Monday, January 31, 2011

A look back today inspired by Alec Courosa

....originally written in October 2010

The Institute for Global Civic Culture was launched this May and our pilot program Global Civ is proving to be one of the most inspiring projects I have ever worked on. Global Civ is a wall-less learning ecology featuring a socially relevant project based curricula designed around the concepts of Society, Environment, and Economy in place based and international studies. Our 2010-2011 pilot program features one high school aged "fellow" and is truly a redefinition of education. Critical literacy across the knowledge territories, experiential learning, service learning and eLearning provide a framework for Global Civ and the results have been amazing. This year the projects are focus on the North American Experience (NAE). An integrated study of North America, "place", and the international interconnectedness of humanity, NAE has already proved a success. I was recently reminded of this success as the project fellow exhibited his ePortfolio artifact for a current project exhibition. The ePortfolio artifact focused on indigenous North Americans and the ramifications of contact with Europeans. The project fellow found, validated and leveraged a TED talk from the Canadian Anthropologist Wade Davis:

In the TED talk Davis chronicles the need for a new imaginary toward the conservation of cultural heritage around the world and the understanding of our shared "ethnosphere" essential for the 21st century. This ePortfolio struck me deep in the heart and inspired me beyond my expectations for our project. At the Institute for Global Civic Culture we are committed to providing a framework for creating a new imaginary for cultural heritage conservation around the world. We applaud our first Global Civ fellow and his construction of meaning to this end. His is critical work and shows a careful and enduring understanding of the world and a passion for the world. This is the mission of the Institute for Global Civic Culture and Global Civ.


For more information about Global Civ: see the Institute for Global Civic Culture home page.


Wade Davis has a Massey Lecture on Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Conversation for a Global Civ Fellow

What elements of this presentation apply to our work?  How might connectivism and connections highlighted here be introduced (in some cases) and honed (in many cases) in your work? 



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Capturing Educational History

Be an Applied Educational Anthropologist!

Upon reflection and after spending time with the participants of EDT 400 today, I am thrilled at the potential of Michael Wesch's new project! What are the legacies of American History, and how do these interface with you on a daily basis? What change is occurring in the spaces of your learning that you feel are effective? As pre-service teachers and professionals I can't think of a better way to capture the common and uncommon educational experiences you are a part of. Remember to let me know what you need! (Disclosure: this is not a course requirement)

How are you going to teach? What support might you need?

Education, History and Learning

This week we take a good look into the history of education, technology, and the realities of today. Remember that we're trying to use our blended course spaces to expand on the materials we are reading, viewing and connecting to in EDT 400 and beyond.

Our conversation on Thursday will build on the sources you have for the week including the Darling-Hammond piece, Curriculum 21 and the Asimov Interview. We will use issue ID's to generate deliberation on these topics, so be careful in your construction of this piece of writing. A reminder about issue ID's from the course site:
The second component of the Reading response is the identification of some issue that can be suitable for discussion. This can be one or two sentences long, and it can be as simple as identifying a quote from one of the readings that you find illuminating and interesting or questionable and briefly stating what important issue you see in the quote. You might also raise a point of comparison between readings, video or other media. The issue may be related to your topic discussion, though it need not be.

On Twitter

Remember to use #edt400 for relevant Twitter activity, and look for excellent ideas that expand the topics of this course in new ways. On Twitter, @falsweeney excellent idea of viewing Waiting for Superman is an excellent idea! This film brings up many issues in the American Education both historically and today. As mentioned already the film has also has caused a bit of a buzz in the US, always a good sign for our topics!

Looking forward to seeing you all this week.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

CCK11: A Reflection on Week One

I have been following George Siemens and Stephen Downes for two years now. After an attempted CCK10, my participation in CCK11 is fulfilling a need in my life and learning. At times I look at the projects I am undertaking and the interests I have and want to chide myself using some institutional diatribe about "having to much on my plate", "Depth vs Breadth", "Ph.D. vs action and service in the field (to teach, experience and design)". What CCK11 is re-enforcing for me is that my paths are natural, can be connected, and that those connections can and will grow, focus, change, and enhance my experiences and those of others. I am grateful and inspired. So how have I done in my estimation so far?

