Archive of ‘Learning in a Digital Age’ category

INF537 – Learning Reflection – Assessment 3: Part B

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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.

Providing Aussie content for

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:

  1. To participate in a connected learning environment;
  2. To continue my professional learning;
  3. To broaden my classroom practices in digital environments; &
  4. To PASS!

goals

References

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

Image Attribution

Geralt, Road Sky Mountains Clouds Black White Start End, CC0 Public Domain

 

5 reasons we need an iCentre Website

is-an-icentre-website-necessary

As we continue to travel along the path of re-visioning our iCentre virtual spaces, we have been investigating what a website, Library Management System (LMS) and social media can offer school library services.  Our research has been interesting and we easily agreed that the LMS and social media are vital virtual spaces for our services.  The Library Management Systems we have investigated are web-based, learner-centred, sophisticated and interactive and as such, we have been challenged to consider the question: is an iCentre Website necessary?  Our conclusion is a resounding YES and here are the reasons why:

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-26-pmWe model the literacy of participation

Jenkins et al. argue that the digital divide between those who will succeed in twenty-first (21st) century futures and those that will be left behind is determined not by access to technology but by access to opportunities to participate and develop the cultural competencies and social skills necessary in new media landscapes (2006, p.3).  Crockett, Jukes and Chruches (2011, p.14), O’Leary (2012, para.18), and Seely Brown (2012, p.15) are also among those advocating the necessity of educating for participation because individuals who find themselves lacking such skills are at risk of being on the wrong side of the divide and left behind in academia and the workplace. Many of the skills and mindsets outlined by these authors, require schools to transition from a scholarship practice that uses technology as a tool to enhance research to a social scholarship practice “in which the use of social tools is an integral part of the research and publishing process and is characterized by openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision” (Pearce et al. & Cohen as cited in Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p.767).  The iCentre website models this literacy of participation through publishing blogs, connecting with social media, and the open sharing of learning.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-39-pmWe serve a community not just students & teachers

The college community served by the iCentre is broader than the students and teachers on campus.  In particular, parents, as the primary educators, are an important part of our community.  One of the roles of the iCentre is to provide leadership in digital citizenship.  The website regularly curates and publishes information on how parents can assist their children to develop the capacity to build a positive digital footprint that showcases their learning interests, talents, and successes, and enables them to build social skills and cultural competencies.  This content also includes resources that will assist the community to use information and technology safely, legally and ethically.  To this end, the iCentre website is a valuable tool because it provides learning experiences that enable the community to engage in positive digital practices that are relevant and timely.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-50-pmWe value networks

Technological shifts have changed the culture of learning to one in which the classroom is now global and provides learners with access to “nearly unlimited resources and incredible instruments while connecting with one another at the same time” (Thomas & Seely Brown, 2011, loc.55).  In this new culture, learning resides in the ability to form networks and learning how to learn, what to learn, who to learn with and when to learn is more important than the mastery of content (Olsen, 2011, p.22).  It is argued that understanding both digital competencies and new ways of learning in order to model digital citizenship become possible when educators take on the responsibility of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p.10).  The iCentre website is one of the tools we use to connect with our colleagues in education – it is part of our learning network.  We have had many instances of professionals from other school libraries making suggestions for our website, contributing content to our website, and contacting us through the website in order to visit and share knowledge.  Such connections have been invaluable to the service we offer our community.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-59-pmWe value Open Scholarship

A trend that has been identified in 21st Century scholarship is an “openness” resultant from developing digital communication and networked technologies (Pearce et al., 2010, p.37).  According to Katz, this trend towards open content, knowledge and learning will offer great opportunities for scholars (2010, p.6).  The Creative Commons movement, which has opened up access to licensed creative content and also allows individuals to license work for others to share, is one example of how openness can lower barriers and democratize learning.  By sharing resources and learning through the iCentre website, we too are participating in a form of open scholarship.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-44-09-pmWe want to share our story

At this year’s Edutech Conference in Brisbane, both Kate Tormey, CEO of the State Library of Victoria and Dr Ross J. Todd, associate professor at Rutgers University, Department of Library and Information Sciences, stressed to delegates of the Future Libraries stream that if libraries are to thrive, then they must share their story.  The capacity of the Teacher-Librarians to share their story both within the college and beyond has valuable outcomes and the iCentre website has proved a powerful way to share our story.

