I have had this website since 2011 and iterations of this one since 1998. They have helped me express my work and the work of my students, my ideas, my successes and failures. They have helped me get jobs by sharing the work I have done. And, like a drawer full of pictures, the sites keep some fond memories of work I have been involved with. From hiking trips in the Grand Canyon to conference presentations and a portfolio of work, the sites have shared a good vision of what I am capable of doing. They document my learning.
I could stop right there with that last sentence. As a teacher, I am after experiences and the documentation of them.
Being a part of the Open Web Learning Community here at Bothell has been wonderful. It has helped me form some relationships with the faculty here. That is important to my work. Jane Van Galen started the community four years ago and we have shared many ideas, had many coffees, and most importantly, taken some of the things we learned and placed them in our courses. Some worked. Some did not. That is how learning goes.
For me, as the “leader” of the LC this year, it has been challenging. Not only has COVID been challenging, but I tend to be pretty loose with rules and regulations. Both in following them and in making them. And I know, some people work better with clear guidelines and some do not. I suppose, looking back, I did not give the LC as many clearly defined goals and time tables as I might have. So, our team had some great moments and some not so amazing. And that is how learning goes.
I do think that our goal for the year was noble and is very relevant. More than ever today with the move to more online content, and more online experiences. I am reminded of Stephen Downes noting that, “Your next LMS won’t be yours, it will be your students.” He was referring to spaces for learning that were more student centered. Literally. Learning spaces the students control rather than a faculty or university or LMS provider. That may be a way off, but for today, faculty can maintain, and role model controlling, more of the work they do and the experiences they offer students. Tightly controlled classrooms with little coming in our out is not in the nature of the web.
Mike Wesch and the anth101.com is a wonderful example of where things may go. Where things already are. The book if free and available to anyone. The student work is shared and owned by the students, not confined to an LMS that no one else can see. Take a look. Try a Challenge. I dare you. www.anth101.com
In our LC we have wondered about what it means to put our ideas out there on the web. We have wondered how it feels to have our ideas out there on the web. Much like many of us learned about being “on camera” here with the COVID events, putting your writing, your failures and successes on the open web makes you vulnerable. It also allows others to learn from your experiences. And that is of course, just what schools are for.