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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.