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Open PD

Here’s where I sit while attending Open PDI read about Open PD on Daren Draper’s blog. He was inviting anyone to join his class, learning about web2.0 tools, in Utah, for free. I missed the first week but went ahead and joined in the second week. For someone new to online learning it was quite an experience. I stayed for the whole class and went back the next three weeks. At our house on Wednesday nights dinner is served and dishes are done by 6:30 so I can sit down and join the class. I’m thankful my daughter is in high school and has homework to keep her busy. One of my goals for this year was to learn to be a better multitasker. Taking this course is a big help! At times I’m watching the video on UStream and of course listening to the audio, as well as reading the posts in the chat room, on one half of my screen while working on perhaps a Google document with other class participants on the other half of my screen. Oh, and of course some online students are participating via Skype. Robin Ellis, the co-teacher participates in the discussions and monitors the chat room for questions and makes sure they get answered either by someone in the chat room or by Daren in class. I was familiar with the tools Daren talked about but I learned new tips and tricks at each class. I also learned that accidentally opening Ustream in two windows causes echoes and that makes it very difficult to follow the conversation. I also learned that problems with technology can plague anyone no matter how well prepared they are but if everyone is patient things will turn out fine in the end. One night Darren put all the participants in groups and asked them to Skype in and work on a Google presentation together. Some online participants left and others were joining and some of us didn’t have Skype. I felt very guilty not being prepared for class. I was tempted to leave but decided to stick it out. (I had singed up for Skype the week before in class but it caused problems with Firefox so I had deleted it not knowing we’d need it again. I have since reloaded it and it seems to be working fine.) Our group got a late start and ended up not using Skype but we still got the job done. Later that night we had some trolls visit the chat room and they wouldn’t go away so Darren, like all good teachers, had a backup plan and moved us to another chat room but lo and behold there were more trouble makers there. But everyone was patient and finally the trouble maker left and we were able to finish the class. By last night Darren had another solution and things went smoothly. I’ll admit I tend to be a lurker in class, I’m comfortable absorbing everything that’s going on without having to participate in the chat room. However, when I did have a problem and posed a question Robin or someone else was always quick to help me out. Another one of my goals is to use Skype this year. Darren has another class starting in two weeks that will go into more detail about blogs and wikis. Maybe by the time it’s done I’ll get brave and try Skype. For a person that hates talking on the telephone the thought of talking into a microphone online is even more intimidating. We don’t have Skype at school but if we did I’d expect my students to do it so I guess it’s time for me to do something I might expect of them. One of Darren’s parting comments about blogs was to be sure to add pictures. So, I’m trying that out. The picture at the start of this post is where I sit while attending Open PD. Thanks Darren and Robin for providing the class. I appreciate all your hard work that goes into making it successful.


4 Responses

  1. Nedra,

    It has be great to have you join us for OpenPD as we’ve been learning many of these new tools with you. I’ll be the first to admit that the Google Presentations project was a tough one (I don’t know of anything like that ever being done before) and the chat trolls were frustrating!

    As we’re blazing new ground with this OpenPD idea, I appreciate your willingness to try new things and stick it out even though the going might sometimes be a little tough.

    Keep moving forward,


  2. Hi Nedra

    I’m glad you have taken the time to write this post because I was wondering how new to learning online found the Open PD sessions; and if the sessions adequately meet their needs and what aspects make you feel uncomfortable.

    I’m very experienced with working online and I really struggled with working collaboratively on the Google Documents. Thanks for reminding me of this because I meant to write a post on what the issues were.

  3. Hi Nedra,
    Thank you for being part of OpenPD, it is challenging for all of us, as Darren said above, this is a new concept for PD and we learn each week along with everyone attending. We do feel we are providing a way for people to come together and learn how to use tools they may not have an opportunity to in their own district. I believe the flexibility of joining from home for some is an advantage, and it also gives many a chance to experience online learning, something not all districts offer.

  4. Hi, Darren, Sue and Robin,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love the concept of Open PD and the whole general concept of sharing that I’m finding in these new online communities. Being able to do this at home is definitely a benefit. I am looking forward to continuing the class and my learning.

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