April 25, 2017

Weaving Knots

Knot making
String work
Mat weaving

Some of the things I was thinking about when colouring in Kevin's card that arrived yesterday. This is part of the monthly themed postcard project of the Connected Learning MOOC. Mat weaving has a particular significance for me now. In the South Pacific, this art has cultural significance. By looking at the weave of a mat you can tell where the lady is from and island/family connections. There are everyday mats (for the earth kitchen floor), the celebration mats (for my child's birth), welcome mats (for our home visits), grieving mats (for the crying ceremonies) and the memorial mats (buried with the dead). Family is a knot, not easily broken.

In this TED talk Paolo Cardini talks about monotasking as a simplifying process. Colouring is a monotask but it's not about simplicity but about weaving things together. I find while I'm colouring that my ears are more attuned to outer noises. More things I was thinking about during this activity.
Paper touch
Shape making
Colour combinations
Contents of this blog
Sender of the card
Listening to sounds
There are other things I would put in the monotask basket that are complex and yet simple at the same time. Playing an instrument, playing with others, crochet, washing the dishes, composing music, bike riding and Tai Chi. What they have in common is the movement of the hands in repetitive ways, working the memory and expressing emotions (I can crash dishes, believe it!).

In my work space, monotasking seems a lot harder. If the computer takes a millisecond longer on getting to the screen I want, I'm off and checking twitter, email or the latest online news. Monotasking needs to be setup, planned and organised. I have a maker table in my office and this helps me to have spurts of monotasking/making. This helps me prioritise and return to my desk and work through tasks for the day. The other thing that helps me monotask is a sequence. Preparing the instrument, playing the instrument, cleaning and packing up. Warm up, Tai Chi sequence, quietness at the end of the sequence.

In some of these tasks I have occasionally been in the zone or reached flow state. For this aspect alone it is worth fitting more monotasking into your day. I think it is an entry point to achieving flow state. This is where you are performing a task and everything else disappears. For a period of time, nothing else matters, you can't see or hear anything else but the aspects of your immediate task. Now that is a buzz!

See I wrote all that and didn't even mention the other 'm' word (Mindfulness).

April 24, 2017

Twitter Lookbook

A Sweet Breeze

a sweet breeze rises carrying a subtle scent spring in new england #sundayhaiku #clmooc
By @algotruneman

buds opening now some leaves, not large. just pale green anticipation #sundayhaiku #clmooc
By @algotruneman

@algotruneman Even small flowers close their eyes to drink it in; embrace the Sunshine #sundayhaiku response #clmooc
By @dogtrax

The Process:

1. Twitter Archiver from https://www.labnol.org/ Intro: https://youtu.be/MGU7azCYFpw Thanks to Terry Elliott for finding this tool.
2. Google Spreadsheet plus add-on
3. Export Google sheet to Excel
4. Import into Microsoft Access (save as .mdb)
5. Complete Word Mail Merge (Just coz I'm familiar with this one and it has a neat wizard to help)


Possible alternative:
Merging data into Slides https://developers.google.com/slides/how-tos/merge
But I never quite figured this one out!

Next Steps:
I'm working on collecting my Twitter poetry if I can work out the advanced Twitter command. I'll run the Archiver for awhile and work out the format of my Lookbook! Another way to curate!

All images: unsplash.com

April 12, 2017

As for those Digital Moments

I like these Moments as way of capturing conversations that happen in Twitter. Often the tagging in Twitter means that others do not see the flow or get lost in the side tracks and byways that can fork endlessly from one tweet. I like the presentation of this embed on a mobile device much better than computer/browser based. It's still not quite in a format that I would consider printing.

Here are two 'Moments' that have occured recently.

April 11, 2017

Common and uncommon grounds

Subtitle: The crow and skip bins, gems and detritus.

Where the crow flies

In this world of the internet of things
what is the common ground?
where are the free spaces?

"We plow the ground"

The snow is never seen here
to block my path
or blur my vision

Warmth comes in spades
breezes push the sunshine
without my helping hand

Thank our ability to love
thank the creator of seed
what is painted on the wayside
is for the wayfarers to read

My daily bread is here
gathered from the detritus
my gem is dug out with care
without the loving intervention
of teaching or tests
or the correcting of wrongs.

Wendy Taleo (2017)

In response to Simon Ensor's post, this is a picture/poem kind of reply story. This is not precious art, this is a non-precious open resource of limited educational value.

Comments after the post:

April 9, 2017

I am the elephant.

This image was used in the Conversations That Work presentation I virtually attended at OLC Innovate 2017. The presentation titled, Embracing Cultural Diversity in Online Learning Communities, by Biola University gave me lots of food for thought. I was to join this workshop-style presentation via a Kubi (neck in Japanese). I'm no stranger to sticking my neck out with new tech and I was excited to be able to participate this way.

Before the conference I sketched what I thought (hoped) would be the Kubi view. It was going to be different to a birds eye view of the room with a presenter at one end. I knew I was going to be at eye level as we had been given room maps and diagrams of the proposed setup. Before attending the conference I had received some training (watched a webinar) and been in conversation with Clark Shah-Nelson about the concept of using the Kubis during the Conversation That Works sessions.

During this presentation I was struck by the irony of the presenter talking about 'them' and 'us'. The discussion questions were:

  • Creating safe places for group online learning
  • Significant challenges in doing the above
  • How can face-to-face methods of engaging student diversity be adapted to online
  • How can methods unique to online be used to engage student diversity

The reality of my experience was that I found this a non-safe space. I felt alienated and alone with only a back channel to rely on. As I had audio issues there was no easy way for others to interact with me and we were left, eye-to-eye, mute. As I swiveled towards the speaker, they were interrupted in their speech with a surprised 'oh, hello'. I was told I was expected but it didn't feel that way.

 I was lucky to have a back channel with Clark via Slack and he suggested that I join the Kubi after the introductions. I had the live stream open on my computer but the tech was running late and I could only join at about Slide 8 of the presentation, introductions well past.  I heard the presenter suggest the topics and the people at the tables would choose. I was not in that conversation and did not know which tables were discussing which questions. The presenter appeared to be unaware of the elephant in the room and there was no facilitation of the 'head' that was going to pop up on the table. From the image below you can see me (the neck view) and 3 of the kubis that I had access to via the Zoom meeting link. I joined table 4, keen to connect with the people discussing the topics at hand. It was embarrasing, they could not hear me and appeared to be embarrassed with lowered eyes and avoiding eye contact. There is no keyboard to reach for so when audio failed, communication was difficult. I disconnected from the kubi and left a black screen behind.

I next joined Table 1 and after conversing with pen on paper (held up to the camera) I got the sound working on my end. At this point the conversation was all but over and I was purely observing. The crunch for me, came when the facilitated passed around a microphone for input from each table. Really? Could I hold a microphone? Was my opinion even sought? Again I was the observer, at eye level, very obvious but ignored. I disconnected from the Kubi.

I surfed two other areas in the conference that had Kubis setup but I appeared, again, as the elephant. I suspected that the microphones were muted and even my swiveling neck did not draw any attention. As you can see from the main view below, backs were turned and others were far away. While it gave me a lovely peek into the various rooms, there was no room for interaction.
It took a couple of hours for me to wind down from that experience enough to get to sleep (⏰ 3am).

In conclusion, if you want to be culturally inclusive in online learning, include people! Be aware of who is virtually there, use the tech to connect, get to know your audience and use all the classroom tricks like introductions, name tags and icebreakers!

More on Kubi
How to Zoom on Kubi
Elephant Image: Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen, Unsplash.com
All other images: Wendy Taleo