I haven’t blogged about it yet, because for some reason this opportunity seemed too good to be true. But here I undoubtedly am, in the great city of Barcelona, working with the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) of the Open University of Catalonia for the next month. I’m fortunate to be sharing this visit with Keira and Harry, and I expect they will fall in love with this city too.
It’s so wonderful to be back here. I had the good fortune to visit with the UOC at a couple of events last year, and in all honesty I’m as excited for the dedicated time to work with these brilliant and progressive people as I am for the travel. Some of the immediate highlights:
* Tonight and tomorrow I will participate in the Open EdTech Summit, part of “a small group of around 30 open, educational and technology experts [who] will get together to share best practices, as the basis for discussions to help identify future education and technology needs and trends for next-generation educational and learning environments.” Looking at the participant list, I am truly humbled and privileged to be involved – some of my favorite people in the field will be there, as well as a few heroes I’ve never met, and I’m sure there are others here who will be blowing my mind for the first time.
* Immediately following, I will be attending the UOC’s UNESCO Chair in E-Learning Seminar “Fighting the digital divide through education”, which features a similarly impressive program.
After that, I expect I’ll be settling into more focused work with the UOC, with a set of tasks including, but not limited to:
* Giving a talk, which will focus on the work of the fantastic team I work with at UBC’s Office of Learning Technology, in partnership with Fellows of the Worldwide EduGlu Symposium. One of my goals on this trip is to strengthen communication and collaborations amongst my various homes (permanent, temporary, virtual) over the next month.
* Developing a day-long, hands-on workshop on mashups for developers (and anyone else who is interested) at the UOC.
* Working with the IN3 on a research project concerning the personalization and the “opening up” or is that (“mashing up”?) of its virtual learning environment.
* A specific off-shoot of the above, hashing out the enhancement of a DSpace installation here with something like a social layer of some kind.
While I’m here, I also hope to learn more about the UOC’s provisioning of its vast virtual learning offerings, and its broader efforts in the open education movement, where it is a recognized global leader.
All of this sits well outside my current comfort zone, so this will be a highly disruptive immersive learning challenge for me. If I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun, I’d be terrified. Well, OK, I am terrified… There is no way I can hope to pull all of this off on my own, and to be frank the only way I can hope to justify the faith that both the UOC and UBC-OLT have placed in me is to tap my greatest resource – my network. So my plan is to blog this trip quit aggressively… Writing up my learning as it happens, posting provisional half-baked musings and plenty of queries. I hope the posts will feel less like “cries for help” than my best efforts to share this experience with all of you.
UPDATE: I gave the above a rewrite to correct some gawd-awful writing in my initial draft. Apologies if this pops up in your RSS reader again…