I am woman, hear me roar (or maybe code…)

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Earlier this year, I was introduced to an online training program called Hollaback that was brought to my workplace (virtually) to provide training on interventions to stop street harassment (Hollaback, n.d.). Hollaback has created a decentralized feminist community of practice using technology to assist storytelling, a “key technique traditionally leveraged by social movements” (Dimond, et al, 2013). They commissioned the creation of a mobile application and website to aid their work. 

Hollaback’s mobile application and blog/storytelling website were created by Sassafras Tech Collective, which is a worker cooperative group owned by Dr. Jill Dimond, who holds a PhD in Human Centered Computing from Georgia Tech, and her partners (Sassafras, 2020). I chose Dr. Dimond because she embodies the intersection of education, technology, and feminism in her work. She specializes in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Her PhD dissertation sought to “provide empirical evidence on how technology impacts activists” (Dimond, 2012). Sassafras Tech Collective even borrows pedagogical approaches in their day-to-day work, adopting a workplace version of critical pedagogy in their mutual work mentorship (Sassafras, 2020). Dr. Dimond maintains an active Twitter account, where she consistently promotes those same values of social equality and just cooperative work in the tech sector.

As Audrey Watters said, “this is really the crux of my message: there’s a fascinating and important history of education technology that is largely forgotten, that is largely hidden” (Watters, 2014) and I hope that Dr. Dimond is not hidden, or erased (Dimond, 2021).


Sassafras Tech Collective Blog: https://blog.sassafras.coop/

Dr. Jill Dimond Twitter: https://twitter.com/jpdimond


Jill Dimond, PhD. (2021, August 3). The worst is when other women who work at large tech companies have done this to me, and they don’t even realize it because of how they are situated within institutional power. [Tweet]. @jpdimond. https://twitter.com/jpdimond/status/1422580472501178371

Dimond, J. (2012). Feminist HCI for real: designing technology in support of a social movement. Page 32. 

Hollaback! Together We Have the Power to End Harassment. Get Trained. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.ihollaback.org/harassmenttraining/

Sassafras. (2020, February 27). Welcome to our new blog!.https://blog.sassafras.coop/welcome-to-our-new-blog/

Watters, A. (2014, June 18). Un-Fathom-able: The Hidden History of Ed-Tech #CETIS14. Hack Education. http://hackeducation.com/2014/06/18/unfathomable-cetis2014

Won’t Get Fooled Again

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At the risk of sounding repetitive, the pandemic has made us force our offline lives online faster than we expected. I wrote about this when discussing Fully Online Learning Communities (FOLC) in May 2021 (Houldsworth, 2021). Weller (2020, p. 100) discussed “overenthusiastic initial adoption” of online worlds in Chapter 14 for 2007. He suggests that “virtual worlds for learning may be one of those technologies due for a comeback”. I agree with him, but perhaps not for the reasons he expected when he wrote that. Fortnite and the attempts by Silicon Valley to develop online worlds (Park, 2020) have provided a space for those who can and want to migrate their lives online, partly to avoid contagion and partly because they prefer it. I would argue that it is a smaller step now for schools to follow. As the pandemic continues to drag on, online life continues to pull us forward, while our old life tries to hold us back.

The concept of sludge (Thaler & Sunstein, 2021) or sedimentation (Weller, 2020) refers to the idea that administrative structures “accrue around the system” (Lanier, 2002, p. 222), making change difficult. In my professional life, I am living it due to the way that our systems have developed. When we were first required to work from home, simply accessing anything online was virtually impossible, which made regulating (a legally required activity!), let alone learning, very difficult. The very real risk of lack of nuclear regulatory oversight could have existed, which contradicts how we see ourselves. An organization can try very hard to be agile, but due to years of sedimentation, it cannot pivot very quickly, even when it thinks of itself as modern and responsive. Weller (2020) said, “it is necessary to be aware of every institutional action that adds to the sediment and to be aware that the greater the accrual of such sediment, the more difficult it becomes to implement, or even contemplate, other solutions” (p. 66). Throughout 2020, we watched the LMS, the regulatory activity databases, and even the processes used for hearings struggle along in the sludge, along with the people who use them. Thankfully, senior management is recognizing this now and making meaningful, forward-looking changes so that we won’t get caught again.



