#EDCMOOC Final Artefact by Willa Ryerson

If our goal as educators is to instill a love of learning and civic responsibility to the young minds entrusted to us, then I suggest we use every tool imaginable to accomplish this task. Connectivist Theory and Social Constructivism seem the appropriate means to that end. With all the possibilities that this digital world of ours provide, we as educators should embrace new technology and teach students how to search, filter, analyze, critique,and create from this sea of information. If we are successful in passing on the skills needed, WE will have created that well informed, rational and moral generation who will boldly go and build a better future. My Final assignment for this course is presented here – My Digital Artefact,

created at http://animoto.com

Dandelion in the Wind http://bit.ly/Vt7iuT
Oxycontin – another type of death http://bit.ly/134Gy8o
Israeli Agriculture http://bit.ly/YEcQ30
Mondanto’s GMO Corn Linked to Organ Failure http://bit.ly/WaqZEQ
Kigurami Girls Playing http://bit.ly/WUGKDN
Facebook Addiction http://bit.ly/15sBbQ4
Top Ten Reasons http://bit.ly/UE2MKN
Nicholas Carr http://bit.ly/Y3qqjF
Exploring Careers in the NG http://bit.ly/YEGbuc
New Military Technology 2012 http://bit.ly/155k7OL
I, Robot image irobot.wikia.com/wiki/sonny
Matrix Wiki -Neo, Trinity, Wachowski Brothers, Matrix.wikia.com
Utopia – Gawker Media, Creative Commons License

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This work by Willa Ryerson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


#EDCMOOC Continuing the Journey

I’m going to have to change my profile page and the About Me section in this blog.
EDCMOOC journey tagxedo
My journey, learning, and experiences throughout this course E-Learning and Digital Cultures, my first MOOC from the University of Edinburgh, has been a truly amazing one. My primary goal was to learn new tools to enhance learning for my students. I know that I have only sampled a few of the wonderful applications available, but I’m on my way! I also learned that I’m not alone in this endeavor to be a better teacher, a better student, a better world citizen. I’ve learned about technological determinism, Utopias and Dystopias, Connectivist Learning Theory, Social Constuctivism, what it means to be human, transhumanism, posthumanism and a myriad of things along the way that I just stumbled upon. What I want to point out here in this blog, is that the quality of my experience in this course could not, would not have happened were it not for the connections that I’ve made, my Fraingers, Friends/Strangers, a word coined by my fellow Moocmate, Ary

This core group of “peeps” as Laurie calls us in her blog, Broadening the Base,http://lsniestrath.wordpress.com/,has provided valuable insight, encouraged and inspired me in this five week journey. I could have done it without them, but the experience would have been lackluster. I haven’t had this much fun and learned so much in all my 30+ years of teaching.I learned many valuable things to improve my craft, but most of all, I learned something about myself and the process of learning. If our goal as educators is to instill a love of learning and civic responsibility to the young minds entrusted to us, then I suggest we use every tool imaginable to accomplish this task. Connectivist Theory and Social Constructivism seem the appropriate means to that end. With all the possibilities that this digital world of ours provide, we as educators should embrace new technology and teach students how to search, filter, analyze, critique,and create from this sea of information. If we are successful in passing on the skills needed, WE will have created that well informed, rational and moral generation who will boldly go and build a better future. My Final assignment for this course is presented here – My Digital Artefact,

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# edcmooc My Scottish MOOC

week 3 The Happening

Here are some thoughts after viewing the 2nd hangout with our tutors. HANG OUT HAPPENING February 15, 2013

Jen gave a few quick announcements regarding the Flickr image competition. That deadline for submission is Sunday the 17th. The page for submitting the final artifact is opening a week early at the request of some students. The deadline for that final assignment is Feb 27th. Jen reminded everyone to take their time, as even if you submit early, the peer review process can’t begin until after the deadline of the 27th. Hamish gave some STATISTICS gleaned from Coursera, GoogleAnalytics and from the Edinburgh survey at the beginning of the course. Coursera’s stats were that of 42,874 total registered- 7,392 were active users during the last 7 days. or 17 %. Outside Coursera- 3,939 visited EDMOOC NEWS. Of that number, 64% of the participants are from the United States and about 8% from the UK. Statistic from the Edinburgh survey show that  50.9% are from the fields of TEACHING and EDUCATION and 7.4 % are STUDENTS

60% of participants have POST GRADUATE degrees./p>

definitely some window shopping going on earlier in the course

SIAN BAYNE  discussed themes of week 3  HUMANISM IN EDUCATION produced a lot of chin stroking.

