An Introduction to #ocTEL

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It’s been almost a year since I took part in my first MOOC – the First Steps MOOC, but the memory of being initially completely over-whelmed by the experience is still very clear. But I am up for a challenge, and as I am currently in the process of completing an LSIS funded Research and Development Followship project, where I am looking at what and how HE tutors and students can learn from each other about mobile technology, then this seems like as a good a time as any to join my second MOOC.

As a FE (in HE) tutor in the UK, teaching ESOL,  ESOL teacher teacher and involved in staff development, I find that positioning myself as a student or a teacher difficult. I certainly actively use technology for my own CPD; using Twitter, writing this blog, reading others’ blogs and articles, watching TED videos, etc. My mobile devices certainly help me engage with and contribute to this online community. But all this engagement has a purpose – and that is to improve my practice as a teacher and therefore have (hopefully a positive) impact on my students, whether these are ESOL learners,  teacher trainers or experienced teachers.

Therefore, while I position myself as a student, undertaking self directed study using social media, I am also a teacher taking ideas and resources into the classroom. I don’t see these two ideas as opposites, more of a multicoloured spectrum which I skip between.

I’ve been running a Technology for Learning Delivery Course for this first time this year and this has really challenged me to think about what and how I use technology for my CPD, with my students and with my colleagues. It has certainly further blurred this teacher/student dichotomy for me, as I am very aware that the students on the course (who are also my fellow tutors and colleagues) are now engaged in the same social media sites as me. So when I engage with them in this sphere, am I there as tutor,  peer or something else?

With this in mind, I am looking forward to being a ‘student’ on this MOOC. I’m interested to see how much my digital literacy has improved since the last MOOC, will I be as overwhelmed this time or will I have better skills to manage the flow of information and the confidence to navigate my way through it? I’ll be interested to see if I stick to my ‘comfort zone’ of using twitter and blogs, or whether I will venture into the Forum – something I avoided during the last MOOC. Other than this, I think I am open to be surprised …..


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