#INF533 Blog task

CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use No attribution required image from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/kindle-paper-white-touchscreen-750305/

CC0 image from Pixabay

I have been battling with the difference between reading and viewing – is something literature when you view it – say a video consisting of moving words on screen? Is literature in a digital environment anything that includes text (that you read or have read to you)? This is perhaps clarified by Lamb (2011) “Reading is the process of constructing meaning from symbols” and “A book is a published collection of related pages or screens” (my emphasis). But does this make all books literature? Walsh suggests not, cautioning that “it is important to distinguish between digital narratives, created as literature, and digital storytelling that anyone can produce…” (2013, p. 186). I can see that her explanation of the qualities of good literature and features of digital narratives are going to be useful references when I am completing assessment item 2, experiencing digital literature.

I consider myself comfortable with reading online although generally what I read, other than blogs and websites, was first published for print or to mimic it. My leisure reading of fiction and narrative non-fiction is done almost exclusively on my Kindle or Kindle app on iPhone or iPad. I now buy many books whereas before I would only borrow from a library. I’ve had mixed experiences with borrowing from my public library through Overdrive and BorrowBox so I don’t do it often.

My Kindle helps overcome my fear of finding myself without something to read (I was the camper with the library in her tent) but you can’t take many books when travelling from place to place. Now it doesn’t matter how many books I have, the impact on luggage limits is no more than a slim novel plus charger. 

I still read the print newspaper even though I have the full digital version of The Age available on my iPad. I also read a lot of news online but usually from links from social media.

My reading for pleasure is usually done lying down – on the couch, a banana lounge, or mostly in bed before falling asleep – at that point in the day I don’t want a brightly lit screen, e-ink is fine (and my Kindle will turn itself off if I haven’t turned a page for 5 minutes). I don’t want music, sound effects or video, I’m trying to get to sleep. But I have greatly enjoyed experiencing transmedia narratives like Inanimate Alice and Firestorm, and I would like to explore these further, just not at bedtime! Sadly, there is little time to read for pleasure in the rest of my day.

For work and study I read almost exclusively online. Much is simply reproduced print, and linear, but I love the affordances of the digital environment and it’s great when an article is ‘illustrated’ and enhanced with relevant media like recorded interviews or videos.

I need to think beyond the personal and engage more with the needs of the young people I work with and consider how their literacy development and reading needs can be enhanced through experiencing literature in digital environments. As Leu (2011) says Literacy is deictic – what it means to be literate is changing with the evolution of technology. Offering access to and experience of all types of texts, digital and analogue, is essential for students to develop their literacy skills but I struggle with how I can make this happen. One of the best parts of my job in a year 4-12 library is connecting a young person with a new book and finding out if they enjoyed it later. But there are a few children for whom it seems impossible to find a book they will enjoy. They can’t tell me what sort of books they like, some say they’ve never liked a book. But I’m sure some (most) of them love using iPads and computers and there are many children who would be engaged by the interactive multimedia nature of literature in digital environments, especially if there were any sort of gaming component. The challenge is how do we, as a school library, provide access to this sort of literature when the children don’t come to school with devices in hand, and access to school-owned devices is controlled by their teacher? When their teacher demands they have a [physical] book to read for daily reading sessions? Yes, I can tell them about digital titles and provide access through our library system but I can’t put it in their hand to start reading now.

References

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17.

Leu, D.J. et al (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy,55(1)5-14. Doi: 10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

#ETL523 final critical reflection

"The Web and the technologies that drive it are fundamentally changing the way we think about how we can learn and become educated in a globally networked and connected world. It has absolutely exploded our ability to learn on our own in ways that schools weren't built for." Will Richardson

Richardson (2016)

This statement absolutely resonates with me when I think about how and what I learn as part of this course. I sit at my desk at home or on the train on my daily commute or at the dining table with my iPad or even at the gym with my phone and I am connected to a network of learners. It’s exciting, it’s invigorating, it’s challenging, it’s fun. So why aren’t all educators connecting and learning in this way?

Digital Citizenship in Schools covered much expected ground but it also forced me to think about my digital learning environment (DLE), my school’s digital learning environment, information leadership, teacherpreneurship, and the globalisation of learning. I still find myself an outlier amongst my work colleagues. Although I have connected with three fellow staff members on Twitter their posts are so infrequent it seems they do not value this form of connecting (of course they could be gaining much from lurking, but not as much as they could be through active involvement. Their loss). That said, this post is about me critically reflecting on the experience of ETL523 over the past three months. Here goes.

My DLE:

I’m writing this using Workflowy, an outlining tool, as I find it a useful way to work through disparate thoughts and be able to jump from one idea to another. Eventually I will export this and paste it into a Google doc for refinement into a whole, cohesive post before moving to Thinkspace for hyperlinking and final tweaks.

