TL;DR Version: This blog post announces the Networked Learning Collaborative and the rationale for this collaborative, connected work. The Networked Learning Collaborative is an open educational podcasting network. For more information about the shows, purpose, or how to get involved please read below.
Challenges associated with working online
Over the past couple of years I’ve feverishly tried to identify new ways to use digital texts and tools to connect with a support individuals as they try to use technology. Most of this work centers on uses of technology in educational contexts from Pre-K up through higher education. The tools usually consist of websites, blogs, screencast/screencapture tools, YouTube, and a steady chain of emails. During the past year I’ve started to wonder why I do this work in a silo. I post everything (probably too much 🙂 ) openly online. All of my lectures, drafts of papers, mutlimodal tutorials and other materials can be found initially announced on this blog, and then archived on YouTube and in the Texts and Tools website. But for the most part all of this work was created by me, shared by me, maintained by me. This logic runs counterintuitive to the way that information flows online. We know that distributed cognition is a powerful way to learn…we understand the power of the hive mind. Many minds (usually) are better than one mind. More perspectives are better than one lone viewpoint. In short, many hands make light(er) work.
The power of connected, collaborative thinking
To that end I’ve been talking with Greg McVerry a lot about the possibility of linking up and collaborating online. We frequently collaborate and share work online and off as we work with teachers. We also frequently have long talks about what could & should be done with technology personally, in classrooms, and in society. As I started to have these conversations with Greg I noticed that a lot of my friends and associates online were doing the same things that I was doing. Creating, posting, and sharing materials in a silo. Yes, we’re sharing publicly, and openly online…but for the most part we’re disconnected. To remedy this situation we’re starting up the Networked Learning Collaborative.
The Networked Learning Collaborative (NLC) is an open collective of educators that will push each other to establish and maintain new content and connections for global learners. At the core of the NLC is a series of “shows” that are routinely produced that focus on literacy lives and literacy practices. At this point we have four shows on the “network.” Our initial goal is to start up these four shows first and get them running, and then reach out to others in the field that may be interested in joining us. The format of the shows within the NLC is pretty simple. We ask that you produce your own shows. Members of the NLC are more than willing to reach out and support, or sit-in on other shows. We ask that the producer of individual shows regularly blogs leading up to, and following each show. We believe that these posts should be cross-posted to the NLC site and your own blog. Finally, we’ll be using Google Hangouts-on-Air to handle the video conferencing for the shows. This video will be embedded on the NLC site after the completion of the individual shows.
I’ll be hosting & producing two of the shows: TechTalk, and Digitally Literate. We recently had the first episode of TechTalk, and will hold this show on the second monday of every month. The first episode of Digitally Literate will be this upcoming Monday (10/28/2013) and will run the last Monday afternoon of every month. I’ll share more about these shows and the materials involved here on this blog, and of course on the NLC website.
The end result of this work is that we’re challenging ourselves, and future members of the NLC to openly, and regularly post thoughtful content online that has the opportunity to benefit learners globally. Additionally, were developing “best practices” and exemplars for what can be accomplished using these varied digital texts and tools in teaching and learning settings. Most importantly, were working to identify and connect with a group of educators for the purpose of supporting students and educators as they strive to include technology and literacy instruction in their classroom.
Over the next month the NLC main website will continue to evolve as we shake loose the WordPress theme. Our shows will all start up and we’ll post these materials on our blogs, and slowly begin the process of archiving them on the NLC site. Finally, we’ll begin folding in new shows and members of the NLC as we get the WordPress site settled. This should be fun. Please follow along here on my blog, or review the announcement on Greg’s blog. If you’re interested in joining the NLC or serving as a guest on one of the shows, please shoot me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Image CC by ultimatesensfan