Setting Course with a Group of SEACCRs

Image: Captain with a Sextant

the captain on sextant – cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Olaf Arndt

Some Thoughts on Twitter

Despite discovering Twitter early, it took a while for me to even buy into the concept and get started. For the longest time, I have had a rather love/hate relationship with Twitter, going through spells of high volume tweeting and months of absence. I have experimented with the platform in a number of ways over the years, following live events, live tweeting events, the two screen experience, Twitter chats, amongst many other uses and I still remain a bit ambivalent. However, I find that I am using it more often now than I have ever, of course, after it may have lost its cool.

Still, for things like MOOCs and Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), it has kind of remained the goto tool. I must admit I like it a whole lot better than Google+, which also leaves me feeling pretty ambivalent. Depending on the network of people Twitter remains a pretty powerful way of interaction. In the SEACCR MOOC, this is proving no different.

Scanning the SEACCR Community

The group of participants is made up of a wide array of educators at all grade and tech-savvy levels, mostly from Alaska, but Twitter seems to be the glue that professors Lee Graham and Anne Jones are using for the course. Since there are a number of new tweeters, I thought I would create a list for the participants that I could locate that would be good for the common good.

Looking for Ways to Contribute

I have never really used any of the Twitter aggregation, newspaper-like sites, such as or Tweeted Times. Yet the scale of the SEACCR effort seemed like a good reason for trying one. So I created a SEACCR Tweeted Times page based on the list to capture the class Twitter activity in an attractive way. I still need to investigate what Tweeted Times offers, in terms of features, but I thought I would try something new like may of the other participants are doing,

Honestly, I tend to read a lot more on my iPad than my laptop, and my tool of choice on the iPad of late is Flipboard, but I thought a SEACCR Tweeted Times page could serve the class. I know that Internet connectivity through Alaska can be available at wildly different levels, so a newspaper-like page might be a good way to take in tweets generated from the class more visually in a scrolling scan to determine what links and resources might be worth pursuing. It is early still and I got a little feedback, but I am curious to find out if other SEACCRs find it useful.

Modeling a Participatory Culture

First, I must admit that I really like the readings that were selected for this week. Despite it being a MOOC, I still always kind of feel a compulsion to read all the texts the instructors have selected. This is almost never practical, but that understanding never lessens my desire to read all of it. This week, I have actually made a pretty good dent in the selections. Here are some quick thoughts on some of them.

I mentioned in a previous post how much I liked the first piece “10 Things Every Educator Should Know About Research.” In fact, I suggested it to a few colleagues. I liked how the authors addressed a lot of the counter-arguments that I often hear from fellow teachers. It also included some great reminders about how to engage with academic research, which is a far cry from this recent post, “Making Sense Out of Educational Research,” in Edutopia. While I think Dr. Richard Curwin raises some interesting points he falls a bit victim to his own biases, and I think oversimplifies for effect. He would do well to read “10 Things.”

I think I may have read “A Teachers Journey with Research” previously. This article is a good entry point for anyone new to the idea of teacher research. Having a history with the National Writing Project, I could certainly key into her experience readily. However, I don’t think that participating in an Invitational Summer Institute with a local writing project is necessary for understanding the piece, it certainly would deepen in it.

A genuine plus to be gained from “Becoming a Teacher Leader through Action Research” is that it almost provides a kind of road map for how to engage in action research, constructing a frame  for how to conceptualize the doing of a project. I think reading this article might have helped me in the early stages of my project last year, in that it delineates the stages with sharper clarity and directness than I remember receiving.

In both the study selections “Teacher Inquiry” and  “Teacher Research and the Problem of Practice” I appreciated the scholarly discussions defining the concept of action research with a variety of nuance. Each makes great use of the readings that they included in their work. I tended to find those sections more compelling than the individual data that they were exploring.

Other contributions I managed to achieve with the burgeoning community included reading others blogposts and commenting. I even received a comment myself on my first post, which was quite nice. It is fascinating to see the array of participants and how they have been navigating the tasks. With all of the different levels of tech-savvy it is a great reminder of how complex and fast everything can move in open courses and how overwhelming it can be for someone newer to the edtech fold. While I have certainly been there, I feel like I get increasingly better at managing the near-constant flow of information that can be generated. Fortunately, this course has a smaller more intimate quality that is kind of its own governor of the flow, as well.

Jumping into the whole experience is definitely inspiring me to try some new things, which has definitely been fun. In that vein here is selected set of tweets, using Storify to document some of my contribution to the community, as well. Apologies in advance for the length, and I am still not sure how best to export or embed it into a post like this.

Tweets of a #SEACCR – Week 1

Again, trying out some new tools as a need is established. I have long known of Storify but never thought of a good reason to use it. Documenting the interactions and contributions to the #SEACCR community seemed to to be a good opportunity reason to play.

  1. Here, I thought it would be a nice thing to promote some of the blogposts that I read and inspired a comment. Still, botching the links for some reason. Need to get that sorted.
  2. @aqavzik nice work getting to the ethnographic roots of action research in the post –… – tried but couldn’t comment
  1. #seaccr @lgbanner does a lovely job stitching together the readings from the week… – classmates take a read
  1. #seaccr @thelearningcube made an interesting video exploring his understanding of action research – classmates should take a look
  1. Positive feedback like this, makes the contribution seem worthwhile. I hope it is useful to the whole community.
  1. RT @akh003: Experimenting with the #seaccr Twitter list & trying as a way to read tweets> Great view of our community
  1. @ifjdl Thanks. Glad you like it I just tried displying the list with – wondering if it will be usable
  1. This list is great. #Bookmarkit RT @akh003: Just assembled a #seaccr Twitter list…
  1. Here I just happened to recognize a resource that was being discussed. Making some rookie link errors in my tweets, however.
  1. @ifjdl @ak_leeg BTW the guys behind that project have a book too – Making Thinking Visible… interesting #seaccr
  1. @ifjdl #seaccr I have never seen this! Will look at it – it sounds very worthwhile!
  1. #seaccr @ak_leeg Check out –> Thinking Visible…
  1. As I was scanning the list for activity it occurred to me that this might be a good opportunity to try out one of the Twitter newspaper services. Giving the content and resources tweeted by the #SEACCR community a slightly more attractive look and feel. It was a sImple case of idea meeting opportunity.
  1. Experimenting with the #seaccr Twitter list & trying as a way to read tweets – what do #seaccr folks think?
  2. SInce a number of participants seemed new to Twitter, and the group is a bit smaller in scale, a list seemed like a great way to organize the course’s activity.
  3. Just assembled a #seaccr Twitter list…
  4. I got a bit of a later start, jumping into the mix closer to the week’s end than the beginning and wasn’t quite sure exactly how the deadlines were working. Still, I wanted to jump in straight away.
  5. New Blogpost: Continued Action Research as a Practice #SEACCR

Ultimately, I haven’t figured out if the significant time difference between being on the East Coast while most of the participants are in Alaska is an advantage or disadvantage. That might take a week or two to sort out.

Contemplating a Course

I am also still thinking about what angle I want to pursue in my own work. It will definitely be an extension of the work I began last year about the teaching of writing. During that work I was devouring a lot of reading, investigating the work of James Moffett and the Sydney School (David Rose and J.R. Martin), as well as  gaining a beginners grasp of genre theory, systemic functional linguistics, and key literacy features in the content areas. It is going to take some more thought.


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