I often start in Evernote and then move to Google docs as above. For forum posts I usually go direct from Evernote.

I’m using a desktop computer but I have my iPad in front of me as well so I can refer to other texts on one screen while writing on the other. As I write I periodically hop over to Tweetdeck to see if anything interesting has popped up, check the ETL523 discussion forums for any new information or questions, and jump in and out of Evernote where I have notes and resources stored.

While my blog posting has been a bit patchy, I have made a concerted effort to participate fully in the subject forums. It is surprising to note that for most topics fewer than half the class members participated. I wonder why people don’t. I do get that it can be scary putting yourself out there but I have to say that, in my experience in this closed environment, comments from peers are nothing but supportive. Am I being harsh in asking: if you won’t even give connecting online a go in a supportive environment, exactly what are you doing in a subject like this?

Assignment 1 for me was a great example of what online learning and collaboration is all about – I’ve already written a reflection but having recently read Doug Belshaw’s The essential elements of digital literacies (2014) I couldn’t resist the temptation to frame another reflection with his eight elements. Read it here. (I highly recommend reading his book too, it is available here).

In my first blog post for this subject I wrote about recent developments at my school with the introduction of a BYOD program and new building with improved technological access and tools. I wrote: “It will be interesting to see if our teachers are ready to allow the available technology to transform their pedagogy. Will our students be given the right scaffolding to develop into good digital citizens?” (Bailie, 2016). Assignment 2 allowed me to explore those thoughts in depth and I found that the teaching of digital citizenship was ad hoc at best with patchy understanding of the complexity of the area and no clarity around who is responsible. Although a little nervous about seeming critical I will pass the report onto leadership and I’m reasonably confident it will be well-received. I hope shortly to find myself immersed in enacting some of my recommendations – establishing a shared understanding of what digital citizenship is; developing a digital citizenship policy that privileges student learning over behaviour consequences; examining the curriculum for opportunities to embed digital citizenship learning, and supporting professional learning for teachers.

Another opportunity that has emerged recently is a proposal for a special year 7 project for the final weeks of the school year. The plan is for a selected group of teachers to work with the entire cohort, off-timetable, in inquiry/project based learning activities. I’m excited to be involved (flattered to be told that, had I not put my hand up, I was going to get a tap on the shoulder) and looking forward to the opportunity to foster cultural awareness and potentially engage students in global collaborative activities. At the very least I hope to be able to influence information habits and in particular promote ethical participation – explicitly modelling and sharing the use of creative commons licences, referencing and attribution, and paying heed to copyright.

Overall, this session has been fun. Thanks Julie for another terrific learning experience. For those of you still deciding what to do next session, I highly recommend INF532 Knowledge Networking for Educators, also facilitated by the fabulous Julie Lindsay. My experience from last year greatly enhanced my efforts in creating a digital artefact, and understanding instructional design for assignment one. I’m confident reversing the experiences would be just as valuable.

References

Bailie, H. (2016, March 3) Digital Citizenship. #ETL523 starts here. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2016/03/03/digital-citizenship-etl523-starts-here/

Belshaw, D. (2014) The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. Retrieved from http://digitalliteraci.es

Richardson, W. (2016, May 14). 16 Modern Realities Schools (and Parents) Need to Accept. Now. Retrieved from https://medium.com/modern-learning/16-modern-realities-schools-and-parents-need-to-accept-now-64b98710e4e9#.bw6k10nv

A hall of mirrors, or, another reflection on #ETL523 assignment 1

As part of my researching and preparing for ETL523 assignment two I read Doug Belshaw’s The essential elements of digital literacies (2014). I was inspired to construct another reflection on assignment one using the eight essential elements as a framework. Here goes:

The cultural element refers to our ability to move from one digital environment to another, understanding the issues, norms and habits of mind each requires. The collaborative wiki saw the team use Google hangouts, Google docs, Wikispaces, Pearltrees, Canva, ProProfs, Tackk, Powtoon, Twitter, email, Skype (when Hangouts wouldn’t play nicely one evening we switched, barely drawing breath in the process), and we even had a very fruitful meeting IRL. I’d say we’ve got that one covered!

The cognitive element refers the value of being able to use multiple tools “If you only have a (conceptual) hammer then all you see are (metaphorical) nails.”(p.46-7). The one who dies with the most toys wins perhaps! My list in the cultural element is applicable here too – we did good!

The constructive element is all about how constructing something in a digital environment is substantially different to that in an analogue one. Understanding how you can ethically reuse another’s work to construct something new is a vital part of this element. Given our learning module was about Ethical participation in the digital environment with sections on Creative Commons and Remix I’d say we nailed this one. Additionally, it allowed four disparate individuals to work together to create a valuable resource that I hope to share with staff at my school and further afield. We could never have achieved what we did in an analogue environment.