References

Crockett, L.,Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. [Epub]. Kelowna, B:C: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Jenkins, H.,Clinton, K., Purushotoma, R., Robinson, A., J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Paper presented at MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF.

O’Leary, T. (2012, October 10). Making connections to end digital divide. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/making-connections-to-end-digital-divide-20121009-27aul.html#ixzz2nF0cHrLS

Olsen, R. (2011). Understanding virtual pedagogies for contemporary teaching & learning (pp. 1-32, Rep.). Victoria: IdeasLAB.

Pearce, N.,Weller, M., Scanlon, E., & Ashleigh, M. (2010). Digital scholarship considered: How new technologies could transform academic work. In Education, 16(1), 33-44.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of networked learning. In Personal Learning Networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Moorabbin, Cictoria: Solution Tree Press.

Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21-22). CJ Koh Professorial Lecture Series No. 4 in Singapore: Learning in and for the 21st Century Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked Participatory Scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks.  Computers & Education, 58,, 766-774. Retrieved from http://10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.001

 

Case Study: iCentre digital spaces: what path should we take now?

Title:
Designing iCentre digital spaces for school library service delivery: what path should we take now?

Goal:
The goal of this study is to evaluate both our current digital spaces and potential design changes in order to maintain dynamic and appropriate school library web services.

case-study-hs1

Description:
The library team at an all-girls secondary college in Brisbane, Queensland have begun a new phase in strategic directions. In 2016, new contexts have demanded a change in thinking about learning, life and work in the modern world.  The world now is change-filled and necessitates an approach that understands “everything we produce remains a work in process, in perpetual beta” (Richardson, 2016, para.5). This has implications for the services offered by the iCentre.  Evaluating and re-visioning the iCentre digital spaces is an important step in this process. A new vision and mission statement have been developed and the team has identified that the purpose of a revisioned digital space for the iCentre is to allow the college community to experience and learn the literacies of a connected world.  Due to timeframes and practical implications, this case study will only investigate the Library Management System and the iCentre Website.  Despite being essential to the provision of literacy development by the iCentre, social Media services will not be investigated at this time.

Expected Outcome of the project:
This case study will detail and analyse two of the existing virtual spaces, the Library Management System (LMS) and the iCentre Website with a view to understanding the contextual school library needs of the community and make recommendations to the iCentre team for their ongoing strategic plans.  The case study aims to adopt an evidence-based approach with an information science focus, incorporating user feedback, best research evidence and the professional experience and expertise of the iCentre team and external partners (Booth, 2002, p.53).

Two key research questions will guide this case study:

RQ.1   Do the current iCentre digital spaces meet our communities needs for school library services?

RQ. 2 What are the key considerations for the future of iCentre digital services and spaces identified from research evidence, user feedback and professional experience and expertise?

Case study plan:
The major steps required to complete the case study project include:

Digital School Library Services Research

*   Research the literature on best practice in digital school library services

*   Research the context of the iCentre school library services

*   Research the literature on emerging trends in school library services

Library Management System Research

*   Identify the needs for an LMS

*   Identify the contextual positives & negatives of the current LMS

*   Research and evaluate alternative LMS providers

Website

*   Identify the needs for an iCentre Website

*   Identify the contextual positives & negatives of the current iCentre Website

*   Research and evaluate design changes for the iCentre Website

The resources required:

*   Research for literature review

*   Meeting time with iCentre team

*   Contact details for LMS system providers and schools using those systems

*   Meeting with Website developers

*   Release time to visit school and investigate a variety of LMS

*   Survey artefacts

*   Focus Group interviews

*   PMI feedback on LMS choices for iCentre team

A projected timeline (Due October 10)

July 11 –  August 31

Focus Group – iCentre team complete a PMI of current LMS

Focus Group – iCentre team brainstorm needs of the iCentre website

Survey – students needs of the iCentre website (10% of student population – equal horizontal representation of students from year 7 – 12)

Survey – staff needs of iCentre website

Visit schools to view a range of LMSs

Meeting with website developers

Meetings with LMS providers for professional demonstration of products

LMS PMI artifact completed by iCentre staff

September 1 – 30

Literature review –  best practice in digital school library services

Literature review – emerging trends in school library services

Focus group with students finding information in different web environments – observational data and interview

Drafting case study report including recommendations for potential design changes in order to maintain dynamic and appropriate school library web services.

