Language – aliens – visionaries – troubleshooters – change promoters??

This blogpost will be written in English again for four obvious reasons:

1. All my German networked colleagues, followers, friends, readers understand and use English without problems. So for them it is not a problem to read my blog entries whether they are in English or in German.
2. I do not get any readers from Germany who would not read my blog articles for the simple reason that they are in English.
3. German readers I would love to have as readers and who were the target readers of my last blog post do rarely read blogs, they are not on twitter, they are sceptical about all this social networking and are careful not to leave traces of themselves on the web.
4. I have many readers and network buddies all over the world who come to my blog and for them it would really be an obstacle if the articles were in German. There is nothing to doubt about: English has always been the language of international business communication and it now is also the language of web communication. So my blog is back to English again  … like it or not….

This was a rather long introduction to my topic which has not that much to do with language but with understanding and misunderstanding within one’s own language.

The bad news: For a couple of days I’ve been feeling like a green faced alien having serious doubts about my online and offline identity. If you read my previous article you may know what I’m talking about.

The good news:  I’m not alone on this green alien planet where education “tsunamis” (lisarosa)are putting protected walled educational structures in danger. An it’s an exciting feeling to be a drop (thanks @martinlindner for the excellent water metaphor) in this wave.

So this article goes to all my favourite networked aliens who have been collecting water, drops, steam to get the tsunami for education on its way and get people’s mouth watering for change. Representative for all, let me just talk about 4 of them today.

Let me start with @lisarosa from Hamburg who I first saw online in a very heated debate with Rolf Schulmeister at Educamp Hamburg 2010.  I have been following her online actions since and we are quite close in our view on education.

She has always been standing up for progress and change in education and she has the big advantage to be working in teacher training and being able to show that change is possible in doing real projects. She has her own blog, is commenting on a regular basis other educators blogs and tweets and is one of the best known drivers of innovation in the blogging educators scene. It is worth following her on twitter @lisarosa and reading her blog Shift.

Now crossing the Channel to UK : Another educator who has been very influential not only on my way of seeing education is an educator himself from Plymouth University and like Lisa Rosa directly involved in training student teachers. He’s one of the most travelled professor- no doubt about that, just see the list of events he’s been invited too. You may have guessed by now that it’s Steve Wheeler  or @timbuckteeth or @stevewheeler – double identity to investigate on the effects of that ;-)

I first met him 2008 in Salzburg at eduMedia conference where I had been invited to present the German outcomes of the MAHARA ePortfolio project. Steve is not only a brilliant presenter and a very enjoyable person but his blog “Learning with e’s “ has kept me not only informed and inspired but also entertained for a long time now. I like his British sense of humour and his writing style in his daily blogposts. Steve told me once that the words and sentences just flow easily and effortless – I wish I could say the same for my writing ;-).  At this years MoodleMoot in Elmshorn Steven had agreed to give the keynote- and it was a huge success even though it was in English for a mostly German audience.

He can inspire and engage people and get his message over of learning with technology and sharing resources for learning. You may want to follow him on twitter ( he’s kept the record of the best tweeter with most tweets at the Unesco conference this summer even though he had given a keynote but was tweeting content before and after that! ). I have written a blog article on this conference here.  One of my favourite tweets by Steve is “Be disruptive, take a risk, don’t ask for permission but for forgiveness…..” which shows quite clearly his opinion how each of us as an educator can trigger change in education if we want to overcome all the barrieres we encounter on our way… And if you like to read inspiring and forward looking articles, you will not be disappointed by following Steve on his blog.

Let me continue my journey through Europe going to Switzerland – not only because my daughter and my granddaughter are living there but because I had a magic experience in Zurich in 2006 with my dear colleague Ulrike Montgomery who took me to my first ever MoodleMoot. That’s where I met Max Woodtli who was moderating the Moot.

When I googled for Max  I came across this picture- yes, remember – Steve said more or less the same .”.. being disruptive…”  though Max may be a bit more careful about being radically disruptive – after all, he is  Swiss ;-)

Max has been the one who showed me for the first time how an effective and inspiring  PowerPoint presentation looks like. No “Death by powerpoint” no bullet points and all the other usual suspects which you still see today – not only from students. I saw his first presentation at Heidelberg Moodle Moot in 2008 where he did a keynote on learning and creativity and new skills and competences required for that. His workshop in the afternoon was so in demand that people were crammed in the room and some had to stand. He’s a great learning coach and moderator and has been coaching  student teachers not only in Switzerland. He’s one of the most knowledgeable and experienced experts I know when it comes to learning processes and effective learning. Whe I had asked him to give a keynote at Elmshorn MoodleMoot he was kind enough to accept it. It was the perfect combination after Steve had spoken on the first day. You can follow Max also on twitter @mwoodtli.  Like Steve, Max has 2 identities on twitter ;-) – the second as a learncoach .

Let me come back to Germany and very close to the place I live – Mannheim. I already mentioned this colleague , sister-in-mind and friend, before. She was the one to bring Moodle to Baden-Württemberg and many moodlers may have heard her story how this had happened. Yes, it is Ulrike Montgomery who has been the initial driving agent behind the German Moodle community and a very enthusisatic ambassador for a use of moodle not as a “Wäscheleine” – but by linking to the world brought to the classroom with the web and its tools. Here you can see her interviewing Martin Dougiamas , “MrMoodle” at the Moodle Schule booth.

She has always been promoting new ways of learning with Moodle and thus influencing hundreds of teachers in her workshops. For the last years I had the great pleasure to do workshops together with Ulrike and we did not only have fun preparing these workshops but also could see how colleagues were surprised of the many creative, communicative and collaborative ways Moodle can be used in learning. I first met her back in summer 2005 when she did a workshop on first steps with moodle. I was immediately committed to the advantages and features of Moodle, having worked before with eMail, floppy disks and local storage at school, very unproductive ways of collaborative working. So this is my tribute to Ulrike! Here is a very old interview with her by Angela Kohl, one of the outstanding Austrian Moodlers.  Since Ulrike and me have had a reputation as the MMM – Mannheim Moodle Mafia – and to come back to Steve and Max: have been disruptive many times to get things working ;-)

I will leave it with these 4 people today, there are many more I would like to write about , but then my blog entry will rather be a novel and I’ve always been preaching to my students the KISS principle ….


  • 8. Dezember 2011 - 20:55 | Permalink

    Dear Siggi,
    it’s a great pleasure to find me mentioned in this kind way, thank you so much for your words!
    Although I am working with students as a teacher trainer, I am in the first place working in teachers’ professional development. So I have at least sometimes a couple of clients, who are one or two years older than me ;-)

  • 8. Dezember 2011 - 21:23 | Permalink

    What a great post full of information about four people whom I already follow on twitter but who I know feel I know much better and appreciate more their connections with you. Thankyou:)

  • Ulrike Montgomery
    9. Dezember 2011 - 00:43 | Permalink

    Wow, Sigi, I feel very honored. Thanks for your kind words. Just what I needed after a rather boring meeting today. I read your German blog entry and I can understand your frustration. Your presentations are great! Everybody knows that. Hang in there, Germany needs visionaries like you.

  • 12. Dezember 2011 - 14:26 | Permalink

    Thank you Sigi so much for your kind words. I’m grateful to have you and your husband Manfred as personal friends, and I am very pleased that you consider me to have been influential in your professional and personal development. Hope to see you soon. Season’s greetings and best wishes for a prosperous and peaceful New Year.

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