What I did instead of a summer vacation

When I got back from Mexico, I did not know how to respond to the question, “how was your holiday?”

That was because I was coming back from two of the most intense and hard-working weeks of my life. I was part of a project hosted at the University of Guadalajara, in partnership with the Justice Institute of British Columbia. The challenge was to work with more than 300 UdG instructors (two one-week cohorts of 150+ each) who had just been issued new iPads in the practice of active, participatory learning using mobile, networked technologies.

The week was primarily composed of “studios”. Each participant took part in “foundational studios” on subjects like student-centred course design and collaborative learning. They then chose from a set of studios on skills such as audio and video production, alternative assessments, and open educational resources. I fulfilled a long-held dream when I put together a studio on using and creating animated GIFs. What was notable about these studios was the focus on hands-on practice. We kept the lecturing to no more than ten minutes per studio, directing participants to a series of “challenges” ranging from very easy to quite advanced. It was gratifying to see how doggedly and creatively our participants tackled these challenges.

We managed the activities in a WordPress-based open environment that you can check out at: http://udg.theagoraonline.net/ We just moved on to the “virtual” phase, where participants apply what they learned in their courses, with online coaching. I’m thrilled to be returning to Guadalajara to see how it all turns out.