Critical reflection Assessment 8 INF530

Disruptive technologies

Created by Hyacinth Steele (0:15 seconds) Hosted on YouTube

Having worked in various roles as a Reference Librarian, Learning Designer and for a short while TAFE teacher, I entered INF530 expecting to expand my knowledge of concepts and practices for a digital age. My passion in each role had always been to see learners come alive when they found that piece of information they needed, or engaged in learning that challenged their worldview or collaborated in classroom activities and came out richer for the experience. As a learning designer I had helped to build learning experiences that leveraged the capabilities of learning management systems to embed media into learning content.

However, I wasn’t expecting my design and research behaviours to be disrupted by the social and participatory ways our learner cohort and lecturer engaged with the content in open and closed spaces.

The emergence of open, social participatory has been the result of rapidly developing technologies. These tools and technologies have enabled teaching and learning practices to shift from traditional delivery platforms in physical spaces to digital spaces. Interacting as a student with these tools and technologies has disrupted and shifted my personal learning and professional design practices to design for social and participative learning where the learner is given opportunity to co-create. For example using Google docs to peer critique or add to a collaborative piece of work.

Technology and me: An evolving relationship

Grainne Conole (2013) in her work on designing learning in an open world noted how tools and users co-evolved together. As technologies have evolved, we also have evolved, changed and adapted our behaviours in response. When I first started in learning design it was innovative to embed urls and use graphics in learning content. Now I am creating bespoke infographics with Indesign and Illustrator, videoing lecturers and other experts and creating interactive pdfs to house content. Content is now built to meet strict accessibility standards and is trialled on multiple devices to check for performance prior to release.

Positive affordances

Conole (2013) lists the positive affordances of technology. My learning and design behaviours have evolved as I have interacted with these affordances during this course. Here are some examples of my evolution:

Collaboration: through participation in my course community with peers around Australia.

Reflection: using asynchronous and synchronous tools like blogs and Twitter to reflect and document my ideas.

Interaction: I have multimedia technologies to support learning and content generation. I have blogged and created my own website to generate content and share with peers.

Dialogue: I have participated in discussion forums and Twitter and designed learning activities using google hangouts to enable dialogue and collaboration between learners.

Creativity: I have availed myself of opportunities to generate content and share and publish in open spaces via the Thinkspace blog and my website. I have had the courage to post my first short (very short) video on my YouTube channel.

Organisation: Inspired by other students I have downloaded and invested in Evernote Premium to organise my readings and other information in various formats to write and curate wherever I am. I have now synced my work and home iPads , iMacs and MacBook Pros.

I have also installed Dropbox to upload the latest version of work and study documents.

My next mission is to explore social bibliographic tools like Zotero, Mendely and Connotea.

Authenticity: I have access to experts and real world learning via platforms in open spaces. I can listen to experts such as Marc Prensky, Henry Jenkins, George Siemens and Grainne Conole via YouTube, Vimeo and slideshare. I can virtually attend conferences around the world.


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Siemens (2004) says that the ‘where is more important than what’ and than the pipe which allows information to flow is more important than the information itself which is a constant state of flux and has a diminishing half-life. He proposes that learning is not individualistic but rather one of accessing nodes in networks so that information can be shared to contribute to the network.

Straub (2008) has challenged me to think about the systems that I design and situate learning within. Are they open, promoting lifelong learning, participation, empowerment and co-operation or are they closed and operate within traditional hierarchies with a top down structure? I think I would employ a sliding scale, as they are both. However, my interaction with the learning content in this course has challenged me to become an ‘activist’ for connected learning experiences.

This week I will be attending the EduTech conference in Brisbane. I have discovered a new way of viewing teaching and learning practice. I will be listening eagerly to see if other practitioners share this view too.



Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world. Explorations in the Learning Sciences, Instructional Systems and Performance Technologies, Volume 4.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Elearnspace: everything elearning. Retrieved from

Straub, R. (2008, April 30). Is the world open? eLearning Papers, 8. Retrieved from

Wenger, E. (2012). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved from







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