Going on a Blog Hunt. #clmooc Marks the Spot.

It’s a blustery, rainy…and sticky-warm July day. And yet, I am still about to embark on a walk…a blog walk.

If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ve seen an abundance of the #clmooc hashtag in my stream. Hopefully, you haven’t muted it before I had a chance to explain. We’re right in the middle of the…

Connected Learning Massive(ly) Open
On-(and Off-)line Collaboration

(See why it’s shortened?)

It’s basically a connected learning summer camp for educators. There are a series of Make Cycles that begin (and only begin, never end) each week through July, and educators can follow their own lines of inquiry while making, experimenting, writing, and connecting. As you can imagine, it has turned out to be a choose-your-own-adventure space bubbling with ideas, rich with potential, and a little overwhelming to try to take in in one gulp.

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Photo by Alan Levine

This brings us to the #clmooc Blog Hub, and my blog walk (inspired by Kevin Hodgson’s idea of the blog walk and the results Deanna Mascle found on the walk she took). Since it seems that our Make Cycle #3 is focused on game design, I am going to change the blog walk into a blog hunt—a hunt for ideas that spur my thinking…

First along my way, I’ve met Aaron Johannes who is a graphic facilitator. I had never heard of this, but it resonates with the work I had done with Matt Hall and Nick Sousanis—and more deeply, Nick’s work recently published as the book Unflattening—to share the critical role of creating visualizations of our thinking while/during/in the processes of inquiry. This is what Aaron does for groups—on the fly graphic representations of a conversation or strategic planning meeting. What a powerful layer of understanding that must bring!

So, in his post about the rounds of image remediation he did in Make Cycle #2, his line about helping others communicate through graphics struck me:

I’ve been teaching drawing as communication to adults, and it’s always fascinating to see who is scared of what.

Drawing is one mode of communication that we’re okay letting people be nervous about. Speaking to a large group is another. Social media is a venue we let people be nervous about—at first. But when it comes to writing? That’s just a basic skill. Sure, publishing it to a peer group or sending it off to outside review—those we can be anxious to do, but writing on the day-to-day. Where’s the space to be nervous about committing a thought to paper? To feel locked in to a certain phrase and logic? I mean, I don’t want to create problems where there are none. But I wonder what acknowledging some of the trepidations of composition with the written word could do. It sounds like Aaron lets people air those about drawing and sits side-by-side in their risk taking, as they work through their fears.


Field note #1: Okay, so that was nearly an hour. Boy, the twists and turns my mind and mouse took as I "walked" through Aaron's blog! I am going to have to cut my walk "short" and head back to work-land. One more for today, but then I think I am going to have to write up my blog hunts more often. The ideas are far less fleeting as I am writing and finding links to bring them together.

Next up, I’ve met Barry Gelston. I have taken note of several of Barry’s “makes” posted in the CLMOOC G+ Community, and have been excited to see someone focused on math education involved in CLMOOC. And since I was just over at Aaron’s blog thinking about drawing anxiety, I immediately thought of a tweet Barry sent out last week.

Math, talk about an area where we let people run wild with anxiety…perhaps past the point of productive worry…

I am excited to follow Barry’s work this week because he began his first post this Make Cycle, which is focused on thinking about systems and game design, by sharing an idea of a make, and more importantly, this short line:

For this week’s #clmooc make cycle, I am going to pace myself to enjoy the iterative process.

This reminded me of a couple of conversations. First, during the conversation with Paul Prior that the UI Writing Project shared during Make Cycle #2, Paul talked about how education is typically designed for regulation and control (my words, not his), but that is not how people learn. Rather, it is through these “iterations” that Barry is talking about, as we mediate and remediate our understandings that we shift in our understandings. (Actually, I remember Terry Elliott saying something to this effect in a blog post comment somewhere as well. If someone can find it, I’ll link it here.)

We should be rethinking education as play, not as some sort of transmission of something into somebody’s head, which is one way we’ve thought about it. We do program computers that way, but that is not how humans develop.

Barry’s intention to pace himself—and enjoy that pace—reminded me about a short conversation I was having with Simon Ensor just this morning on Twitter about the pace of making and writing. I love the idea he shared in the CLmooc “What are you making right now?” FlipGrid right afterward:

CLmooc is not really a question, for me, about doing a series of tasks. It’s enabling me to have a palette from which I can take a color or two, if I choose, and mix them up and make some sense for me.


Field note #2: I deem this blog hunt concluded....and successful. I easily found five ideas, people and connections that are going to continue to influence my work and life. (So, that means this counts as my #F5F right? Yes, I know the irony. I posted the prompts, but haven't yet posted my own #F5Fs.) And on that note, I leave you with a fun #clpoem by Sheri Edwards.
a poem after Robert Frost by Sheri Edwards

Note: The featured image of this blog post, “Life is not plotness, not pointless” was posted by Karla Schroeder as part of the #silentsunday series in CLmooc. See all the cool things happening there? You really should join us!


As always, I apologize that WordPress has begun to force ads on each post. Please ignore any ad that follows. I have not vetted and do not support whatever is advertised below.

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3 thoughts on “Going on a Blog Hunt. #clmooc Marks the Spot.”

  1. I love the way that you integrate other people’s thoughts. That is a real super power. To me, everything that you discussed is the core of the challenges in learning. We hear lots of discussions about changing to a “growth mindset,” but the tools are often left off. Not sharing these tools create universal issues that come out more obviously in Math. Our education system which has depended on memorization has come up short.

    Our role as content transfer masters has come to an end. I feel strongly that, how we create, iterate, remediate, and enjoy the process of making and learning is the lesson in education today.

    I LOVE the phase of education that we are in!

  2. Anna, I enjoyed following along with you on the blog hunt. Thanks for sharing the poem. I am amazed at the many directions and conversations that burst forth with each make. It shows how connected play and sharing in person or online enhances our learning.

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