Assessment Task #7 – Reflection

Re-imagining education in a digital age – Reflecting on my learning in INF530

 What Have I Accomplished?

Looking back at my first blog post for this subject, one of my aims in undertaking this course was to experience being a learner in the 21st Century.  This has certainly been true, both of the course materials and the experiences offered.  The multimodal nature of the readings which include podcasts, videos and infographics as well as traditional academic journal articles, blogging for critical reflection and interacting in forums, Tweet chats, Adobe connect meetings and Google hangouts, and posting and receiving updates from the class Diigo Group and Twitter hashtag are all examples of these.  These practices are examples of the changing digital landscape of education discussed by Conole (2013, p. 48).  The image below contains links to some of my interactions in these environments.

What have I discovered about myself as a learner?

I have learned that I find it really hard to study as a 40-something-year-old student. Compared to when I studied at a younger age, my fear of getting it wrong slows down every sentence I write. I also really enjoy the content, and the multimodal delivery of that content, far more than I enjoyed subjects previously studied but this means I want to read, view or listen to each and every resource in every module.  Adding this new, studious disposition to work and family commitments has made time a very precious commodity and I need to advance my skills in prioritising.

The Book Review & understanding today’s learners

For the academic book review task, I read The App Generation by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis in an attempt to broaden my insight into today’s learners.  I found it really interesting that the evidence-based, American research presented in the book certainly reflects the many conversations I have here in Australia with other teachers and parents of similar socio-economic status to those teens researched in the book. When discussing the effect technology is having on today’s youth, a heightened sense of individualism, increased aversion to take risks and the need for constant endorsement are key concerns raised by Gardner and Davis (2013).  This, they say, is the result of broad societal trends and modern parenting and is facilitated by mobile devices, apps and social media.

Collaboration is King

A key concept emphasized throughout the learning in INF530 is that scholarship in the digital age is connected and global and these two factors require collaboration.  Mimi Ito (2012) suggests that effective education in the digital age is about matchmaking.  It involves designing methods of using connections to bring people together who want to learn together.  In this paradigm, building relationships is more important than the actual piece of knowledge being cultivated.  Collaboration throughout this course has also resulted in beneficial learning opportunities.  Listening to other students discuss the importance of pedagogy and creativity in the Google Hangout provided real focus for my thinking about the digital essay topic I wished to investigate.

The digital essay

In addition to the experience of being a 21st Century learner, I have also sought to ascertain the concepts and practices that high-school teachers should embed in their curriculums to foster connected learning in the information environments of the digital age.  To this end, my digital essay aims to investigate the question about knowledge and the curriculum strategies that teachers can employ to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for lifelong learning in the 21st Century.

References

Conole, G. (2012). Designing for learning in an open world (Vol. 4). Springer. Available as ebook from CSU library. http://www.eblib.com

Gardner, H., & Davis, K. (2013). The app generation: How today’s youth navigate identity, intimacy, and imagination in a digital world. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Ito, M. (2013, October 31). Connected Learning: Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viHbdTC8a90 – t=26

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