Communicative – understanding the norms and protocols of communication using multiple different digital technologies. Again, that list of tools and social networks we used shows we nailed this.

Confident – being able to solve problems and manage your own learning in digital environments. Sometimes solving problems is all about knowing who to ask; sometimes simply articulating the question leads you to find your own answer. The discussion feature on Wikispaces was almost overwhelming at times as each of us asked questions, expressed concerns, sought advice, answered, consoled and supported each other. We all showed ourselves to be confident learners.

Creative. Perhaps surprisingly, this element does not require originality. Instead, it can be about expressing something that already exists in a way that adds value, and feeling empowered to take risks. My digital artefact for the wiki used the affordances of digital technology to present an introduction in a visually appealing manner. Every frame included something created by someone else but I added value to it and made it part of my narrative.

Critical. We had to consider our audience (teachers) and we had to carefully evaluate the material we wished to share with them. Including Pearltrees collections for each section evidenced our curations skills.

Civic. Amongst other things, the civic element is about using digital environments to self-organise. A collaborative wiki project? – got it in spades!

Belshaw’s Ted talk will give you more background to his thinking and work. I highly recommend reading the book as well.

References

Belshaw, D. (2014) The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. Retrieved from http://digitalliteraci.es

Assignment one reflection

When I told my daughters (aged 14 and 17) that my first assignment for ETL523 was a group project they both rolled their eyes and groaned. It seems they’ve both had bad experiences of group projects, feeling (rightly or wrongly) that they end up doing most of the work while others slack off. Then the 17-year-old said “Oh, it’ll probably be ok mum, ‘cause you’re old”!

Well, I don’t know how much age or experience had to do with it but I have to say that I found this assignment to be a great experience, probably the most enjoyable one so far in this degree (this is my fifth subject).

It was clear from the assessment rubric and online class meeting that this assignment was as much about learning about and through collaboration as it was about the particular aspect of digital citizenship we had elected to focus on. I could see how easy the temptation to delegate rather than collaborate could be – “ok, there are four of us, let’s divide our topic into four distinct sections and take one each” but this approach would not result in an integrated, consistent learning module.

I feel very fortunate in finding myself in Team 5.2 with Karen, Glenda and Amanda. We were able to find lots of common ground and quickly bonded. It helped us greatly that we were able to meet face to face early on. This meeting allowed us to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short space of time in a way that would be difficult to replicate online. We were lucky to not have challenges of time zones for scheduling online meetings, just the usual work and family commitments. As Karen has said, each member of our group brought their own particular skills and knowledge and we were able to take advantage of strengths and learn from each other. Every page in our wiki has input from each of us.

Team 5.2 hard at work

Team 5.2 hard at work

There were a couple of frustrations, more technical than anything else. The Wikispaces platform has some quirks – adding extra blank lines after embedded objects each time anything else on that page is edited; embedded objects appearing, disappearing, and reappearing seemingly at random (and without intervention); and applied styles reverting for no apparent reason.

Also, keeping up with the various discussion threads was tricky. In an update email it was not always clear which discussion or page the new comment came from. This is ok if you are on a computer but not so good when you are out and about and on your phone – it might be a question you could answer quickly but if you’re not sure of the context…

Completing INF532 (Knowledge Networking for Educators) last year was a great preparation for ETL523. I was able to share what I had learnt about instructional design and we were able apply it in the design of each page and the module overall. Even more helpful was the experience of creating an artefact. Last year I learnt a lot, mostly the hard way, about designing and editing a video, particularly the importance of writing and recording the script first. This time my artefact, an introduction to the whole learning module, came together relatively painlessly. It’s still a time-consuming process but, unlike last year, I didn’t feel I was wasting time re-doing things. And the audio and video matched beautifully. Here it is:

I’m very proud of the learning module we created and I’m looking forward to sharing it with teachers at my school.

Digital irony

Last night on Twitter I saw a couple of tweets with our subject hashtag, #ETL523, that made me stop and wonder.

A bit of exploring and I discovered:

@LizzyLegsEllis is Liz Ellis the former Australian netballer (who is not, as far as I’m aware, a student of ETL523).

@LizzyLegsEllis has been retweeting tweets from @KathEllis74 (who is).

I might be making a huge assumption, but I suspect Liz and Kath might be related. That’s nice, I thought, showing support for your sibling/cousin/?’s studies by retweeting.

