are determined to keep moving forward with our idea. We hope to enter more business competitions and ventures and hope to actually develop a prototype with adequate research. If there are any connections you can refer us to, or if you (the founders) would like to support us in our journey with this product, please reply to our email.

Thank you so much,

Founders of Swave


Watching the presentations, I realize how important it is for us to give students authentic opportunities to first develop, then present their ideas. Although all the groups had things to work on, there was obvious passion and interest in doing a great presentation.

I think the competition is healthy. I also think the idea of presenting to real investors and/or business school profs, increases the stakes. And I think that we need to proved authentic avenues for students to present beyond the walls of our schools.

Good luck to all the teams on Saturday!

World Markets and Apps

Two apps have made me realize how the world is changing. These apps are very popular, but not here in North America. Here, a very popular app for connecting with others for business (as well as socially) is Slack – a messaging app for teams.

However, pop over to India and WhatsApp is the cool tool that everyone is using. “Simple. Personal. Real Time Messaging.”

And hop over to China (as I did just recently) and WeChat is the tool that is already ‘Connecting a half billion people’… A HALF A BILLION PEOPLE!


One of my students, Brandon Mayhew, was invited to the Facebook F8 Developer’s conference, and he wrote about Mark Zukerberg’s opening presentation and an ongoing theme he heard, “4.1 Billion was repeated several times at the event and that’s the number of people that aren’t connected to the internet, over the next few years facebook plans on investing heavily on infrastructure to help connect these people in these remote regions of the globe.”

As an interesting aside, Facebook bought WhatsApp… for 19 Billion Dollars!

When over 1/3 of the world’s population lives in just two countries, and when those countries are on a fast track to get everyone connected… it is easy to see that if you were building an app, you’d want it to be used in other countries beyond North America, and specifically in China and India.

Soon, you are going to see some of the top apps start in other countries and the American/Canadian market will be an afterthought. In fact it has already happened… WeChat was ‘Made in China’!

Challenging myself to write

I consider myself a blogger, but in the last year and a half to two years I’ve been writing very little. I realize that in my 10th year of blogging that I’d go through times when my writing would ebb or decrease, but this seems to be a slump that I’m not getting out of.

What’s weird is that I still think in blog posts. I come up with ideas, and I start writing them in my head… But they never get to ‘paper’, or rather, they never go digital.

So here is my attempt to change that. After being untouched for a long time, my daily-ink will go daily… For the month of May.

If I’m truly inspired, I’ll write something to share on my pair-a-dimes blog, but I will put something here daily.

I’m doing this because I believe that I am most enthusiastic and passionate about my job when I’m blogging about education, and I miss the ‘me’ that used to blog regularly… I hope this process helps get that ‘creative-thinking’ part of me back! 🙂