Inspired by Sharing and Openness

The Path to Sharing and Openness

Sharing Cousins

I remind my two small children every day, it seems, that they must share their toys, treats, and hugs. This week’s topic in our #ECI831 course regarding sharing and openness in education made me really think about why I want to instill the value of sharing in my children. To be honest, my first inclination to ask my children to share with each other is to preserve harmony. But it goes beyond that. I want my children to share their experience of enjoyment, love, or gifts (whatever those may be) with others. I believe this fulfills our collective need for connection as Brene Brown describes.

I have been inspired by many, both professionally and personally, with their openness. Take my learning project for example. The two main home organization bloggers I follow are ordinary women, sharing their imperfect lives with extraordinary enthusiasm. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate their willingness to demonstrate their own organizational tips and tricks while broadcasting on YouTube from their own ordinary, imperfect homes. This is so refreshing considering our culture of perfection (see: Pinterest worthy homes or features in House and Home). Who doesn’t want to connect with down to earth people?

On a professional note, Dr. Mary McGlasson, an economics professor in Arizona, has positively impacted my teaching practice and the learning of my students by posting engaging videos on economic principles. These videos were originally created to help her own students in a blended learning environment. However, many around the world have sent notes of gratitude for her contribution to their teaching and education. This story is not unlike the impact of Dan Meyer’s blog posts of his innovative math lessons, as highlighted in Dean Shareski‘s video Sharing: The Moral Imperative.

via Giphy This was our school in 2000 – We’ve come so far!

There are so many benefits to sharing our resources both in person and online. As teacher’s we often work in isolation when delivering lessons and interacting with students. But we do not need to plan our lessons in isolation or reinvent the wheel. I talk about how the culture of sharing at my educational institution has helped me enhance my pedagogy tremendously in a previous blog post. Researchers from the University of Alberta argue that the more teachers collaborate and see the positive effects on student outcomes the more they are motivated to work together. This collective motivation impacts teacher efficacy in their teaching practice.

Time and resources are always factors to consider in pursuing a  culture of openness and collaboration. However, I believe that it takes more time to reinvent the wheel then to take the opportunity to observe and learn from others’ innovative teaching practices. I believe that institutions and instructors need to work together to build this culture of collaboration to be in a position to face the diversity of student needs and evolving technology.  In my experience at the post-secondary level, this means more emphasis needs to be placed on professional development.

Sustaining the Open Educational Resource (OER) Process

Chris Reed, a fellow #ECI831 classmate, shared on Twitter the notion of not only receiving resources from others online but also providing educational resources to sustain the #OER process. As I sat contemplating this call to action, I noticed that Chris went one step further to seek advice on Twitter in how to participate in this process. I am certainly following that!

Aside from sharing with our colleagues face to face, we can certainly reach out to others through our blogs as Dan Meyer did. And as an example close to home, Jaque, another #ECI831 classmate shared her lesson plan on digital identity on her blog. This simple act of sharing is something I could definitely do with concepts I teach in my courses – especially the lesson plans that utilize open resources. Feedback beyond the borders of my school is an exciting prospect. Again, professionally inspired – Thank you Chris and Jaque!

I would like to put Chris’s question out there to you. How do other teachers share their resources and contribute to ? What platforms do you use to locate or contribute educational materials? If you do not share now, what platforms would you consider?

Thanks for stopping by!






Exploring and Evaluating Open Education – MOOCs & OERs

This week we are asked to explore and evaluate open educational resources (OER). As an educator, these freely open and readily accessible educational resources are an excellent method to expand my knowledge and skills to assist me in life and in my teaching practice.

An important concept of OERs is the potential for anyone to have open and free access to the latest information provided by experts in their field representing top universities. In particular, the United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) highlight examples of universities providing courses that help to educate individuals and professionals in regions of the world needing education on such topics as health care and water treatment processes. UNESCO poignantly sums up the importance of open education:

“Free information is a fundamental human right, and OERs make it possible for people of all ages and backgrounds to learn more about the world around them and access the tools they need to improve their lives and livelihoods.”

Exploring MOOC as an Open Educational Resource

I was intrigued by the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called Indigenous Canada from the University of Alberta that my EC&I 831 classmate, Jacqueline Bampi, shared on Twitter. As a citizen of Canada and as more curriculum is becoming indigenized at my school, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, I think this will be an excellent starting point for me to begin learning more about Indigenous perspectives and worldviews.