Clearly not, according to Emma the egg (who won’t be taken seriously, according to SocialTimes). Here’s the tweet that preceded the first one:

I thought (fleetingly) about replying to Emma and that damn julia, but no, on their current form that could easily turn ugly and I am a better digital citizen than that. But gee, doesn’t what these two have tweeted just sum up why we need to teach digital citizenship, and isn’t it funny/sad/ironic that it’s turned up in the #ETL523 feed?

Here are some things I’d like Emma and Julia to know:

  • It’s the nature of Twitter that not everything tweeted by the people you follow will interest you. This is not rudeness. Move on, get over it, you are their follower, not their master.
  • If you see tweets that don’t interest you…<<drumroll>>…ignore them. There’s no excuse for rudeness in response to perfectly polite retweets.
  • If you don’t like much of what someone tweets it is entirely your choice to unfollow them. They probably won’t even know (unless you tell them) and most likely won’t be hurt or care if you do – it’s your Twitter feed, make it what you want it to be. But tweeting them with #unfollow is just a bit off.
  • If you are really worried that you will hurt someone’s feelings by unfollowing (I suspect you’re not, though) you can mute someone you follow, either temporarily or permanently.
  • Using certain Twitter clients it’s easy to mute a particular hashtag or keyword. That pesky #ETL523 problem can simply disappear using Tweetdeck, Tweetbot or Twitterific.

I guess what surprised me the most about these tweets is just how some people must think it is ok to be rude. Of course, I’ve read and heard about trolls and all sorts of nasty commenting that goes on but I’ve never really come face to face with it, either personally or in a hashtag that I’m particularly invested in. I’ve had plenty of lively conversations in Twitter and there’s certainly nothing wrong with disagreeing or expressing opinions…politely. Why is that so hard for some people?

 

 

My Digizen

Today I’ve been working through module 1.4 and looking at some of the Digital Citizenship curriculum resources.

Digizen includes an activity to make your own DIGItal citiZEN – a Digizen – taking you through a series of choices for your online values and wishes for yourself, friends and your world and turning it into an embeddable figure:

Some of the selections didn’t fit me too well. For example, for my wishes for myself the left hand column was problematical –

http://www.digizen.org/digicentral/create-digizen.aspx

http://www.digizen.org/digicentral/create-digizen.aspx

As a teacher I think I’m supposed to choose either “web sites that scan all messages to make sure everything is ok for kids” or “more safety icons so people would get a lot less viruses” but I don’t really agree or wish for either. “Web sites scanning messages” is problematic, no automated system is perfect and as has been seen in the debate about Kiddle recently it can start to look a lot like censorship; and safety icons don’t stop viruses, anti-virus software and good practices do. So anyway, I went with “someone to make a film or podcast and dedicate it to me”. Anyone up for it?

Digital Citizenship. #ETL523 starts here

GlobeI like Edna Sackson’s simple definition of digital citizenship – the ability to participate in society online (Whatedsaid, 2014). Much more complex and comprehensive is Ribble, Bailey and Ross’s nine elements of digital citizenship (Greenhow, 2010):

  • digital etiquette,
  • digital communication,
  • digital access,
  • digital literacy,
  • digital commerce,
  • digital law,
  • digital rights and responsibilities,
  • digital health and wellness,
  • digital security.

To me this comes together to mean the capacity to access and interact with information and people productively, safely and ethically using digital technologies.

There can be no denying that digital citizenship is important. Few people can live their lives removed from ICT, even if they want to. Very few jobs do not require the use of some form of digital technology; most people use online banking; online interactions with government authorities are increasingly preferred; we rely on access to essential information like weather and warnings, for example, on days of fire danger. But we can’t assume that the so-called “digital natives” are by default good digital citizens – the natives might, in fact, be uncivilised. Learning the skills and behaviours of digital citizenship should be incorporated into the curriculum throughout primary and secondary schooling (and even tertiary), but even more importantly, it must be effectively modelled by teachers and other adults. This is my main area of concern. How can we expect students, for example, to use information ethically when (some of) their teachers do not?

An informed, publicly engaged digital citizen practices ethical behaviour, respects diverse points of view and is socially aware, using digital technologies like social media to support and advocate. They share their knowledge freely and support others’ learning. They are globally aware, collaborating across time zones and borders. Their interactions inform understanding and empathy for others. They can access and navigate information required to conduct their work and personal affairs. They are in control of their privacy and ensure important information is used securely.

This year my school has embarked on a BYOD program for years 6-12. This has already brought up issues like students messaging each other during class time and when and where the devices should be used. In our new building (ready for term 2) we will have a wireless technology for connecting devices to classroom screens. Students and teachers install a program or download an app in order to use the system. A feature is the ability of a viewer to capture a screenshot of what is currently displaying. This immediately brought up a concern for one teacher who wants her students to write (type) notes, not take the shortcut of screenshots (devices off is not an option). Who is right and who is wrong here? Is the teacher trying to use new methods to continue teaching in the same way (the S of SAMR) or is there a valid pedagogical reason for typing notes? Might not the screenshot give the student context when reviewing his notes later?

