Submitted by Bonnie Johnston, SCETUG
How long have you been involved in teaching, learning and educational technology?
Seems like forever, lol!
I was a (provincial) correctional officer in the 90s and was fortunate enough to be one of the pioneers in Core programs. Maggie Feehan and Eliot Lowey had been contracted to develop two of the Core programs (Substance Abuse Management and Violence Prevention) and to train the pioneer group to facilitate the programs. We were very privileged position to be part of the development of those programs. From that point on I was hooked on facilitating and instructional design.
I spent the next three years facilitating Core programs in three provincial jails full time. I was the only person in the province that was able to do that. But all good things must come to an end – or so they say. In 2001-ish, the province began shutting down prisons including two that I worked at. I took a buyout and went back to school, beginning with the Provincial Instructor Program at Vancouver Community College. I also began instructing Core programs at the JIBC.
Several years later I re-wrote the Violence Prevention Program and decided to return to school again. I landed on the Distributed Learning MA at Royal Roads, which eventually turned into the Learning and Technology program. I ended up with an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies through combining the learning and technology side with leadership studies (complexity and systems thinking are so fascinating!)
What is one thing you really love about the work you do?
I get to learn new things all the time. Either I’m learning something related to the course I’m developing (go ahead, ask me about weapons of mass destruction) or I’m learning a new or better way to help others learn. A lot of the time that involves learning how to use new software or apps and other times it means transferring learning theory into something more tangible, like a game or other experiences.
How long have you been a member of ETUG?
I think it was in 2016 that I approached Sylvia Currie about using the FLO course to train facilitators for the BC Non Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA). Next thing I knew I was at a FLO user group meeting and began connecting with the ETUG community. Then, when I began working at the JIBC, I became even more connected.
What do you like best about this community and its activities?
It’s the great people, for sure. I love the inclusiveness and welcoming vibe that everyone I’ve met through ETUG, models and promotes. The activities are also amazing! I especially like the online groups because they’re easily accessible.
Do you have a favorite ETUG memory?
I think my first FLO meeting will stick for quite a while. I’d been working on my own for a few years so it was the first time in a long time I’d had the opportunity to connect with people who spoke the same language as me – edu-geek 😀
Anything special you want to ask or share with members?
I do want to say: Stay true to your vision and values. We are at the beginning of lots of changes (yikes!) in how we support learning (I’m talking about AI and all the Rs, VR, AR, XR and more) across all sectors (public, private, non-profit). As with all periods of change, decision often have to be made really quickly and it’s up to us, those who are already invested in learning and teaching, to make sure we have a voice and a say in those decisions.
I’m a big fan of the Club of Rome’s first few reports. In No Limits to Learning they suggest there are two ways to learn – by shock or by innovation. To learn by innovation (way better than by shock) requires two things. The first is to be able to anticipate what might be. If you can’t anticipate what is coming next, you can’t innovate, and you’re more likely to learn by shock when the next big virtual wave hits. The second thing you need, if you want to learn by innovation, is participation. You need everyone affected involved in identifying and framing the problems, and sourcing possible solutions. And groups like ETUG are perfectly placed to do just that.