Friday, December 9, 2011

Extending the learning ...

In the spirit of extending the learning and building on the connective nature of the MOOC ... here is a blog post that offers additional creative thinking and learning and discovery processes.  Enjoy all of the journeys they will take you on ...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The power of Music and Creativity ... validation of life


I look forward to reading your comments in response to this video and the creative concepts we can extract and apply on a daily basis in so many venues.  How can we promote positive validation in a negative climate? in any venue?  What are your thoughts on these topics? 


Thursday, November 24, 2011


Current pedagogy says we need to measure what you learn ... and just how should we measure MOOC learning?

                                                    GROWING KNOWLEDGE

How do you use what you learn?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What is Education to me?

What is Education to me?

This is a podcast I created several years ago and I am including it here as a frame of reference for several blog posts that will follow. At the time of the recording, I was becoming acquainted with and learning how to use Moodle as a LMS/CMS . It has far greater capabilities for freedom in learning than the Angel system I had been using. It was a breath of fresh air knowing that a wider variety of learning mode preferences, combined with an ever expanding world of web 2.0, and beyond, tools are available. This "pod o matic" is only one of those opportunities (tools, in the ed parlance).

As I learned more about Moodle, I realized that the participant (learner) now has a much wider ability to shape the learning approach as well as the application of content. This is a good thing from my perspective. I used Moodle to lay the foundation for a presentation that I gave at the USDLA/IFWE conference in 2010.
I believe it is good practice to model my own learning journey and pass it to those who might be interested. You can find a SlideShare of that presentation in a previous blogpost of mine.

And now, I ask ... what is education to you?


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Global Communication

has been seriously enhanced with the new Google + hangout option.  This feature is as close to face to face, up close and personal, as one can get without actually being in the same geographic location.  I have participated and initiate several hangout sessions over the past few weeks and will try to make them a Sunday afternoon feature through early December.  A number of folks have stopped by from CMC11 ... both credit seeking folks and some from the larger group of participants.  I have also met up with folks from other areas of the internet world ... Jeff Lebow uses the hangout as the venue for his weekly COOLCasts broadcast out of South Korea.  Several of us have been guests over the past months and Jeff has interviewed on topics of interest which he records with ScreenCastOMatic and then uploads to YouTube so anyone can listen and see them.

The possibilities for all manner of global communication are there and we can explore, play and discover best how to use the opportunities. Participation is limited to ten in a hangout at a time.  Last I heard, there should be an upcoming hangout led by our resident oenophile, John Griffin, in the very near future ... details will follow soon.

I am including 2 images taken over the past few days.  The first one was a hangout that included Canada, New Zealand and US participants.   The second, is a hangout of only two locations ... Canada and the US ... the major element in the second one was that participants communicated only in French ... and the purpose is to learn and practice conversational French. As educational researchers, Rita and Stephen travel Canada extensively.  While English is widely spoken, it is a good practice to also be able to converse with the large French speaking populations of Canada in their native tongue.  So, even if you know no French, or only a few words , or are fluently conversant in French ... the invite was open to all.   Global communication in action?  What do you think?
 Stephen Downes, Moncton, Canada; Mark McGuire, Dunedin, NZ; Carol Yeager, Catskill, NY, US

Stephen Downes, l' homme mystere & Rita Kop, Moncton, Canada avec Carol Yeager, Catskill, NY.
                                      S'il vous plaît, que le français parlé ici aujourd'hui. Merci.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


As I was uploading my own SlideShare for my blog posting today, I found this one ...I  think it is a thought provoking series of words and images.  It may also be the feelings you are experiencing in this MOOC.  What do you think?

                                                                Chaos and Creativity


Some of My Reflections on the Learning Process

Creativity and Creative Problem Solving are building blocks for sustaining lifelong learning and having fun in the process.

As a lifelong learner, mentor and  learning facilitator it has been important for me to grow within the global community and apply collaborative learning styles in many venues. I have been fortunate enough to  work with people from different cultures, different geographic locations and a variety of ages, in multiple venues. Business and academic settings have been the core opportunities.

Exponential growth of the technological and information age has presented opportunities for collaboration and ease of communication. Continual development of open education resources have led a cultural, geographic location, age and occupational evolution.

Alvin Toffler, sociologist and futurist said in the 1980’s that “ the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

The main purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate how to build a community of global learners for the purpose of connecting and engaging people of all ages and cultures in collaborative lifelong learning.  Using current as well as projected modes of communication, social media,  web tools and ever emerging portable technologies, we will be able to maintain continual connections via visual, aural and written modes of communication; asynchronously and synchronously.

