Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My history - in brief the extended version

Wordle: Learning Journey
I am currently working on my MANIFESTO and am trying to work out who I am and what I am about to put it down in writing to put forward to the world. A work in progress, once I work it out I will let you know

I thought it best to start with some history of who I am and how I got where I am today.
1971 I was born, it was a good year for me.
Primary and secondary education in Catholic schools however my family were non religious, completely non-denominational. I lived with my grandmother and mum in a terrace house in Paddington Sydney (the kind that could have done with some renovation). Many family members lived in the same street (uncle next door and aunt 2 doors from him) and I grew up an only child however often had many cousins around me, to entertain and tease me. Very few of my family were university educated, I had one older cousin who was School captain and went to Uni to study Arts/Law, I thought she was amazing and I knew that one day I would go to Uni. I don't know how I knew but as a kid I wanted to expand my vocabulary to be able to express more clearly what I thought of the world. Dinner conversations at my house were not centred around the Arts or worldwide current events, but that was okay. I learned bucket loads about people and their strengths and weaknesses by coming from a working class family.

My Education
My primary school education was sheltered, as it should be, and I was always top of the class. High school revealed that it aint so easy to be top of the class when there are plenty of other girls (yes high school was an all girls school) who have always been top of the class too. My HSC results were average - possibly based on my subject selection and scaling but I was not going to play the game, I selected subjects based on my interests and skill level rather than dumming myself down to maintain a higher average (it was all about 'scaling' in 1988). When I left school I went to TAFE to complete a Visual Merchandising course (Ticketwriting - the ancient art of scribing price tickets and Window Dressing). I always had at least one job to support myself in my studies and when I was 19 I headed off overseas to travel and work, I returned home after 6 months with many wonderful memories and no money. Of course it was time to move out of home. I decided to apply for a Uni course Bachelor of Art Theory (I liked 3 unit art history at school and I could also do some 'fluffy' stuff like painting and photography), I never expected to get into Uni but it was meant to be and I was a poor student living out of my family home, which was under 1km away from the Uni campus, needless to say I was back home within a few months.

University...continuing to be 'educated'
My time at Uni is remembered fondly, the campus was small and comfortable, with some quirky characters  (performance artists), different to the main campus which had massive lecture theatres and was like a mini city. I enjoyed many hours on the library balcony reading and sunning myself (mainly the latter). The little on campus coffee shop had a personal touch, there were always exhibitions on campus or in nearby art galleries, so I was immersed in art and culture. There were no exams in my course, just assessments ie. essays and reports, which kind of felt like I was cheating but that was also part of the 'beauty' of a fine art college. I considered for a time transferring to Art Education as I was fascinated with Art Therapy, but I was not ready to commit to another year of study. After 3 years it was time to 'get a real job', and that is exactly what I did.

Working life
In the following year I moved out of Sydney and got a job in a call centre for a Bank, I never could see myself working in that sort of environment but I have been working in the finance sector now for 15 years - go figure. I now live on the Central Coast and have been working for an insurance company in their local office as a Training Coordinator. I am one of those very annoying people who 'loves' their job. I enjoy imparting knowledge and teaching skills to help people do their jobs.

Where I am now
Over the past 18 months I have been on maternity leave from my job and I have enjoyed every moment, not only for the obvious reason of spending time with my baby, but I have embarked on an online learning journey. I completed an OER (free) online course through Otago Polytechnic (NZ learning institution) called 'Facilitating Online'. I have learned how to learn independently, I now have a clear understanding of the distinction between 'education' and 'learning'. I have been tempted to re-enrol in Uni to complete a Dip Ed but I have come to realise that I do not want to be an educator even though the line between teacher and trainer are blurred and I suppose I am an educator. I have decided to take on independent learning and am keen to use those resources at my disposal via the internet to guide me in learning about 'instiructional design' and 'learning theory'. This is an exciting journey but as I am only answerable to myself it will be a task of self-discipline and regular (daily) access. My current addiction to learning online should assist me in this learning journey however I must remember to stay focussed on the chosen topics.
The tools that I will use to monitor and record my work/learning are ...
  • Kim's thinking blog - to record my thoughts and experiences and chew on the info
  • Delicious - for bookmarking links to my research
  • A trusty 84c notebook for scribble and scrawling thoughts, references etc ( I am not yet ready to let go of the old ways)
I am sure I will pick up various other tools along the way. Wish me luck ....who knows maybe one day this info will all go into a Wiki and I will be able to present this in the form of an online course. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


As a mother of a child who commenced his schooling journey last year, resilience was a term that was advised repeatedly as being neccessary to develop in our child to hold him in good stead through his impending journey. Developing this capacity in our son has been a focus for us, as parents, over the past 2 years. It requires daily support and encouragement and is still a focus for us. So what is resilience?
According to Wikipedia ...

