Not that we need more acronyms in education, but le COOC, acronyme de Corporate Open Online Course, is another one to addd to the list of variations on the MOOC model. It is also a further move into the non-academic application of the MOOC learning model.

A l'heure de la réforme de la formation professionnelle, l'accent est plus que jamais mis sur des formations opérationnelles et certifiantes. Un avantage certain pour ce que l'on appelle les COOC. Mais d'abord…qu'est-ce qu'un COOC ?

see  http://www.journaldunet.com/management/formation/1155958-formation-cooc-entreprises/


In a Revolution, Things Get Flipped

This post first appeared at Ronkowitz LLC

The flipped classroom has been used in different ways for the past decade in education. More recently, the idea of flipping professional development has been experimented with at schools and in corporate training. In both cases, the idea is to rethink what we want to spend our time with in face-to-face sessions and how can we move learning before and after those sessions to be more self-directed.

I am doing a presentation this week at the 2015 Annual Member Conference hosted by the Connecticut Education Network (CEN) on flipped learning. This event draws participants from educators (K-12 and higher ed), municipalities, libraries, local businesses and State of Connecticut agencies. I asked for my session to be paired with another session by Edward Iglesias who is the Educational Administrator for Central Connecticut State University on Library Makerspaces and Community Organizations.

I want to not just talk about how flipped learning might work in any school setting, but also to have the participants try some flipped learning before and at the session. My flipped exercise is to ask those who will attend my session on "Flipping the Learning Model" to try a simple activity BEFORE the conference. By flipping this portion of the learning, we gain time in the session, and get to focus on the portion that I consider to be more critical to the face-to-face learning.

You take a chance in doing this - What if no one does the pre-activity? It's the same chance we take as teachers at all levels when we assign homework that will lead into a class session. As an English teacher for the past four decades, I have often had the experience of wanting to discuss an assigned reading and finding that only a portion of the class has done the reading (or purchased the book!). What do I do in that situation? Stop the lesson? Do the reading in class? Proceed with the discussion using those who did the reading? I have probably done all of those things at some time depending on the lesson and the grade level, but how can we increase the number of learners who complete the activities before attending the live sessions?

sampleFor this particular "homework" the assignment concerns Smartphone Audio Enhancement.

The task I have set for attendees is to experiment with one or more ways to increase the volume and sound quality of a smartphone using simple materials and no electronics or additional power.

They are asked to bring at least one result of their DIY experimentation to the live session. I made a web page with samples but I am hoping that a few people will go deeper and experiment on their own with original designs.

In our face-to-face session, we will test samples with a decibel meter, and we will discuss how this simple exercise can be applied to classroom learning.

Those applications are deliberately not stated by me beforehand, though applying it to math and physics are obvious choices. But getting other areas to think about the applications of this pedagogy - if not this particular lesson - is more important.

Overall, I want attendees to see that flipped learning in a classroom or for professional development or personal growth is less about when and where we learn and more importantly about how we learn. We know students are learning in and out of the classroom. They are learning what we want them to learn and what they want to learn. They are using traditional educational tools and methods, and tools they have discovered on their own and in ways we never considered.

In a revolution, things get flipped or overturned. Don't back away. Join in!


Maker Spaces and Libraries

In my preparation for presenting at the Connecticut Education Network's Annual Conference on May 15, I have been getting more into the maker movement and makerspaces.

My presentation is on "Flipping Professional Learning" but it is paired with one on makerspaces in libraries and my flipped activity for participants is from the makerspace world.

Makerspaces are frequently found in libraries. A makerspace is a place where people come together to design and build projects. Makerspaces typically provide access to materials, tools, and technologies that individuals probably don't own (such as a 3D printer and scanner) and allow for hands-on exploration and participatory learning. They are also known as fablabs (as in fabrication), hackerspaces (but don't think only of computer code) or tech shops.

The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement goes back a lot further - maybe centuries back. Your grandparents were probably DIY'ers out of necessity. But makerspaces strive to be more than workshops with tools.And libraries have evolved to be more than just collections of books. Libraries as community centers for people to gather and work together makes them a natural place for makerspaces. Those spaces are being reconfigured around broader learning and research needs and less around the management of a print collection.