 I embrace a creative lifelong learning methodology, where participants are expected to accept responsibility for their own learning.  Discussions will demonstrate how Moodle Course Management System (CMS/LMS), Wikieducator, Second Life, Twitter, Facebook and WiZiQ have been combined to enhance online facilitation and learning via Blended Online Learning modalities.

I am including a slideshare that accompanied this discussion that I led in December 2010,  for your perusal.  I believe most of the links are still active and those that are not, you should be able to Google for additional information.

                                               CREATIVITY IN LIFELONG LEARNING


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scintillating chat about CMC11 in Second Life

 Meeting place with Tellmea Story and Couki  Clary after the Wednesday Live Session in Blackboard

      The NewPosts on the wall is an active object ... click on the blog and it will reveal the contents!

Thursday afternoon, following the Live Session with Stavros Michailidis, I met with Tellmea Story at Conviviality Corners.  While we started out speaking about our various schedules and shifting priorities, we ended up discussing Connectivism and Grounded Theory ... this is often how the SL meetings end up ... a bit of basic chatter and then, a deeper discussion of some topic of mutual interest.
This next week, Glen Gatin aka Tellmea Story will be holding "office hours" there,  so feel free to drop in and say hello.  He suggested he would post his hours in the CMC11 template .. so look for them there (maybe even on Week 8 page).

You might notice the Thursday edition of NewPosts on the wall ... it is a webpage and active ... feel free to enter the links and read the posts when you re in the area.  The "screen" is your browser window and you may put different urls in the bar to venture around the web.  Try a You Tube video, sit down at the table and enjoy your beverage  while you watch (the one you have near your personal work area ... we have not yet sorted out serving virtual coffee to any degree of satisfaction!)

Hope to see you there sometime before the Thursday, Week 8,  Live Session

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

CMC11 Week 7



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thoughts from Aristotle ...

Do the quotes below relate to creativity and creative problem solving ? You decide ...

“The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence is then not an act, but a habit.”

“There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.”

“Anaxagoras avails himself of Mind as an artificial device for producing order, and drags it in whenever he is at a loss to explain some necessary result; but otherwise he makes anything rather than Mind the cause of what happens.”

“Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient.”

“Thinking is sometimes injurious to health.”

“Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.”

                                   Aristotle, right, speaking with his mentor, Plato.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where are we? Where are you?

As we end week 6 and venture on to week 7 we would seem to be midway through this Learning Journey, or course, as highlighted in the acronym MOOC.  This defines where we are in the time continuum.  How do we define where we are in the connectivist learning and PLE continuum?

The MOOCCreativity and Multicultural Communication is a community of learners.  As such, we are responsible for our own learning as well as the interaction among the community of learners.  How do we access the knowledge and how do we develop our own responsibility for learning.  In what ways can we become autonomous learners and further build a community of learning?

The first 4 weeks of CMC11 offered live synchronist broadcast sessions which were recorded and then posted for viewing asynchronously around the theory of the MOOC (connectivist learning, personal learning environments and then, metaliteracy underpinnings for the conversations and community building exchanges.

We are now moving into more thematic sessions surrounding Creativity, what it is and how to find and further develop our own creativity as well as that of the community of learners.  We are a diverse lot and have multiple channels for experimentation and discovery of thinking preferences, learning styles, old and new modes of electronic communication.  And, we have  ... the hangouts in Google + which replicate, as near as possible, the Face to Face development of visual and aural exchanges. 

So far, photography, music, writing, and hangout meetings have been the modes for communication.  We have used twitter as a means to highlight broader information locations, blogs to reflect upon personal learning experiences and discussions within the MOOC template for more specific inquiries and commentary.  Are we a community of learners?  Are we reflecting and connecting?  Are we still waiting for a sign, a guide to direct us?  Who are we and what do we want to do? Where do we want to go and how? Are we interacting?  Are we having fun yet?

Are we building a community of autonomous learners?  How might we enhance the community and foster more intrinsic building upon what we know, what we want to know and how to go about knowing?