Dave Cormier (2010) lists the following index of success:

Orient: Done to date: Readings: good (most this week had been read), Know where things are and have bookmarked/essentials!

Declare: Blog, posts, tags, twitter.....yes

Network: Following via Twitter #CCK11, Have read and commented on Blogs and Replied to those who have commented....Need to do more at this point. Who? Much may depend on clusters, how will we find clusters!

Cluster: Eagerly awaiting....See Network

Focus: Is the end in mind? Yes, I do know what I want out of this set of experiences, looking forward to seeing where this goes....

As put in my last post Stephen Downes encourages us to: Aggregate, remix, re-purpose and feed forward information....I will be working on this design daily.

Autonomy, Openess, Diversity, Interactivity|Technology is Philosophy, Technology is Ideology

Aggregate, remix, re-purpose and feed forward information

I want to feed forward these amazing talks from Stephen and George. The clarity and focus shown in both are incredible. I would be very interested in others views of these talks and want to encourage you to reply to this post as interested.

Stephen Downes

Specifically I am interested in the theory and practice of free learning that Stephen puts forth and its relationship to the current structures of education in general. Stephens scholarship and rebuttal of instructionism is honest and deeply meaningful. What examples of systemic change in education have you seen on the ground? How do you see connectivist theory and praxis increasing these changes?

George Siemens

CCK11 participants. What are your initial reactions to the following quotes and Tedx Talk by George?

"The purpose of education is to prepare individuals for society, to contribute...." "technology is philosophy, technology is ideology"

"The primary task of education in the future is to collapse its functions, its curriculum, its teaching methods, its very mode of inquiry to the point of connectedness. Why do connections form, what patterns do they leave when they form, what is the ultimate impact of that, how do we foster it, how do we create structures, that permit individuals to not be better corerate citizens, but how do we create that so we have students and learners that leave our class spaces who are better citizens, who are better members of society because to change education is to change society ".

As I think of the confluence inherent in a clustering process in CCK11, I would love to hear different viewpoints on these topics and create more initial connection with participants.

Introducing Essential Change for Learning

Heidi Hayes Jacobs (2010) is a strong voice for what has been deemed innovative curriculum in many US education circles ( See Jacobs Bio). Indeed, with Curriculum Integration, Jacobs delivers an accessible work for the public on the need for creating a 21st century curriculum. For instance, Jacobs states that "....our challenge is to match the needs of learners to a world that is changing with great rapidity" (p. 7), and that "Running schools and using curriculum on a constant replay button no longer works (p.8). Jacobs helps those in society with traditional and dominant dominant thought patterns around education start to imagine why what seems so natural may acctually be harmful to the one thing always professed as central, the learner. Jacobs goes on to give one of the best page and a half distillations of the history of of American Education I have read. I do have to admit that I loved reading and writing about (Baiylin (1960); Sizer (1964);Tyack (2000), Bowles and Gintis (1976); et al.) but the way Jacobs moves from Committee of Ten to Industrialization and beyond without creating any flashpoints for the ideology of curriculum in American society is laudable. With similar aptitude she wastes no time getting to the need for upgrading the curriculum and even tackles the structure of the school (pp.12-13). It is in this narrative that I become interested in Jacobs intentions for this book.

