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CCK09 – Introduction

Posted by dennisar on September 11, 2009

I signed up for the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2009 (cck09) course this morning. George Siemens and Stephen Downes will co-facilitate the course form the University of Manitoba, Canada. The support wiki for the course provides additional information.

Our first task was to introduce ourselves using this outline.

Introduce yourself to other participants in the course. Let us know:

  • Where you’re from
  • Why you’re interested in this course
  • What has to happen in order for you to consider this course a success
  • Random information about yourself – your work, your experience with networked technologies, etc.

So here I share my response with you.

Two years ago I had no idea that technology could facilitate the kind of learning connections we will be talking about in the course.”Wild West” learning experiences from my home just 20 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts, US. For the Canadians out there, my father’s parents emigrated to Massachusetts from Prince Edward Island so that makes me half French Canadian. My mother’s parents came to Massachusetts from County Cork, Ireland – grandfather from Skibbereen and grandmother from Ballydehob, Ireland.(Where you’re from – done)

I figured “it’s about time I got academic about what’s happening with learning these days.” This course seemed like the place to do it. It’s free. The coordinators are experienced, knowledgeable – wise even!, and funny at times (could use more of that).

I’m also going to try and keep up with Alec’s (the distinguished Dr. Alec “Big Mac Rapper” Couros) online course while I’m transitioning from being and administrator back to being a teacher. See my post about it here. I teach two courses this fall/winter – thirty-five teachers signed up for one of the courses – yeah!, don’t have the participant count on the other one yet, and another course in the winter/spring. I’ll try to translate (and model) what I’ve learned over the last two-and-a-half years and what I’ll be learning this year for the elementary, middle school and high school teachers in Massachusetts, who have signed up because they know something important, revolutionary even, is happening to the way we can teacher and learn today.

(Why you’re interested in this course- done)

Success? Not really sure what it will look like, but I know I don’t want to just talk about it. I want to learn and do. Walk the talk. Practice what I preach. Be articulate and smart enough so the teacher in any grade who is willing to change can discover what to do differently. So I guess that means I hope everyone who reads this about me will connect with my learning on an academic (the course focus) and practical (my focus) level. Help me stay focused on the classroom in our schools. Help me remember how difficult teaching the children is today. Help me take what we learn and say, okay, now how can I best share my learning with the teachers in our schools? Help me to discover how, despite the obstacles that are all too familiar, we can teach learning better to all children. Because I think we are turning a corner. I used to work convince educators that the change is important; now, there are educators who are saying, okay, we agree, now help me learn what and how to do what I do in the classroom differently.

(What has to happen in order for you to consider this course a success – done)

I have been a teacher, administrator and superintendent in urban and suburban schools since 1970. Now I devote my time to learning, creating and teaching. I have an undergraduate degree in English from Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts, US, and graduate degrees from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury, Vermont and Harvard University’s School of Education, Cambridge, Massachusetts. I am passionate about teaching and learning topics such as leadership, the right to learn, risk taking, creativity, powerful learning experiences, professional learning communities, digital age communication, universal access to education, collective intelligence, the participatory-sharing culture of the Internet and Web 2.0, global climate change and contemporary poetry. I blog at innovation3 ( and and at Education Week’s LeaderTalk blog ( There is so much more about my journey over the last two year that is less random than I can speak about her, but you can find more at my innovation3 wiki (

(Random information about yourself -done)

Looking forward to the connections.


Dennis Richards

xxxxxxxxxxxxx (Wish there was a way of inserting a dividing line.)

Where is the University of Manitoba, Canada? In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Manitoba, Canada

Manitoba, Canada

Here’s a link to a series of videos about U of M.

Get educated: A video guide to The U of M

Get educated: A video guide to The U of M

Get educated: A video guide to The U of M


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