There will be another hangout in Google + on Sunday, 23 October, 13:00 New York time.  Hope to see you there.  Perhaps we can toss about some ideas that have come to mind surrounding these questions.  Perhaps ... BYOB  (bring your own brain)  :-)

Check under Carol Yeager's Google + Home page for the hangout happening ... make sure you check out your audio and video capabilities and download whatever you might need, a bit before 13:00.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

As Creativity Ages

We seem to be reading a lot about Creativity lately ... and well beyond this MOOC.  Creativity and the word innovation, appear in so many contexts, in so many places.  Is this a new desire of the socially connected and mobile societies we encounter on the internet?  Is the use of the terminology wishful thinking or a new approach to finding solutions to age old problems? Are these contemporary buzz words to describe an utopian aspiration?  I am often perplexed by the use of the terminology and wonder if the users understand the underlying contexts. 

In order to put some perspective on the topics, I dug back into history a wee bit to see what some earlier folks had to say on the matters of creativity.  


Life must be lived as play.

No one ever teaches well who wants to teach, or governs well who wants to govern.

Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.

Science is nothing but perception.

The greatest wealth is to live content with little.
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

What I really am impressed by is the use of play ... it makes all else more enjoyable, and thus, maybe easier when we have obstacles facing us.
What do you think?  I am going to check in with Aristotle next and discover what he has said ...


Monday, October 10, 2011

A Sampling of Creative Skills

Before we look at the various facets of creativity, it will be helpful to pick up a few tips for thinking and working creatively ... or at the very least, set up some ideas for developing a mindset for creativity.

Find a place in which you can be comfortable and have your surroundings to your liking ... conducive to putting yourself in a different mental framework.  Maybe a little music to soothe the soul ?  maybe complete silence to help you concentrate ?  The choice is yours ... take some time to think about each of the suggestions in the photograph below ... and think about what each one really means to you.

  Are you all set?  Ready to get on with delving into Creativity and Creative Problem Solving?  OK.

Now you are ready to learn more about thinking and working creatively!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Passion for Learning ...

Some one asked earlier about the meaning of passion.  I have been thinking about what passion means to me and while it has many shades of meanings in my mind, I thought I would share what passion in education means to someone who not only tells us about his passion, he lets us hear it ...

                                       PASSION AND CREATIVITY ON THE SILK ROAD

What do you think passion might be?


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Making a Greek Culinary Connection

For those of you who may be anywhere near Albany, NY ... here is a wonderfully blissful treat for any day of the week.  American friends, of Italian descent, took me out to dinner to an authentic Greek restaurant a few weeks ago ... oh, my ... I had the Moussaka and it was fabulous,  as was the Tzatziki.  Some of the ingredients were recently brought back from Greece by one of the owners.  This does make a difference in authentic cultural dishes.  The place from whence it came generally has the best earth, climate and farmers for certain ingredients ... which is why the food tends to taste so much better there, than when away from the area.  The authentic Greek yogurt tastes like no other and that made the Tzatziki so amazing, it almost seemed like I was in my favorite restaurants of Cyprus and the other Greek Isles.

If one wishes to bridge the cultural divide, I think food is a magnificent way to do so ... languages aside, the stomach is a fine test of taste for cultural exchanges.  Last week I returned with some friends (from Germany, India and the US) to celebrate Life, Fine Food and Good Friendships.  I selected a dish I had not tried before and was ready to return to the shores where fresh shrimp and fish are the very best.  One of the keys to the fine fare I was smitten by, was that the shrimp had been cooked in a clay pot on top of fresh tomatoes and veggies with a splash of ouzo ... what's not to like?

My Garides Grekolimano ...

For those who might have a clay cook pot and some fresh caught jumbo shrimp the following link will take you to a recipe tat is similar and I suggest you exercise some creative culinary cooking ... followed by a sumptuous feast with fine friends.

Then tell us all about the experiences .. of the cooking, the tasting, and the friendships.  Oh, top with a wine of your choice, or, as in my case,  imported ouzo on the rocks (straight up might be too much competition for the splash of ouzo in the clay pot cooking).

Garides Gekolimano , as sent to me by a friend who was there ... and I did not share even one morsel!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Free first, pay later ...

Some may have heard of Paulo Coehlo, and may even read his book The Alchemist.  His current book, Aleph has been released by him on the internet, gratis, in several markets outside of the US. In an article in yesterday's New York Times, "Mr. Coelho continues to give his work away free by linking to Web sites that have posted his books, asking only that if readers like the book, they buy a copy, “so we can tell to the industry that sharing contents is not life threatening to the book business,” as he wrote in one post."

This is an interesting concept from many perspectives, and my thoughts drifted to the MOOC ... as online and free for learning.  What would you pay for a MOOC if you were looking to earn college credits ... after having completed your learning journey within the context of the course.  How would you explain your learning/knowledge gained throughout the time spent in a personal, networked, learning environment?  What price do you place on the value of learning. 
Many educators have discussed the concept of PLA ... Prior Learning Assessment ... as a means for earning college credit for College level learning through work, certification programs, self learning and such.  The assessment challenges for evaluating that learning are what seem to be the topic for concern at this time. How would you evaluate your learning?  The learning that others obtain?