More import than filling in the public's light historical knowledge of schooling in America is to relate the silent disaster our educational systems have become. Jacobs does this, again, without scare tactics or doom inspired rant. For instance, her 3 "myths that shape our operational visions of school" are simple and straightforward (pp. 14-16). In myth 1 Jacob's explains that our insecurity in education comes from our lack of change when change is needed and not from implementing change. She weaves the story we all know well "we should not hurt our children with change" into an argument for more informed public involvement in education to "break the shackles that confine genuine progress" (p.15). She ends this section on myth 1 saying that some will want to hold on to 20th century modalities and all she asks is that they revise their mission statements to reflect this. "Be honest with the children" (p.15). In Myth 2 and three she tackles some huge issues in American education today. She deals with the present and growing divide in America around what it means to be educated. Stating that while American political ideology is polarizing with one group of Americans fiercely against "intellectuals" Jacobs, again gently calls the foundations of the US political system and its needs for educated, yet deliberative citizens into focus. This is important for the subaltern communities in the US as Jacobs again eases into statements like "we should be fearless about ideas and openly engage in discussion and debate about what should matter in the subject matter" (p.16). Jacobs edited work does not address the multicultural elements of this process until later in the book. Myth 3 is a Daniel Pink inspired address on learning spaces needing to cultivate collaboration and creativity for the 21st century.

Jacobs introduces many of the same well worn "softballs" that academicians, philosophers, and professionals have been tossing for many years in an accessible and almost folksy tone. This will prove important for those who want to start conversations on the communities on learning and systemic change in educational environments.

I will continue on Curriculum 21 in later posts.

Bailyn, B. (1960). Education in the forming of American society; needs and opportunities for study. Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, Va., by the University of North Carolina Press.

Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (1976). Schooling in capitalist America: educational reform and the contradictions of economic life. New York: Basic Books.

Jacobs, H. H. (2010). Curriculum 21: essential education for a changing world. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Sizer, T. R. (1964). The age of the academies. New York: Bureau of Publications, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Tyack, D. B. (2000). The one best system: a history of American urban education. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Connections: Movement for a New Learning Ecology

The global education system can change. Indeed it must if we are to collectively imagine (or image) and act in defense of our interdependent and declining systems: social, environmental and economic (see Boulding, E. 1988; Catton, W. R. ,1980; McKibben, B. 2010). How we choose to connect in this imaging of new spaces has, for so long, been a daunting task. Public intellectuals, activists, and conscious citizens have made amazing strides in some locals and against great odds. This has happened in my own small coastal community (Richard, Hebb, Conboy; et al., 2007) and around the world (Akbar, Abbott, Bakan, 2003 18/23) centered around issues of local sustainability, human rights, and systems thinking. Yet people young and old (whom I have taught and learned with) are conflicted and confused about the issues of today. A few students act for instance, but more remain inactive with the role of learning seen as a part time and adult driven activity. A connectedness of the 19th century is pervasive while the possibilities of new connections today are relegated to technological leveraging for "reconnecting" to old friends, purchase streamlining, gaming, sports, and as Raskin (1986) put it, "television morality plays". I will not spend much more time on what George Siemens (2010) has called "the softballs of education" for we know the issues with education well. We have an educational system that works well enough and a raft of international issues that unite, and at the same time disenfranchise our participation through the immense gravity inherent in the issues and our learned non-participation praxis. Parker (2003) puts it this way:

Democratic living is not given in nature, like gold or water. It is a social construct, like a skyscraper, school playground, or new idea. Accordingly, there can be no democracy without its builders, caretakers, and change agents....citizens.

As I write today, our world has an amazing array of individuals on the verge of connection; in a world where so many similar issues effect them. We need to design and nurture a learning community that connects social imagination around the world.

The following two videos relay this sentiment well.

One is a warning from Anthropologist Wade Davis on the centrality of understanding our collective Ethnosphere in a rapidly changing world:

The other is an eloquent plea from Howard Rheingold for "....reshaping the "story" of how things get done....a narrative of cooperation, collective action and "complex interdependencies"

A Way:Design, Connection and Curriculum

Connectivism offers an oracle where the nexus of learning theory and praxis (from curricular design to implementation and redesign) might achieve a flow necessary to understand our "complex interdependencies". Greg Whitby (2008) implored, "we need to develop a narrative that sustains 21st century learning". Whitby's voice is clear here and he is joined by a movement of individuals who are dedicated to this aim in the many connected spaces of the internet and field of learning. Whether accessing the internet for connection via mobile device in Africa or on a 24 inch desktop screen in a US university lab extraordinary connections can and in some instances are being made. The questions surrounding these connections and their implication on the spaces of learning and curriculum are of central interest to me.

