Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning Blogger

For me the best way to learn is to teach. This blog is for my Online Facilitation Course starting on March 07. I'm going to create a new blog to teach myself and others if they wish the blog on learning the social media tools and other tools to best show the "How To's of learning

Some of the key features of Blogger I need to learn
  • Images - uploading images, pasting images where I want them
  • customizing your blog
  • formating your blog
  • rearranging elements on your blog
  • adding social media tools, slideshare, videos, flickrs pictures
  • changing the template
  • using html ( a little bit)

As I go through the learning in my "How To" blog I will make the adjustments I just learnt on this blog.

I will post the link to my new "How To" Blog this week.

So much to learn (sigh) but I'm curious to see how all of this will turn out.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Here I Go Again...

If anything, I'm persistent. On March 07, 2011 the Facilitating Online 2011 course will begin again. I'm going to try to complete it ... again. This time I may have greater chance at finishing the course; in March I will be doing a series for Training Media Review, a magazine I have been writing for, for the past eleven years (yikes, time goes by fast) on Web Conferencing Tools, and Online Faciliatation. The course runs till July 08 2011 which is better than last year when it started around that time. Summer is time off and family and friends so I had a late start and never managed to catch up.

Out of the three levels of participation, I have chosen to be an informal student. I get to access the course materials and join the course. The fee for facilitated students allow you to receive focused and personalized learning support, full access to the course web conferencing platform and email group as well a certficate of participation when they complete the course. If you choose to become a formal students then you receive assesment services and formal credeits for course completion.

My interest is to see how well I can participate and contribute even though I'm just tagging along. It will interesting to see how far I get before I decide to upgrade my status.

By the time this course starts I should know more about how to use Blogger and Twitter. These kinds of courses are fabulous but you really need to learn these tools to feel like a part of these course whatever fee structure you choose.

So, wish me luck.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week 8 Webinar with Dr. Wayne Mackintosh

I think this blog post would have been better titled "What Professionalism Look Like"

The guest for this weeks presentation was Dr. Wayne Mackintosh a key memeber in the development and promotion of Wikieducator, a wiki that this course Facilitating Online 2010 curriculum is offered. Part of the assignments in the Facilitating Online course is primarily for the paid participants to practice facilitating sessions using a variety of web conferencing tools with the final assignment of facilitating an online event in the course mini conference

Both Malcolm Lewis and Claire Thompson, two of the participants in this course hosted this weeks presentation.

Despite how well prepared they were, the key learning for me is what you do when everything seems to go wrong and it started to go wrong almost from the beginning.

The web conferencing tool of choice was DimDim (free version) which may have looked good but when the rubber hit the road, DimDim didn't deliver and there a huge gap between when we were suppose to start and when the decision to go to the back up plan was implemented.

And this is when we learn.

As much as I felt for both Claire and Malcolm, it was how they both handled the problems is what we can all learn from. I'm sure they were both screaming inwardly, but they were outwardly cool and calm. Their behavior in working to deal with the problems of audio and slide change made us all want to be there to support them.

Which proves that as wonderful as technology can be, you need to have multiple back-up plans and alternative ways of dealing with potential problems. I wonder if we have a wiki made up for all potential problems and alternative solutions.

In the end we all migrated to Elluminate which this course uses, and the problems still continued with the slides not being able to upload. Claire in the end used Elluminate's screen sharing feature from her desktop to show the slides as Dr. Wayne Macintosh did his presentation

Real Learning is all about experimenting, exploring and discovering a variety of alternative ways of moving forward. In the end, it is the presenters, facilitators behavior that we all take a page from and model. Claire looked like she may have had previous practice but it doesn't take away from her skills and how she translated those skills into action. Although you don't want to see people go through these kinds of problems, this is the best way to learn. It's like the Olympics, they all look wonderful; we just don't see the immense effort these athletes go through to get a chance at the podium.

So congratulations to both Claire and Malcolm. You showed us what true professionalism looks like.

So I'm curious ....

  1. What back-up plans do you have in case things go wrong when you faciliate?
  2. How do all these problems and possible solutions get documented?

For those who want to learn more about DimDim, look at both Sara Stewarts blog post on How to Use DimDim and Claire Thompson's screencast created by a free web-based software called Screenr

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Zealand's Earthquake - Take Time to Appreciate

Last week, a number of people from several of my online learning courses who live in Christchurch, New Zealand got to experience what people hope they never have to experience ... an earthquake. In a matter of seconds, somes homes previously safe and secure were now in rubble.

Michael in this group who experienced the earthquake was lucky. His children and wife are safe; his home is still standing and as far as he can see, the structure is still sound.

This is why I love the internet, although it can be a time hog, it always comes down to the people you meet and the lives, albeit from a distance you share. In times like this, it is that sharing that makes you appreciate what you have.