To enroll for the free course, the University redirects you to Coursera, which I found to be an easily navigated online platform that offers courses taught by instructors and professors from the world’s top universities and educational institutions. Although Indigenous Canada is a credit course offered by the University of Alberta, it is also offered by Coursera free or, for a small fee and upon completion, a course certificate is awarded. This certificate can be shared by the learner on professional networking sites and to potential employers.

The value Western culture places on formal education is well known, so I am unsure of the value prospective employers or other educational institutions would place on a course certificate at present. I am also curious about the language we use when talking about courses completed through OERs and MOOCs? If I were to share that I enrolled in the Indigenous Canada course offered by the University of Alberta, I am sure most would assume it was for credit. I am certain our way in which we express our engagement in university courses will now change to differentiate between a non-credit and credit course.

This week I successfully completed the first week’s lesson in Indigenous Canada and found it informative, engaging, and well designed. This course is mainly taught by video, with interaction via multiple choices questions throughout. These videos are presented by elders from Indigenous communities and scholars in this field, which brings legitimacy to the lessons in my view. As a visual learner, the videos worked well for me. However, for those that prefer text-based information, a full transcript is also provided.

Originally, I didn’t see how I could use any learning materials from this particular course in any courses I teach. However, as I type this, I remember that in Organizational Behaviour we discuss cultural diversity. What better way to showcase Indigenous culture and ways of knowing other than to bring in experts from the University of Alberta through its online course!

Other Online Educational Resources

I searched Khan Academy for resources I could use at the post-secondary level and found economics. After watching a few videos I have to admit I was not as enchanted with them as the Indigenous Canada course or the economics videos posted by YouTuber mjmfoodie, who is Dr. Mary McGlasson, Economics faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College near Phoenix, Arizona.  Here is one of her videos:

Contrast her work with a Law of Demand lesson posted on Khan Academy. (posted below). To be honest, as a learner and instructor, I would much prefer watching Dr. McGlasson’s video as it provides a sound and relatable introduction for learners. Khan Academy, on the other hand, is much more technical and the narrator relies on a lecture format.

That is not to say Khan Academy’s version is not valuable. It would be an excellent study aid for students who have a basic understanding of economics and certainly when they are completing assignments. In my view, however, it isn’t an appropriate method to use as an introductory lesson to students. Furthermore, I do not see Dr. McGlasson’s video any less valuable as an educational resource just because it is not hosted on a credible education website.

How OER and MOOCs can be Promoted

This week I have had an opportunity to dive into a pot of gold in terms of additional or alternative educational resources, and perspectives, to bring into my classroom. Now that I know more about MOOCs I am sure to share it with my colleagues in hopes it can enhance their teaching practice. I also see value in suggesting it to be a topic at our one professional development day and at one of our quarterly faculty staff meetings.

I also believe sharing interesting and valuable OERs or MOOCs on social media, as Jacqueline had done, will be an excellent way to promote open education.  It had me looking!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tackling the Master Bedroom Closet

Last month, I followed Clutterbug’s 30 Decluttering Challenge . When it came to decluttering clothes I have to confess, I skipped it. I have been putting off decluttering the two closets and three bins of my clothes for some time actually. Thankfully, this major learning project has been the answer to a lot of my procrastination with home organization. It was time to tackle the master bedroom closet!

Take the video tour of my reorganized master bedroom closet!

Before – one hot disorganized mess!                             After – Room to breathe!


There were three things I learned from this part of my learning project. First, developing the skills to be ‘handy’ around the house requires a lot of troubleshooting. Second, pairing down my wardrobe led me to reflect on my own body image. Finally, sharing your imperfect life on social media takes courage.

Being Handy – Hanging the Ironing Board Hanger

I video documented my learning adventure with installing the ironing board hanger. As mentioned in the video, it was not as straightforward as I had imagined when I originally bought the hanger in the summer. My super handy mom was my videographer for this job. I was lucky I had an expert to get me over some of the snags I was running into! For example, when I started the project, I checked for studs where I wanted to install the hanger and found none. I tried to hammer in three plugs into one of the predrilled holes – none would go in and each ended up looking like an accordion. My mom was laughing the entire time she was filming my failed attempts! She finally clued me in that I was trying to drive the plug into a stud.

That wasn’t the only snag I had to troubleshoot. But each time I needed to, I learned more about operating a drill, multiple ways of using tools, and how a house is constructed. I didn’t include those snags in my video because I had originally thought I would shoot it as a “how-to” demonstration. I haven’t learned how to edit videos yet, so after each time I solved a problem, we had to start filming from the beginning. After what seemed like 20 takes, I was so excited to have successfully completed the job.

