Will it blend?

Back to the running thing. I was explaining to my mother-in-law about my new addiction hobby. She was interested in the “program” I’ve been a part of: 12 weeks to 5k.

I started to dissect it for her: describing the formal course of study (Mondays and Wednesdays, lead by the instructor), the community of practice (Fridays, more of a study group), and the independent activities (Saturday/Sunday, optional, self-study). “It’s a lot like blended learning”, I suggested.


cc: flickr.com/photos/barkbud

As her eyes glazed over, I went on to equate the program to a piece of curriculum, with learning objectives, milestones, assessment criteria and the rest. Then it started to flow: the importance of the learning community, critical reflection of the practice, using evidence and analytics to show progress and guide decisions, goal setting and celebrating accomplishments…

A new app to transform education: MapMyLEARNING

Map My Learning

MapMyLEARNING lets teachers and learners create learning maps or use those already logged by others. It tracks your activity, and allows you to set goals and follow your progress. It promotes healthy study habits, helping you learn how to make your education work for you. It’s loaded with robust reporting tools, quickly and easily allowing you to keep track of the resources you use to achieve your learning objectives.

Fully integrated with other social networks, you can use your existing login and password to access MapMyLEARNING. You can also “find your friends” easily and continue to build community. Through secure authorization, you can share information about your learning accomplishments easily to your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

Users can set up groups within MapMyLEARNING to share information and help each other meet their learning goals. They can also create Learning Events and Learning Groups tied to a specific class or assignment. Advanced users can create Challenges for themselves or their friends.

GO MOBILE: iMapMyLEARNING works on every phone and every network. This enables users to use the built-in GPS of your mobile device to track all your learning activities. Record details of your learning on an interactive map. You can even effortlessly save and upload your learning data to the MapMyLEARNING website where you can view your learning journeys and comprehensive education history.

Check it out today!

Running and Learning: any time, any place, any path, any pace

I was in Vancouver, BC for a wedding this past weekend. The city has so much going for it in terms of its natural beauty. Too bad about the horrendous real estate prices (and the fault line). I was there on vacation, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet up with some of the folks who were in the city for Northern Voice 2011, and some of the fine folks who are part of the ds106 radio community. If you haven’t checked out Northern Voice or ds106 radio, go back and click on those links.

Vancouver has some great places to run, so I did.

kitsalano run

A jet-lagged Easterner on Mountain Time, I was up early and able to take advantage of this “bonus time” to get out and explore. I wasn’t familiar with the city, but thanks to my GPS-enabled phone (as well as signs and helpful fellow runners), I was able to navigate to the sea wall without too much difficulty. From there, I charted my own path and set my own pace to get there. I had a sketchy plan, but took some side-trips to when a new trail caught my curiosity. My “coach”, the voice on my running app who I’ve named Sally, gave me up-to-the minute stats and help, “Time: twelve-point-zero minutes. Distance: one-point-two-kil-ometers”.

When we design courses, curriculum and systems to support teaching and learning, I think we can look to the freedoms and opportunities inherent in the act of running and see what we can learn from the “any time, any place, any path, any pace” tagline. (I’m borrowing that from the Florida Virtual School, who appear to have it trademarked. Let’s hope they don’t mind too much.

Make it easy


cc: flickr.com/photos/mythlady

It took me a long time to come around to the idea of running. I’d convinced myself it just “wasn’t for me”. It’s new, right? And new things can be scary.

And then along came convenience. “Hey, Kyle! There’s an opportunity to participate in something here. Heck, it’s happening just over there, and you can do it on your lunch hour. We can go at your pace, and can accommodate to your skill-level. Might work for you, buddy. Give it a shot…?”

OK, somewhat evil voice of reason, you win!

One of the things we do here in the wonderful world of educational technology is explore about how technology can open up opportunities for learning, and with proper planning and consideration how different tools and approaches can help break down barriers to learning.

The goal is to make it easy, right? — easy to enter, easy to engage, easy to learn, easy to access materials and find effective learning communities.

Learning. To run.

running shoes

cc: flickr.com/photos/josiahmackenzie

Folks, if you know me at all, you might find it a bit surprising to hear that I’ve started to run, and (perhaps even more surprisingly) I like it. A lot. As part of Guelph’s Healthy Workplace initiative, I’ve signed up for a Learn-to-Run, 12 week program, with the goal of hitting 5k by the end. We’re in week 5, and going strong.

