From way out here to there, here is my first every participating in a 9x9x25 blogging “thing” via the one being run at Ontario Extend led by Terry Greene.
I may easily use up my 25 sentences introducing it ;-)
As explained in one of the posts about this effort to network/connect educators:
We want to collect your reflections on the teaching and learning happenings in your classes and on your campuses here on Ontario Extend’s Domains Hub. We think we can give each other a leg up on how things are going. The challenge is to write about your teaching in 9 posts, over 9 weeks, with a minimum of 25 sentences per post. No fragments! In doing so, maybe we will make some new and exciting connections.
I’ve known of this kind of program for a while, because the guy who really developed and cultivated it, first at Yavapai Community College, is my good friend Todd Conaway, now working at the University of Washington-Bothell.
Back when we both lived and hung out together in Arizona, I heard Todd’s stories of working his butt off to encourage faculty he worked with to commit to blogging reflectively about their teaching. The thing that always stayed with me was how Todd observed that in all the busyness of teaching, committees, meetings, that there’s never time where teachers get to sit down and just talk to each other about their craft. That was what he aimed to do via 9x9x25 (and the various iterations that others spun out from Todd’s version).
After my summer of filling in for Terry at Ontario Extend I had suggested maybe running a round of 9x9x25 for the project as a way to connect participants- and has Terry every done a great job of stirring up interest.
So that was my introduction, and I bet I am past 25 sentences.
I never participated in one of these before, but why not now? The thing is I am not teaching any classes now. So what teaching do I reflect on?
It got me thinking that a lot of things I do here in this blog are trying to explain technology and how I make/use tech things. When I figure out something, or when someone tweets a link about an interesting tool/resource, it’s not enough for me to just re-share it, I always want to try it out, and then see if I can explain it’s workings in a way I hope others can understand. Like digging into alt images in twitter. Or creating instructions for all these SPLOT things I hatch.
There’s a fair bit of guess work at how to write in a way that hopefully most can follow. You cannot make it work for everybody. I’m never in the room or aware when people read my writeups. Usually I don’t even know they were there.
It’s not teaching per se, but always has me thinking about how things can work when you are not in the same room, at the same time. This was a lot of the challenge in the summer Ontario Extend work, trying to think of ways to offer support/learning for people not even enrolled in a class or a program. Things were as distributed as it could be (e.g. I am not even physically located in Ontario). That’s were the ideas and structures for Domain Camp came from– designing activities that could be done independently and aiming to weave in optional synchronous options.
And this was the mode I was teaching in last year, remotely teaching a graduate student seminar and mixed level digital media class for students in New Jersey while I was in Arizona. A lot of material was this “explainer” stuff plus class times via Google Hangout, and other tools (twitter, hypothes.is, blogs).
I’d like to think it was a successful experience, but have to say it’s really hard to not get all the body language, feedback, interaction when you are in the room. It strained me at times, and made me question the effectiveness.
There’s a lot that can be done at a distance, it’s worth trying to figure out. And doing this 9x9x25 at a distance too does not take away the potential for being right there in the mix.
Featured Image: Quartermaster 2nd Class Jesse Glover uses a statometer to measure the distance from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) to the USNS Kanawha photo shared into the public domain as a work of a US Government employee.