In the spirit of the generousity of sharing, Michael shared this link that gives the story of some of the devastation that some New Zealanders are currently experiencing. It's heartbreaking (the loss of those historical buildings) and yet it shows so much hope. There are two pictures with dogs in them (I'm a dog lover so of course I notice those pictures) and one I think the most telling someone pouring coffee to a police officer. People are good when put to the test. We just need to hear and witness those kinds of stories more often.

Although I hate lectures, I can't help but be moved my these pictures and say 'take time to appreciate your loved ones. We think people will be there forever. Like this earthquake, it can take only a second to lose someone you love. We can replace things, we can never replace those we love.'

So ... here's my question
In what ways do I show the people I love and yes take for granted, how much I appreciate them and how often?

Something we should all be asking

Monday, August 30, 2010

Week 7 - Late Again

"Motivation is a fire from within.
If someone else tries to light that
fire under you, chances are it will
burn very briefly."
Stephen R. Covey

I'm late again!. I know I have a million and one excuses but the most dominate is why does the Facilitating Online Course start in the summer when most of us are on holidays. Okay, this has been my one sentence of whine (sigh)

Today I have made my peace with the starting date of this course; it's time to move on because I'm getting extremely boring and annoying to myself and since I can't escape me, it's best to change the attitude.

I need to take control of this course by taking charge of the action steps I take. For me, the best way to do that is to get myself organized and make a 'To Do' list which turns into a 'Fait Accompli' list. I'm a much more focused learner when I make lists of what needs to get done at the beginning of each week; that way I'm able to visually see what I have to do, what I have done and what I have yet to do by the end of the week. Checking each item off my list when it's done both motivates and gives me confidence to, as Stephen Covey puts it "begin with the end in mind."

Action Step(s)
I'm going to take some of what I learnt from the PBWorks Summer Camp 2010 and the learning technique I used to complete the summer camp and create a PBWorks Wiki using a table to itemize the activities I need to complete each week for this course schedule starting with Week 7 and work my way backwards to Week 6, Week 5, Week 4, Week 3, Week 2 and anything in Week 1.

In the end it's up to me to get and sustain my motivation. After all when you break down the word 'motivation' you get 'motive' and 'action.'

So, I'm Curious ......
What's your motive to encourage the action needed to complete this course?

PS. Wish me luck. I hope this works.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Role and Skill of a Facilitator "Invites You In"

One of the ways to improve my facilitation skills, other than practice is to learn from those who are good facilitators themselves.

Sarah Stewart, our instructor and facilitator for this Facilitating Online course is a good example. Given that I'm somewhat late in entering this course, blame it on having a great time with my family this summer, I'm unable to give further examples and showcase people within this course Thank goodness for the edit button in Google Blogger. I can come back and edit this post anytime I want. With a bit of time I will be able to offer more insights within our group. On the other hand I may just write a post for each person within the group; afterall we are all learning together and what a wonderful way to recognize and to draw out insights and learnings from people within this course.

Ways of showcasing the people in this group
  1. Support them in their presentations
  2. Share what we have learned in our private practices
  3. Add additional resources I have found through commenting on their blogs, blogging on my blog and putting those resources on my PBWorks wiki I have just created for this course.

Other ways to learn

  1. Introduce other online facilitators from outside webinars and courses I'm involved and will be involved. Since this course ends at the end of November, I will have at least two courses I will be involved in.

May I Introduce Steve Hargadon?
Steve Hargadon is a Social Learning Consultant and host of the Future of Education interview series. On Monday August 23, 2010 he interviewed Amber Mac a technology host, journalist and author of Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business, a book I'm currently reading. Amber Mac for some very good reasons was late and Steve Hargadon's skills and role as an online facilitator became visible.

When you experience the skills of a good faciliator, you never think the work involved in mastering the skills nor do you even think the importance of the role required to make participants feel welcome. Having experienced Steve Hargadon's skills as an online facilitator, made me very aware of my role as a facilitator and the skills I need to practice.

The Role and Skill of a Facilitator
Whether you are an online or classroom facilitator the role and skills in this instance is the same. The role of any facilitator is make sure that the time spent by the people who made the effort to show up is worthwhile.

Here are some of the skills I noticed Steve practicing. The event was suppose to start at 4pm EST my time. We were told that Amber Mac would be late and the following skills became visible.