When considering these topics how are we and trying to make sense of learning today and who is starting to develop the narrative that sustains 21st century learning? What am I contributing to this process and who am I inspired by, working and connecting with? Over the next three months I will attempt to clarify this for myself and those who in my CCK11 and EDC533 communities and beyond. In the process, I hope to learn with many individuals and continue my work with old and new colleagues as we connect and act for learning in the 21st century. In some future posts I plan to reflect on my version of "connecton" as a way to meet my learning goals, grow through new connections, and ultimately design and contribute to new learning ecologies.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Notes on CCK11: Confusion, Control and Complexity

Confusion is a Good Thing, Breaking the Control inherent in LMS and the Complexity of Design

Notes from the recorded introductory Elluminate session of CCK11

George Siemens (GS)
Stephen Downes (SD)

....on CCK11 format

"A set of networks to play with learning spaces!"

"Confusion is a Good thing"

"Skim and Dive"

....on Course Design

"The network has a lot of moving parts....This Complexity is by design" SD

"We are creating diversity in discussion....multiple points of view" SD

....on CCK11


"Individual and Collaborative Artifact Construction", "sub-networks" and curation (vs conduit). SD

"Constructivism cannot describe learning biologically" GS

"Connectivism blends with sociology" GS

"Selecting and Filtering information into a curation is not necessarily the goal rather to Aggregate, remix, repurpose and feed forward information....each person is creating there own representation of course content" SD

"Cooperative Learning is many densely connected individuals" SD

"Knowledge is having a thought you cannot un-think." SD

"An expert can shift rapidly between patterns in a discipline to provide insights" [George Siemens was eloquent here and I have only skimmed his discussion, need to check of the Cambridge Handbook on experts:)] GS

"You control your interaction in this course" SD

Building Community

This weeks reading tackles some of the issues that might emerge for you in EDT400. Our blended learning environment may be exponentially more beneficial to you as a learner if many or all in the course participate in the networked online spaces available to us as a "community". The quote below stands out to me as vital in our ongoing conversation:

"The challenge for educators is to learn how to create a system in which people can enter into relations that are determined by problems or shared ambitions, and that are not overburdened by rules or structure" (Heckscher & Donnellson, 1994, p. 24).

I hope we might scrutinize Heckscher & Donnellson ideas here. What are some of the problems inherent for learning in the 21st century? When you think of yourself as a teacher or practitioner what are your ambitions in the field you are choosing? How do you build your own learning community and support others doing the same? How do you deal with the freedom to learn what interests you in a field?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I am looking forward to the CCK11 live session tomorrow and have a few questions to put out there in advance.

How do we as participants in CCK11 use connectivist theory and praxis to provide evidence of our learning? Are course participants planning to construct an rssFolio? I have seen the benefits of ePortfolio assessment and believe in the process produced when we collect, select, reflect, and present on the evidence of our learning. I also have seen how difficult this is to do in traditional "school" settings. So if we are to take assessment to a new level for young people and adults using connectivist theory and praxis what might this look like? What tools are needed to connect knowledge in a new assessment ecosystem? What would an rssFolio look like and how might we see learning with such a modality?

Quotes that make me think from Siemens (2005)

The capacity to form connections between sources of information, and thereby create useful information patterns, is required to learn in our knowledge economy.

Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known

Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.

As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses.

The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era

Looking forward to the rest of this week and CCK11!

