On finding a tribe of one’s own.

A reflection on To Take Charge of Your Career, Start by Building Your Tribe by Gianpiero Petriglieri posted April 05, 2018 to the Harvard Business Review and my own experiences with Ontario Extend.

I was led to this article during my morning scan of twitter. I wish I could tell who shared it, but the twitter tide has swept that away. I am also going to do something in this post that I caution my students against; I am going to heavily quote from the original article. I generally encourage students to put the ideas they find in a literature review into their own words, but in this case, I don’t believe I can do it better and I want to relate what reading those works evoked in my mind about my experiences with Ontario Extend.

I joined Ontario Extend as a personal professional development project as St. Clair College, my work home, encourages faculty to pursue PD during May and June. Unfortunately, most of the available PD outside of the Faculty Retreat just doesn’t speak to me. My colleague, Marko Jovanovic often describes me as “paying a game of 3-D chess in my head” apparently against myself or maybe against the man (shakes fist in the air) because I want to think about and debate crazy ideas and connections that occur to me that are simply not on others’ radar. This often leaves me feeling out of step and, frankly, lonely. I was expecting to find it interesting and challenging. I did not expect to find it affirming. I did not expect to find my people, my tribe.

“We can only become the person whose story we can keep telling and acting out in the world” (Petriglieri, 2018).

Here, I am going to digress a bit and bring in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I don’t go to work to fulfill my social or self-esteem needs. I take care of these at home with a circle of close friends and family. I have no patience for small talk. It’s not that I don’t care what you did on the weekend or that you found a great deal on _______________ (fill in the blank), it is just there is this important stuff going on, there is a big semester clock ticking  in my head and time for our students is running out and I want to talk about work first. At work, I am working out my self-actualization needs. I am working on becoming my authentic self and developing mastery in my work.

“Most useful and precious among our illusions, my research suggests, is the illusion of one’s self as masterful — able to endure adversity, experience freedom, and be of service to others” (Petriglieri, 2018).

Man at desk with back to camera and face visible in a small mirro.
Photo by Edgar Pereira on Unsplash

Adversity, freedom and service, now that is powerful stuff. Reminds me of parents’ teaching and the dutch work ethic I was raised with. I go to work, not just show up in the building. I put up with the crap (and as my mom would say, there is crap in every job, except she would never use the word crap) so that I can have the freedom to take care of me and mine so that I have the ability to help others. If mastery is the feeling that I got this, then most of the time I am there but…. there is some self-doubt and again, loneliness.

“Instead of demanding conformity in exchange for safety, such communities keep our working lives exciting and us stable, ultimately helping us master our working lives” (Petriglieri, 2018).

Are you ready for some Ontario Extend stuff? In Ontario Extend, I have found a community and an experience that is both dynamic and supportive. If you read any of the recent post in this blog, you will already know that I struggled fiercely with the Scholar module. But my Extend West community was there offering clarity, ideas, and support. On twitter and through the weekly lunch meetings, I received new angles to consider and a very strong message that not only am I determined and on fire, I am capable.

Petirglieri’s article is all about tribes and their value. But not all tribes are created equally. Some tribes demand conformity that stifles growth. Good tribes inspire mastery.

Petirglieri (2018) lists three characteristics of tribes “that help us be masters of our working life:”

  • encourage us to show up generously in the world
  • let us take risks to try something new
  • raise the questions that help us explore the edges of our competence and identity, or send us in new directions

This is Ontario Extend. It is like the perfect elevator pitch for why you should become an extender! The Collaborator module shows us how to become part of the community and encourages us to both give and receive in our Personal Learning Network. The Domain of One’s Own/Blogging/Extend Activities provides opportunity to gently enter the practice of working out-loud and sharing our real selves. The Experimenter module and Daily Extends invites us to play, to try, to create and Technologist module takes us through a process of how we can extend these principles to our practice for the betterment of student learning. The Teaching for Learning module allows us to explore our identity. The Curator module  helps us realize that we are already curators and that our discernment adds value. The Scholar modules gives us a path to developing new competences and to using real data to improve our practice. And new directions?? How about open learning, Open Education Resources, Creative Commons, students as collaborators and co-creators, authentic assessment, Universal Design for Learning, accessibility and more tech tools than you knew existed! It is truly a work changing experience, if you let it be. And that is the key.

