As we near the end of the first Make Cycle, the team of MOOC facilitators want to express our appreciation and admiration for the ways in which hundreds of you have jumped right into the Making and Connecting mix during the first week of the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration. It has been a joy to watch the activity unfold. You are all amazing! And we have only really just begun.
As we near this first week, in which the “making” part of the MOOC was on full display, we want to now encourage a slightly different angle of view. Think back now to the ways you created your visual representation of yourself, and spend a little time writing a reflection on the choices that you made, the limitations you encountered, the message you were trying to send. Consider posting your reflections in the Google Plus Community, and/or on Twitter with the #clmooc hashtag, and/or on your own blog space with connections to our Blog Hub. This activity is designed to give you space to step back and mull over the reasons you composed what you did.
In our work to begin to unpack the elements of the Connected Learning principles, we want to encourage you to make connections with others. The open nature of the MOOC can make that a little tricky, since you are working in different spaces at different times. So, we challenge you to a game, of sorts, that we are calling the Find Five Friday. The challenge is to find five people you’ve never met or five people who have a common interest. Then what? Check out the instructions.
The first Make Cycle was full of wonderful projects, and we wanted to take a few minutes here to showcase a few of the “makes” that seemed to gain traction within the community. This is by no means a complete list and we encourage you to share out any projects that caught your attention (maybe in the Find Five activity). Our criteria here centered on ideas and sharing that encourage others to move in a similar direction and how they connect to the principles of Connected Learning.
- We noticed a trend early in the first weekend that was wonderful to see. Someone would share a tool for representation and others would try it out. This idea of shared knowledge ties directly into the concepts of “peer supported” and “interest powered” work and play. For example, Frederik was an early sharer of Vizify, with his profile work becoming one of the models for others to follow. Gail used part of Vizify to create a video profile of her Twitter world, and others followed that, too.
- Books, and how the books that we read represent who we are, seemed to have begun in the community with Gabriella’s post with an image of her bookcase full of educational tomes. That inspired MOOC facilitator Chad Sansing to create a Thimble Webmaker project (The 10 Book Memoir), which he shared out and suggested others hack the webpage to make their own book display. Many followed his lead, including Melissa, who revamped the idea even further. When considered under the Connected Learning umbrella, this transfer of ideas and ability to adapt to one’s needs is centered along the lines of activity being “production centered” and “openly networked.”
- Although we had provided some suggestions for how to make avatars in our initial post, many people took those ideas and went off in different directions. Hajime did more than that. He shared his avatar, and then shared how he made the avatar, providing guidance and support for others. Again, this shows how a “peer supported” network can make big differences in our learning experiences, as we draw on the expertise of others.
- Like Vizify early on, using word clouds with images to project personality soon took hold. Janis was an early sharer, showing the possibility of projecting personality into an image. She used an app called WordFoto, but soon enough, others were trying out and sharing other ways to capture similar effects. Sara found another way into the same idea. Here, “design” elements — another important element of Connected Learning — influenced the thinking of participants.
- The use of imagery led to the emergence of memes, thanks in part to the creative hand of Jeannie. As others began to experiment with creating memes to spark humor and interest in the MOOC, we created a collaborative presentation for folks to add their own memes into the mix. Again, “peer culture” and “open networks” were the foundation of connected thinking as the meme idea took hold, and spread out among the networks.
- While much of the making this first week was digital in nature, there were a number of participants branching out behind the screen. Jennifer talked knitting; Anne shared her hot chocolate with us; Kristina sang us a song; and Ian posted a song mix. We encourage a wide mix of makes, and suggest you begin to “tag” your posts with key words. We want folks to find you and connect with you.
We look forward to what you share in this Make Cycle and the ones to come. The second Make Cycle begins on Monday, with a Connected Learning focus on “open networks and shared principles” and facilitators Stephanie West-Puckett and Karen Fasimpaur have some creative and interesting ideas ready to roll out. (Hint: toys.)
Now, go out and make something. Then come on back, and share.