Critical reflection: Putting the INF [530] into INFinite INFormation

#INF530 has been invigorating, exciting, lots of hard work, overwhelming at times, but above all fun. A few weeks ago faced with tackling my digital essay and thinking about all the material in the modules that I hadn’t gotten to I was feeling very overwhelmed, and more than a little despondent. Part of my problem was that I was stuck on a potential topic for the digital essay that was way too big. This is what I posted in the forum:

Having come across Tom Whitby’s recent blog post Educators will never be 100% connected and thinking about it as it relates to content of INF530 – Connected Learning; Open, social and participatory media; Computational thinking, and Education Informatics, I’m thinking something along the lines of “Enablers and barriers to teachers embracing digital literacy as the third essential field of mastery”. The first two fields, according to Whitby are content knowledge and education/pedagogy.

Fortunately I was reminded that the module material is there for us to dip in and out of as needs, interests and time allow. I know I’ve not done justice to some of the modules…yet. I will be saving the content to Evernote to revisit, particularly in this coming break. Even better, in a flash of inspiration I came up with a more manageable essay topic that I was immediately able to map out a plan of attack for. Having some certainty and knowing where to start made me feel instantly better.

But I am still very interested in that initial topic idea. If nothing else, INF530 has convinced me even more of the need for all teachers to become digitally literate, connected educators. It’s no longer good enough to make excuses about being a digital immigrant (and there are more than a few questions about the validity of dubbing all young people “digital natives” so claiming special treatment for immigrant status should be equally questionable). It isn’t now, and never was, just about the technology, it’s about utilising what is available to change the pedagogy so that students are empowered as digitally literate adults who can function capably in the networked environment that is the 21st century.

But better than preaching to the converted, my engagement with the modules, readings, and connections with the cohort have given me more ammunition to use in the battle to win over the nay-sayers. I still may not succeed but at least my attempts will be grounded in research. Perhaps as a starting point I’ll encourage teachers to read Bec’s essay.

In my first post on this blog I wrote about what I hope to get from the course:

  1. A way of formalising/legitimising the reading, connecting, curating, commenting, learning I already do.
  2. Skills in interrogating and articulating my thoughts about the mass of information I come in contact with each day.
  3. More and better connection with outstanding educators.

Big ticks already to 1 and 3 but I still struggle with articulating my thoughts, I hope my blog posts and assessed work do show evidence of some improvement. 

I feel I’m on top of things like searching in Primo and I’ve had occasion to use some workarounds so as to get to the information I need. I’ve now got a reasonable handle on Zotero and a much better workflow setup for producing a bibliography although nothing comes close to Evernote for working with sources. My appreciation for and application of tagging has reached new heights.

I have loved connecting with the cohort, it’s been amazing. People have said to me “isn’t online study very impersonal and isolating” but I couldn’t disagree more. I feel infinitely more connected with my classmates than I ever did while studying in the traditional way over twenty years ago. That said though, the personal interactions, particularly with Simon and Bec, have been invaluable. I loved that conversation I had with Simon just before the book review was due that I wrote about here.

So thank you Judy, and thank you to all the other students. What a fabulous beginning, I’m very excited about what is to come.

One thought on “Critical reflection: Putting the INF [530] into INFinite INFormation

  1. I am thrilled by what you have learned, shared, and validated in terms of the value of the learning culture we have created in INF530. Keep sharing, and making us think deeply, as you always do. Thank you!

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