Some people were critiquing the assumptions of what it means to be human, examining selfhood and the responsibility to others

how technology fails to limit human choice

are we disappearing into the mists of communication?

Is there time to connect?



Christine discussed joining groups She likes the feel of the 60+ group  comfort and respect

Lots of ways to still connect with groups. Some introverts don’t like joining groups.



talks about Steve Fuller and WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN

2 different ways of thinking- NATURE  being part or equal with humanity, embracing the earthy eco systems with animals and humans

Other view is that we are different- UNIQUELY HUMAN and strive to increase our differences with technological enhancements.This view purifies the meaning of being human….  keeping animals and nature separate

Jeremy suggested reading Helena Peddison critical animal studies debate.. the  blurring of the boundary between animal and human suggest we are still having difficulty DEFINING WHAT WE ARE as human….


Evidences of the personal touch in education would be Google Hangouts, video lectures..  humanizing or privileging of presence

Monk, however, says there is a disembodiment in online learning..  you only learn about stuff.

Jim Sweetman critiques Fuller’s assumptions.  We really need to think about the NATURE OF REALITY and how we must PROGRESS.

Haven’t seen much in the discussion forums about the other idea about what is human… about humanity being more in touch with nature and animals

Process of MOOC development was discussed. This MOOC was an institutional Commitment and because the tutors were immersed already in e- learning it was obvious that they should develop this MOOC

JEN ROSS talked about why the team thought a Talking Head style was not the kind of MOOC they wanted. Hamish said that they CONSCIOUSLY CONSTRUCTED  something different.  Wanted to see how this way would develop without the PRIVILEGE of the TEACHING POSITION.  It isn’t a reassuring process  as Steve Fuller put it..: the lecture is an ancient artifice”. wanted some NEW NORMS  lots of different ways to experience a MOOC


First wave of Coursera in the UK

Flip side is the mooc might not be for people who don’t engage.

Hamish likened this mooc to A HAPPENING.   It’s not a course but an EXPERIENCE.

Someone tweeted This MOOC is an ART FORM

There was some discussion of Connectedness after the course ends.   Will people be able to access the Coursera site? Twitter hashtag will continue to be used.  Great that people would like to stay in touch.


Hamish said the tutors are looking for anything CREATIVE.

Take a look at the artifacts that the MSC students did  to spark some INSPIRATION

Jen said go back through content of course and build from that.  Be BRAVE keep in mind that copyright issues are a bit tricky. Christine says to think about key messages in the course. How would you DELIVER THE MESSAGE in a new way. Think about adding your Flickr images to the Creative Commons Group

Sian gave an overview of Next week  Being Human… What is precious?  what do we want to keep , how do we improve on humans?  trans-humanism

week 3 The Happening
Tagxedo of A Happening 2/15/13
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#edcmooc Sterile,Impersonal,Sinister,Cage …First Impressions of Week 2 Clips

After viewing this weeks film clips   “‘A Day Made of Glass “, “Productivity Future Vision”,” Sight “, and  ” Charlie 13″, I spent quite a bit of time reflecting and contemplating. We are asked this week to decide” who is set to benefit from the personal, constant attention of IT and who might lose out” We are also asked to present the analysis of the films in a visual way. I used  Animoto, to present my first impressions of the film clips.