On Questions and Experience

An excellent set of EDT 400 course meetings today. Outwardly the two course meetings seemed like night and day to me (in the sense of questions raised), but as a community the questions fielded today are important to all.

We discussed our course systems from basic to a bit more advanced. For those of you who arrived to our meeting today after spending time with the new systems brought up this week, I noticed a visible understanding of the basics and the path forward will most likely become easier. For those who had not looked at our schedule until arriving today, don't worry. Once you've spent time with our course systems they will make sense and questions will and should be asked as we move on. Sometimes confusion can overwhelm. If this happens let me know and we can arrange the necessary times to meet and go over things. Remember that the root of this course is experience and connection. You are learning in new and I hope exciting ways. Question and experience at will.

Here are the essentials at this point:


The Course Blog: (Keep up to date with announcements)

Your Blog: (Place to write posts on readings and media pertinent to our course)


Course Netvibes: (All blogs are listed here. Use this for commenting on others blogs each week and to explore course blogs)
Your Netvibes: (PUBLIC) (Add a few edublogs this week)

Thomas: (find a few initial people to follow here)
Course "hashtag" #edt400 (enter into search bar on your twitter page or into the "Add Column (+)" section of Tweetdeck after sign-up)

Good luck on your blog posts and other experiences this week! Ask questions!

The trailers we used to think about learning prior to writing today are below (the first meeting of the day did not get to see these). They are for your information, though I would highly suggest both films to you for watching and writing about.

Is educational system failing in the US (charter schools and much more)

Waiting for Superman (2010)

What does the world look like in the 21st century? What connections are seen and unseen today? What do we need to know as educators to prepare our students for life in a connected world? Does Globalization have an effect on education?

Babel (2006)

Metaphor and the Power of Definition

As we start writing, reflecting, and connecting in EDT400 I want us to think about words and definitions. In his chapter The Word Weavers/The World Makers Niel Postman (1995), implores the reader to think deeply about the power of official definitions. Thinking about definitions is instructive as we start a course on emerging trends in learning. What is learning? Who controls the narrative on learning? What is possible or necessary for learning as 21st century educators? All of these questions and more will surface in this course and I will hope your career as educators. How you start to answer the questions and possibly define for yourselves a narrative for learning in the 21st century will have an amazing impact of the learning communities you enter, write about, and practice in.

To start the week of thinking about definitions I want you all to build on one of the following sentences in a comment to this post during the first half of our meeting today.

Learning is like a tree.

Learning is like a river.

Learning is like a building.

Learning is like an ecosystem.

We will discuss our next steps as a community in our meeting today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

On Deliberation and Action

Martin Luther King (1963a),

I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes (p.78)

Today I offer the following paths of action for you to deliberate on. The movements listed below are social, environmental and economic movements that address what Dr. King was offering as he wrote from the Birmingham Jail. I hope the following movements will inspire you in your work and interactions this year.

The Charter for Compassion


Networks for this Spring

As my learning network expands for this spring I'm having fun getting ready and looking forward to interacting with as many of you as is possible.

EDC 533

I want to invite EDC 533 into my mix with a Twitter hashtag.  I will be Tweeting and Re-Tweeting relevant communication for EDC 533 (curriculum focus) using #edc533 .  I hope participants will consider this option for another way of communication if you use or are interested in using Twitter.

CCK 11

I believe all is in place for my feeds.  Thank you to Stephen Downes and George Siemens for the excellent MOOC format using gRSShopper .  Looking forward to this week!  On another note, I may get a gRSShopper site up and running this week to test too as I am acting on the topics of CCK 11.