Houldsworth, C. (2021, May 8). One Week (or maybe a Fortnite?) https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0208/one-week-or-maybe-a-fortnite/

Park, G. (2020, April 17). Silicon Valley is racing to build the next version of the Internet. Fortnite might get there first. Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2021, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/04/17/fortnite-metaverse-new-internet/

Thaler, R., Sunstein, C. (2021). Nudge: the final edition. Penguin Books.

Weller, Martin (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Canada: Athabasca University Press.

25 Years of Ed Tech – Weller Nails It!

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The very readable and friendly, “25 Years of Ed Tech” beautifully describes my professional journey to date. Prior to reading the first third of the book, I knew my own lived experiences with Ed Tech, but I was surprised at how he perfectly encapsulated what I suspected about certain aspects of it. These include how constructivism has a place somewhere but not everywhere, the development of e-learning, and the appearance of digital diploma mills.

As a radiation expert, I agree that constructivism is “an approach that doesn’t apply equally across all disciplines; quantum physics, for example, is almost entirely theoretical and largely counter-intuitive, so bringing your own experience of quarks isn’t going to help” (Weller, 2020, p.30). Even now, critical safety training such as nuclear power plant operations continues to rely on a more traditional method of teaching, which is what I believe Weller meant. Constructivist learning, as well as e-learning, remain generally unpopular in the nuclear realm in my experience.

E-learning when present in nuclear remains asynchronous, low-risk, and regulatory box-checking. Weller provided the cost-effectiveness of e-learning thus: “software simulations are costly to produce, taking time and requiring the input of a range of experts. However, once made, these components are relatively cheap to reproduce, so the costs do not increase greatly as the number of students increases. This model … is well-suited to large population courses which are presented over several years without much alteration” (Weller, 2020, p. 46). I have seen this first-hand and a quick Google search for online safety training backs me up.

As the century progressed, I saw organizations whose officers are described by Reid in 1959 as “unethical self-seekers whose qualifications are no better than their offerings” (Noble, 1998, p. 368). I was unfortunately surprised by Weller’s and Noble’s works to learn that my hunches about this group were right.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how well Weller’s book has so far described the history of Ed Tech and look forward to connecting his future revelations to my lived experiences.


Noble, D. F. (1998). Digital diploma mills: The automation of higher education. Science as Culture, 7(3), 355–368. https://doi.org/10.1080/09505439809526510

Weller, Martin (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Canada: Athabasca University Press.

The Future’s So Bright..

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This post encompasses two of the recordings we were able to listen to for this assignment. Both the recordings for the question, “Do you have a prediction on the next major trend or innovation in the educational technology field” and, “As you look back on your career in research, what would you have liked to know from the start” interested me for a few different reasons.

I think that predictions are fun if they’re for fun, kind of like making a time capsule. There is a lot of money thrown at predictions, like Dr. Veletsianos pointed out in his prediction recording. In my post on the Metaverse recently, I mused on how we might form Fully Online Learning Communities (FOLC) in a Metaverse-type community (Houldsworth, 2021). We could have everything from economy to learning in one place, which is also what Facebook is proposing (Newton, 2021). It’s an interesting thought, but I’ve always said that if I had any talent at making predictions at all, I’d be retired on a private island after selling the patent to that technology. I agree that we’re not there yet and should often focus on the non-tech solutions, like Dr. Veletsianos discussed in his other response about what he wishes he would have known.

