Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thoughts on FOC 08 Course

First of all I would like to thank Leigh for being such a great Facilitator: always there to help & lots of great tips and suggestions, but never dictating or impressing his opinions on the students. Well done Leigh!

I really enjoyed the communication both via e-mail & blogging. It was very interesting to see different perspectives and ideas develop through the communications. There were some very helpful hints and lots of problem solving from all participants.

The discussions were thought-provoking and motivating. The discussion about facilitating, teaching or moderating I found particularly interesting because it brought out a perspective I had never considered before so I learned a lot from that.

I am not great on the technical stuff but found I enjoyed experimenting in Second Life & online networks. It made me see the difference between a network & a community more clearly. Also visiting Second Life made me realise what wonderful learning tools virtual worlds such as Second Life could be. There are many other programs & tools available but I didn’t explore them in depth as at present I don’t have a purpose for them but I will know where to look when I need them.

I did find it difficult to read all communications because there were so many on different topics I tended to read the blogs & e-mails I was interested in, otherwise I just got bogged down with the reading of communications & behind in the tasks we were expected to do.

Overall an enjoyable, practical and very useful course providing ideas and some tools which I can use in our Community Learning Centres. Connectivism (a theory of learning by communicating with others and sharing ideas) is a great way to learn and can be applied to all learning environments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Social Networking platforms

I joined Ning and looked up Cooking networks. I found many networks but each network had only one or two members (not what I see as a network). In Ning each member can set up their own network so the result is many "networks" with a few members. Some "networks" were by invitation only (how do they expect to form a network if interested people cannot access the site).

This seems an inefficient method of trying to make contact with people who have similar interests to you. There should be only 1 or 2 networks with many members rather than 20 networks with 1 or 2 members.
These small networks could benefit by facilitation. An online Facilitator could explain the benefits of combining networks and offer to help set up one network which members of all these smaller networks could join & as a result communicate with people who have an interest in cooking.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Evaluating Facilitation

Here are my thoughts on how I facilitated the session "The Role of a Facilitator" in the FOC Mini Conference last week.

I talked too much but was trying to convey my impressions of the person I was interviewing so the participants could get a better perception of the person and the process. When someone made comments on things the Community Facilitator said if I disagreed or interpreted differently I said so.

The discussion progressed well and some very interesting comments and thoughts were contributed. Many thanks to Nellie and friends & Leigh for their comments and at times lively discussion. I learned a lot & saw thing from different perspectives.

I encouraged participants to chat and elaborate on statements. I did not moderate the process or the content, and I believe this is part of being a successful online facilitator: let the discussion flow & it is amazing how it develops and diversifies.

Comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mini conference: The Role of a Facilitator Discussion

We had an interestiing discussion this morning(NZ time) wit Leigh, Nellie & several of Nellie's friends participating. Here is the link for the chat record.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Second Life

My experience in Second Life was short & I was a bit uncoordinated: my Avatar was unpredictable to say the least. The people I met there were all very helpful and friendly. It was interesting teleporting to the Online Therapy Institute. Although I was definitely a “newbie” I could see the development of communities and how useful these communities could be. Jo was very interesting explaining how some people liked the anonymity of Second Life when seeking therapy and how eventually therapy sessions would be held in Second Life.
A few years ago a visiting Educator from Australia gave a lecture & talked about Second Life as a teaching platform. I can’t remember the Teaching Institute he was from but I do remember him telling us about the Institute buying land in Second Life & using it for their students. The Hospitality students set up a project where they had to design a hotel: create the gardens, swimming pool etc, do the interior decorating etc. These students had to start from the beginning and carry the project through to an operating hotel. This was a great teaching tool & a wonderful experience for the students: they could make mistakes, but they were easy to correct & didn’t cost the employer anything.
These students had first-hand experience of what it was like to design and operate a hotel so they were well equipped to go out & do the same thing in real life.
This is a platform where people can learn whatever they want to, experience the real thing & perfect the design or task first hand, then when they go to the real world they are competent and confident.
I still have a lot to learn about Second Life but think it is a great learning platform & will be used more for education in the future.
I see facilitation in Second Life as a cooperative process where people get to know each other & what each person is interested in. Then if someone & wants to know something about a particular site or topic they would be directed to the person who knows about that topic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Community Facilitator Interview

I have posted the interview with a Community Facilitator to blip .tv. Click Facilitator Interview to listen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Second Life names

My Second Life name is Gilly Muggins.