I just had a total “whew” moment of being very, very “whelmed” (credit for the word goes to @snbeach, who makes me feel that way regularly), and it led to some bigger questions for me.
I picked up a tweet asking people to contribute to a slide show on connected learning as part of #etmooc. Seemed easy enough, so off I went to click the link.
I’m at work, where my default browser must be Internet Explorer in order for my laptop to function optimally (yup, I know, don’t go there). That meant that I could see the slideshow, but not contribute to it. “I can deal with that!” I thought, and opened up Chrome, but to my surprise, I got the same message. What now?
First, I clicked on the more information tab, which told me GoogleDrive should work on my Chrome Browser; so I downloaded GoogleDrive. Still no change in the error message. I “hmmmed” for a minute, and then thought: “maybe it’s still thinking Explorer is the browser”, so I went in,and switched over my default browser, and “ta-dah” – Success!
I added my slide (which eventually meant adding another add-on to my browser), found an image on CC, added it, worked around how to add my text below it (could I use the notes section?), and was reasonably pleased with the finished project. Switched my browser back (kind of proud of myself on that one), and realized that the reasonably simple task had taken a pretty big chunk of my prep time. And then I thought… (and this is my big question)…
How would someone who had never done this before have managed this? And at what point would they have given up?
This has become one of my guiding questions since I started doing on-line learning in a major way last year.
I’m a pretty ADD person, and can manage multiple streams of information reasonably well, and I think that makes things like webinars with their backchannels, and audio, and visual inputs manageable for me. But even for me, the first couple of minutes of a webinar, when I’ve been out of practice for a while, get my heart pumping, and my adrenaline flowing like crazy.
“How do I “write” on the screen”? “I forget how to grab the mike”, “Where are all those smiley faces coming from?”, and the biggest one, “why does everyone else seem to know what they’re doing?” are only some of the things that come flying into my head, and I have a hard time imagining someone who is totally new to this feeling positive about the experience.
So, I want to know, in the context of a MOOC specifically and in the larger context of education technology-related P.D., how do we “start where they are” for our adult learners?
We are amazingly good at differentiating for our students. We know and understand that it’s a part of our job, we search out techniques to make learning more manageable for them – we chunk, we use anchor charts, we present information in a million different ways. My struggle is that I don’t think we’re especially good at remembering that when we’re teaching each other.
I think small steps are one answer; I think lots and lots of guiding advice is another (repeating instructions for how to write, or use the microphone during a webinar, so someone who comes in late still gets the information; sending out “be prepared” ideas before a twitterchat ); I think one-to-one mentoring is ideal ( a colleague asked the other day if I would sit down with her, because she still doesn’t “get” Twitter, and knows that I do); but I’m still stuck with the thought of someone trying to do what I did today, and bailing at any one of a number of spots, because it’s just not intuitive for them.
How do we convince people to buy in, when it can be a real challenge sometimes?
Looking for answers as always….