Pairing Down Clothes & a Mother’s Body Image

When I was pregnant with my first child a well-meaning friend told me that she left the hospital in her regular jeans after having her baby. What did I do? I totally packed my regular jeans to wear when I left the hospital. Naive? Completely! There was no way I fit into those jeans until 12 months later. Even then, they didn’t fit comfortably. Yet, I kept all my pre-pregnancy clothes thinking that one day I would fit them the way I once had.

I thought my only reason for putting off pairing down my wardrobe was because of its overwhelming overabundance. Although that was part of it, I don’t think I was ready to let go of the notion that I would once again fit the pre-pregnancy body image I had of myself. I do not think it was vanity, but more the expectations inherent in our culture of thinness. Perhaps it’s maturity on my part to start my own revolt against popular media’s representation of what a ‘normal’ body looks like and start to embrace the new rendition of the mom jeans!

Once I had this realization, I started to look on Pinterest for inspiration to tackle my clothes. I found a blog post from Uncluttered Simplicity and her recommendation of shock treatment. The idea of putting all my clothes in one big pile to get a visual of the amount I owned before sorting seemed overwhelming, but I wanted to try it. I really appreciated her prompting questions as well. She asks, “What is your style today – not 5 years ago and not who you hope to be in 5 years?” It took about 3-4 hours to go through the process, but it was quite liberating. Especially once I had the resolve to embrace a more positive body image! I also had motivation as I went through the purge process as I have hope that my clothes can serve someone in my local community. To my #ECI831 classmates, any suggestions of local charities in need?

Sharing our Imperfect Lives on Social Media takes Courage

I really hesitated in sharing the before photos of the hot mess my closet was in and the photo of the big mound of clothes I had. Sharing our imperfect lives on social media takes courage. And we don’t see enough of that celebrated. We see a lot of Pinterest worthy homes we aspire to have or the perfect family photo we wish we could recreate of our own. But to share our authentic lives more often, especially on social media, takes courage and vulnerability. Brene Brown has said vulnerability leads to connection. I really hope you have found some connection with what I have shared with you.

Goals for this coming week

  • Install shelving system in children’s closets
  • Create and implement processes to maintain organization
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can help and benefit
  • Identify environmentally and socially responsible ways in which I can “relocate” the stuff I am ready to let go

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 

The Culture of Sharing: It’s Worth Pursuing and Promoting

This week we were asked to share our ideas around open education and the culture of sharing. Without realizing its official title, I have accessed open education out of necessity to supplement educational resources in the business classes I have delivered. I have come to realize that open education is not just a supplement, however. If I really think about it, textbooks in print are typically one-way communicators. Open education offers much more. It allows for accessibility, inclusivity, and collaboration. Powerful concepts.

I am looking forward to exploring the topic of open education in future EC&I 831 class discussion. In this blog post, however, I would like to concentrate on the culture of sharing and its possibilities.

Connecting Through a Culture of Sharing

Ze Frank shares humourous, and at times simultaneously heartfelt and heartwrenching, stories of how he facilitated connection with people.  Brene Brown, a courage, vulnerability, empathy and shame researcher, is quoted as saying: “We are hardwired for connection.” She asks some important questions. Paraphrased: How do we do share our imperfect stories in a culture of fear and a culture where all we want to do is fit in? How do we develop the compassion to hear other people’s stories? Franks offers a powerful, and what appears to be an original, method of sharing people’s imperfect lives in a way that evokes compassion and connection.

This has me thinking of the importance of the ability for our young people, in particular, to connect and share with others online. I have seen how my young adult students can creatively reimagine what already exists in the digital world and share it through social media. But we never talk about the elephant in the room. What about the complexity of copyright laws that may stifle this celebration of creativity and the connection it can bring? Lawrence Lessig in his TED talk, Laws that Choke Creativity, raises some poignant points in this regard. He states that our children live in the age of prohibition, which drives their act of “copying” underground, living life against the law.

This feels paralyzing. There is the common sense notion that when we use the ideas of others we give them credit. Beyond fair dealing, what are the laws exactly that govern the reimagining of others’ work and sharing that online? If it is as restrictive as Lessig claims, is it still morally sound to live in the grey area of the law given this potential restriction on freedom of expression? I admit these are big questions, and maybe not the best ones, but I am interested in hearing your thoughts. What questions does this raise for you? 