My first thoughts on the film clip “A Day Made of Glass” was not everyone can afford this lifestyle. Yes, the technology provides a crisp, clean, efficient yet sanitized and sterile view of the future. That may be someone’s version of Utopia, but not mine. Everything in that family’s life is too neat, too clean, too orderly. WE all know that is not the case. Real life is messy. The future art class depicted in Corning’s film clip bears no resemblance to the art classes that I taught to my first graders years ago. Smocks or over sized tee shirts were donned to protect clothes from the inevitable spills smears and splashes that normally  occur when first graders begin to paint. Manipulating colored circles on glass and then viewing photos of objects on glass? That is not creating art. Art involves, textures, feeling, and smell. Art involves mixing and  manipulating color. Art involves actually using a paintbrush and paint.Art is #D not 2 dimensional. Above all, art involves creating something out of something else.  The only people who benefit from the art class in that film clip, was the Corning Corp… for selling the glass.

Microsoft’s “Productivity Future Vision” film shows some interesting uses of technology. Who wouldn’t want a pair of glasses that has a built in language translator. It certainly would make travel to foreign countries easier. Instant access to hotel registration, room keys and a manager  certainly benefits the tech owners. Again I question, who will be able to afford such devices? Microsoft’s claim is that  “this future technology will help  people make better use of their time, focus their attention and strengthen their relationships while getting things done at work, at home and on the go.” Strengthen relationships? The mother and daughter are miles apart and attempt to bond by sharing a recipe via Smart phone. This is not building a relationship, but a poor facsimile. Relationship building involves spending time together, talking, sharing, laughing, actually constructing the recipe and enjoying the finished product together. Mother and daughter side by side, not miles apart. Microsoft’s tools may make work easier, but missed the mark when they claim that it will strenghthen relationships.

Considering the question,”What is going on in the film clip, “Sight?” took some analysis, I had to watch the clip several times and even after discussing some important points in a Synchtube session with my “peeps”, I had a hard time understanding the ending. Perhaps that is, because I can’t fathom a person so vile would misuse a gaming product in order to control another human being. In the clip, a gaming addict uses a dating app to “score” on a date. Yes, the pun is intentional. When the date or game doesn’t turn out the way he likes, he manipulates and controls the woman  to suit himself. She wants to leave and gets up to do so, but is prevented by his command “STOP!”. Apparently the news clip we see on the TV during their date informing the public  that the gamer’s Company is under investigation, has merit. Here is a most sinister aspect of gaming and what can happen if unscrupulous people change gaming programs for their own benefit. Manipulation and mind control are not the kinds of experiences I look forward to in the future. It seems that dystopian versions of the future far outweigh utopian versions.

The last clip”Charlie 13″ represents both Dystopian and Utopian views of “social and technological forces at work in society.” No one wants to live in a police state where an embedded chip in your finger tracks every movement you make, where you’re constantly  under surveillance. Charlie’s friend, Jack, appears to accept such control as inevitable when he says, “the NAU have eyes everywhere, other ways of tracking us,even sensors in birds.” Charlie represents freedom.The world beyond the fence, his “cage” will be his salvation. He still has the courage to fight the system of government control and resists the idea that he must remain in the city to be safe.  It’s interesting that his mother gives him a compass as a birthday gift. Something useless in the world they live in, but something very important in the world he must escape to. Charlie’s life in the city will already be mapped out for him and all freedom taken away once that chip is embedded. Perhaps his mother subconsciously wants a better life for him. Giving him a tool he would need in a world without fence.,giving him a means of navigating in his world of new found freedom is her gift to him. The Dystopian world that Charlie 13 lives in can be left behind with the hope of finding something better, something perhaps utopian.


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Voyages of the Starship #EDCMOOC

One of my learning goals for this course E-Learning and Digital Cultures was to try out new tools. GoAnimate is one tool that I have had some fun with. I took some of the information put forth in last week’s Google Hangout led by our course leaders and created a StarTrekish video clip.

Summary of the First #EDCMOOC Hangout led by
Jenn Ross, Sian Bayne, Jeremy Knox. Hamish MacLeod and Christine Sinclair

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Pandora’s laptop

Well fraingers, peeps and other course members I have viewed the film clips and have a tenuous hold on the concept of technological determinism. Here are some thoughts about Bendito Machine III.