Resilience is defined as a dynamic process that individuals exhibit positive behavioral adaptation when they encounter significant adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress
I have recently listened to a podcast on The Engaging Brand, Anna Farmery interviewed Jill Flint-Taylor (episode 296), an occupational psychologist from Robertson Cooper in UK. The focus of Robertson Cooper's recent research was on resilience within the workplace.
As I was listening I was considering student resilience. Is there a concept called learner resilience?

Resilience can be developed however people come to a job/course with a level of pre-existing resilience so this poses the question, how does the manager/facilitator gauge the worker's/learner's resilience? Perhaps it is a process of trial and error where high levels of support are required until the manager/facilitator builds an understanding of the worker's/learner's resilience levels.

Resilience is very multi-dimensional in that people can be resilient in different areas ie.handle heavy workload but if their work relationships break down then this can cause them stress, whereas others may not handle the heavy workload regardless of their work relationships.
From a learning perspective can some learnes manage heavy reading workloads but crumble when it comes to assessment/exam or vice versa.

Back to the podcast..Anna was fascinated with the idea of 'perception' that Jill kept mentioning as resilience kicks in (is required) when neccessary. For example a person can carry on business as usual but "it is when they recognise that they have taken on too much that they turn (keel) over", their perception of how they are coping is changed. Is this when a student might dropout of their course or subject, the workload is perceived to be overwhelming so they quit. In OER courses where there is no financial commitment is it easier for a student to make the decision to quit?

Flint-Taylor suggests that we need to "..get the right balance between challenging people and supporting them, you need to do both". The research indicates that you have to be 'stretched' (challenged) to develop resilience and it is important that the manager/facilitator ensures they (the workers/learners) do not 'get stuck there'.

Further research (a google search) led me to bite-sized languages, a blog post that discusses the work of Professor Guy Claxton who refers to resilience as one of the learning muscles, along with resourcefulness, reflection and reciprocity. Apparently the work of Claxton has been adopted widely in UK education. Wikipedia talks about Learning Power which includes Claxtons work.

[Photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimmc/5160078443/?edited=1]

Sunday, July 25, 2010

From Andragogy & Heutagogy

I printed this article earlier in the month and have only just had a chance to read it. Surprisingly the info fits perfectly with what I have recently read re:Connectivism & p'learn'ing. The article explains how Heutagogy is a progression from Androgogy. The article is written by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon from Southern Cross University & published in 2000, so I am keen to research any further writings from Hase. There are several references for further reading in the article....that should keep me busy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Connectivism and plearn'ing

Don't ask me how but I stumbled upon a video on UStream by Stephen Downes titled Learning to Learn. Initially I was not sure if I would be able to last throughout the 85 mins but it was well worth it for the Aha! moment.
He briefly touches on Connectivism & goes on to explain plearn'ing (personal learning), which is the method of learning that I am following in the research that makes up the content of this blog.
His recommendations in the Critical Literacies course are...
Aggregate - bring in the information (Google reader)
Remix - record a piece of information somewhere, write a post...enter into a space that will become your own personal library
Repurpose - working with the content and apply critical thinking or creativity to make something of your own out of it.
Feed forward - publish this info to get the content out there
These steps are delineated in a course titled Critical Literacies

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Facilitating Online 2010

Finally the commencement of FOC10 in a few weeks. So much has happened since I was considering completing FOC09, I have had a baby and extended my mat leave until end Jan 2010. I am looking forward to involving myself in study and adult conversation.
In looking at the initial intention of this blog ....
"This blog is an online diary to assist me in navigating through my journey of learning about online tools. The information that I am collecting is directing me to more & more (& then some more) technologies, tools & techniques that I will be able to use as an online facilitator."...it seems that this journey of discovery of online tools & technologies has gained some perspective however something that is clear is the fact that the journey of discovery will be endless, as there will always be a new technology or terminology available to online facilitators.
I'm keen to commence this new leg in my journey of discovery & to network with an international group of students/facilitators who I can learn from.