What are your thoughts?

I am looking forward to reading, hearing or seeing your response to these questions.  Thank you.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beyond MOOCdom

As I was listening and participating in the sidebar chat during Thursday's live session on Connectivism with Stephen Downes, I digressed ... and regressed ... to my early years of explorations and learning.  Perhaps our most significant, and deepest learning, occur during our toddler, and just beyond, years.  It is here that we explore, make discoveries, find others to share those discoveries with, and, in turn, are led to more discoveries!  The excitement of it all should stay with us throughout our lives.  Sadly, and perhaps, inevitably, it does not.  I think the connections we make in those early years lay the foundations for our learning preferences and styles ... a climate (our surroundings) of multiple choices of how and with what and with whom to connect start early, and we go from there.
We do connect ...

We find that exploration and  experimentation can be a bit of a messy process and we continually seek to reach that which is just out of out reach (a wee bit like trying to navigate this MOOC)

And yet, we ultimately, connect ...

 I believe this process does lay a foundation and, later on, can be resurrected as another avenue for deeper, lifelong learning. We further develop our own communities of learning and communities of practice.

This morning I traveled to Google+ and hung out with John Griffin.  There are many possibilities for visual and oral connections and development here.  Then, I connected with Omar Abi Ghosn who is located in Lebanon, on Facebook ... then tried the hangout ... bandwidth in Lebanon not good enough to make it work too well ... so we went to Skype ... success in both microphone speaking and video, tho when closing video, the speaking voice had far less breakup. Soon, I will check in with Sam, our tech support who is located in China ... to make sure all tech issues are AOK, before sending out today's NewPosts. It has been a fun morning of exploration and discoveries (not all happy discoveries .. eg hangout w Omar).  I thoroughly enjoyed connecting and hope to make similar connections with many more in CMC11 and beyond.  The learning journey continues ...

Perhaps we can resurrect some of those earlier feelings of excitement of discovery, of learning about our surroundings ... and beyond ... by thinking of CMC11 as our very own Sandbox in which to play and connect with folks of many different locations, different educational backgrounds, different cultures and beliefs, new thinking/oldthinking.  I am excited with the prospect of what can be, as well as what has already been ... a great learning journey with those who are here ... visibly and lurking!  I am hoping to "learn, unlearn and relearn" with many ...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

MOOC Muddle ... cmc11 and beyond

So, my challenge: How do I find the time to also participate in two other MOOCs and still be active here?  I have been lurking in and am fascinated with the number of really interesting posts to follow ... into connectivist oblivion.  It really takes supreme effort to make the "who to follow", "where to go"  and "what to say" decisions.  I think I'll continue to lurk for a while.

And then, a short while ago, I received a daily newsletter from ds106 ... what a delicious site and an oh-so-tempting MOOC, especially for the visual artist.  I started in ds106 last winter, when I thought I might have some time to play and learn more new tricks.  Alas, just obtaining a domain to house my website proved to be my undoing.  I recall desktop sharing with a connectivist colleague in the Northwest territories and exchanging google world photos of our respective locations.  He was in a tent pitched on the frozen lake; I was tucked into the corner of my lanai overlooking a Florida golf course.  Thanks Jim Staufer, and enjoy your semester of MOOCs ... let me know when you lurk in CMC11 ... just tweet that you have been here!

So, from that frustrating start with domain hosting and website building ... here I am with a work in progress, developing the CMC11 MOOC with a shiny new webhost and on a shiny new website!  WoW, what a journey,  and it has only just begun ...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MOOCdom and MindMeister

I had alluded to another early connectivist endeavor in my previous blog posting ... this one involves you, the reader and participant in CMC11.  Glen Gatin, of Week 8 of the MOOC fame, has a mind map posted for your participatory pleasure.  It is interactive and he asks that you play around with it and add your thoughts to the branches he has started.  You have the opportunity to shape the discussion for that week, so let the mind mapping begin! MindMeister (mind mapping and brainstorming tool).

While we do not officially start until Monday, 12 September, a number of folks have already been active with blog posts, questions and group discussions.  We are still working on the technical bits and pieces for the harvesting of all the great connections and new thinking that will occur and we are right on the edge, ready and set ... to GO ...