“Hard as you might look, my work suggests, you cannot find such communities. You must build them yourself” (Petriglieri, 2018).

Tall, old buildings and a tree reflected in a puddle in the street.
Photo by AC Almelor on Unsplash

Well, in the case of Ontario Extend, you can find such a community but you have to make it real. There is an amazing group of educators in the extend community – electic, passionate, inquisitive, supportive, expressive, brave, and most of all, open. But to really benefit from the community, you need to embrace the tribe. You have to become an extender – to expand your thinking, to increase your risk-taking, to enlarge your circle of colleagues, to stretch your comfort zone,  to reach your hand to accept the offered friendship and to grasp the hand of the next person seeking support. Ontario Extend built the first four houses on the block but it is up to us to keep building the community.

 

“And yet we need those open communities, those peculiar tribes. Without them, it would be impossible to remember who we are and to imagine who we might become” (Petriglieri, 2018).

Through out the past 10 weeks of my extending adventure, I have been reminded of where I have been and I have drawn on past experiences, I have been able to better define where I am now and I can see new paths to explore. I remember who I am as an educator and I am excited about who I can yet become as an educator. And best of all, I am not alone.

A crowd at a party with water showing their reflection in silhouette
Photo by Mario Purisic on Unsplash

Featured Image: Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash

 

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Making Sense of Open Education, Final Reflection

Today is the last day of the Making Sense of Open Education Mini-MOOC hosted by Jenni Hayman. It has been a 15 day whirlwind tour of Openness! I wanted to go back to the beginning and review the Course Outcomes and see where I stand in relationship.

Course learning outcomes:
On completion of this open course participants will have expanded their ability to:

  1. Describe the value of open educational practices (OEP) in their teaching and learning contexts
  2. Give examples of appropriate open educational resources (OER) for their practice
  3. Describe user permissions related to each of the Creative Commons license types
  4. Find and curate high quality OER for a course or small project
  5. Connect with other practitioners interested in exploring use of open educational resources and practices in their teaching

These were not numbered in the course, I added numbers to make giving my response easier.

My response:

One: Open educational practices add value to my teaching by allowing me the opportunity to tailor my teaching to the students in front of me now by broadening my awareness of OER sources that can better meet their needs in terms of accessibility and affordability. Beyond the choice of materials, OEP also leads me to consider how students can co-create materials and be curators of learning materials and how participating in this is a better assessment tool and holds more long-term value for student than disposable assignments. Digital Tools give me and my students the opportunity to be creators and give us the opportunity to share what we are learning with others. Because I see value in OEP, I am inspired to take action and advocate for greater openness in others and in my own institution.

Two: Can I give examples of appropriate OER for my practice? Why, yes, I can. I posted a prototype of a unit I am building for my students. It includes chapters from a OER textbook, open source images, and a CC video.

Three: Can I describe user permissions? Yup, let me do so with a Creative Commons licensed image:

Graphic showing various Creative Commons Licences.

Creative Commons licenses by Foter (CC-BY-SA)

Four: Can I curate OER resources for a small project? I did! I collected OER resources on Reflection into a padlet in a recent post.

Five: Have I connected with other practitioners of Open Education? Sure did and will continue to do so. I outlined my growing PLN in a post exploring what my connections look like. I also create a post outlining how I began to use twitter as a tool for connecting.

The Making Sense of Open Education has been a tremendously positive learning experience for me and I encourage you, my reader, to check it out soon as it will be set up as a self directed learning opportunity on Open University soon.

Featured Image photo by santiagotorrescl95 on Pixabay

Day 2 – Reflecting on Building an Open Community

Making Sense of Open Education: Day 2 Building an Open Community – today’s learning centered on understanding a Community of Practice (CoP) and ways to find one. This connects neatly with my professional development efforts using OntarioExtend and my beginning development of a Professional Learning Network (PLN).

Let me begin by saying that I am very new at this. I have been working on my PLN for five weeks using Twitter. I am still sorting out what it is that I might be able to contribute.