Collaboration Through a Culture of Sharing in Adult Education

I believe sharing lesson plans, learning resources, and inspiration is paramount to the success of any educator. Like Ashley’s experience as an adult educator, many of the concepts, theories, and frameworks I present in the classroom are created by scholars, scientists, and other professionals. These standard practices in the Business curriculum are a great foundation for students as they enter the workforce.  However, in business, these ideas are meant to be shared, tested, debated, adapted and reshared. As Kirby Ferguson points out in his work Everything is a Remix Part 2, creation requires influence.

By and large, a sharing culture exists within the School of Business where I teach. Most of us share our own lesson plans, learning resources, and assessments openly and without hesitation. For me, sharing is important for two major reasons. First, without this collegiality, the act of recreation would be time-consuming, and frankly, not necessary. The second reason, and most important to me, is collaboration.

Sharing definitely has its perks, not only for me but for our students. The feedback instructors give each other serves to enhance our practice. Ultimately striving to bring richer learning experiences to our students. Kirby Ferguson, yet again, sums this up by arguing that “Nobody starts out original. We need copying to build a foundation of knowledge and understanding and after that things can get interesting.” So true! I get excited when other instructors ‘remix’ my materials and present a new perspective – one that I can, in turn, present to my own students.

On this note, graduate studies has given me the tools to look at mainstream business textbooks from a critical theoretical perspective. Upon the completion of my educational leave of absence, I am looking forward to engaging in conversations with my colleagues around power dynamics and privilege that perpetuates marginalized workers and unfair practices, topics most business textbooks pay little attention to. I am hoping these conversations will spark ideas and motivation to bring awareness to students and possibly encourage them to become active citizens. I am hoping that exploring the topic of open education further in #ECI831 will provide more insight into this endeavour.

I thought I would leave you with this timely message from the Dalai Lama:

Thank you for stopping by!

Mindful Decluttering and Organizing – A Work in Progress

This week we were asked to go more in-depth about our progress in our learning journey. If you recall, my learning project focuses on developing systems and processes that introduce more efficient organizational systems and processes in my home. I would like to share some insights that I have gained while endeavouring on this learning journey.

Journey to a More Efficient Household

I predicted that my house would get messier before it gets organized, and I was right! I view this as a good thing. Thanks to the suggestions of the many bloggers and online professional resources I have tapped into, I am finding that being mindful of our needs versus our wants are helping to let things go. To accomplish this, I have been concentrating on decluttering cupboards, closets, and drawers. That leaves the surface clutter. (shudder)

My house is definitely lived in, there is no doubt about it, and I make no apologies… Ok, I totally do. Anytime someone comes over unannounced I am sure to blurt out: “Don’t mind the mess.” as I kick five pairs of shoes into the front closet and squeeze the door shut.

Looking at my house with “fresh eyes” as home organization gurus suggest, I see a lot of surface clutter. Random everyday objects that have either grown legs or my little creatures find it a joy to relocate them to random parts of the house. This is certainly unavoidable, but frustrating nonetheless.

Overall, I do have to remind myself that our house is also our home. A home we create memories, raise a family and feel connected in. For that, I do not apologize. However, finding a balance between a lived-in house and one that is organized enough has been one of the greatest challengings I have faced so far.

This is where processes come into play and where I will be concentrating my effort on going forward.

Insights Gained While Learning On/Offline

Learning with others on social media

Learning from and with others online has been very interesting. As a social creature, I was motivated to join the Clutterbug’s 30 Decluttering Challenge on her Facebook page as part of my learning journey. This type of online social learning provided motivation and a community of like-minded individuals. What can I do with 14ish wineglasses I never use? This group was quick to suggest DIY projects. Need encouragement when feeling overwhelmed? This group was ready to offer support.

Although I found it to be very helpful, I did come across the dark side of sharing on social media, where a mother was Facebook shamed for her cluttered kitchen. After writing about it in a previous blog post, I came across this same woman posting a before and after photo of her kitchen despite her shamers. The 300+ positive comments and encouragement became the bright side of sharing on social media. She set an excellent example for others to believe in yourself despite others’ judgment!

Going far outside my comfort zone

After completing my front entry organization project, I was so excited! My two little kids are still loving the ease of access to their outerwear. We are still working on the consistent use of that space. This was certainly a confidence booster needed to continue being ‘handy’ with tools.

My next major installation project I hope to tackle is a shelving system for my children’s closets. However, I am a bit apprehensive of the math that will be required to space the brackets etc properly. I was surprised that this was one of my major challenges so far. Although I am questioning the level of my math literacy skills, I have a strong resolve to figure it out.

