learning success – a reflection on my asl course

I did it. I completed my first American Sign Language course. This may have been one of the biggest and most enjoyable challenges of my life. The class was mixed in ages, and my brain definitely did not work as well as those of the younger students in the class, so I had to work harder. That was a new experience for me. I’m used to being one of the first in the class to “get it” and this was humbling.

It was fascinating to be in a class with a deaf instructor. In order to communicate with her, I had no choice but to learn the language; it wasn’t like my French class where I could ask the instructor things in English if I didn’t have the French words. I appreciated the peace in the classroom (no one talked aloud) and I now think that all students should learn some basic sign language in elementary school. Otherwise, for those whose only language is ASL, the world is very closed, and for the rest of us we miss the opportunity to communicate with these people.

Of all the diversity training I’ve taken over the years, I think this course demonstrated to me best of all why our world is a better place when we have diverse workplaces, when many voices are able to be represented in our social structures.

And I got a pretty good grade:

ASL

creative writing

My creativity mentor, Kathleen, sent me some information about a 40-day writing program, https://www.reneehartleib.ca/40-day-writing-project

I’ve been following James Clear, who was also recommended to me by Kathleen, and a recent email I received discusses continuous improvement. In this post, Clear says:

“If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.”

Small steps. I just convinced myself to sign up for the 40 day writing project, starting in June!

 

language learning

Last week, I completed the introductory level conversation course at Université Sainte-Anne, so I have now  finished all introductory levels of their program! I think of how intimidated I was the first time I walked into the building to register for a French course, of how I felt initial success and then encountered challenges, and of how I am now at a stage where I feel confident enough to try.

French Winter 2017

I am also in my fourth week of learning ASL through the Continuing Education programming at NSCC. This has been a unique experience which challenges me, but because (through learning French) I have some confidence that even at my age I can learning a second language, I am enjoying the course.

Here’s the confirmation for this course:

Sign Language 2017

essential workplace skills

I just attended a HRDC webinar on Essential Skills practitioner training at Douglas College. This college took part in the 2012 ACCC National Essential Skills Framework Project and has been training ES Practitioners for 12 years. On the Essential Skills section of their website, their video notes that up to 32% of college students lack essential skills, which include things like scanning texts for information, the steps to writing a paper, how to understand and take notes and how to read/use workplace documents. The webinar provided a link to the Colleges & Institutes Canada list of resources related to essential workplace skills.

the nscc technology strategy, i’m all about that

I have just been reviewing the NSCC Technology Strategy 2016-2021 to ensure that my LCP research remains in line with this document. The plan was influenced by a need to help students and staff develop competencies in digital literacies in order to embrace technology in how we access and use information, areas in which I have been focussing my self-study recently.

There are a number of freely accessible resources which could support the Technology Strategy. One that would be useful for students is the Coursera course, Metaliteracy: Empowering Yourself in a Connected World. This course addresses the following skills:

  1. Evaluating content critically, including dynamic, online content that changes and evolves, such as article preprints, blogs and wikis. This outcome includes discussion of fake news.
  2. Understanding personal privacy information ethics and intellectual property issues in changing technology environments.
  3. Sharing information and collaborating in a variety of participatory online environments.
  4. Demonstrating the ability to connect learning and research strategies with lifelong learning processes and personal, academic and professional goals.

I am also exploring tools which could be used to help students with digital literacies, including Mohawk College’s Digital Skills Toolkit, which I referenced in a previous post, and a new tool, Credo’s InfoLit modules. I have invited my LCP counterparts in Library Services to discuss the Mohawk tool and to take part in the Credo demo I have set up for this week.

OLA and 21st century skills

I just attended the Ontario Library Association Conference 2017 and took part in a number of sessions related to 21st century skills.

In the session “Building an Infrastructure for Inquiry-Based Learning: Models for Transforming Library Instruction“, the presenters advocated changing our information literacy programming model to inquiry-based learning, and that to do this we need to be there when the information queries are being developed by faculty, not just at the stage when students are looking for resources. Moving to an inquiry-based model is in line with 21st century skills development and the ACRL framework.

In a session on digital skills, Mohawk College presented its Digital Skills Toolkit, which is premised on the fact that students are coming to the college without fundamental digital skills. Mohawk makes a distinction between these basic digital skills and the digital literacies, and the presenters note that the basic skills have to be in place before students can move on to become digitally literate. The Toolkit would be easy to implement in any institution.

In a session on reminagining one-shot library instruction, presenters from the University of Calgary discussed how they are moving back to one-shot general instruction, after moving away from it in 2009. They are seeing uncertainty in undergrads in identifying resources and have developed a series of four sessions, 30 minutes each, based on the ACRL Framework. They have created a libguide for each of these sessions, including two on offer this term:

Forming a Research Question

Hunting for Information

 

 

creativity = workplace productivity

In my P21 Creativity Course, I have been learning how creative problem solving is key to workforce success. The course document “What we know about creativity” indicates:

“The well-documented, shifting global paradigm from manufacturing to knowledge-based to innovation economies makes the ability to solve problems creatively a necessary skill for educational and workforce success” (p. 1).

This document defines creativity in ways that mirror the Coursera course on Creativity that I took earlier in my LCP, and it is interesting that my own desire to be a creative learner is in line with what employers are requiring in today’s workforce.

The document indicates that creativity definitions are well developed, and they generally all tend to include novelty, usefulness and social context as defining factors (p. 1). It points out that learning environments are as important as innate ability in student creativity (p. 4), and that the specific conditions of such learning environments include:

  • Openness to experience
  • Confidence in one’s own creative ability
  • Task motivation
  • Domain knowledge and expertise
  • Resilience in the face of criticism

Several means of assessment for creativity are also described.

In all of my reading, Creativity is described as something that requires work, not just innate ability.

Before Christmas, my Creativity mentor, Kathleen, referred me to a blog by James Clear, who offers advice on how to  “master” creativity and transform our habits so that we can be more creative, which will help us be more productive and happier.

 

Clear, J. (1994). Mastering creativity: break through mental blocks, uncover your creative genius, and make brilliance a habit. Retrieved from http://jamesclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/creativity-v1.pdf

Clear, J. (2013). Transform your habits: learning how psychology makes it easier for you to live healthy and actually stick to your goals. Retrieved from http://jamesclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/habits-v2.pdf

Plucker, J. A., Kaufman, J. C., Beghetto, R. A. (n.d.). What we know about creativity: part of the 4Cs Research Series. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/docs/Research/P21_4Cs_Research_Brief_Series_-_Creativity.pdf

This document contains an annotated bibliography.