This delightful little dystopian clip suggests that worship/reliance on technology for technology’s sake will lead to an Apocalyptic ecological, social and cultural ruin. The film’s characters are mesmerized by the inane images on the television screen. Characters have no choice but to obey his/technology’s commands or suffer the consequences. Look what happens when the non conformist ice cream eater gets kicked out-of-the-way, while everyone else is exercising. NO work is done, no buildings built, just the ever-present machine spewing forth propaganda, silly jingles, and products to buy.When one machine out lives it’s usefulness, it’s carted to the edge of the cliff and dumped into the village landfill.At one point, one villager/Moses climbs the mountain to plead for more technology. This bigger and better machine is equipped with weapons. At one point, one of the machines seems to blast sirens as search lights travel over the community, suggesting the village is a prisoner to the technology. The film clip ends as the god/machine falls from heaven crushing them all. The theory of technological determinism is exemplified in Bendito Machine III.The technology in this film clip did drive the development of its social structure and culture. It drove it into the ground. Because of the community’s worship of the machine, nothing was built, there was no growth, no betterment.One small part of the clip that was interesting to me, was when the automobile ran over the villager,suggesting that all technology, not just the media type communication, will bring doom to civilization.

The second clip, Inbox, appears to be a feel good Boy meets Girl love story.

I believe that technology is not the only factor that brings about a happy outcome in this story. I think technology was the tool used to get the young man and women to finally meet. The shy man is reluctant to approach a prospective love interest in the flesh. The young woman looks with disdain and skepticism at the young men in the boutique. She turns to technology but loses faith even in that. When she is on her computer in a chat room , a too personal “hello dear” appears on her screen, so she slams her computer shut in disgust.In this instance, technology was a hindrance. However, the slow communication and somehow magical post-it notes that appear in her red boutique bag ease the woman’s fears and she begins to connect with her new friend. Their means of communication breaks down just before they set a meeting place.Human nature and hope seem to be the drive here and not technology. For the two young people go back to the boutique where they found their magic red bags.The store is closed and both young people are sad and discouraged but make a connection when they see each other carrying a red bag.If it wasn’t for the human need to make personal connections, the couple wouldn’t have tried to find each other.

I believe The film clip, Thursday, emphasizes the theory that technology is neutral.

Technology co exists with other factors that shape the development of society and cultural values. Yes, technology seems to have an adverse effect on nature when the street sweeper sweeps away the bird’s food. But the bird, thinking that a critical wire in a building’s circuitry is a worm or something to build its nest with, completely shuts down the high-rise and workers are bored with nothing to do because technology has failed. The bird uses a cell tower instead of a tree for nest-building, suggesting that even with the ever-present technology, ecological systems will survive. Another interesting part of the clip was when the man and woman meet for a date. They meet in a tiny park in that huge city. Instead of strolling through the park enjoying nature, they choose an elevator ride to gaze at the city light from high above.Technology and it’s uses are seen throughout the film clip. When the bird flies into the glass window,the man is surprised. The bird and man stare at each other acknowledging each others existence. At first the bird falls down as if dead, but then flies up to the high building to its nest. I believe this suggest that technology will not necessarily determine ecological ruin. This film suggests that nature will survive despite technological advancement.

The last film clip, New Media is blatantly dystopian.

The eerie music is reminiscent of a suspense or horror movie. The clip is filled with images of how the world has fallen into disrepair. Cars and buildings are old and vine-covered. Conduits and cables slither over streets and highways. The image of War of the World type machines roaming over empty city streets with towers of black smoke as a backdrop evoke feelings of desolation and ruin. An image of a man connected to one of those electrical conduits is disturbing indeed. This is a dystopian look at a future where The Machine has won the war.
Well fraingers, peeps, and other course members this is my first blog assignment for the eagerly awaited for E-Learning and Digital Cultures.
Sooooooo…..What do you think?

#EDCMOOC I’ve Come a LONG way, Baby!

After spending a tremendous amount of time reading blogs, perusing the internet for interesting articles, scanning twitter for more links to more information, I’m back to my blog. I’m loving this new computer…it’s super fast and I can find information easily. This computer has a web cam and Dolby sound, therefore I was able to spend face to face time at a Google hangout with some very important people… “my peeps”, my online safety net , my givers of inspiration.  Angela Towndrow, yet again motivates me to share my experiences so far. She stated in a most recent e mail…”One idea I have is if we had a discussion about our precourse connections and activities….how it started, grew and how this aspect of digital culture has affected our own learning experience and how we will take this back to our own teaching environment.” .