I’m sure many similar issues will arise and it will be interesting to see if our teachers are ready to allow the available technology to transform their pedagogy. Will our students be given the right scaffolding to develop into good digital citizens?

 

References

Greenhow, C. (2010). New concept of citizenship for the digital age. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 24-25.

Whatedsaid. (2014, April 25). 10 understandings about digital citizenship… [Blogpost]. Retrieved from https://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/10-understandings-about-digital-citizenship/

Image credit

Globe. Free for commercial use, no attribution required image from Pixabay

INF532 Evaluative Report

a) An evaluative statement using the networked learning experiences documented on your Thinkspace blog as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of this subject

Accessing and using information has provided challenges for humans for as long as it has been recorded. Where once information was a scarce and precious commodity, since the 1990’s the issue has been filtering and selecting from the mass of information available (Bawden & Robinson, 2009). Today a simple web search comes up with so many hits it could take years to view them all, even if only fleetingly (O’Connell, 2015). Filtering, selecting and managing the overwhelming flow is difficult, leading to the identification of various information pathologies such as Information Anxiety, Infobesity and Satisficing (Bawden & Robinson, p.185). This and other challenges were explored in the post Challenges regarding the nature of information (Bailie, 2015 May 28). Strategic use of tools has become an essential habit of anyone working in a knowledge environment. These encompass tools for bookmarking and tagging (Diigo), storing, organising and note taking (Evernote), keeping up with blog posts (Feedly), saving to read later (Pocket) and curating and sharing (Pearltrees), and each have their place and (sometimes overlapping) purpose. Curation is an important strategy of teacher librarians who add context before sharing with students and other teachers (Bailie, 2015 May 7b). The complaint by some teachers that students should locate their own online resources, instead of the teacher librarian curated and catalogued Pearltree collections (McQueen, 2015 May 22) seems extraordinary as curating resources for learners has long been the role of the teacher librarian, except that previously it was done via the careful selection of physical items to include in the collection. Curation should be integrated into information literacy programs in teacher librarian supported student learning experiences (O’Connell, 2011).

“A connected educator is one who uses technology and social media to personalize learning for both personal and professional growth” (Whitby, 2013). They deliberately develop their positive online reputation, take advantage of just in time professional learning opportunities such as webinars and tweetchats, and blog to share and reflect (Gerstein, 2013). Connected educators understand network literacy (Bailie, 2015 March 30) and appreciate the importance of teaching students to cultivate networks for learning (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011) by teaching both about, and through networks (Pegrum, 2010). They know this is vital so as to not merely replace the digital divide (largely overcome through almost ubiquitous online access afforded by mobile devices (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, Meeker 2015)) with a new divide characterised by those who do, and those who do not, connect through learning networks. The power of networks cannot be underestimated and was directly experienced in the development and construction of a digital artefact (Bailie, 2015 May 7a).

“Learning to collaborate with others and connect through technology are essential skills in a knowledge-based economy” (O’Connell, Lindsay & Wall, 2015). Educators must themselves be self-directed, socially connected learners who cultivate a Personal Learning Network (PLN) as part of their Personal Learning Environment (PLE) (Wheeler, 2010). Patnoudes (2012) describes the PLN as itself a system for learning. Today teachers need to be multi-literate, embracing the new literacies of the 21st century (Nussbaum-Beach & Hall, 2012) and willing digital participants in the creation of knowledge (Rheingold, 2012,  p.115). They need to be open to new ideas, cultivate a growth mindset (Dweck, 2010), and collaborate with peers, colleagues and students regardless of whether they are in the same building or on the other side of the world (Nussbaum-Beach & Hall, 2012, Bailie, 2015 March 12). Sharing is perhaps the most important thing as the act of sharing benefits the teacher, her direct connections and the education community as a whole. Sharing is a responsibility, not an optional extra (Gerstein, 2015). When looking for information, connected learners can consciously and deliberately turn to social networks instead of search engines – success depends on the breadth, depth and size of the network (Pegrum, 2010). “The key to becoming a successful ‘connected educator-learner’ involves spending the time needed to learn how to learn and share in an open, connected environment.” (Rheingold et al, 2015, p.14).

“Blended learning is about good teaching and making the most of our online and face to face environments” (Jonson, 2014). It requires deliberate and careful instructional planning. Classroom interactions shift from teacher-student to student-student and technology becomes a space for learning (Jonson, 2014). Maffei (2015) has concerns that online and flipped learning removes the teacher’s ability to make formative assessments through personal observation and fears that these recent trends are leading us down the path of replacing teachers (who enable learning) with instructors (who provide training). The teachers’ direct, face to face involvement with the students in the Skype and Twitter stories (Bailie 2015, May 14) was crucial to their success. Do middle and junior level children have the intrinsic motivation necessary for success in online learning without a teacher in a physical classroom? (Bailie, 2015 May 28).

