One of my favourite parts of #etMOOC was our time exploring open learning. @cogdog (Alan Levine) collects stories of open learning and sharing here. It is a concept I am committed to, and my own personal stories of open sharing are dear to me.
Sharing can be hard, though. We need courage to share. Depending on the context, it can be hard work. I am often asked to present to groups. This is not my strength, and it involves lots of preparation time, but I push myself to do it because I usually benefit from it far more than my audience. It is a way to collect, organize, and synthesize thinking, something I rarely do unless pushed.
Last Friday, I pushed a grade 9 student at my school to be courageous and share on the radio the part she played in our lip-dub video project with our student teacher and Dean Shareski. She did a beautiful job, but it was scary, and I applaud her courage for consenting to speak to CBC Radio.
Last week a teacher colleague pushed the boundaries and shared professional learning on Twitter. It was courageous, because we are not all fortunate enough to be working in environments that support the idea of open learning.
There is still much stereotyping about “cell phone use” during professional development. “Cell phones” are not there as a distraction, but as a tool for learning. Other educators benefit from our sharing. Learning networks are critical, especially in isolated locations like ours. Sharing pushes our thinking and helps us to learn better ways to teach our students.
When I see courageous people sharing, I wonder what it would take to get others to share.
Dean Shareski shared this video today. It reminds us that we all have something to share with someone. A teacher from my school attended a session at a conference today, and shared that she could have led that session herself. Yes she could! And next year maybe she will!
Two weeks ago, I presented some sessions at #OTRK12. Initially, I had hoped to present on the concept of the TPA (Teacher Performance Appraisal) for online teachers. I was one of the first teachers in Ontario to have a TPA while teaching online (1998), but someone else had asked to present that topic so I decided to just sit in to learn.
The presenter was a teacher who had looked at this topic for his PQP Practicum. He presented a beautiful list of look-fors and we had a discussion about some of the interesting twists this mode of instruction presented to the TPA process. He had never actually completed an online TPA, but it was presented very well. But right in that very room, listening with intent, was a principal of an online public high school who has conducted more online TPAs than anyone else in Ontario – and he shared nothing. Imagine how rich the discussion could have been if he had shared his knowledge and experience.
As I sit here in a massive spring snowstorm putting the final touches on another application to share (ECOO 2013) a journey with others, I am thankful for the many opportunities I have had to share with so many open learners.
Life is richer when you share.