Recently, I have read two classmates talking about growth mindset in learning (Kara and Colleen). With hard work and perseverance, I will learn the math, and the logic, needed to complete this next project! I am viewing this as a growth opportunity leading to transferability – completing other projects, helping my children with math and logic and ultimately my self-efficacy!



Do you have any suggestions of resources that may help to figure out the math required to hang shelves? What would your approach be?

Goals for the rest of the Semester

  • Find another online declutter challenge to keep me motivated
  • Install shelving system in children’s closets
  • Create organizational system in Master bedroom closet
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can help and benefit
  • Identify environmentally and socially responsible ways in which I can “relocate” the stuff I am ready to let go

Learning on the Job – Supermom to the Rescue!

Hello classmates in EC&I 831 and beyond:

Welcome back to my journey of becoming organized to create a more efficient household. Last week, I had identified and implemented an organizational system that my small children can use for shoes, coats and backpacks. I found a small space in my entryway that is the perfect size for them.

I created my first YouTube video to show you what I accomplished. Check it out!

I seem to have a LOT to learn about shooting and editing a video. But in any event, I am pleased with my first attempt. My friend, Brandi Good of BLG Business Solutions: Social Media Coaching & Training, recently posted on her Facebook page a method to replace the “derp” resting face, as she calls it, on a YouTube video with a custom image. I need to find that post for my next video!

Installing the Shelf – a tail of two learning experiences

First learning experience

To begin this project, I searched YouTube for tutorials on installing a shelf. I like humour, so I appreciated Uncle Knackers YouTube video Hanging a Shelf in 5 EASY STEPS! Aside from the quirky humour, I found the pace in which he delivered the tutorial appropriate and it was easy to understand.

I had my list of instructions, so I gathered my supplies and go off to find a wall stud to anchor at least one of the brackets to.

Found a stud! But the position/spacing of the bracket didn’t look right. In my logical mind, I thought that there would automatically be equal spacing; therefore, the shelf would automatically be centered. How do I know where to position the shelf on the wall?? I re-watched Uncle Knacker’s video and checked out a few others. All started their tutorials with the same phrase: “Once you figure out where you will hang your shelf, locate a stud.”

This is where appropriate search phrases come into play. No matter the string of words I used I couldn’t find the right tutorial to help me determine where I needed place the shelf on the wall or how to space the brackets on the shelf itself. Context matters! I was lost. I had to call in reinforcements…. my super handy mom!

Second learning experience

She set me on the right path. The math path. I could easily follow her instructions, but to be honest, I could not really understand how the math added up or fraction-ed out.


I realized how much of a visual learner I really am! I needed her to draw what she was describing before I could really understand it. I also needed an equation of sorts.

That accomplished, I went back to the list of instructions from Uncle Knackers. The asynchronous learning of YouTube can pose issues as it relates to time. I ran into an issue with my bracket coming out crooked, despite leveling it prior to drilling. Had I posed this question to my unsuspecting teacher online, I might have had to wait days before a response. It was nice to have my mom sit on the sidelines ready to be called in.

Can you see where I went wrong drilling in this bracket?

My mom was quick to point out that the angle of my drill would push the bracket off ‘center’. I need to be “straight on” to the drill.

Once the shelf was complete, I was able to measure out the wall appropriately for the coat rack. There were no studs for this installation, so I learned how to use wall plugs to secure the rack to the wall.

Final Thoughts

As I sit here contemplating my overall learning experience, I wonder if I would have benefited from installing a shelf in an inconspicuous place first?? Do a few trail runs before the main event. Sure, the installation of the shelf in my entryway would have taken much less time, but I am ok with my trail and error approach of learning on-the-job.

I am looking to put multiple wire shelves in my children’s closets. Are there any online DIYers out there that you can recommend to help me with this next project?

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with Clutterbug
  • Share my daily progress on Clutterbug’s Facebook page
  • Continue to identify areas that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can benefit
  • Identify environmentally and socially responsible ways in which I can “relocate” the stuff I am ready to let go

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

The link to comment is below the title of this post. 

Being Moved by Online Social Movements

Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile?

Hastags on social media such as #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, #climatemarch are all campaigns to raise awareness for social issues with the objective to effect change.     This form of social activism is known as cyberactivism, internet activism, or digital activism and is designed to initiate a citizen-based movement toward a specific goal, cause or objective using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to name a few. The objective of these movements might be to raise awareness, organizing physical gatherings, or raising money to create change around social, policy or environmental issues as an example.

