Thursday, January 23, 2014

(re)enforcing independence #rhizo14

How do we become more independent as educators, and engender independence on the part of our learners?

The environment in which we operate will obviously have a significant impact on how motivated we may be to exercise, and reap the benefits of, our independence.
As I was considering the topic of "enforced independence" it became apparent that conditions must be conducive to the independence of actors on a particular stage, or all the enforcement in the world will not do anything to make me independent. Without strategies, or a plan of attack, I'll not be able to be an independent actor in a particular environment. Challenging ourselves and moving outside comfort zones leverages independent learning strategies and helps us empathise with the issues faced by independent learners.

If you can teach yourself to do something by leveraging information and your networks, you'll be more able to expect this from your learners, and, more or, importantly better understand the challenges they'll face in their quest to exercise independence.

In the spirit of "moving outside comfort zones"/"expanding one's horizons" I've decided to take advantage of the 3rd birthday celebrations for #ds106radio to see if I can teach myself to webcast from my phone. Many of you will be familiar with, or indeed a part of, the community that's developed and evolved around #ds106 and #ds106radio is dynamic and vibrant. All are welcome to participate, and those who'd like to take the stream need only tweet with the #ds106radio tag to signify intention and 'cast away.

Today I had a chance to review the connection and broadcasting details, linked from a tweet by @cogdog (Alan Levine), for Android. I've done a fair bit of computer-based webcasting over the years, and I'm hoping to get well outside my comfort zone and contribute birthday wishes, and celebrate #ds106radio, from my phone. Wish me luck ;-)  

UPDATE: It worked! Thanks for shoutouts Alan Levine and Leslie Lindballe

Turned out to be a very busy day online. In addition to my first mobile webcast (aka #traincast) on #ds106radio to send along my birthday wishes, this day included:

  1. Online meetings with work colleagues for a project status update and a software installation walk-through
  2. Poked my head into a Designers for Learning session hosted by Jennifer Maddrell
  3. Participated in the Unhangout for #rhizo14 and take part in the breakout session for "Independence in Everyday Life" breakout group with Aaron, Carol, Jim and Vanessa
All of this served to (re)enforce my belief in the fact that independence, and exploring and taking advantages to connect, is key to one's success in online environments


Frances Bell said...

I like the point you make about the conditions being right. If you had some technical difficulty getting the webcast on your phone to work and you asked your Twitter network for help, would that be dependent? No pretty independent I think but would rely on your standing in your Twitter network. If you are the all-round helpful guy that I am sure you are, then you would most likely get an answer.
Maybe it's interedependence that's key here.

dougsymington said...

The attempt at something new is the independent act, by my way of thinking. In your example I'll suggest that a request for help, which included the #ds106radio hashtag would garner a response notwithstanding my "twitter cred"--tho there's no denying any cred had wouldn't hurt. I'd also suggest that the more others see you "putting yourself out there" the more likely they are to help/support subsequent efforts, and at a certain point the distinction between "in" and "inter" dependent becomes moot. Thanks for the comment ;-)

Vanessa Vaile said...

Knowing or being able to figure out how get necessary missing information and being willing to ask for help -- openness to interdependence -- would be "independence preconditions" ~ as much state of mind as skill.

I keep coming back to this pln post by Tom Whitby,

PS I ended up with a wrong link for the hangout doc.

Vance Stevens said...

Well done, Doug. I just updated a blog post documenting a similar learning success One of my mantras is from Stephen Downes, that teachers model and demonstrate (and learners practice and reflect). We're all modeling for one another here.

Christina Hendricks said...

So excited you decided to try broadcasting on #ds106radio! I have been somewhat involved with this radio station over the past few months, though have fallen away a bit this term (partly to spend time with #rhizo14). And even more excited that it worked! I somehow missed the 3rd birthday--didn't see the blog post from Alan Levine until the next day. Boo on me.

But in terms of rhizomatic learning, I think your point about getting a sense of what it means to learn something new independently, to understand the struggles students go through, is right on. I spent weeks and weeks doing ds106 itself over the past two terms, and learned so, so many things on my own (with help from other participants when asked, of course!), like using image manipulation software, editing video, and more, and though I loved this process for many reasons, I hadn't thought about how valuable it is for giving me empathy for students learning things for the first time, on their own-ish. Thanks for the reminder of that...very good point.