In the readings, there were two aspects that struck a chord with me. In discussing the challenges of  CoPs, Hayman pointed out that:

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Photo by Elisabetta Foco on Unsplash

“If you are a marginalized person in your local context and/or workplace, if you feel like your opinions and voice are not valued, joining a new community can feel very risky.” Making Sense of Open Education Day 2 by Jenni Hayman is licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license

 

I hesitate to admit that I am a marginalized person because there is a potential backlash for even saying so. I am a faculty member, as outlined in our Collective Agreement, but because I work in Student Services, I am often discounted by faculty who teach in the classroom. Part the reason is the structures we work under where faculty who teach are in the Academic Sector and faculty (generally counsellors and librarians) in the Student Services are in another sector. When surveys or registrations require you to “pick a school,” faculty like me who are school-less, cannot be heard or participate (unless you complain). When information is disseminated by schools, I don’t hear about it. Because faculty who teach are the majority, the professional development opportunities are geared to their needs. This and other experiences leave me feeling as an other.

I struggle to not feel like an other in Open Education professional development experiences as well because I don’t teach in a traditional sense. I do small-scale teaching with one time workshops, training tutors, seminars and other out-of-class experiences for students. I work on pilot projects that don’t fit anywhere else but this could mean that I have more opportunities to be open.

So yes, joining a new community feels very risky! I don’t know if I will be accepted or if I have something to offer and I don’t want to just take from the community. But at the same time, being new to this PLN building, I have found lurking to be a good strategy.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

“It’s also completely okay (you don’t need anyone’s permission) to observe the course and the behaviours and communication of others in the course as part of your learning. This is sometimes called “lurking” in the online teaching and learning environment, but it’s not a very positive term. Observing (as many new-to-something learners do) is a valuable activity in the learning process.” Making Sense of Open Education Day 2 by Jenni Hayman is licensed with a CC BY 4.0 International license

I am learning a lot by observing including how to participate, what kinds of things to post, how to respond to posts, and what the social norms are like in this online community. At the same time, I am finding thought leaders to follow, organizations of interest, technology I can use, sources of OER and lots of information about Open Education. Oh yea, and I am learning to blog too!

Featured Image Photo by Nathaniel Tetteh on Unsplash

NOTE: I am participating in a 15 day MOOC on Open University called Making Sense of Open Education and will blog entries to fulfil the activity requirement.

Where do you stand?

Native Land North America

On what land do you stand? Helen DeWaard’s recent post on Hospitality got me thinking again about what Indigenous territorial lands do I live on and territorial acknowledgements. I found this website, Native Land by Victor G Temprano (@nativelandnet). This is a searchable map that reports the nations, treaties and languages of the Indigenous Peoples for that area. Please review the About section of the website to understand how the project was started and how the map is created.

I want to acknowledge that I work on the traditional territories of : Anishinabek (ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒃ),  Haudenosauneega Confederacy, Miami and Anishinaabe Nations.Native Land Map

I am using the information in the post to suggest a Daily Extend to the OntarioExtend project. If it is accepted and used, I will update this post with the details. In the meantime, check out Native Land and peruse the resources below for some more thoughts about territorial acknowledgement.

Update: This suggestion became a Daily Extend on June 6, 2018 https://extend-daily.ecampusontario.ca/oext196/

Start here with a questioning view of whether acknowledging Indigenous lands is a good thing:

âpihtawikosisân. (2016, September 23). Beyond territorial acknowledgments. |âpihtawikosisân.com.

Shahzad, R.  (2017, July 17). Why acknowledging the Indigenous lands we stand on is so important | CBC News.

Jones, A. (n.d.). Territory Acknowledgement | Native Land.

Canadian Association of University Teachers. (2017). Guide to Acknowledging First Peoples & Traditional Territory | CAUT.

University of British Columbia. (2018). Land Acknowledgements in Teaching and Learning | UBC

Office 365 Planner for Groups

Asking for a Friend Series – Episode 1: How can I set up and use a Planner group in Office 365.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This is a collection of training resources “for a friend”

Lynda.com – use your institutional log-in to access

Support.office.com – Microsoft Office Support

YouTube.com

Blog posts

So there you go friend, (you know who you are) and if you need more, let me know (you know where to find me)!

Note: Extending my curator skills by sorting through all the stuff on the internet about this topic and picking out the good ones. I learned about curation at OntarioExtend.

 

Extending my PLN through Twitter

My adventures in creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN) is only weeks old. However, through OntarioExtend – the modules, the blogging and the Dailies, I already have a fruitful PLN growing.