  1. Be prepared
    Things happen, electricity goes out, technology is problematic, your guests are late. Steve calmly announced that Amber Mac would be late and she would be online in about 30 minutes. He recognized that some people had made an effort to join and that there would a recording of the full hour posted later on the Future of Education web site.
  2. Set a relaxed and open tone
    He was calm throughout the 30 minutes and he never made an issue about it. I'm sure he was a bit concerned but it never showed. When Amber did show up, he calmly walked her through the set up and promptly began the interview as if nothing had happened. He was warm, inviting and engaging.
  3. Have a plan, but plan to be flexible
    Steve suggested that we could do something else while we were waiting. He would set the clock so that people didn't have to stay at their desk but would know if the interview was starting if the clock was no longer there.
  4. Asked meaning questions and listened to the answers
    Every few minutes, he would make a comment, ask a question to engage those who were waiting and repeated that if we could not stay that the full one hour interview would be posted.
    He not only listened to the answers by responding verbally, he continued to look in the chat for any comments or questions and would offer a suggestion verbally.

Steve Hargadon invited us in; his role as a facilitator, his calm demeanor, and his skills as facilitator made us want to stay.

To my fellow online learners, here's a question I'm curious about

  1. What skills have you become aware of in this course, that is helping you "invite people in and make them want to stay?

References and Resources

  1. - shorten, share and track your links:
  2. World Clock - Time Zones:
  3. Google Blogger:
  4. Sarah Stewart - instructor and facilitator:
  5. Facilitating Online 2010 course:
  6. Steve Hargadon - cohost of Future Education interview series:
  7. Future of Education Past Interview Series:
  8. Interview with Amber Mac:
  9. Amber Mac:
  10. Book: Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business:
  11. Mireille's Online Facilitation Course Wiki:

Lifelike Pedgogy by Marcelo Rodrigues

Student: Teacher, why do I have to learn this?
Teacher: Your turn .... How do you answer that?
Marcelo Rodrigues (Author)

One idea that struck me years ago from reading one of Edward De Bono's books; I can't remember which one, it had a yellow cover, I think but I digress; was that 'Education' came from the root word 'Educare' to draw out.

My interest in the Education System is two fold
  1. My sister teaches at risk kids in a highschool in Montreal. We talk a lot about how kids struggle through the education system and how most of them are just not inspired to learn. I will admit my sister is one of the good teachers; she is definitely in that 1%. Her mission is to find ways to help her kids and by sharing what she is doing in her environment she is also helping me rethink my role in corporate education.
  2. Although I'm a corporate educator and I facilitate adult learning in a corporate envrionment, there are plenty of kids that are just entering the workforce from said education system and I'm getting them. It's not impressive.
So I can rethink my career and believe me I have or I can choose to look at ways in which I can create a healthy learning environment where people can connect with one another and participate in their own learning through conversation and collaboration.

Learning for me has to have meaning. I have to have a reason to learn it and I have to experiment the process by applying it. I suspect from the research and the books I'm currently reading and what's on my radar that it is the same with most people.

As I think of my role as a facilitator, the questions for me are
  1. 'How do I facilitate (draw out) meaning from the participants in my course, or in meetings? Corporate Training is failing big time and yet we keep doing the same old same old to the extent that corporate training has become dead, dull and boring; I'm too energetic for that kind of nonsense.
  2. What resources can I find, use or create myself to put in my Online Facilitator's Toolkit that will give me a variety of options and make it interesting for everyone concerned.
One of the ways I can find resources and learn is from people whose students I will eventually get - from amazing teachers, like my sister, who are passionate about what they do and how they feel it will support their students to be the best they can be.

Two resources I would like to share:
  1. Steve Hargadon is a social learning consultant, founder of Classrom 2.0, LearnCentral sponsored by Elluminate, a company he works for, host of the Future of Education interview series and co-chair of the Global Education Conference held in Elluminate from November 15 to November 19, 2010; all of which is free.
    Here is a link from past interviews; some of which are podcasts and those which included a presentation is in Elluminate.
  2. The Book: Lifelike Pedagogy by Marcelo Rodrigues
    Marcelo Rodrigues is the education director of Escola do Max in Brazil. His interest in teaching courses that having meaning to his students or as he calls his philosophy "real life" education resulted in this book called Lifelike Pedgogy

    Steve Hargadon's interview with Marcelo Rodrigues on his philosophy and his book Lifelike Pedagogy is here

I'm curious; to my fellow community of learners, here's my question:

  1. What ideas or suggestions have you come up with that will draw out meaning in your online conversations?

Enjoy the resources, I have a ton more to share.


References and Resources:

  1. The World Clock:
  2. Edward de Bono:
  3. Steve Hargadon:
  4. Future of Education interviews:
  5. Classroom 2.0 group:
  6. Classroom live 2.0:
  7. Learn Central - online events:
  8. Elluminate - web conferencing tool:
  9. Global Education Conference - November 15 to November 19, 2010 (free):
  10. Marcel Rodriques web site:
  11. Book - Lifelike Pedagogy:
  12. Interview and presentation with Steve Hargadon and Marcelo Rodriques: