Yes, it’s Sunday. In England for us that means a traditional roast lunch with all the trimmings (think Thanksgiving, but every Sunday and smaller portions) and as much family as is around. This weekend we were with our three children, grandparents, auntie and partner in for a flying visit from Switzerland… labradors cavorting around hoping for attention or scraps of lunch – you get the picture. And in a post-lunch moment of quietness, I thought about connected courses, and Alan’s blog post about the ‘do’ came to mind. I watched the videos, and after bit of a busy week and felt a bit out of touch – what was I supposed to be doing? Was there something??
I went to the course page and read. Sure enough at the bottom of the page there were ‘makes’! I haven’t done any yet, and I’m not quite sure if I can fir those exact tasks into the week to come, but thought at least I could write about some recent experiments and connections with connected learning.
Last week marked a number of connections for me and my students.
1. I posted the last content-based session (Interlinking issues) of the first iteration of my music course online. MUS654 has been an experiment for me – throwing myself and my students in the deep end and overall they have really taken to it. I am not sure that running a course on creating a curriculum is necessarily the best choice if the course is to be appealing to a wide audience, but it has made the first inroads to reach a wider community and it has certainly encouraged my students to get out there and think wider. Having replies to things like this inspired reply from California and a tweet of a drawing from Kevin have cast their eyes well beyond the city walls to new possibilities.
2. on the back of that, I told someone about connecting. I had been just kind of getting on with it and unless you knew me or my students or were on twitter, you wouldn’t particularly know about my class. So I told the student’s union about it, just in case other students wanted to have a nose around. Heck, the idea of connecting and open sourcing things might appeal and then they might go to their teachers and ask for something along those lines. – you never know what might come from sharing an idea, and if nothing else comes of it, that’s ok. I’ll keep on truckin’.
3. Last week another class of mine connected with David Preston’s high school class. We all learned ukulele as an initial hello activity so we could play with one of his students and some of my students came in one evening to make the link. We certainly had a few challenges to negotiate with live cross-continental communication, and how it all changes when you try to play music collaboratively. I had my youngest son with me because it was in the evening for us… and not all the students could make it because of various other commitments. The fact that it wasn’t a particularly neatly orchestrated exchange didn’t particularly matter because that wasn’t the point. The students got the message that we believe in connections: they can do things, they can dream things, and it may take work, but so much is possible.
4. Some really neat
face to face 3D (as Maha would say) connections have been born over the past week. Some of Jonathan Worth’s #Phonar students are working with a cello piece that I recorded, and one contacted me:
and I arranged to take her to meet the maker of my cello, Malcolm Combes. How cool is that!? This guy is a legend to me and I love that part of his story is now going to be connected and told through another medium. I love that connections don’t always have to remain online.
I’m enjoying the ride. I love pushing out in new directions and the challenges are completely yummy – I know I’m learning at least as much as the students. Even if these specific connections weren’t born directly out of connected courses, the people involved in ccourses have certainly instilled me with a big dose of inspiration and confidence.
Here’s to the week ahead!
over and out.