INF537 Digital Futures Colloquium is the capstone subject for the Master of Education in Knowledge Networks and Digital innovation (MedKNDI) and as I approach the conclusion of the subject, I am also approaching the completion of the course. It has been interesting to look back at the goals I set and the Critical Reflections for each of the subjects studied during the course. A motif that emerges is that it has been my goal in all subjects, including INF537, to consider my professional practice as a teacher-librarian and my responsibility to prepare students to participate and thrive in the constantly evolving landscape of the digital age. The immersion into research, opportunities to collaborate fantionally and globally with peers and education experts, and reflective processes have certainly helped meet this goal. In particular, my confidence as a leader has grown.
An argument that has strongly resonated with me is the need for educators to embed opportunities for participation into our programs, curriculums, pedagogies, and spaces so that our students may “develop the cultural competencies and social skills” for full involvement in society (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison & Weigel, 2006, p.4). The key it is suggested, is to consider how students can learn, participate, create and produce within and beyond the classroom. As a student in Med(KNDI) I have been provided with samples of such participatory experiences. These opportunities have included:
- using Web 2.0 platforms including Wikis, Voicethread, Diigo, and forums;
- communicating and collaborating with peers in social media environments such as Twitter and Facebook; and
- reflective practice through blogging.
Importantly, participation in this community of practice, has resulted in an improvement in my own literacies, including digital, information, media, network and even traditional literacy. I found the experience of building a Personal Learning Network (PLN) so empowering that I have embedded this into classroom teaching and students now have blogs, and use social media. Our school library has also embraced Library 2.0 platforms to connect with our users beyond the traditional spaces of the website and the physical library. This puts me in a better place to achieve my professional goal to enable my students to experience and learn the literacies of a connected world. I have also had opportunities to engage colleagues at school in these communities through invitations to present professional development through our college Profressional Learning Centre.
Both of the assessed research tasks in INF537 extended my thinking about emerging trends and what the future holds for students. This has challenged me to consider how to embrace digital scholarship in a secondary school context. The case study for INF537 provided the opportunity to investigate how myself and the team I work with can move our school library digital spaces from online content repositories to interactive and participatory learning environments. The case study represented the research phase of our project and collecting evidence from our school context and analyzing that along with the academic research on the topic will have real life impact. In fact, our project for new digital spaces now begins the design phase and we meet with both our chosen Library Management System and website provider next week together with the College Leadership Team, which is a direct outcome of the case study.
Finally, at the risk of using a less-than-academic tone, I absolutely loved the chance to engage in the colloquiums with other practitioners and industry experts. An opportunity offered students in INF537 Digital Futures Colloquium, is to moderate one of the sessions with the view to interact with ideas and thought leaders. I teamed up with classmate Patricia Buckley to host Annabel Astbury from ABC Splash. Having the chance to listen to Annabel’s experience with the design and management of the ABC Splash site also linked closely with my case study of investigating and redesigning the digital learning environments in my own professional context.
This draws to a close the last blog post for the course but my reflective practice will continue because through the engagement in KNDI, I have established a strong PLN including an independent blog, and valuable connections via social media, particularly on Twitter. It feels like a long time ago that I wrote my first ever blog post which stated:
” Well, it’s official, back to Uni! The first job on the list is to set up this reflective journaling space and post a link to the group forum.
I guess a good place to start is to list my learning goals for this subject. These are:
- To participate in a connected learning environment;
- To continue my professional learning;
- To broaden my classroom practices in digital environments; &
Jenkins, H.,Clinton, K., Purushotoma, R., Robison, A., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st Century. Paper presented at MacArthur Foundation, Chicago. Retrieved from http://wheatoncollege.edu/president/files/2012/03/Confronting-Challenges-of-Participatory-Culture.pdf
Geralt, Road Sky Mountains Clouds Black White Start End, CC0 Public Domain