This is my reflection for the module ‘Experimenter‘ for Ontario Extend.

I completed these three daily extends (although they weren’t necessarily in the list on the OE Experimenter module):

  1. Do you or does someone you know teach a course that requires a textbook? Have you made sure that there isn’t a nice, high quality, free, open option just sitting there in our Open Textbook Library? Go have a look and report your findings to us. If you are not teaching a course yourself, choose any course at your institution on which to do a check up. If you adopt an open text, or already have, report yourself!

2. What will be the title of your next TED-worthy twitter-trending viral-swirling conference presentation? Just enter a topic in Name your conference presentation! and marvel at the results. Go the extra step, and try those keywords in a search for open licensed images, and see what you can find for a title slide, e.g. searching Google Images on Toward Extended Learning+Rhetoric of Meaning Making with options set for open licensed results

3. Google Trends Correlation allows you to explore the frequency of Google search terms over time. Can there be meaning in that? More interesting is the Search by Drawing tool where you can draw any shape of graph, and it suggest search terms that match that shape. Try it out and suggest a meaning behind the results you found. Can you think of some ways in your subject area to use the search term correlation tool?

I have no deep rationale for why I chose these three #oext activities – I hit ‘random’ and these were the first three that popped up. I figured if I was experimenting, why not be surprised by the challenge and tackle it!

Dive Deep:

I looked at the Agora Project and completed a comic strip that represented my College Communication course’s three outcomes.

Made with Storyboard That

I chose this because creating a comic strip isn’t something I’ve done. I’m not a huge comic book reader so I’ve never really been interested in comic strip creation; however, I can see some value in embedding this type of quick comic strip into my Moodle shell for my course that outlines the three course outcomes. It’s visual, so it will catch a students’ eyes.

When I looked over the list of dive deep challenges, there are a few things that caught my attention that I’d like to try too — the course trailer, the ‘welcome to the course video’, create something using H5P, and I’d love to contribute to the Open Faculty Patchbook someday, too!

I was happy to see that some of the deep dives for this experimenter module had some activities that I’ve already done before. I’ve used Storify in the past to teach lessons to high school students about history or literature. I’ve created a GIF. I’ve used online survey tools.

Reflection for Experimenter Module:

I chose three random #oext daily challenges to do using the random generator on the website. I did this so that I was challenged to do whatever came up, no matter how hard or challenging!

For the deep dive, I created a comic strip because this took me out of my comfort zone. I don’t even read comics, let alone have a desire to build them. I see how three short visual panels could be of benefit in my classroom to deliver little snippets of content.

I like experimenting with new things. I read an article about ten years ago about flexible seating in classrooms and thought, “YES! I’m going to do this!” The following semester I got rid of all the desks in my high school English classroom. I created a flexible learning space – couches, chairs, lamps, plants, bean bag chairs, cushions, dining room table/chairs, etc. I even got rid of my teacher’s desk *gasp* My colleagues thought I was nuts. The students, at first glance, thought I was nuts but it worked out great!!! The students and I loved our new community space.

Essential Elements of Project-Based Learning Lorin Mayo, 2013

I read about project based learning in a journal article a while back and thought that I could implement that in one of my courses. The students had to identify a problem in the community, conduct research, find a creative solution to the problem and present that information in a broader context (outside of school community). I had resistance from my students at first because it was a different learning format than they were used to but by the end of the semester (and into their next school year) they saw the benefits of this style of learning.

I would like to experiment more in my college classroom. I feel more restricted in my course because it is a course shared by dozens of faculty. I feel that there is little encouragement at the post-secondary level to experiment; with experimentation comes failure and that doesn’t seem accepted. How do we push past this barrier? I see some teachers doing this and it is inspiring. Perhaps I need to discuss with them more how they handle any backlash, if any.

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