Book by 3: The Self-Directed Learning Handbook (#sdlchat)

self-directed-learning-handbook-maurice-gibbons-e-book-cover-artI am working my way through The Self-Directed Learning Handbook, ever so slowly…. because it is GOOD! I’m so excited about the ideas and concepts presented by Maurice Gibbons. Would you be interested in reading through it with me? You are invited to participate three ways over the next few months:

1. Participate in the Twitter hashtag chat (#sdlchat).

Simply read through one chapter a week using the calendar below and discuss your thoughts on Twitter by adding the #sdlchat hashtag to tag your tweets. Create a search column in your twitter client that is based on that hashtag so you can follow what others are saying. Discuss, share links, experiences, etc.

(Subscribe to the iCal feed here.)

2.  Join the 3 Google Hangouts.

I’ll be creating a Google Hangout each after weeks 3, 6, and 9 so we can discuss in vocal form. Please complete the poll to help me determine day/time for the Hangouts.

      • Link: TBD (announced here and on Twitter after week 2)
      • Dates: TBD

3. Meet with us in person in Colorado.

I’ll be scheduling a face-to-face book night for early December  where we can wrap up our learning. We could also stream this for those of you out of town. As the chat progresses, we will determine a location. If Denver is a more central location than Loveland, we will try that.

      • Date: early December
      • Location: TBD

My hope for this project is that we will have a strong core of professionals who are investigating self-directed learning who will continue this journey together after the book chat is over. I plan to have a weekly chat scheduled similar to #edchat with a specific question or topic each week directly related to self-directed learning. What do you think? Are you in? If so, please let me know in the comments which ways you will be participating.

Related Resources:

October TweetUp (Loveland, CO)


Just wanted to issue a quick invite to grab coffee and chat with other educators in the Northern Colorado area. I’m hoping to have the large table reserved, but haven’t been able to talk to anything other than the answering machine at The Coffee Tree yet.  And it won’t reserve a table for me. Go figure.

  • Who: Northern Colorado & TSDR2J Edu-people
  • What: An informal “tweetup” coffee and chat time (come and go)
  • When: Thursday, October 10th 7:00-9:00p
  • Where: The Coffee Tree (downtown Loveland, CO)
  • Why: Talk education, innovation, and network…. local PLN!

Please share with other educators. Bring a friend. Grab your team. Ask your administrator to come with you. Talk to that teacher down the hall. Drink decaf or tea…. leaded coffee not required.

I’m looking forward to hearing what each of you have been doing, and the exciting things you have on your horizon. Hope you can make time to visit for a bit! Leave a comment if you plan to come.  ~Julie

Digital Portfolios Meet Accreditation

So, I’m jumping right back into the ed tech fray in this new position. As always, I tend to assess things from two viewpoints- that of an educator and that of a learner.  I’ve had quite the personal learning saga trying to find an alternative path to licensure and graduate coursework, and it directly relates to how students today personalize their learning.

Coursera TFL2

This weekend, I enrolled in my first MOOC course through Coursera’s “Foundations of Teaching for Learning 2: Being a Teacher”. I did sign on and pay the $29 for the “Signature Track” option to test out this way of verifying online coursework. My plan is to complete the 6 course series and apply for the Commonwealth Education Trust certificate. Does that help here in the good ol’ US of A? Not yet, but I’m hopeful that we are on the path within Thompson School District to not only offer alternative routes to education for students, but also for professionals. (Read: I want my position and salary to reflect my expertise, not just a formal degree or certification.) There will be hurdles to overcome, but I think it is possible now within the innovation zone structure or charter school model.

Through the course discussion forums, I’ve been introduced to two online portfolio tools. The plan at E3 Learning CO to date has been to use WordPress for student portfolio development. I think that will still remain an important component of demonstrating and reflecting on learning, but I am excited about these online systems as a way to professionally package self-directed learning artifacts, MOOCs, and traditional education for both myself and students in the E³ program.

Accredible Julie CunninghamDegreed Julie CunninghamAccredible

  • Professional, resume-like profile view.
  • Showcases all kinds of learning- traditional, online, etc.
  • Uses and endorsement structure similar to LinkedIn.


  • Ability to log vast amounts of educational content import- degrees, MOOCs, online badges, books, articles, etc.
  • Gives ‘points’ for conferences and events, as well as more traditional learning modes.
  • Connects with  a comprehensive list of online learning sites like Khan Academy, Codeacademy, Coursera, and many more.

My major concern with the two sites is longevity. Will this be around long enough to support independent learners as they  progress through to the workforce? Will one or the other “win” out?

For now, I’m maintaining my own digital portfolio in triplicate- WordPress, Accredible, and Degreed. My personal favorite right now is Accredible because it bridges the gap between traditional and unconventional educational methods and allows learners to showcase both in a professional format that employers will be able to easily navigate.

Are you using any of these sites personally? Are you using them with students? Are you an employer comfortable hiring based on these portfolios?