First Steps:

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Photo by Daniel Hjalmarsson on Unsplash
  • I began with the Daily Extend. I created one and tweeted it. Then I watched for people to either tweet a Daily or like a Daily. If they did, I followed them.
  • I created my first blog and added it to the ExtendWest blog feed. Then I read other blog posts that showed up and found those folks on Twitter and followed them.
  • I attended two conferences in early May, the Open Education Summit 2018 held in Windsor, Ontario and the OntarioExtend’s ExtendWest Kick-off event held in Sarnia, Ontario. I added people I met to twitter. I tweeted about the events and searched #oes2018 and #ExtendWest and added people who were also tweeting about these events.

Second Steps:

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Then I started cleaning up:

  • I did not follow back everyone who followed me. When someone follows me, I check them out first. Is this person just looking to increase their follower count or do they have something interesting to offer me? If the person is creating new tweets (not just retweeting) and has interests in common with me – particularly in teaching, learning, technology, professional development… I follow them back.
  • I checked the list of people I follow and thought about why they are on the list. If I couldn’t come up with at least one good reason, I unfollowed them.
  • I discovered Twitter lists. I love lists. After I add someone, I put them in a list based on categories. It helps me remember why I added them and when I review, I can decide if they are worth keeping. Sounds mercenary, but you have to be worthy of my time and I will do my best to be worthy of yours.

Taking Further Steps:

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Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash
  • Now I am watching my feed and looking for people who people I respect follow especially those that more than one person I respect follow! I add these new sources.
  • I am also thinking about and looking for organizations that work towards goals that are important to me. Here is one to consider adding to your PLN: @Womenalsoknowstuff
  • I am also beginning to explore Twitter Chats and VConnecting.

The Big Step:

I can’t just lurk in the background, taking from my PLN and offering back only likes. I have to figure out what I can contribute. I am not sure what that is yet.

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Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

In the meantime, I am okay with the idea that it is early days and I am still learning about cultivating my PLN. But along the way, I am doing a lot of learning by observing. And of course, the Collaborating Module in OntarioExtend is providing a good road map. I am going to repeat this activity in about the month and see how my PLN has changed!

Featured Image screenshot from TAGSExplorer while playing with Replay Tweets was taken and decorated with TechSmith Snag-it.

 

Sirona Vapes After Dark

The title of this post is the name of one of my Vaping Shows. For the last 18 months, I have been part of a community that produces online broadcasts using either OBS or Xsplit for the Vaping community. So what does this have to do with creating a PLN. A lot, actually. I have been very interested in different ways of communicating online with technology and I have used other interests such as vaping and gaming to explore those technologies. I found that I am a teacher and a communicator where ever I am and I have been able to extend my learning through leisure activities to my work as a faculty member at a Ontario college.

Using Coggle, I created a map of the types of communication technologies I use in different arenas of my life (pictured below). I have been a full-time faculty for almost 11 years with another 13 years of part-time teaching and support staff contracts at St. Clair College. I have been an online gamer for 13 years and a vape broadcaster for a year and a half. I have been working on a PLN using Twitter for just over a month. Not long at all in comparison.

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I have more experiences in developing and maintaining a Personal Learning Network with the Vaping and Gaming communities then I do with the Higher Education community. My gaming experiences in creating a YouTube channel of instructional videos and my broadcasting experiences in the vaping community improved my ability to create videos for my work. Using chat through Skype and Discord with players from all over the world increased my cultural awareness of communication patterns and pitfalls that has helped me in speaking with and understanding my International students and tutors. Building reciprocal relationships though Facebook helps me to better understand what is needed to develop online connections on Twitter with other Higher Ed professionals. But I am still finding it hard to generalize my experiences and to understand the requirements of the Collaborator Module for Ontario Extend.

Perhaps part of this stems from my struggles in trying to create a PLN at the college with other faculty. As a faculty member in Student Services, I have found that Academic faculty and others in the Academic sector often don’t think of Student Services people as faculty. I am currently classified as a counsellor and while I may not be a professor, I do have a practice that includes teaching. I have an interest in teaching and learning but do not have many opportunities to meet with and talk with faculty outside of Student Services. The kinds of meetings we have and the sort of communication vehicles we use (email and telephone) do not lend themselves to community building or finding allies. Even our schedules make this difficult. As faculty who are scheduled 35 hours per week, we have regular lunch periods and most in-class faculty have, can I say, erratic schedules that don’t necessarily allow for a 12 noon to 1 pm break.

I will attempt to create a PLN map for the Extend Activity, I just hope I can figure out at least 10 people to put on it!