In our #eci831 course, we have been asked to consider whether we believe online social activism is meaningful and worthwhile. Personally, I would like to think it is. I have been moved by the recent awareness campaign on sexual harassment issues, particularly in the workplace, by the #metoo online social movement. It has encouraged me to have personal (offline) conversations with friends and family to spread the message and ponder what we can do to help young women and men understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to harassment. It has also inspired me to bring in guest speakers (human resource consultants and advocates) into the classroom to equip students as they enter the workplace.

On this note, Susan Kent from This Hour Has 22 Minutes recently shared her #metoo story. I appreciate her perspective as a female in a position of power. It is perspectives like these that really bring further understanding to these issues, to keep the conversation going, and to make sure that all women are aware and are protected.

Katia Hildebrandt, our facilitator for our EC&I 831 course last Tuesday, argues that as educators have a responsibility to bring light to social inequalities while online. As she puts it:

We have a responsibility to risk our privilege to give voice to social inequities and injustices. We have a responsibility to risk our privilege to give voice to those who have no privilege to risk.

This is very inspiring and also a bit intimidating. Until recently, I never considered  commenting on controversial or politically charged issues on social media. Similar to the concerns Tayler mentions in her blog, I don’t want to be judged for my position and/or experience (re: #metoo), nor do I care to get caught up in an online battle. This may seem that I don’t want to risk my reputation for the sake of a speaking up. For me, it goes beyond that. I often feel ill equipped to speak from a position of knowledge and understanding in debating certain issues. What service would I bring to the issue if I were not able to speak from a position of knowledge? In my opinion, having productive conversations online requires one to broaden their scope of knowledge and understanding, thus bringing awareness in a thought provoking way.

Is raising awareness of social issues online worthwhile from the perspective of advocacy groups? Interestingly, a recent study surveying 63 Canadian advocacy groups found that the majority did not rely too heavily on social media to further their cause, citing the risk of slacktivism, which may delude them into a false sense power. Rather, they tend to focus the majority of their resources on strategies that have been proven, such as “on the ground techniques”.

Translation to my Role as an Adult Educator

To avoid the “click like, but no action” of slacktivism, and perhaps aid in advocacy groups finding social media more worthwhile, I have been thinking of ways in which I could involve my students in active digital citizenship. Ways in which I can help move them along the continuum of Westheimer’s Kind’s of Citizens, as adapted in Katia Hildebrandt and Alec Couros‘s blog post What Kind of (Digital) Citizen, from personally responsible citizen to become more participatory and justice oriented citizens. The latter type of citizen actively participates in social issues and strives to become an agent of change.

It feels at the moment that the possibilities are endless in our Leadership and Human Resource and Relations courses. To help the students think of a social issue to champion throughout the semester we can use the lesson plan provided by Katia to create a social media activism project. To be more manageable, I may have the students work in small groups. I would build into the project “on the ground” volunteer hours  that need to be dedicated to furthering the cause. This may be in the form of organizing food drives, raising awareness and help stop the stigma of mental illness, or demonstrating environmental concern. Promoting their chosen project and sharing their experiences in social activism can be facilitated by the students and myself on various social media outlets including blogging, Twitter, and Facebook.

I really appreciated the thought provoking subject of social media activism this week. I am excited to incorporate this into my curriculum when I return to the classroom!

Questions for Discussion

How have you overcome your fears or hesitation of social activism online? Do you think thoroughly educating yourself on the issues first is necessary to make a difference in your online discussions?

Has any social movement motivated you recently to become a more active digital citizen? Did it translate into taking action?

Back to the Kitchen… Kids in Tow

Hi all, it has been an interesting week. With Thanksgiving last weekend and then the dreaded stomach flu going throughout our household I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked to have been on my learning project.  Although I was able to catch up on the daily decluttering challenges, I did not get to implement  the organization solution in our front entryway as planned.

Instead, I got some much needed down time on the couch. For an active busy bee like me, that was hard to do. I did enjoy the extra snuggles with my little ones though! It was at this time I was able to really reflect on their growth since the summer. I think I may be underestimating their potential to contribute to the daily household chores. My daughter, who is 3 1/2, and son, 20 months, have the ability and the desire to help in the kitchen, but as a busy family I do not often give them the opportunity, or independence, to. According to WebMD children as young as two need responsibilities in the household to feel like they are making a contribution.