Galan (2014) reminds us that face to face interactions are equally important for teachers. Often these face to face meetings are made possible by the prior online connection.

Instructional design supports the process of learning rather than the process of teaching (Morrison, 2013). Merrill (2002) has identified five first principles which underpin instructional design models. Both school-based and online classroom engagement and learning are strengthened through intentional instructional design. 21st-century skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, decision making, communication and collaboration are carefully scaffolded and the digital and physical work together for formal and informal learning activities (Bailie 2015 May 14). A flexible approach opens the way for personalised learning; digital tools facilitate its realisation.

Wheeler (2015) identifies Learner 2.0 – young people who have been immersed in technology their entire lives. Millenials increasingly prefer visual over text media (Meeker 2015). In designing learning experiences we must meet our students where they are. Merrill’s number one first principle is that learning is promoted when learners are engaged in solving real-world problems (2002). This can be extended to include using their real-world online tools and the socially connected medium where they live. Van Eck confirms this saying “Learning that occurs in meaningful and relevant contexts is more effective than learning that occurs outside of those contexts (2006, p.18).

b) A reflective statement on your development as a connected educator as a result of studying INF532, and the implications for your role as a ‘connected leader’ within your school community, and/or at district/state/national level

In March 2014 when I was embarking on INF530, the keystone subject of this course, I wrote:

What do I hope to get from this course? A way of formalising/legitimising the reading, connecting, curating, commenting, learning I already do. Skills in interrogating and articulating my thoughts about the mass of information I come in contact with each day. More and better connection with outstanding educators (Bailie, 2014 March 5).

INF530 was a whirlwind tour and a terrific beginning but INF532 has given me new insight and appreciation for the potential implications of my own habits in knowledge networking for the students and teachers I work with.

I didn’t think I knew much, if anything about instructional design before this subject. Under the guise of Education Informatics I had discovered that Gagne’s nine events correlated well with my previous school’s Instructional Model (Bailie, 2014 April 23). But instructional design? Like other things, curating springs to mind, sometimes it turns out that you are already doing it, even if you didn’t know it had a name. As always, it is fabulous when you get confirmation that not only what you are doing is right, it has a body of academic research behind it too. Unconsciously, workshops that I present for teachers follow the five first principles outlined by Merrill, I will make conscious effort to use good instructional design in the learning experiences I plan in the future.

As described in the post The future – digital learning tools and strategies (Bailie, 2015 May 25) I see Blended Learning as the approach to online learning with the most chance of making a real difference to the students and teachers I work with. Excellent, professional teachers will not be replaced by online instructors anytime soon. While adults, myself included, may thrive in an online environment (particularly if they are well-connected and supported by social networks), the nuanced assessments teachers make through first-hand observation is unimaginable to me in a purely online learning environment, particularly for early and middle-years children. I will endeavour to provide leadership for a blended approach by:

  • continuing to support teachers using Google Classroom as their online classroom presence
  • promote the use of curation tools as a learning strategy – for example a Diigo group can be used for students to collaboratively research using the commenting feature to critique and discuss each others finds
  • discouraging the use of technology as a reward. The games on our iPads should be intrinsically linked to the curriculum, not a bonus for children who complete their real work early
  • creating, and supporting others to create, online resources for learning that have lasting value

Creating the digital artefact forced me to quickly develop new skills with a range of tools. This has given me confidence in my abilities to create resources for teachers and students, perhaps to support teachers who wish to introduce flipped learning or use such resources in a blended approach. Creating the artefact was very time consuming but I now feel confident in using Audacity, Powtoon, Moviemaker, and to demonstrate their use to others. My video was made up of multiple short clips, several made in Powtoon. Each one came together more quickly than the previous one. Going back and re-editing after some initial feedback was relatively painless, certainly in terms of the technological process, although selecting which content stayed and which went was more challenging. As an exercise in knowledge networking I thought it very successful – I was overwhelm by the number and generosity of responses to the survey which I shared through my networks. I was particularly pleased with Deborah Welsh’s critique when she said “Heather has practised what she preaches, in seeking, sensing and sharing ideas from her PLN. The medium becomes the message – together we know so much more.” (Welsh, 2015).