EDT 400

All of the blogs I have received from EDT400 are aggregated here in a Netvibes Dashboard.  Please remember to review the reading for this week and for those who are already posting, excellent work!  I have enjoyed reading and commenting, keep researching and posting!  A reminder that the course "hashtag" on Twitter is #edt400 .  You can search this hashtag in the search bar at twitter but as a reminder you should consider getting an organizer for your social media also.  I have suggested Tweetdeck and this is what I use right now for organizing my Twittersphere ).  I look forward to seeing you all this coming week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Power of mLearning: A Force for Creating New Learning Ecologies

Sanguine voices are heard on a coastal beach in Maine as a group of high-school age young people gather around multiple mobile devices that are networked via live webcast to their peers in China, New Zealand, London, Uganda and Bolivia in a project called "The Interdependence of Global Water". This international project based learning pod are gathering, some waking at 1:00am to view sea run Salmon return to spawn on the Penobscot River in Maine, United States. These young people are doing more than watching; they helped make the Penobscot River viable for this process again through their combined research, writing, and service efforts. In partnership with indigenous communities, business interests, academics, local, regional and national governments, and conservation biology organizations they have joined a coalition to remove dams and restore native salmon spawning corridors. There study was intense, memorable and had lasting impact on all involved. As these young people wove service and action into their "core" themes of study: society, environment and economics, there lives were changed, and they helped catalyze a movement for new learning around the world. What we find out is that these young people are collaborating together on similar projects in all of the six world regions mentioned and in concert with each other in a new learning ecology. There are no "walls" in this learning ecology, rather these students learn year round, individually and in groups at regional based learning centers where they come to collaborate, problem solve and socialize with other project based learners. The bulk of the work these brave young people accomplish is done in the field, at home, or traveling in "mobile learning labs" utilizing the most innovative eLearning tools imaginable. The blended eLearning networks used to collaborate on the integrated global projects mentioned, where also leveraged to connect domain territory specialists and mentors to young people as they constructed an understanding of quantitative reasoning, social sciences, literature, experimental sciences, and visual arts in integrated project based learning. The ePortfolios of each learner on that beach in Maine and around the world would be constructed to exhibit learner mastery of knowledge territories and to meet international and national standards in education. This is international learning done across cultural, environmental and economic borders; creating a global frontier for critical education.

The vision above is embedded in mission of the Institute for Global Civic Culture and the design of our pilot projects. I have had the frame above in my mind for years now and I am elated to write that we are getting closer to facilitating the type of learning necessary for the young people imagined on the coast of Maine and in many networked spaces around the world as they build a global civic culture together.

This last month I worked on a major presentation about the Global Civ learning ecology. I was struck as I have been so many times in the design process with the power of mobile learning. Conceptually mobile learning redefines learning structures as the learning and dynamic experience are linked and captured regardless of space or schedule. The London Mobile Learning Group; has explained Mobile Learning as a socio-cultural ecology:
"We see learning using mobile devices governed by a triangular relationship between socio-cultural structures, cultural practices and the agency of media users / learners, represented in the three domains. The interrelationship of these three components: agency, the user's capacity to act on the world, cultural practices, the routines users engage in their everyday lives, and the socio-cultural and technological structures that govern their being in the world, we see as an ecology which in turn manifests itself in the form of an emerging cultural transformation".

Our Learning Ecologies are designed to be a catalyst for the emerging cultural transformation in education. Global Civ has used mobile devices for learning and exists outside the structures that currently govern most students in North America; a powerful combination. Our programs are designed to be multisited and highly mobile as learning takes place in networked spaces, face to face meetings, at a learning center and in experiential learning excursions. Programs feature learner centric project based learning, ePortfolio assessment and a highly individualized system that is attune first to the learner. In this ecology, students choose their path in learning while being held accountable for the deep literacy, civic action, and the self determination necessary to help lead the world in the 21st century.