The deeper I get into running, the more I see connections between running and learning. In a series of future posts, I’ll be reflecting on the connections between running and learning. I’ll tag them all with “running“. Stay tuned.

Yes, the iPad *will* transform education

…but not in the way you think it might.

There’s been a bunch of chatter about how Apple’s iPad might “transform” education. Here’s a couple posts to that effect:


An article in THE Journal, Measuring the iPad’s Potential for Education discusses iPad’s potential as a new publishing and development platform. The fact that it has it’s own software development kit will help to make it impactful in education, creating a new platform for educational apps to come to the market.

iPad on Tanmay's jeans

cc: flickr.com/photos/neuralchaos

BUT, the *real* change, in my opinion, is that (to use Steve Job’s words), the iPad is a “post-PC device”. By design, it extracts/elevates itself from the world of personal computing into *something different*. It changes the game in terms of how users (students) interact with it, how they access content and communicate with each other. You do not need to know how to use a computer in order to use an iPad, and that’s the point. Love it or hate it, it’s revolutionary. It’s changing the way that people use computers. It’s changing the way people learn.

This can be quite liberating. If an instructor or student doesn’t have to worry about how their device works (provided that it does work), maybe we can get on with what’s really important – teaching and learning.

Guelph: Putting the Higher in Higher Ed., since 1964

rock climbing

cc: flickr.com/photos/macieklew

If you know Guelph, you know that Gordon Street Hill is more than a change in elevation. The University sits atop the hill, allowing one to rise out of the depths of downtown and ascend to the glory of higher education.

Now don’t read me wrong, I love the UofG. I’m an staff member, a volunteer and an alumnus. As I said in a previous post, it’s a comprehensive, world-class institution, dedicated to excellence in education.

Again, don’t read me wrong, I love Downtown Guelph. It’s a creative place, with some wonderful, intelligent people doing awesome things.

“The Hill”, however, presents some considerable struggles connecting the University and the Community; physically, culturally and mentally. I’ve talked about this a couple times recently.

I’ve been thinking about this over the past couple months, as we were putting together ePortfolio Week. A tool like an ePortfolio is a powerful one because it’s focus is on the user as opposed to the course. As such, it an serve as a platform for connection between academics, extra-curricular, career and community life. One of the goals was to have an event take place downtown, to make a direct link between “life atop the hill” and “life below”.

eP week lecture

I’m heartened by the fact that I’m not alone in the discussions around the need for University-Community engagement in Guelph. There has been some great work done through a number of partnerships recently to connect the two: Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, Café Philosophique, Café Scientifique, Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium. There are certainly other initiatives I’ve left out.

What are other Universities doing to bridge these gaps? How can we continue to build University-Community engagement? Do physical structures help? Better transit? Funky new initiatives and partnerships?

I had fun during ePweek, and learned a lot

Many thanks to those who participated in the University of Guelph’s first (annual) ePortfolio week.

ePweek 2011

Dave Cormier joined us on Tuesday: Managing to know – a tale of cave paintings, eportfolios, printing press and PLE. Dave’s talk visualized by Giulia Forsythe in the image below:

Managing to Know

Some great presentations during the week, drawing on expertise and experiences from the School of Engineering, Educational Development, Student Life, the Graduate Student Learning Initiative, Hospitality and Tourism Management and the Bachelor of Arts and Science Program.

Analytics & Ukuleles (reflections on #ITC11)

I’m just back from eLearning 2011 in sunny Florida. Hands down one of the best conferences I’ve attended. Fabulous keynotes: (@cogdog, @colecamplese, @busynessgirl, & @opencontent). I’ll be posting some reflections on these presentations at some point. Inspiring sessions from people I’ve known from awhile and from some new friends, and an idyllic setting (especially when juxtaposed with cold and snowy southern Ontario).

I had the pleasure of presenting alongside Michael Amick, Dean of Academic and Technology Services from Central Lakes College (Minnesota). Here’s the slide deck:

And yes, there was a ukulele soundtrack to accompany this presentation:

  • “Would I Lie to You” (Eurythmics)
  • “Theme from the Facts of Life”
  • “(Don’t You) Forget About Me” (Simple Minds)
  • “Every Breath You Take” (The Police)

me and my uke
Many thanks to the organizers and all who participated. Hope to see you next year.