I have continued to display the habits of connected educators through this subject – I’ve been active on Twitter using the INF532 hashtag, shared resources to the Diigo group and posted to the forum. Sharing has become automatic. However, I’ve let myself and others down in one area. Like most students or workers I ensure I do everything that is explicitly required. At work I choose to go the extra mile when I can although with study there is always more to read and do than I have time for. Previous subjects, INF530 and INF536, both included compulsory, non-assessed, blog tasks which I dutifully completed. While I have completed most such “recommended” tasks for INF532, except in a couple of instances I have not “gone the extra mile” to comment on others’ blogs (another compulsory, non-assessed task in INF536) and I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t. Commenting is time-consuming to do well, but balancing work, study and family means that unless required, it doesn’t get prioritised. This is something worth remembering when I despair of the lack of apparent interest of my colleagues in becoming connected. It is time-consuming, it can be scary to begin with, it isn’t easy and we are all busy.

Bibliography

Bailie, H. (2014, March 5). Why am I here? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2014/03/05/why-am-i-here/

Bailie, H. (2014, April 23). Module 2.7 Education Informatics [Blog post]. Retrieved from  http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2014/04/23/module-2-7-education-informatics/

Bailie, H. (2014, May 8). Digital essay proposal [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2014/05/08/digital-essay-proposal/

Bailie, H. (2015, March 12). Defining the connected educator [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/03/12/defining-the-connected-educator/

Bailie, H. (2015, March 30). Network literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/03/30/network-literacy/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 7a).  Get connected with Google+ – a digital artefact [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/07/get-connected/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 7b). Information curation (and new tool no. 2) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/07/information-curation-and-new-tool-no-2/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 14). Supporting connected learners [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/14/supporting-connected-learners/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 25). The future – digital learning tools and strategies [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/25/the-future-digital-learning-tools-and-strategies/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 28). Challenges regarding the nature of information [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/28/challenges-regarding-the-nature-of-information/

Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies.Journal of Information Science, 35(2), 180–191.

Dweck, C. (2010). What is Mindset. Retrieved May 29, 2015, from http://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/about/index.html

Galan, C. (2014, October 2). Being a Connected Educator: Face to Face. Retrieved from http://blog.remind.com/being-a-connected-educator-face-to-face/

Gerstein, J. (2013). Educator as a social networked learner. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKY3scPIMd8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Gerstein, J. (2015, March 29). Sharing: A Responsibility of the Modern Educator. Retrieved from https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/sharing-a-responsibility-of-the-modern-educator/

Jonson, Jen. (2014). Blended learning and technology integration. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD8AUfGsCKg

McQueen, M. (2015, May 22).  ‘Beware of Online Filter Bubbles’: an important video to view [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/22/beware-of-online-filter-bubbles-an-important-video-to-view/

Maffai, T. (2015, May 21). Mapping the 21st Century Classroom — Bright. Retrieved from https://medium.com/bright/mapping-the-21st-century-classroom-d07b2166d44e

Meeker, M. (2015). 2015 Internet Trends Report. Retrieved from http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles Of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50 (3), 43-59.

Morrison, D. (2013). Why online courses [really] need an instructional design strategy. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/why-online-courses-really-need-an-instructional-design-strategy/

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

O’Connell, J. (2011). Teacher librarians are important [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://judyoconnell.com/2011/10/27/teacher-librarians-are-important/

O’Connell, J. (2015) Our connections and the flow of knowledge [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://judyoconnell.com/2015/03/14/our-connections-and-the-flow-of-knowledge/

O’Connell, J., Lindsay, J. and Wall, J. (2015) A new paradigm [INF532 Module 1.3] Retrieved May 30, 2015 from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-289791-dt-content-rid-651266_1/courses/S-INF532_201530_W_D/module1/1_3_new_paradigm.html

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Rheingold, H., Brett, G., Corneli, J., Danoff, C.J., Larson, K., Pierce, C., Ricaurte, P., and Terzi, F. (2015). The Peeragogy Handbook. 3rd Ed. Chicago, IL./Somerville, MA.: PubDomEd/Pierce Press. Retrieved 19 March, 2015 from http://peeragogy.org.

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Welsh, D. (2015, May 20). KN artefact critique [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/galloised/2015/05/20/kn-artefact-critique/

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Challenges regarding the nature of information

The following is an edited version of a discussion forum post for Module 1.2

Based on your reading of Floridi, and Brown & Duguid, identify three (3) challenges regarding the nature of information that are of particular concern to you as a member of our information society. How do you propose to address these?

1.  The information explosion

Human knowledge is expanding at an exponential rate. From doubling approximately every century a hundred years ago, to doubling every twelve months now (and predicted to double every twelve hours with the expansion of the Internet of Things), individuals can only hope to be “experts” in narrower and narrower areas – there can be no “font of all knowledge” – so how do we know what or who to trust and how can we possibly keep up? We need to be creative and thoughtful about what actually is “the problem” and not always treat symptomatically. At a personal level I do my best to manage the flow of information coming at me by using a variety of digital tools: Diigo to tag and save links; Evernote to store, take notes and organise; Feedly to keep up with blogs I wish to read; Pocket to save for later articles of possible interest that I come across via Twitter but don’t have time to do anything with immediately.

