#CMALT is driving me crazy: part 4

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At this point the title of this series ‘#CMALT is driving me crazy’ maybe needs updated to ‘#CMALT drove me crazy’ as I officially received my certificate and badge in January. It was even more exciting as I wasn’t required to make any changes. Cue an immediate celebration on Twitter but it is now time to update my reflections in this space.

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Give yourself a mental ‘Valentine’

People put a lot of focus on Motivation Monday but today is Tuesday and I am struggling, at least struggling more than normal. I walked through the park this morning listening to the birds and noticing the many signs of spring, from blossoms to flowers, trying to calm my sense of panic and the blackness threatening to engulf. I was going to pour these feelings out into my blog in an attempt to be cathartic but decided it would just come across as an act of self-pity. Then this tweet caught my eye: “A Valentine’s message for children: start by loving yourself“.

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Hello 2017

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My winter cherry defying the bleakness of winter

Unbelievably January is already gone into the ether so I need to get this post out before it gets forgotten in the bottom drawer along with all the other well intentioned posts. I have been mulling over my professional development to-do-list since summing up 2016 in my last post and a meeting with colleagues this afternoon clarified it. Before starting however it is important to acknowledge one of the key things I learned last year with regards CPD – I am a person who is fully dependent on concrete deadlines. This is therefore absolutely key to achieving all the items on this list.

Formal learning

The first quarter of the year will be taken up with two modules on my distance course at the University of Edinburgh. These two courses are both very different in both content and delivery.

Understanding learning is focused on the psychology of learning and is taking place within the VLE (Moodle) with most of the teaching based on class discussions stemming from core reading. As well as the digital I am embarking on a new learning skill of crocheting on which I will be reflecting.

Education and digital culture, in complete contrast, concentrates on posthumanism in an open blog. Despite the involvement of less reading, what there is very challenging. In addition, there was (and still is) a huge technical learning curve for me as we are using IFTTT (If this then that) to feed all our ideas and discussion triggers into our personal blog spaces. Commenting on other blogs is an integral element of the learning journey and with such rich content will be a steep learning curve on a topic very new to me.

The discussions afforded by the private and public spaces have a different feel for me. I don’t have a preference of one over the other at the minute but it is definitely interesting being able to directly compare and contrast them.

One of the exciting elements of the modules is the wide variety of assignment designs and I am really looking forward to dusting off my creativity magic wand.

On completion of these two modules I will be nearing the end of my second year and at this stage in early summer I will be asking myself some very tough questions about my next steps and will be turning to colleagues, both IRL and online in Twitter for help and advice, so be warned.

Formal CPD

Following my CMALT accreditation this month I would like to continue this journey and become an assessor. Throughout the process of writing and compiling my portfolio I gained so much from the review process from friends and colleagues. This gave me more insight into my own work than I could see myself at times. Therefore, whilst contributing back to the scheme I fully envisage that I will learn more from the candidates than they will learn from me.

Branching out further I plan to use the ALT CMALT mapping document to the UKPSF in order to transfer across to my application for Higher Education Academy fellowship. This mapping document highlights how each CMALT section maps to areas of activity, core knowledge and professional values. Whilst, I realise this document will help clarify the application process I have no doubt that it is going to require discipline and an external push to create a hard deadline for me. This I have already discovered will come from an incredibly supportive group of colleagues and a writing retreat is on the cards.

Bits and bobs

A whole list of exciting projects are also on the cards taking me in new directions and with new people. From LEGO workshops further to student engagement, new open websites to postgraduate content for distance learning, and new research avenues.

From a conference perspective I would love to travel to many but my narrowed down list of hopefuls are EdTech2017 in Sligo organised by the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA), ALTc 2017 Liverpool (at least one day) and Sheffield Hallam University’s #SocMedHE17.

Shout-out

As always I will dip into the #LTHEchat every Wednesday GMT 8pm for amazing, crazy fast professional development education based chats.

All the very best everyone for 2017 in the widest sense

Final note: I now realise that I have managed to write this entire post without including a single deadline which I said was the most important underpinning element of the whole list – what a winning start.

Farewell 2016

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There is absolutely no doubt that 2016 was an utterly horrific one on so many levels. Many people have written of their frustrations and pain much more eloquently than I ever could so I simply want to wish that the new year brings significantly less tragedy and pain.

Somewhat guiltily against this dark backdrop of world events my professional life was in contrast full of new adventures, positivity and highlights. Initially when planning this post I listed my achievements to frame the story however I quickly realised that the story wasn’t about my achievements but with the Communities of Practice that underpinned the achievements. Four distinct CoPs stood out but at times the lines blurred between them and overlap occurred.

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#NextGenDL Conference

Reflections from a 5* conference introvert

I had a great start to November with a trip to Dublin which is always a welcome event in my calendar. Dinner and theatre to celebrate the last of October then the new month was welcomed in at Dublin City University at The Next Generation: Digital Learning Research Symposium 2016. The campus was glorious in the autumnal sunshine and the Helix a perfect venue.

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Wonderful goodie bag

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Space and reflection

Term is now well underway both with regards to work and study. Summer through to the end of October is by far my busiest time and it feels as if I have finally stopped trying to hang on by my nails, only ever one step ahead. I have been working my way through the huge list by continually tackling the job that is most urgent, whether by importance or date needed. All in all it feels like an enormous fire-fighting exercise and whilst I thoroughly enjoy challenge by this time of the year my batteries are completely flat and I feel close to becoming overwhelmed. Ironically, a period which is traditionally the exact time for reflection, taking a break and recharging.

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