In answer to the question about what Dr. Veletsianos would have liked to have known from the start, his comments about access to education (high cost, personal background doesn’t encourage educational opportunities, physical location) really resonated with me. I left post-secondary school after a two-year program because I was able to avoid student debt. I always intended on going back at some point, but like many learners, found that life took over. I also fell prey to the temptations of the resource-based economy like many people after I moved to Alberta. As Dr. Veletsianos discussed, post-secondary education in Canada is expensive and a learner’s culture may not encourage more education. My own experience has been that, in Alberta at least, a resource-based economy has meant that higher education is not as necessary to be able to make a good living (when that economy is doing well). For example, as of the 2006 census in Canada, when the Alberta economy was doing well (The Daily, 2006), Alberta tradespersons were on track to earn disproportionately (>4 times) more money than those with similar qualifications on average in Canada (Berger et al., 2009). In Alberta, the economy has demanded “backs, not brains”, which has been a common topic of conversation in my personal and professional spaces. All this is to say that I agree with Dr. Veletsianos. Education needs to meet people where they’re at and sometimes that means not using technology because your audience may not be ready or able to use it.

These recordings were interesting, and it was tough to narrow down my thoughts to make a blog post that wasn’t the length of a dissertation. I am looking forward to our next course and digging into some of these topics.



Berger, J, Motte, A & Parkin, A (eds) 2009, The price of knowledge: access and student finance in Canada, 4th edn, Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, Montreal, viewed 16 Aug 2021, <http://www.yorku.ca/pathways/literature/Access/The%20Price%20of%20Knowledge%202009.pdf>.

Houldsworth, C. (2021, May 8). One week (or maybe a Fortnite?). Cories Blog. https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0208/one-week-or-maybe-a-fortnite/.

Newton, C. (2021, July 22). Mark Zuckerberg is betting Facebook’s future on the metaverse. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/22588022/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-ceo-metaverse-interview

The Daily, Thursday, September 14, 2006. Study: The Alberta economic juggernaut. (n.d.). Retrieved August 15, 2021, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/060914/dq060914c-eng.htm


Internal Resistance

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Wise words from the author of this piece that I read today:

“You can create so much increased space in your brain just moving from “I need to apply will power so I stop being so bad and lazy” to “I’m experiencing a lot of internal resistance, let me get inventive in working with it today”.

  1. Internal resistance is on my side
  2. Get curious about the resistance
  3. Negotiate with it
  4. I’m not alone. This is very human.

What’s a Good Research Question?

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A good research question is, obviously, answerable by research, or at least it seems answerable at first. It describes a theory that will be researched in a way that other researchers can understand and attempt to repeat.

The theory on which the question is based must also be falsifiable and parsimonious, testable, be able to predict future tests of it, repeatable, and general enough to apply to more than one situation (Johnson et al., 2014).


Johnson, R.B. & Christensen, L. (2014). Introduction to educational research. In Educational research: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches (p.19). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

A Little Chat Between Friends

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We had a great time putting together some thoughts this week on inclusivity in learning. I learned a lot from a couple of our #rockstar teachers and their care and compassion for students.

Thanks to Amber and London for giving me a little peek behind the curtain into the life of a teacher.

Check out what we did here.

One Week (or maybe a Fortnite?)

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At what point could web 2.0 turn into the metaverse, “a digital, unifying virtual space that many believe will be the next evolution of the internet” (Tassi, 2021)? If, as Popper posits, “the objects of world 3 may be in a very clear sense not fictitious but quite real” (Popper, 1978, p. 150), could the the metaverse become a world 4?  How far can our community building go? These questions intrigued me this week as we read about online community building and examined our own networks. I also considered the online communities that my son inhabits, given that we’re again in a state of physical isolation due to the ongoing pandemic. He uses a variety of online platforms to remain in contact with his peers, one of which has been Fortnite, created by Epic Games. Fortnite is a multiplayer video game that has more than 200 million users, up to 8 million of whom are online at any given time. (Wilson, 2020). I got thinking about the nature of online communities, whether for fun or for intentional learning. After all, what is an online gaming platform, but a giant Community of Inquiry (CoI) (CoI, 2021) without a teaching presence? Can we add a teaching presence to the metaverse as a CoI as it evolves?

When building a Fully Online Learning Community (FOLC), “bringing a sense of democracy to the digital class environment often challenges previous notions of what learning online can or should be” (vanOostveen et al., 2016, p. 7). Epic Games’ published intent is to “democratize” gaming (Epic Games, 2021), which removes the traditional roles of leader/follower, much like the “melding of roles” discussed by vanOostveen et al. (2016, p.7). Epic Games’ desire is to create a metaverse (Park, 2020). Epic Games Founder Tim Sweeney’s DICE 2020 Address was quoted by Gene Park in the Washington Post (2020) as:

“We need to give up our attempts to each create our own private walled gardens and private monopoly and agree to work together and recognize we’re all far better off if we connect our systems and grow our social graphs together.”