As stated before in previous blog posts, I am a novice when it comes to most digital and on line experiences.Limited, my experience was extremelylimited. Before enrolling in E-Learning and Digital Cultures 2013 ie. this massive MOOC from the University of Edinburgh, my primary use of my computer was e- mailing family and friends, using emails at work, checking Facebook once in a while and buying a few items on e bay or Amazon.

I had the Facebook account but rarely posted there, I just kept in contact with family and a few friends. Now I have a story to tell.

In that late November email,our course developers encouraged participants to familiarize ourselves with various platforms. My first new account was Twitter. There, I introduced myself and met Mohammed and Chris. Mohammed suggested we post objectives and goals. WordPress was the next account that I signed up for. Chris inspired my first blog post.He suggested we write about three things we want to learn, three things that concern us and three things we hope will happen as a result of taking this course. I did just that and voila my first blog was completed.

Chris also inspired me to try something new, tagxedo, and helped me upload it to our EDCMOOC school, another one of Chris’s creations. Oh, BTW, Chris is also our map maker extraordinaire.
Needless to say because of Chris and Angela’s help and encouragement I was able to step out of my comfort zone and move into unfamiliar yet exciting territory. Laurie St. Cyr Neistrath is another important connection. She sensed my angst over this new digital world I am now occupying and recommended that I sign up for a DIY Web 2.0 course offered by folks at PLPnetwork.com. I did that and now feel more confident in my abilities to navigate the WEB. I’ve spent the last few weeks reading blogs, finding useful articles and imagining what the course will be like when it actually starts. I’ve also added several more essential connections. People who inspire creativity, challenge me to think more deeply and take more risks. This last risk, that of creating a video of what a MOOC looks like to me, another challenge by our dear friend Chris Swift,was SCARY. I created something that people all over the world might see! I took a look at Ary Aranguiz’s Videoscribe and wanted to try making one of my own. I was happy with the results.

Learning with the friends that I’ve mentioned as well as Madhura, Andy, Kelcy, Nigel, Eric and others that I will soon connect with, make this my first MOOC adventure enriching, enlightening and entertaining.

How does  experiencing all this, change the way I teach and look at learning? It changes everything! The teacher is no longer just the giver of information and a guide, but someone who collaborates with  students and learns from them as well .Just look at all the learning that’s taken place in me from connecting with “my peeps”, my circle of friends.  Learning becomes limitless. We are no longer limited by four walls, or by just our thoughts. We are able to expand our knowledge exponentially by the number of connections we make. Limitless possibilities are out there just a click of the mouse away.

All in all, my precourse experience has been terrific.I’ve made the necessary human connections. Connections that  make learning happen.

Help! my pencil is broken…..and my teacher suffers from dementia

My blog title states that  this is a space where I will express my thoughts, feelings and progress in my upcoming course, e-learning and digital cultures. Well today’s blog will focus mainly on how I am feeling. Right now I am frustrated. This old computer is slow,lacks memory and continually causes feelings of impatience, frustration,and borderline anger. I rarely get angry and explode. I just simmer and seethe, grit my teeth and sometimes mumble. 

I am still feeling overwhelmed with the wealth of information I’m finding on the Net and from the blogs, postings, and twitters of fellow classmates. I am still wandering in spite of my effort to stay focused. Well this morning, I found the most wonderful site, a place where I can stay focused for a while until our virtual course begins. Here’s where I become frustrated and impatient. I knew this old computer wouldn’t stand up to the demands that I would be placing on it, so after Christmas, I bought myself a new computer.I had to order this computer and WAIT. That was hard enough.Right now this streamlined, beautiful, fast and full of memory new computer is at the store, just sitting there,waiting for the Geek Squad to add some software. I probably could have done that myself, but I’d paid for the Geek service for 2 years and wanted to get my money’s worth. Anyway, I have to WAIT for them to get around to doing it. Impatience rears it’s ugly head. 

