Try something new for 30 days & Keep your goals to yourself

Part of a series of weekly TED talks I’ve been watching and thinking about. Have a look, have a think, comment if you’d like. A couple quick videos today, one about trying new things and an interesting take on goals.

Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself

At least you finished?

June is a hyper-busy time for us. End of school, ramping up for summer vacation, year end presentations, the list goes on. It tends to be a time when we showcase what we’ve learned over the past year to welcome feedback and praise. It’s and important part of what we do, the sharing and evaluation of our accomplishments.

Last night was my daughter’s year-end piano recital. She did an awesome job, despite losing her place in her solo piece. “At least you finished”, was my feeble attempt at consoling her. Reflecting on it now, however, I don’t know if it’s “just about finishing”. It’s about putting yourself in a position where you can finish, isn’t it? It’s about entering a space where you’re able and willing to showcase what you’ve been working on. It’s about being brave and confident enough to try and to be assessed, and to potentially fail. I think that’s a big part of what learning’s about. Learning is important. It *has* to be.

Reflecting on all this, and internalizing it, tonight marks my first attempt at a public 5k run. I’ll be running through the streets of my hometown of Grimsby:

peachbud 5k

Last time I was running through Grimsby…well, maybe that’s a story for another time. Despite a tender ankle and a muscle strain, I’m committed to doing it. I was thinking it was going to be about finishing, but I’m not convinced that that’s the case anymore. Wish me luck, y’all.

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.

flickr.com/photos/barkbud

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

avoid

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.