Seek feedback on processes and findings on INF537 Forums & via blog posts

October 1 – 10

Finalise case study report for submission

References

Digital Scholarship: uptake by the schooling sector in a state of ongoing development

Statement

Participatory technologies and cultures are a dominant trend impacting scholarship.  Despite arguments for the schooling sector to incorporate networked participatory media into learning, the uptake of this form of scholarship has been slow and remains, just as it does in the academic context, in a phase of ongoing development.

Introduction

Technological changes and widespread internet connectivity have transformed contemporary life.  Specifically, it is argued that the transition from the read-only Web 1.0 to the read-write Web 2.0 has resulted in an environment that facilitates participation and values the user as much as the content they share (Greenhow, Robelia & Hughes, 2009, p.247).  Research indicates that it is the participatory, collaborative and distributed facilities of the Web that have changed everyday life (Greenhow et al., 2009, p. 247 & Rheingold, 2012, p.148) including the nature of information, forms of media, business models, social environments and modes of civic engagement (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison and Weigel, 2006, p.3).  Consequently, it has been suggested that one label for contemporary society is the “Age of Participatory Media” (Bull et al., 2008, p.100).

Such societal changes are increasing the need for schools to change their pedagogy and learning areas so that students are prepared for ‘tomorrow’s world’ (Murray, 2007, p.19).  Jenkins et al. argue that the digital divide between those who will succeed in twenty-first (21st) century futures and those that will be left behind is determined not by access to technology but by access to opportunities to participate and develop the cultural competencies and social skills necessary in new media landscapes (2006, p.3).  Crockett, Jukes and Chruches (2011, p.14), O’Leary (2012, para.18), and Seely Brown (2012, p.15) are also among those advocating the necessity of educating for participation because individuals who find themselves lacking such skills are at risk of being on the wrong side of the divide and left behind in academia and the workplace. Many of the skills and mindsets outlined by these authors, require schools to transition from a scholarship practice that uses technology as a tool to enhance research to a social scholarship practice “in which the use of social tools is an integral part of the research and publishing process and is characterized by openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision” (Pearce et al. & Cohen as cited in Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p.767).

This interpretive discussion paper begins by defining networked participatory technologies and cultures and then considers the existing and potential implications that they hold for scholarship.  Following this, the paper explores the arguments surrounding the requirement for schools to embrace this form of scholarship.  Finally, the investigation discusses how schools have responded to the advocated necessity of incorporating networked participatory scholarship into programs and practices.

The Age of Participatory Media

Numerous authors point to the explosion of new media technologies and correlate these to changes in the way people operate and interact (Bull et al., 2009, p.101; Greenhow et al., 2009, p.247 & Katz, 2010, p.3).  Others, however, point out that attributing the causality of cultural change to technology may not reflect a reality that is somewhat more complex and interrelated.  Veletsianos and Kimmons label this a “fuzzy area” stating that technology does not exist in a vacuum and “may just as validly be seen as a reflection of cultural trends as a cause of them” (2012, p.769).  This is reinforced by Gee who states that digital tools cannot be studied in isolation (2010, p.32) and Jenkins et al. who believe that technology tools and the activities they support, only become widespread if they fulfill a cultural need (2006, p.8).  Regardless of causation, all of these authors suggest that participation is a dominant trend in both contemporary technology and culture.

Participatory culture may be defined as a culture in which the community provides strong incentives for artistic expression, sharing creativity, collaborative problem solving and civic engagement (Jenkins et al., 2006, p.3).  In such cultures, members feel their contributions matter (Greenhow et al., 2009, p.247) and a degree of social connection to one another (Jenkins et al., 2006, p.7).  In contemporary society, it is argued that interactive technologies are enablers of participation (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2011, p.771) through affordances such as online social networking communities, content and media creation mechanisms, publishing platforms, large scale collaborative projects and prominent personal profiling (Jenkins et al. 2006, p.8 & Greenhow et al., 2009, p.247).  Some examples of popular platforms that provide these affordances include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Flickr, Diigo, Skype, Blogger, and Wikipedia.

Implications for Scholarship

A discussion about digital scholarship necessitates exploring how participatory technologies and cultures are impacting concepts of knowledge.  On this point, Veletsianos and Kimmons identify that the emergence of participatory and collaborative approaches to knowledge building within dominant cultural practices are leading to new theories of knowledge construction (2011, p.769). This point is reinforced by Buckley and De Toit who argue that new economies value tacit knowledge that is community-based and derived from experience above explicit knowledge that is a personal and individual activity derived from content (2010, p.495).  Starkey similarly maintains the impact of connected environments is changing the nature of knowledge.  Her research finds that “ideas about ‘knowledge’ appear to be changing from something that is found in the heads of individuals or in books to something that is not fixed, is debatable, accessible through a range of media and created through networks, connections and collaboration” (2011, p. 22).  That these approaches to knowledge building pose important changes to scholarship is further evident in the emergence of learning approaches such as conectivist and constructivist theories (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2011, p.770).

