Monday, January 16, 2012

EVO - The Art of Curation and Discovery in Professional Development

Just came across George Siemens's insights
"A curatorial teacher acknowledges the autonomy of learners, yet understands the frustration of exploring unknown territories without a map. A curator is an expert learner. Instead of dispensing knowledge, he creates spaces in which knowledge can be created, explored, and connected. ... A curator balances the freedom of individual learners with the thoughtful interpretation of the subject being explored. While learners are free to explore, they encounter displays, concepts, and artifacts representative of the discipline. Their freedom to explore is unbounded. But when they engage with subject matter, the key concepts of a discipline are transparently reflected through the curatorial actions of the teacher."
(George Siemens, Friday, August 24th, 2007 at 10:31)

It is a perfect definition of how we try to do things in the Electronic Village Online, and it hasn't been different this year. With the Classroom Digital Tools session in full steam with 503 participants, the moderators are simply the enablers of people connection and the pointers to exciting educational content. We are designers and curators of meaningful learning experiences. And this is certainly disorienting at first to participants who join us for the first time. Why? Because they generally expect to have a traditional type of training in which we "teach", they "learn", in which we are the "experts" and they are the "recipients".

IMG_0238Soon they come to realize that by joining the EVO, they enter in a different realm of professional development. We are there together to experience learning in a community. And in a community, there's no one way road. In fact, we have roundabouts, u-turns, all kinds of communicational directions to achieve our main goal for the session, provide participants with the opportunity to learn how to be out there in the wild with more confidence, to click around, to explore, connect, add their own voices and to keep daring. Nobody wants to make a fool of himself in front of 500 other people, mainly when these people are educators. We have our own self-image to preserve. However, once participants realize that YES, it is OK to ask, to write in the wrong area, to comment, to make suggestions, to give and get constructive feedback, the learning possibilities are immediately amplified, and it seems that our professional development gets on a whirlwind of new perspectives and directions with the wonders of new nodes and connections with educators around the globe.

Week 1 in EVO is always daunting, a bit scary at times, but it is also a time of allurement and fascination, a time for discovery and optimism that reenergize us as professionals and educators trying to make a difference in every learner's life and in our own.

I can't help myself, but be totally touched by what has been shared in our session by participants coming from all over the globe with their multicultural perspectives, trying to see what works and what doesn't in their contexts.

Week 2 in the Digital Tools group has started with some creative minds in action! We never know where it is going to take us with such a fantastic community. Let us keep exploring the unbound freedom of guided discovery...

Some highlights of our session also available at


  1. Ola Carla

    What a brilliant post, which exactly captures the chaos, excitement and fantastic learning experience that is EVO and especially Digital Tools 2012!

    I was a bit overwhelmed at first by the number of participants and the frenetic activity, but I managed to find some educators teaching in similar environments and/or doing things of specific interest to me and have made connections with them. The connections and community aspect are what I love most about EVO, learning new things is a lovely bonus!

    Congratulations to you and all the EVO team, past and present!

    Cheers, Lesley

  2. Thanks,Lesley, for stopping by and sharing with us the feeling as a participant. I've been there many times! Yes, chaos, flow, excitement, but always in the look for change. Our main purpose in EVO is to be an eye opener of what classrooms can be and what we can become as professionals. The connections are always incredible and that's the beauty of it.

    Hope to see you around in EVO for many years to come, and who knows, you might want to have your own EVO session next year?!

  3. Hi Carla

    You have summed up all the buzz and excitement of an EVO course so well, and thanks for including all the links to the fab new blogs created as a result of your course! Many congratulations to you, the participants and your team!

    I too am having lots of fun on the EVO Podcasting session and it's a great thrill to be a participant in something which is pushing me to explore new avenues. I am grateful to the EVO team in general for giving educators this chance to interact in such useful and creative sessions.

    1. So great to hear that you are enjoying your time with the Podcasting gang, Janet. They are wonderful moderators. And you're right about EVO being the connective link for so many educators. It's such a joy to see such a vibrant international community come together to learn and share. I'm always touched by the moderators' and participants' generosity.


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