Makers might be writing and illustrating a e-zine, creating an Arduino to program a robot, screenprinting t-shirts, or creating model houses with a 3D printer. Besides offering tools and equipment that are too expensive or specialized for most people to own, these spaces also provide a gathering place for like-minded makers who can mentor and collaborate.

As The Makings of Maker Spaces: Space for Creation, Not Just Consumption says “Maker spaces in libraries are the latest step in the evolving debate over what public libraries’ core mission is or should be. From collecting in an era of scarce resources to curation in an era of overabundant ones, some libraries are moving to incorporate cocreation: providing the tools to help patrons produce their own works of art or information and sometimes also collecting the results to share with other members of the ­community.

The maker movement rose out of hacker and DIY cultures and moved into community centers, church basements and libraries. But as the maker movement migrates into higher education, engineering schools have been a natural place for maker spaces, but in the best cases colleges are taking a more multidisciplinary approach. The space can be a meetup for artists, musicians, writers, engineers, architects, entrepreneurs and computer scientists to exchanges ideas.

Makerspaces: A New Wave of Library Service: The Westport (CT) Public Library  from ALATechSource


Getting Personal With Professional Learning

I read an article about personalizing professional learning (PL) that posits that, as designers and providers of PL, we tend to not take into account the expertise of the teacher-as-learner. What we do concentrate on is their weaknesses, rather than their strengths.

At my university, faculty and PL providers both grumble about the constraints on their ability to do more PL. Time, support and resources top the list of constraints. I don't hear them complain about personalization, but that might be because no one expects there to be any personalization.

It is certainly not a good idea for those setting up the structures of PL to be seen as "the holders of all knowledge."  Having the potential participants be involved in determining the current needs for PL is a starting place.  We often survey teachers before and after PL sessions. generally, the needs that most teachers identify are specific to their own classrooms. That can be seen as a flawed view that misses the needs of the many. But, Ben Wilkoff in the article series, says that "This is not a failure to see the big picture. This is the big picture... the more choices that are owned by the individual, the more personalized the Professional Learning can become."

Truly personal interests can be difficult to include in designing professional learning for teachers. Just as with "individualized learning" for students, my "personal interests" for learning are often quite separate from my professional interests, and they may not often overlap. But if the real goal of professional learning is to create a change in practice, then some personalization and self-reflection should be a part of the experience.

Professional Learning with an Edcamp Model

Professional learning (still called professional development or PD by some) has gone through a lot of changes since the Internet hit us. Virtual or online learning, webinars, the MOOC and Personal Learning Networks have all been covered on this blog over the years. 

An Edcamp is a kind of unconference designed for teachers by teachers.  Unconferences are not like the traditional conferences that many of us attend. The usual call for proposals and schedules set up months in advance by the organizers are not a part of the process. The bulk of the agenda is created by the participants at the start of the event. The events are usually held in a school building on a Saturday or during a school break with the district donating the space. There are also very few person-in-front-of-the-room sessions and more discussions and hands-on sessions.

All these events are based on the principles of connected and participatory learning. And that makes me think about how this model makes sense for at least some of the professional learning we do with faculty or employees. Edcamps and unconferences have a strong presence in K-12 than in higher ed and I'm not sure why. They attempt to bring teachers together to talk about the things that matter most to them. The closest model I have for this are some of the Teaching, Learning & Technology days we have offered at NJIT since 2000.

Sponsors are still a part of Edcamps and unconferences as a way to provide money for materials and refreshments, but they may not have special sessions or the tables and booths we are used to seeing. Oh yeah, these unconferences, as with our TLT events, are free.

On the edcamp.org website, they give the criteria for an Edcamp as:
- free
- non-commercial and conducted with a vendor-free presence
- hosted by any organization interested in furthering the Edcamp mission
- made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event
- events where anyone who attends can be a presenter
- reliant on the “law of two feet” that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

How might this model work for training? Dare I ask if it could even work in some courses? Is it too unplanned for those of us in academia used to highly organized events? Too many unknowns?