In the Orientation Week 1 (15 September), we will talk a bit about the navigation of the learning journey (it is hard for me to think of this as a course in the traditional sense as it is so much more than content driven learning), and it would be great for you to start poking around now to let us know what bugs might still be hanging about.  Please see the Blog post area and add your RSS feed .. and a few words to get it started ... and check out the Channels section.  These are all in the left column, and some are found once you enter the "add a new feed" territory (still on the left side).  We have used 2 platforms, and with all such migrations between platforms, there are a few small quirks ... the look is very similar; the operations are a tad different.

You should be receiving this notice in the NewPosts via the e mail address you supplied with your registration. There will be a few previous blog posts from several different folks and some comments here and there.  The channels will not be harvested by the gRSShopper ...  and Sam will explain all of this in the live session Thursday, 15 September.  Please check the world time chart located at the bottom of Orientation, for your local broadcast time ... it would be great oif you can join us, chat and start us off with great numbers.  We understand if the time is not convenient, so the session will be recorded and you can access the recording a few hours later ... see the recorded sessions link.

Enough verbiage, for now             ... Let the Fun Begin ...

Second Life 2010 ... me with Glen Gatin and Sam in the Sandbox

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More MOOCdom

My heartfelt thanks to Stephen Downes for his initial installation of his Open Source gRSShopper for use in harvesting, aggregating and feeding forward the many blogs, posts, tweets and comments we shall have in the MOOC, CMC11.  Additionally, he spent more than 90 minutes offering detailed instructions for implementing  and adjusting many of gRSShopper's myriad features.  He recorded the 97 minute session with me with Camtasia and anyone who wishes, can tune in for a personal guide here.  And, here is the location for version 3.0, the most recent and complete open source code for gRSShopper.

CMC11 is in very decent shape now with many thanks to RetSam Zhang.  He has spent many hours with me on Skype gently guiding me in the arcane world of html and programming with Stephen Downes' gRSShopper.  In so doing, he decided to embark upon the task of adding a text editor to the html editor.  This will make my programming learning journey so much easier and will leave Sam more time to develop his own website and teaching modules for ESL.  I know he spent a great deal of time on this project because I could see his "online" green logo shining nearly round the clock!  The results are stellar and I do hope he catches up on his sleep now.  Sam is the web tech and support for the run of  CMC11. In the process, we have worked through Skype, Dabbleboard, Desktop, Elluminate and e mail and they are nearly all freely available to anyone with an e mail address. Oh, and I neglected to mention that Sam is located in China, so we are exactly 12 hours different in time zones!
These are only two examples of the connectivist nature of learning as CMC11 has taken shape and filled out over the past months. These are all people I have met online and developed and maintained connectivist Personal Learning Networks during previous MOOC offerings. And now, for another example ... and I just love the way the theory becomes application and practice even before the start of this MOOC!  One of the participants has decided to use CMC11 with his Adult Literacy students as an introduction to connectivism. And, in the face 2 face groups with other adult educators in his region he has recommended that they also take advantage of CMC11 as a learning opportunity.  By the way, he is located in the very Northern, remote region of the Northwest Territory of Canada.
I will save the next example for my next blog post ... just to keep your anticipation heightened a wee bit.  Meanwhile, enjoy one of the Wordles that was generated for CMC11 ...

Monday, August 22, 2011

MOOCdom link

Here is the link for the Creativity and Multicultural Communication  MOOC

... and this is what you will see when you arrive

Come on in, poke around and join us when you can ... free and open ... also available for college credit for 2,3 or 4 credits with SUNY/Empire State College tuition fee accordingly (see "About this Course" section for link to instructions).
Don't forget to register on the first page if you want to lurk or participate; free, or for credit.
Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


CMC11, the MOOC, is ready for the public, although, it is still a work in progress. Lifelong learning is a work in progress ...  The journey of creating CMC11 has been difficult, exhilarating, frustrating, fun, enlightening, and a walk into the dark side of html coding.  It has been a time of stress and freedom ... and a great example of constructivist learning throughout the process.

This MOOC is an entry into the realm of open learning and an investigation of just what that means. Exchanging knowledge and understanding and building upon those elements are connectivist activities, and in the process each participant will be developing their own learning environment.  We will laugh, feel frustrated, become exhilarated and experience a range of emotions as we move through the processes and listen and watch our contributions as they are collected, remixed, revised and sent forward.  Our reflections will be rich and diverse.  It promises to be great fun and greatly rewarding. Invite your family, friends, neighbors and people you do not even know to join ...