ETMOOC Introduction


I’m Steve Flowers and here’s how you can build a mental model of my construct.

Note for my 2 (or so) regular readers: I’m participating in #etmooc, a massively open online course for education technology and media. This is assignment 1. I think there are still open spots if you want to join in.

1. Steve’s personal and professional life are hopelessly intermingled

headshotMy personal and professional life are a seriously commingled mess. By that, I mean that it’s difficult to see where one stops and the other begins. I suspect that this is fairly common in folks that are passionate about what they do.

On the professional side, I have worked for the U.S. Coast Guard in one form or another for longer than 20 years. I was an active duty electronics technician for just over 10 and I’m currently a performance technologist / solutions consultant with the USCG Performance Technology Center. That means I’m sometimes a consultant, sometimes a developer, sometimes a producer, most times a designer (technical, communication, instructional, or process — really whatever the situation calls for, I try to fill the need). I build digital stuff like EPSS, tools, and eLearning.

I’m a tool pilot and tend to master tools quickly. There aren’t many classes of tools I haven’t driven or taught others to drive. Consequently, I’m less interested in tools than I am in outcomes, goals, results and the covert or tacit things that contribute to outcomes, goals, and results.

2. At the heart of it, Steve is (proud to be) nothing more than an assistant

If you remove all of the lofty terms that define a discipline, at the heart of it I’m just an assistant. I assist the apprentice, the journeyman, and the master get done what they need to get done. I try to enable growth and development where I can but I try to stay out of the way.

3. Steve writes stuff and participates in communities

There’s a book I co-wrote with a couple of other fine fellows to support new Articulate Storyline users. I also participate regularly as an Articulate MVP (Super Hero) on Articulate’s E-learning Heroes Community.

4. Don’t let Steve fool you, Steve’s life is excellent.

irinaOn the personal side, I’m married to a media specialist, science fiction author, and fairly famous Russian poet named Irina. She’s pretty awesome. We live in a modest flat overlooking a mill pond with our three cats Lola (not the brightest cat), Gray (more person than cat), and General Tso (demon spawn). We far exceed the per capita average of devices and displays in the house. I’m embarrassed to say how much technology stuff we’ve hoarded away… It’s a disease, I tell you.

In the time I’m not working for my day job or helping folks with moonlight work, I like to play games (I used to be a huge World of Warcraft nerd) and write about stuff that interests me. I read a bit, though my collection of unread books is far larger than my collection of read books.

5. Steve likes his friends and his network. 

I’m fortunate to have a network of really smart friends that like the same stuff I do and a global network of tools that makes it easy to stay connected. If you’re reading this, you’re automatically one of those friends. So, thank you.

6. A lot of things interest Steve, here are a few of them:

  • Application of technology to help people 1) get things done and 2) develop their skills. Particularly interested in mobile / accessible and Web-based technologies and structures. Have written a few things on the xAPI (Tin Can API).
  • Use of everyday household technology to generate things of use to other people. This includes a strong interest in the use of video to capture and share authentic experiences or articulate ideas. This tech is ubiquitous. The barrier isn’t gadgetry, it’s habitry. I made it my goal to use a tablet / device to generate much of the media I’ll produce this year and I hope to share some things I’ve learned with the folks in this group. Did I mention that I have a technology addiction?
  • Profiles, lenses, patterns, and frameworks are a passion of mine. I think lexicons of work and decision paths are important to validating a body of knowledge. I don’t believe we do enough in the education and training space to communicate the things that work and consequently we rarely discuss why. To me, this is critical to the development of (an admittedly fractured) professional discipline.

7. Steve is opinionated as all get out. Here are some things Steve has opinions about:

  • Culture as the core influencing signal on behavior (how we are influenced by and influence this signal)
  • How often we seem to avoid showing our work and end up arbitrarily making decisions about delivery mediums and media with big holes in our data support.
  • The biggest problems in education center around 1) a focus on information [vice capability] as a central object 2) poorly designed and administered assessment mechanisms that result in misplacement and mismatches between certification and competence. Both of these are common but not universal. That’s what makes the problem so darn hard to diagnose.
  • Everything (yes, everything)

8. Steve is happy to be on this journey with y’all.

Happy to be here. I anxiously anticipate the adventure.

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6 thoughts on “ETMOOC Introduction

  1. staceykerr

    Totally cool intro, Steve. Looking forward to the journey with lots of like-minded and unlike-living-working people.

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Thanks for the note, Stacey! I’m looking forward to exploring the experience as well. Not my first MOOC but it might be the first one I finish:)

      Reply
  2. Ben Rimes

    Ha, sadly I watched about half of the video advertisement before I realized it was a commercial (shame on me). I dig where you’re coming from Steve. I share a few interests of yours (gaming, nerd stuff, dabbling with electronics although not to the degree you do, and learning theory). I would argue that a lot of teachers are actually really great at sharing all of the positive things happening in education, we’re just really poor at leveraging that to advocate for better resources for our students.

    I’ve added you to my RSS folder for #etmooc as I build up a small list of blogs to follow for the course, look forward to reading more!

    Reply
    1. Steve Post author

      Hi, Ben! Thanks for taking the time to drop a note.

      I agree with you about the level of sharing. I’ve been really inspired by many of the great things teachers are sharing. Some really fantastic stuff.

      The level of passion I’m seeing from the many vocal folks in education exceeds what I’m used to seeing in the corporate / military training field.

      Complex set of problems with no easy answers. Hard and complex. Tough stuff to overcome.

      Reply

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