Well, it is now a couple of weeks since edcmooc finished and I feel sort of empty – there is a hole in my life! Even though I have had plenty to fill the space it has left; during edcmooc we were also building up to saying farewell to our eldest as he starts on a new chapter of his life in Canada. We saw him off at the airport last weekend and he has now been away for a whole week. Good old social media means that we know he arrived safely – he checked into the Spaghetti Factory in Vancouver on Foursquare, posted on Facebook about taking a tour in a pink double decker bus and we saw his tweets too. Oh, and he did manage to text me as well. Hoping that this weekend he will skype us so I am sitting with Skype open just waiting for him to come online!
Life at work has also been frantic; I wear several hats one of which is Outdoor Education Coordinator and with two camps coming up in the next four weeks I have a huge mound of paperwork; RAMS and medical forms are coming out of my ears as well as trying to sort out staffing.
Alongside that paperwork I am also part of a team reviewing the EOTC documentation and practice in school. We had four hours of meetings this week to try to break the back of that and put in place a plan of action for next term.
I also teach Spanish so I need to leave work for my classes when I am away so I have to make sure that we have covered enough in the lessons so that they can complete online activities whilst I am away.
Finally, I am part of a team leading the Professional Development in school this year. Our focus is Blended Learning and so we are each leading a 5 week module on a different aspect of Blended Learning which obviously requires a fair degree of preparation.
Oh, and on top of all that, I am preparing for a two week trip to Spain during the April holidays; I was awarded a scholarship for a fully funded Spanish language course at Salamanca University which is fantastic. However, because it is fully funded by the Ministry of Ed and the Spanish Embassy, there are plenty of hoops to jump through!
So, about that hole that edcmooc left?! Well, actually, even though it has been filled with all these other things it is only partially filled. Something has been sparked in me and I need more. I miss the interaction, the opportunity to read the articles, watch the videos and exercise my brain with something academic. I have signed up to Goodreads and joined the edcmooc groups and hope to find time to read the suggested book “News from Nowhere” that I have downloaded and join in the twitter chat planned for 6th April. I am also hoping to join in the twitter chat tomorrow morning. I missed last weeks chat and although I read through the tweets afterwards, it just wasn’t quite the same!
The problem is, when there isn’t the structure of the weekly course plan, the momentum of
the discussion forum, the traffic on Twitter, FB and Google +, and when there are lots of external pressures, it is easy to drop off the chat. I have looked to see what other Moocs are coming up and definitely plan to do another but I know that right now is not a good time. I want to be able to give it my full attention. I am also a little worried that edcmooc was such a good experience for me that other moocs won’t match it!
Last week I went to lecture at the University of Waikato by Mark Pagel called “The Evolution of Human Language”. It was fascinating. He is an entertaining speaker and as a good speaker should, he raised more questions than he answered.
“Each of you possesses the most powerful, dangerous and subversive trait that natural selection has ever devised. It’s a piece of neural audio technology for rewiring other people’s minds. I’m talking about your language.”
In this Tedtalk from 2011 he suggests that “social learning is visual theft” but that it is social learning, that has helped us develop as a species. At some point in the past we realised that we had a choice – we could either protect our ideas and not let other people steal them by copying what we had discovered or we could share. We decided to share and language is what resulted.
“Language evolved to solve the crisis of visual theft. Language is a piece of social technologyfor enhancing the benefits of cooperation — for reaching agreements, for striking deals and for coordinating our activities“
I am hungry for more – maybe there will be a mooc out there somewhere on the development of language? As a lingust I have always been fascinated with how languages develop, where they came from, how words transfer from one language to another, how they metamorphose, and how language tells us so much about the culture of a people.