Democratizing online learning “requires adopting a shared collective identity, as learners become committed to rigorous forms of problem-solving and inquiry that are valued by the community as a whole.” (vanOostveen et al., 2016, p. 7) and it could be argued that a platform like Fortnite has taken the first steps to creating such a place. It is a space with a shared collective identity. Players (e.g. learners) are committed to problem-solving and inquiry. University professor Marlatt says, “[t]hrough diverse ranges of experience and competence, Fortnite players co-construct knowledge in an open exchange of digital literacies” (Marlatt, 2019) in his discussion on how gamers use Fortnite to construct Communities of Practice.

I wonder if the next step for adult educators is to give up their proprietary Learning Management Systems (LMS) where learning is done TO workers. They could join learners in the metaverse where participants can direct their own learning and educators can walk alongside them. I’m not talking about gamifying education, like many others have done. I’m talking about the opposite. Join the learners where they are, at their “campfires” (Wilson, 2020). These are serious spaces, no longer just for gamers, and they’re not going away. Don’t reinvent the wheel by making more LMS’s and forcing learners to come to educators. Take a page from public health providers trying to increase vaccine coverage, who advise to “[d]eliver vaccinations in settings in which they were not previously provided” (AMJ, 2008, S13).  Go to the people. Deliver learning in settings in which it was not previously provided.


Athabasca University. CoI. (n.d.). Retrieved May 7, 2021, from https://coi.athabascau.ca/

Epic Games. Glossary. (n.d.). Retrieved May 7, 2021, from https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/creative/docs/fortnite-creative-glossary

Marlatt, R. (2020). Capitalizing on the Craze of Fortnite: Toward a Conceptual Framework for Understanding How Gamers Construct Communities of Practice. Journal of Education, 200(1), 3–11. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022057419864531

Park, G. (2020, April 17). Silicon Valley is racing to build the next version of the Internet. Fortnite might get there first. Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2021, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/04/17/fortnite-metaverse-new-internet/

Popper, K. (1978). Three Worlds. The Tanner Lectures on Human Values. The University of Michigan. p. 150

Stinchfield, P. K. (2008). Practice-Proven Interventions to Increase Vaccination Rates and Broaden the Immunization Season. The American Journal of Medicine, 121(7), S11–S21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2008.05.003

Tassi, P. (2021, April 14). When Does ‘Fortnite’ Become More Than ‘Fortnite’ In Epic’s Pursuit Of The Metaverse? Forbes. Retrieved May 6, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2021/04/14/when-does-fortnite-become-more-than-fortnite-in-epics-pursuit-of-the-metaverse/

vanOostveen, R., DiGiuseppe, M., Barber, W., Blayone, T., & Childs, E. (2016). New conceptions for digital technology sandboxes: Developing a Fully Online Learning Communities (FOLC) model. In Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2016 (pp. 665-673). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). p. 7.

Wilson, S. (2020, February 5). The Era of Antisocial Social Media. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/02/the-era-of-antisocial-social-media

Doctor, Doctor

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Florence Nightingale: the pandemic hero we need

“Whenever I am infuriated,” she wrote to her friend, the influential politician Sidney Herbert, “I revenge myself with a new diagram.”

My network map isn’t nearly as interesting or groundbreaking as Florence Nightingale’s, but it’s mine and it taught me some interesting things.

It taught me that I mostly know people in Canada, although lots of people in my network are in places outside of Canada.


It also taught me that most of my contacts are in the oil and gas industry, through regulatory affairs, or Nondestructive Testing (NDT), which came as no surprise to me.

Finally, it taught me that I’m not very good at Kumu, and that I’d like to give it another try. I did learn that Excel has a map function, which was new to me! I’ve done some other research and reading on different types of networks and will include that in my Unit 3 reading reflection, to be posted this weekend.