Upon Reflection…

I remember a learning experience my son and I had a few weeks ago. It was the usual busy weekday morning. Getting the kids ready for daycare/preschool, unloading the dishwasher and loading the washing machine all the while trying to remember where I was supposed to be that day. Clearly, I need to be more organized!

I turn to see my son trying in frustration to wrangle a spatula out of the dishwasher. Cute, he is trying to help, I think. At the time, I remember being frustrated. We didn’t have time for him to play in the dishwasher. I instinctively reached out to free the utensil for him, but something stopped me. “Wait… ” I say. “Slow down city slicker. You got this.” I grab my phone to document his learning…


I also learned something very valuable that morning. By simply engaging with him in a simple household chore, he was working on his problem-solving and fine motor skills and his success brought him joy! I still try and encourage his growth, but I believe consistency will be key going forward.

I had seen some great tips on Do it on a Dime’s YouTube channel that I want to implement in our kitchen to help continue my children’s contribution and learning experience.

I have moved the children’s dishes down to their level and will start the routine of getting them to set their own place at the table and put their clean dishes away. I also gave my daughter the task of feeding the cat earlier this week (only because the smell of it made me very queasy!) and she has been asking to feed the cat almost everyday since. That is going on the chore list for sure!

My family and I got back on the healthy train this weekend, so I am looking forward to a happy and healthy upcoming week!

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with Clutterbug
  • Share my daily progress on Clutterbug’s Facebook page
  • Continue to identify areas that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Implement organizational systems – Front Entryway bench, overhead shelf, and coat hanger
  • Continue to identify ways in which my little people can help

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

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Fake News, the Millennials, and the Classroom

via Giphy

It’s hard not to think of President Trump when you consider the concept of fake news.  As a prominent global figure, who is quick to label most media outlets that do not speak favorably of him or his Administration, it is hard not to think of him. As a Gen Xer who grew up watching network news, I am quite offended by his accusations and a little alarmed.

Although not our leader, he is considered the leader of the Free World, and as such a role model for our young people. In my view, the bizarre statements and erroneous claims are troublesome. Recently, Trump claimed he ‘came up’ with the term fake news in a recent interview with former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee on TBN. This claim being disputed by, CNN Editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza, in a recent article. I have had practice discerning credible media outlets, and more specifically,  what political bias or point of view they are presenting. However, this was a skill learned with time and without the constant suspicion of false reporting. How would that have affected my worldview as a youth of the media? of power? of justice?

In our EC&I 831 session on October 10th, our professor Dr. Alec Couros pointed out that although we may think certain information as fake, others may believe it. Satire is no exception. I found an edited version of a recent interview between President Trump and former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee. As you will note in the clip, Governor Huckabee is replaced with Stephen Colbert from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. Clearly, this is satire. However, when I say “clearly”, I am making a lot of assumptions about the viewers. Who do you think would be prone to believing this? Perhaps people in other nations who are not familiar with Colbert? Thoughts?

Here is the original interview with Gov. Mike Huckabee on TBN.

[Fake] News on Social Media meets the Classroom

My classmate, Ryan, shared in his blog post on this topic recently that the Millennial generation, those born in the 1980s to the mid to late 1990s, are more likely to get their news using social media. As this is the demographic that I teach it had me wondering how these young adults interact with the news they receive on social media.

Pew Research Center conducted a study that confirms Ryan’s source in that Millennial’s aged 18 to 29 years old are more likely to turn to online platforms for news. However, of all adults accessing their news using social media, for example, only 30% have some confidence in its accuracy.

Few have a lot of confidence in information from professional news outlets or friends and family, though majorities show at least some trust in both, but social media garners less trust than either

If I can take this at face value, then I speculate that at least 66% of the population use either common sense, critical thinking skills or fact check when consuming news on social media. In that 30% who have some confidence in news on social media I wonder who are being blindsided by fake news and bringing that into our discussions in the classroom. If you note from the study above, 77% of us trust at least some or a lot of what our friends and acquaintances share with us. I wonder what will happen to this statistic over time with the increase of fake news in social media.

If fake news becomes so convincing that even the best ‘sniffer’ in the classroom doesn’t question it’s authenticity then aren’t we contributing to the distortion that fake news can generate? If we become increasingly aware that fake news is out there will we become suspicious of anyone who shares with us? How does that change the dynamics of trust in relationship with others? To be honest, Grad studies has already started to open my eyes to a new way of thinking about my world! Now I need to be extra careful in what my friends/students/acquaintances tell me in case they have been infected by the Fake News virus?!? Alec shared a great quote in class and I truly feel the affects of it:

“The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

― Garry Kasparov

What to do?

