INF537 Critical Reflection


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What a challenge this subject has been- so many concepts I hadn’t given much thought to but make so much sense once a bit of time has been spent exploring them. I was unsure of what to expect this semester but assumed all would make sense- eventually. I still feel challenged by what I have studied but now understand that this will always be the case when new ideas are explored, especially when they look to the future. The responsibility for ensuring the best education for today’s students  is quite overwhelming when you consider the limited hours in a school day, the over crowded curriculum and the ever increasing demands placed on educators to ensure relevant education for the students in our care. It is important that careful consideration is given to the adoption of new ways of doing things especially with ICT, not because they are shiny, new and exciting in themselves but because of the affordances that can help teachers explore new possibilities for designing engaging and meaningful learning experiences.The challenge for me in my my work is to balance the need to encourage teachers who are trying new ICTs with ensuring that the way they do this is based on addressing syllabus outcomes in authentic ways.

The colloquium with Annabel Astbury (ABC Splash) highlighted growing participation in online spaces and the need to think of how these can be harnessed to develop a more participatory culture rather than simply relying on online resources which see us doing the same thing but in digital format. The idea of a one stop educational content spot online was raised by Annabel. I responded in my blog post that this would be unlikely as one place could not offer all that would be needed for all groups of students throughout the country (let alone the world).

Learning analytics, as presented by Simon Welsh, is a topic I had almost zero knowledge of. I feel that I now have an emerging understanding of the different ways analytics are used and am interested in following how this area develops. It is one thing to collect data on what students are doing online but quite a complex thing to contemplate in light of assisting and improving student learning. I blogged about how Simon’s presentation has unlocked my thinking in a different way.

The various colloquia were very thought provoking and also had me thinking back to other subjects and seeing the connections.

The colloquium with Tim Klapdor highlighted control and ownership of online content. This is an often debated area and cause for great concern for some. I was reminded of the work of the International Internet Preservation Consortium that was explored during the subject, ‘Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age.’ Consideration must be given to what happens to the ever increasing amount of data stored in the cloud as well as ensuring preservation for future examination as artefacts of our current society.

I was very enthusiastic following the colloquium with Cathie Howe as I was back on familiar ground – ICT in the classroom to improve student learning. I find the work of macICT critical in exploring new and emerging ICT and their use for supporting innovation in the classroom. In my blog post I briefly expressed concern about how teachers are incorporating some of these innovations into their classrooms and I reiterate the importance of research informed innovation. I am very excited about exploring transmedia storytelling further.


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Having written an interpretive discussion on Digital Scholarship, it is ironic that I have read so much about the importance of blogging with regard to digital scholarship and yet I find that I have not embraced it as much as I would like. I put this down to time pressure as I juggle a demanding job with tertiary study. I do hope to be a more regular blogger as my formal study concludes and I can continue my informal learning, incorporating blogging as a reflective practice but also as a way to share my thoughts with others and engage in dialogue around current and emerging issues and trends.

My greatest learning across the course as a whole has been the critical importance of ensuring that what we do in education is based on sound, authoritative research. The case study undertaken was the first time that I have engaged in any type of formal ‘research’. This further broadened my understanding of how we can engage in change using a systematic, focused, evidence based approach that can inform our work and provide data for others who may embark on similar journeys.

As this course concludes I continue to wonder about the future of education and the impact the digital environment will have. Many things are poised to revolutionise education:

How often I have heard the phrase, “It’s not about the technology, it’s about what you do with it?” If we expect to revolutionise education with technology, we must use it to promote meaningful thought processes as we guide the social process of learning. 

Colloquium with Cathie Howe: macICT

As Cathie Howe from macICT explained the focus of the work of this unit I was once again amazed at the diversity of programs and research undertaken, much of which would greatly challenge a vast number of teachers. It is not enough that new ICTs are integrated into classrooms to support students in gaining skills for the future; the greatest challenge is how to do this whilst ensuring a strong pedagogical approach that focuses primarily on what learning needs to look like and then exploring how ICT can support and enhance this. As Cathie spoke about Maker Spaces I couldn’t help but feel concern. In my recent experience there has been, in my opinion, a disproportionate amount of focus on setting up such spaces with little regard to how they relate to specific learning outcomes. I see enormous potential for MakerSpaces to support the design process that is a significant aspect of the NSW K-6 Science and Technology syllabus but see little evidence of strong connections in actual practice. This is definitely an area for investigation and one which I will certainly incorporate into my work with teachers. Another fascinating area discussed by Cathie was Transmedia Storytelling. This has great potential for the teaching of English in an explicit, contemporary and motivating way. My digital essay on Transliteracy explored the importance of this type of learning; the label given to this work is secondary to the important characteristics of the learning that is the focus of it. This is an area that I am excited to explore further in one area of my current work which aims to to increase student literacy achievement through a research informed, highly effective school-wide approach to literacy acquisition K-6.