The end of the term is the beginning of summer vacation for many teachers. Thinking about teaching and learning wouldn't be what you necessarily would think of first, but in an odd way, that's why it's the perfect time for the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration. Teaching is a profession, and paying the bills is important, but I suspect that for many teachers the paycheque isn't the most rewarding part of what we do. Learning can be fun and teaching is part of the virtuous circle to help people grow and do things. I'm lucky to be able to teach people how to make things. More specifically I teach people to tell stories through films which is pretty amazing.
So while the summer is a time without office hours, it feels important to do things that are fun and will recharge the batteries. So #clmooc is a pretty great way to start that. It's less structured, but made up of some amazing people. It's a concentrated few weeks of thinking about learning, making, and sharing things. It's a wonderful community of people that I first connected with last year and have stayed in touch with them through Twitter. With a diverse set of teachers facing a range of challenges, it's good to see what we have in common and the commitment that they have to learning and improving what they do.
The core of the interaction is built in Google+ which I don't use that much at other times of the year. But the activity that takes place is amazing, so I need to be there. A Google Hangout every week gets people connected and going and the other major component is with Twitter chats that happen later that week. The weeks each have a challenge to do something. That's where the magic happens. The challenge goes out and the responses start flowing in. As people see what has been done it inspires them to make things and explore new tools or revisit old ones.
The first challenge was to make a "How to" and it unleashed a torrent of creative responses. I procrastinated and was trying to be perfect, but then remembered "The Cult of Done Manifesto" from Bre Pettis and Kio Stark, and realized that I really have to just do stuff. So I wanted to be done so I could do other things. Instead of making something elaborate, I did something simple and fast. Tapestry is a tool that I've wanted to use for a while, so I quickly made up a internal monologue to get started and that's where "It's good to be done" came from.
So this year my goal is to do a bit more than last year. Every day part of my routine is to write at least 750 words, so that provides a nice place to do make or plan stuff. By interacting and sharing a bit more it will be a great summer filled with connections and learning. The key for me, as always is to get started and settle in to a routine.