I see great opportunities to demonstrate methods of fact checking mainstream articles that students wish to use in assignments. One great resource we have are our librarians. Students can certainly contribute to this as well. Furthermore, building into the assessment piece the process in which the student determines they are relying on a credible source may be beneficial. I can see how this holds the student accountable to their audience when sharing information. Again, going back to being a good digital citizen.

Do any teachers or adult educators build the process of fact checking, or otherwise verifying, sources into their assessment? Has that been successful in holding the student accountable?

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Organization Starts with Decluttering

15 plates (2)I am not a caterer, but you might think I was one by the amount of small plates and wine glasses I have – strike that – HAD. Why was I keeping 15 mismatched small plates and 14 wine glasses?! No clue! I have NEVER used all of them in one single day, let alone one single setting.  Following Clutterbug’s 30 Day Decluttering Challenge, along with hundreds of other like-minded people around the world, has been the perfect ticket to help kick start my journey to becoming more organized! What was more helpful was posting my purge pile, or my new organized and decluttered space, to Clutterbug’s Facebook page. The social support here has been amazing! At the end of the first week, I had two boxes loaded for charity and one bag for our local Food Bank.

Starting with the Kitchen Cupboards

I am a visual learner and this is one of the main reasons I am drawn to following Cassandra from Clutterbug on YouTube. Each day of the challenge she posts a few minutes of her process in decluttering that days assigned space, followed by a personal story or inspirational message. (trust me, Day One’s story will have you in stitches!)

In addition, her highly organized home is providing great ideas that I can adopt in my own. I found her recycling system under her kitchen sink to be a great idea, one in which I wanted to implement. Efficiency is the goal! Although our outdoor recycling bin is about 15 steps from my kitchen sink it was a real chore to continuously travel there while cleaning the kitchen. This idea reminded me of Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management  I learned in Business school. Applying those principles to the task of cleaning my kitchen should certainly save me a lot of time and energy. (Side note: Sadly, I didn’t just invent this notion. Apparently, Christine Frederick did almost 100 years ago!)

Finishing under the Kitchen Sink

It was late last Friday afternoon and I decided to tackle the installation of my new recycling bin under the sink. My mom was scheduled to come over to assist. Why my mom? She is super handy! But I decided I was going for it – alone. I grabbed the cordless drill, two Halloween candies, the instructions and went for it. The instruction sheet said it should take 15 minutes. I laughed. An hour and a half later….

I figured using an electric screw driver… um cordless drill… would be easy enough, so I didn’t bother YouTubing a “How To” video. This might have contributed to the longer than predicted time to complete the installation. I ran into a couple frustrating moments that might have been prevented had I watched Bill on YouTube.

First, tightening a drill bit in the keyless chuck is counter intuitive. You need to turn the chuck counter clockwise to tighten it. Righty Tighty doesn’t apply here! Second, stripping a screw can be avoided by adjusting the torque. How do I know I was stripping a screw and that it is bad thing? I remember the high pitched sound and my mom’s reaction: “ROBERT, stop! You’re stripping the screw!” In his defense, he is a bit hard of hearing. Thanks to Bill I now know one way to prevent it!

The drill will be an essential tool with the upcoming organizing systems I plan to install. In light of the little I have learned so far on YouTube about the drill, I certainly plan on tapping into other resources to become more efficient.

The Dark Side of Sharing on Social Media

Sharing a personal journey to becoming more organized requires vulnerability. In my exuberance to share on Clutterbug’s Facebook page the momentum I have gained in my own journey, I did not for one moment expect that others may be Facebook shamed. This past week I witnessed a mother, who posted a photo of her over cluttered kitchen to seek advice, shamed for the way she lives. Online shaming is real my friends, and it is ugly. What is more shocking to me is that most, if not all, the people sharing on this page are adults.

While this incident was ‘contained’ to Clutterbug’s Facebook page and didn’t go viral, it still happened. Shouldn’t adults know better? It is increasingly becoming apparent to me, as an adult educator, that there is a need to promote appropriate digital citizenship in adult education. Online shaming is being done by adults, not just the youth. And that is a shame.

Goals for this coming week

  • Continue to follow the declutter challenge with/ Clutterbug’s
  • Share my daily progress on Clutterbug’s Facebook page
  • Continue to identify areas that would benefit from organizational systems
  • Implement organizational systems
  • Identify ways in which my little people can help

Thank you for respectfully sharing in my journey!

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