As D. Bob Gowin (1998) wrote, "Imagining how events could be otherwise than they are is a hallmark freedom and power of human beings".  I look forward to my work with IGCC in this new year,  and am inspired. I know powerful blended learning experiences that explore the possibilities of mLearning will continue to play a vital role.

iPhone photo: JISC Digital Me

Addressing the American Learning Gap

The Asia Society , OECD, Alliance for Excellence in Education , Council of Chief State School Officers, and National Governors Association Center for Best Practices sponsored a webcast (according to the Alliance the full webcast will be up "soon") featuring Andreas Schleicher, head of the indicators and analysis division for OECD's Directorate of Education. Scheicher offered a compelling argument for global learning that marked the release of the 2009 PISA report. The presentation pointed out that the US ranks at or near the second half of the class of countries taking the 2009 PISA assessment. Though many excellent points were made for the derisory US performance, those that stood out dealt with school autonomy. At multiple points in the presentation Schleicher remarked that the traditional US school structure was suspect if not to fault for low PISA scores. Schleicher called for an end to "the old bureaucratic systems" in American Education and offered that the US needed a "new enabling system". As he presented the PISA curricular maps it was apparent in stark terms that checking cell phones at the doors of US schools, proliferating instructionist teaching methods through watered down "college level" survey courses, and maintaining school structures that benefit managerial modeled scheduling, salaries and control mechanisms are now irrelevant. We need to address the structure and leadership in American "schools". The US is holding back a nation of learners in the 21st century with our painful dependence on industrial schooling.

Imagining what's possible is not difficult for Finland who sits at the top of PISA scoring: distributed systems, student centric learning, eLearning, and loose barriers around the physical spaces of learning that reward the 21st century students interest in mobile learning. This short video on the Future School of Finland starts to tell a story of one national example of excellence in the research and development of relevant learning spaces:

The Institute for Global Civic Culture and our pilot programs are also pioneering a new learning ecology. Distributed leadership for learners, mentors, parents and communities are embedded, eLearning and mobile learning make learning ubiquitous and the curriculum addresses the needs and passion of the Net Generation. Our goal is to facilitate the deep literacies needed to achieve at the top of measures like PISA and as a global citizen in the 21st century.

The Institute for Global Civic Culture is currently seeking Advisory Board Members for the 2011. If interested, please contact us.

Moodle, Mahara, Wordpress, the Death of Education and the Dawn of Learning

An excellent set of course meetings today which featured the type of discussion which will be so fruitful for this term!  Thank you all.  Judging by my inbox, your wordpress blogs are being set up.  I will get to these blogs soon and you can expect a comment from me and your addition to the EDT 400 Netvibes Dashboard.  In addition to your course blogs all still seem to understand our course systems in Moodle and Mahara (COEHD Portfolios).

A few points:

The Twitter Frontier

For those ready to move on to Twitter please remember that you can either use your existing account or in the case that this account has been "very" social or even social, you should create a Twitter account that's focused on learning and your professional career.  As listed in the course schedule my Twitter profile is @steelemaley and our course tag is #edt400.  We will go over a list of recommended people to follow in the coming weeks.  Look over my smallish "following group" and explore who I follow if you are wondering where to go with concern to "following" from your initial sign-up.  For those who are ready to move further I suggest getting a Tweetdeck account to start organizing your micro-social-web life.  More on this tool to come.

Death of Education and the Dawn of Learning?

Continue to consider the elemental discussion started in our meeting today after viewing "Learn to Change Change to Learn".  What does Steven Hepple (2008) mean when he posited " Its the Death of Education but its the Dawn of Learning and this makes me very happy."?  Some amazing thoughts from you all regarding the relevancy of our "school system".  I hope to here more of your thoughts on Hepple and your reflections of schools and society in the 21st century! I would also like information on the Maine school mentioned today that was using iPads and web conferencing! If I have left anything out please leave a comment to this post.

See you all next week and online.


Hello all CCK11 and EDC 533 participants.  My name is Thomas Steele-Maley.  I look forward to learning with you all.  A short Bio is below.


Thomas Steele-Maley is founder and director of the Institute for Global Civic Culture. He has spent over eleven years working with young people in and out of the classroom in Alaska, Washington State, and Maine.

