I am an experimenter at heart. Explore this blog or my twitter feed and you will likely see me trying something new weekly (if not daily sometimes). Trying new things in an effort to continually grow and improve is just part of who I am. I call it being innovative.

PIRO4D / Pixabay

Just last Friday, for example, I taught using Padlet as my main anchor point for the first time. Yes, it isn’t that new of an idea, but it is new for me. The students commented afterwards that they loved it so I plan to try it again. It would be interesting to see how it goes when more than two people show up for class. Before you get too shocked, keep in mind that it was the Friday before Thanksgiving weekend and students know I am flexible.

Daily Extends

Since the beginning of the extends, before there were badges, before Irene and Greg dominated the summer leader board (yes, Greg I see you have now scored 208/208) – I was part of the daily extends. I have, at many points in my journey, enjoyed the daily activities. It use to be a ritual of mine to do a daily before starting my day. Way back in the day it was Peggy that was the person to beat. This friendly competition pushed me to try new things every morning and I loved the competition that went along with it. The module states that daily extends have no prizes, but they are still competitive.

Maybe not everyone chooses to buy into the competitive aspect, but some of us do – even without prizes. Extends are intended to be creative, which most of the time they are. For me to buy-in these days I need to immediately see their value. You have 8 seconds to hook me! (anyone that has attended my YouTube presentations knows what I mean).

Yes, I have done way more than the three daily extends needed for the experimenter badge. Currently I have 148, and that number will rise (click here to see them). Each time I stopped doing them it was because I needed to prioritize other things, but I miss them. I miss them yet I find myself too busy to do them if I cannot tell immediately what I am expected to do – and if I cannot do it from my cell phone. Sometimes I find that they may take me more than the 15 to 20 minutes it is intended to, which is discouraging. These are my barriers. Silly, I know, but as my colleagues know I am quite immersed in other things that just take my attention. I like when the extends serve as a fun but useful break from the daily grind instead of becoming an added thing to work on.

A colleague of mine and I were discussing the value of these activities earlier today (getting these badges included). For me, the value needs to be explicit and obvious. The daily extends should be fun, easy, creative, and applicable to my practice. When they are not I stop doing them, stop getting the notifications then stop remembering they exist until someone tweets about the leader board and I am reminded of all the things I feel I really should be doing as Cambrian’s Innovation Champion and an eCampusOntario Fellow. Right, you say they are optional. I know, but they don’t always feel optional.

Deep Dives

In a review of the deep dives, I have already done a few recently:

  • I have created a course trailer.

  • It might not look like it, but I have used the Twitter gif to talk about concision in class.

  • I have created a video to welcome students to my course, but could not visit the link in the module because it is broken so I am unsure if I used those tools: Online lecture toolkit
  • I co-constructed some rubrics with my students this term and intend to add them to the in the future OER Commons – the website is giving me some difficulty right now. 
  • I regularly use H5P for topics like APA format, but they are all under the LMS lock and key. I will add more H5P on my websites in the future.
  • I reviewed an open textbook. 

Double Dipping

This reflection on my experience can hopefully double as my badge application, reflection component of the badge application and maybe even a 9x9x25 blog post. I continue to experiment my way to a better teaching-learning experience. Join me?


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit http://nursekillam.com/.


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