So, I find this wonderful site full of wonderful articles and this piece of ….decrepit,bits and bytes won’t share it’s abundance of knowledge that I so desperately desire. It’s stalled and faulty memory causes me to become FRUSTRATED and instead of walking away and doing something else, I persist in hopes that somehow, after rebooting and waiting and waiting, I will be able to read this wonderful article and share what I’ve found with my friends.

And here is the the site edudemic.com and the article that I’ve found so appealing.Image


Now, that I’ve finally posted this. my feelings of impatience and frustration dwindle away and a sense of accomplishment takes place. 

Three fourths of this Visual depiction of Learning Theory sums up my life as a teacher for the past 35 years. It’s the other fourth, The Connectivism approach, that excites me. Despite the impatience and frustration, I will persevere and hopefully maintain connection in this digital realm. Geek Squad…. HURRY UP! PLEASE!

Quad blogger

My first attempt at quad blogging… Angela , Nigel, and Kelcy… I’m doing this now even though it’s out of order….We are having some very bad weather here, being snowbound is the perfect opportunity to begin blog #1
     I live in Oxford,,. a small town in Western Maine… gently rolling hills and home to one mountain that skiers frequent. I was born on the coast of Maine and although my husband prefers the mountains, I miss the ocean.
  I decided I wanted to be a teacher in the sixth grade. I was a good student but shy, so my astute teacher asked me to read to a first grade class while their teacher had her lunch. I was hooked. I attended our state University. Luckily, I got a teaching job right after I graduated. I taught second grade for 7 years. and first grade for eight years. I got pregnant later in life and decided I wanted to stay at home and raise this child and fore go day care.. We moved to the wilds of Northern Maine and bought a farm. There, I learned very practical things like how to grow vegetables and can them up, raise chickens, bake bread, raise and milk the goats, ride a horse and mend fences. I also learned how to stoke 3 wood stoves in that drafty old farmhouse. After nine years of trying to live off the land, I said goodbye to long, cold, often times 60 degrees below zero winters. It was, though, a great experience.One year, I home schooled my daughter.   She was so ready for 6th grade the following year, that she was bored to death! If only her 6th grade teacher had inspired  her and given her the extra push to take responsibility for some of her own learning. I loved the rural life and connecting with the university extension group which taught me everything I know about canning garden produce. I look back on those years with some fond memories….would I go back and live that lifestyle again. Not a chance.
    However,getting back into the work force was not easy. I am now an Ed Tech, fancy name for teacher assistant, in a Primary school. I’ve been there for 10 years, teaching in the Resource Room. Children with learning disabilities come to my room for extra support in reading and math. I love it! I don’t have the hassle of disgruntled parents or the headache of dealing with out of touch administrators. Teaching has changed since I began in 1972 .In some ways for the better, in other ways not so much. When I taught school, we did lots of hands on learning. We cooked, sewed, planted flowers, got involved in the community, We had fun. Some of that is still done in a few classrooms at my school, but not enough. Today, I see little ones stressed, competition is fierce even at the age of 9,  It seems like every time I turn around, pupils are being assessed. In my humble opinion, too  much time is spent on tests and assessments and not enough time cultivating a  true love of learning.
And this  very fact led me to take this MOOC. The instruction that I give is remedial. Many of the lessons need to be very systematic and structured.
Here is the type of instruction that I do every day .

Students are making real progress,but I want them to be excited to come to my room. I took this EDCMOOC  hoping to learn some tech tools to bring into my classroom. I want to add a little fun while learning necessary skills.. School can still be fun.
I came across this quote by Roger Schank  from Willrichardson.com .Schank said, and I agree.
“But learning happens when someone wants to learn, not when someone wants to teach.”
I think that more of my students will want to learn if they can use some web 2.0 tools to enhance their learning.
I’ve certainly had fun so far with my DIY Web 2.0 tools course that Laurie St. Cyr Niestrath recommended.
I’ll certainly have fun when our E-learning and Digital Cultures Course begins. I’ll have fun because I want to learn and I find learning new things exciting.
Until then, I’ll continue to roam the Internet in search of fun things.