2.  Environmental effects

“Paperless” might seem environmentally friendly but data centres don’t run on air – they consumed 1% of worlds electricity at the time Floridi wrote (p. 155), perhaps more now. (estimates suggest that the carbon footprint of data will outstrip that of aviation by 2020). Can the use of ICT provide benefits to other industries so as to balance out this environmental impact? I hope my largely paperless approach to work and study isn’t stymied by the energy required to power my personal devices and the cloud that supports them.

3.  The rise of the mega-university and online learning

This is already happening at tertiary level but will it filter down to secondary or even primary education? Mega universities can teach numbers of students unthinkable on a physical campus – is it possible that in the future we will have similar mega-schools? In my experience Distance/online learning requires a high level of intrinsic motivation while a physical school/teacher in the room provides for more extrinsic motivation – would children be sufficiently motivated – I don’t think so if the form of the online learning is merely replicating what happens in physical classrooms. I want to know how, as an information professional (ie teacher librarian) I can best support and remain relevant in any move to online learning.

References

Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (2002). Limits to information. In The social life of information (pp. 11-34). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Floridi, L. (2009). The Information Society and its philosophy: Introduction to the special issue on “The philosophy of information, its nature, and future developments”. Information Society, 25(3), 153-158. DOI: 10.1080/01972240902848583

The future – digital learning tools and strategies

End arrow

INF532 is almost at an end. The final forum thread asks us to share six strategies and tools I will take with me in the future. I thought them worth sharing here as well as on the forum.

Flipping teacher professional learning: with my newly acquired and/or enhanced skills in creating videos using tools such as Powtoon, Screencastify and Audacity I will provide further support and resources for the teacher professional learning workshops I regularly present at my school. Taking advice from Flip your PD for Extra Flexibility and Support I will create videos which give explanations and step by step instructions which teachers will be able to view beforehand thus minimizing the time needed for direct instruction in the workshop, freeing up time for hands-on activities and personalised support for individuals. Indiana Jen (author of the post) suggests that teachers often don’t find time to flip (ie view) before the lesson/workshop so the videos could also be provided in addition to direct instruction, allowing those slower to learn to revisit the instruction without holding back those who are ready to move forward and apply their new skills. The best “Flipping in advance” for teachers, suggests Jen is to have them ensure they can access and login to any tool you are using, prior to the session, by providing written or video instruction to assist – this can be a great time-saver, I’m sure we’ve all met teachers who need their hand held at every stage and who can dominate proceedings when things don’t work perfectly for them first time. The videos will also allow “flipping after the fact” enabling teachers to revisit the instruction as and when needed, or for a catch-up for those who missed out.

Blended Learning is a strategy that I would like to support our staff in exploring with their students. My school is working toward a BYO device model for years 6-12, with sets of iPads and Chromebooks for years P-5. Currently in the senior school (9-12) BYOD is on an ad hoc basis. There is a computer lab, 12 desktop PCs in the library, and several trolleys of aging laptops available. In the middle school (3-8) there is a set of iPads exclusively used by years 3-5, enough desktop PCs for one class in the library and three sets of Chromebooks. There is a strong focus on extension for capable students alongside significant learning support for those with difficulties. Most (if not all) students have adequate access to internet-connected devices at home.

Blended learning will best suit this audience, and their teachers, particularly as the availability of technology in the classroom increases. Using online environments such as Google Classroom already enable some teachers to provide opportunities for socially constructed learning through discussions and collaborative projects. Teachers are keen to provide enrichment for the capable and more support for those who need it; well-constructed online environments, in conjunction with face to face teaching, can support both.

Pearltrees has been a revelation in terms of new tools explored in this session. Curating is a big part of what I do both for my personal learning needs and for students and teachers through the library. Pearltrees is very flexible and easy to use, I’m absolutely loving the way any link I tweet is waiting in my “in tray” ready to be organised into a collection the next time I visit. I also appreciate the ability to organise material into sections within collections and being able to customise the background image and editorial header text for each collection. Starting new collections and saving links couldn’t be easier either, as is creating embeddable widgets to display collections on other sites which I will use extensively as our LibGuides site develops. I’m even on the verge of upgrading to a paid subscription so that I can add annotations to individual items. Love, love, love it! Check out my growing collection of Pearls:

Hbailie

Arrow image: Free for commercial use / No attribution required from Pixabay http://pixabay.com/en/arrow-button-end-final-finish-157495/