Thomas serves as co-founder and designer for Global Civ: A New Learning Ecology, a blended and wall-less set of learning spaces that encourage the individual to take control of their learning through the co-development and design of programs and collaborative spaces for learning. He also teaches part time in the Instructional Technology Department COEHD University of Maine

Thomas has led experiential education programming, developed leadership initiatives, and delivered staff development for  national service learning organizations. Since 2006 he has devoted his career to teaching and learning with secondary school aged young people in school settings. His teaching, learning and design based research have focused on planning with students in technology rich, socially relevant learning spaces. He has extensive experience with ePortfolio assessment, collaborative learning environments, social networking, and mobile learning. His curriculum development is shaped for student collaboration, communication and problem solving for an interdependent world in the twenty-first century. A graduate of University of Puget Sound and University of Maine,  Thomas is currently working towards a doctorate in education.

Research Interests

Situating critical education and connectivist theory|praxis in educational change episodes.

Curriculum Integration

Use of design based research methods in education

ePortfolio integration K-20

Blended Collaborative eLearning Environments

School change models


Thomas lives in Midcoast Maine with his wife and two young children.  He is a runner, avid hiker, backpacker, and boater who has lived and played in the most remote areas of North America over the last eleven years.  His deepest inspiration is derived from his family, Universalist Quaker practice,  and the individuals and young people he works with who are dedicated to problem solving for our collective human futures.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Beginning of a Journey

EDT 400 started today with an amazing group of participants who I am both excited and honored to work with.  Especially welcome, was the rapid (initial)  "course systems" mastery that seemed ubiquitous!

There will be issues and questions and as I mentioned in class please ask those questions early and often after some self directed research.  Again I am excited to work with all of you, and look forward to Thursday's meeting.   Please refer to for the feed of our course blog!

A few points from today:

Get your Wordpress blogs up and running and send your blog URL to me at thomas dot steelemaley at umaine dot edu  !  I look forward to receiving these links.

The systems we covered today included the dynamic cloud learning environment "Mahara".  Our Mahara instance is called COEHD Portfolios and is found on the home page of the COEHD Moodle!  Profile work (Where the shadow "you" might still be) for the week includes a healthy systems experiment and the adding of an icon image. You may find it beinificial to look at the tutorial page for Mahara to help you this week and throughout the semester.

Some inspiration for taking the journey you are embarking on.  Why study our topics, why care? What might be the next "change" episode in learning that will shape your professional and personnel future?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Welcome EDT 400 Spring

Hello all EDT 400 course participants!

I look forward to working with you all and want to remind you to sign into the COEHD Moodle and enroll in the course entitled EDT 400 Sec. 1 and 2 Spring 2011 (Steele-Maley).  You will find the course syllabus and schedule along with some suggestions for getting started!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Common Good

I will be back to blogging here this winter and spring as I participate in the MOOC CCK11, continue to teach instructional technology at University of Maine and generally follow my path. should also be shaping up with vestiges of my ple and some more bells and whistles to move this academicians "blog when time allows" (that is, when I am not developing programs, running them or assessing participants in them) to something more I  have wanted for years.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime I want to start this new episode of my blog with a view I share with the critical education community and so many in the eLearning community. The following is from Michael Apple in Ideology and Curriculum (1990).  Using Raskin's (1986) "common good" framework;  Apple writes:
"[A] program of criticism and renewal asserts the principle that 'no inhumane act should be used as a short cut to a better day,' and, especially, that at each step of the way any social program 'will be judged against the likelihood that it will result in linking equity, sharing, personal dignity, security, freedom, and caring.' This means that those pursuing such a program 'must....assure themselves that the course they follow, inquire into, [and] analyze....will dignify human life, recognize the playful and creative aspect of people,' and see others not as objects but as 'co-responsible' subjects involved in the process of democratically deliberating over the ends and means of all there institutions."

May this be a central message in the field of learning, learning design and our personal lives.