Investigating scholarship on another level, several authors discuss how participatory technologies and cultures are impacting the functions of scholarship (Scanlon, 2014, p.13, Katz, 2010, p.5 and Pearce et al., 2010, p.35, Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2010, p.766).  These functions, originally identified by Boyer, include discovery, integration, application and teaching (Boyer, 1990, p.17-25).  Significantly, those who share this view, highlight that all four functions of scholarship are impacted by an “openness” resultant from developing digital communication and networked technologies (Pearce et al., 2010, p.37).  On this point, Katz claims such technologies provide scholars with open content, knowledge and learning (2010, p.5).  The scholarship functions of discovery and integration, it is argued, are being changed by the availability of rich content and large datasets equally accessible through search engines by both professional and amateur researchers (Katz, 2010, p.6, and Pearce et al., 2010, p.37).  Commentators in this area also believe that open publishing, evidenced by the growth of platforms such as blogs, is impacting the scholarly function of application.  Consequently, long held traditions and non-negotiable scholarly artifacts such as journal publications and peer-review are being questioned (Pearce et al., 2010, p.38, and Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2011, p. 770).  The function of teaching is also being challenged by open education and new communication channels that are opening up the boundaries between faculties, institutions and even between academia and the ‘real world’ (Scanlon, 2014, p.15, Katz, 2010, p.7, Pearce et al., 2010, p.40 and Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2011, p.771).  According to Katz, these changes are liberating for the scholar and scholarship but will reshape scholarly enterprise and nearly all our institutions, including colleges and universities, will undergo fundamental alterations (2010, pp.7-14).

What about schools?

Changing ideas about knowledge and scholarship also have implications for schools.  Starkey asserts that the digital age necessitates a changed focus in this sector from one that has been centered on learning prescribed knowledge “towards a focus on critical thinking skills, knowledge creation and learning through connections” (2011, p.19).  Seely Brown agrees that schools can no longer restrict learning to explicit and prescribed knowledge.  He argues, that as the world is now in a state of constant flow, the knowledge that is created is tacit because the pace of change does not allow such information to be distilled, encoded and re-communicated before the next shift happens (2012, p.14).  Others, such as Rheingold (2012, p.53), Jenkins et al. (2006, p.7) and Veletsianos & Kimmons (2011, p.769) state that participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement and as such, schools need to focus on the literacies, cultural competencies and social skills necessary for success in the age of participatory media.

A key authority on future trends that will impact learning and teaching in the schooling sector is the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report: K-12 Edition.  The 2015 publication of this report agrees that participatory technologies and cultures are important future considerations for the schooling sector.  In particular, the report identifies that two of the trends and technologies that will drive education over next five years include: (1) collaborative learning approaches (2015, pp.12-13); and (2) a shift from students as consumers to students as creators (2015, pp.14-15).

The Reality in Schools

When it comes to the uptake of participatory technologies into curricula, pedagogies and assessment instruments, schools have been slow to react (Bull et al., 2008, p.102, Greenhow, 2009, p.43, Jenkins et al., 2006, p.4 & Selwyn, 2010, p.66). This slow uptake is not restricted to schools and the research of both Scanlon (2014, p.20) and Pearce et al. (2010, p.34) indicates that the extent to which academics have embraced participatory technologies and cultures is also a long way behind the uptake of individuals and industry.  Jenkins et al. note that while there are examples of individual schools and educators experimenting with participatory technologies and processes, a more systemic change is required for all students to develop the literacies they need to function in today’s hyper-mediated environments (2006, p.57).

A number of initiatives to bring about change can be identified on both an international and a national level.  At an international level, such provision for participatory literacies is reinforced by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), who have composed standards to support twenty-first century learning with clear guidelines for the skills, knowledge and approaches students need to succeed in the digital age (2016).   On a national level, the responsibility for schools to create learning environments that provide students with opportunities to be global, digital citizens was agreed upon by Australian Education Ministers with the signing of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians in 2008.  The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) established the general capabilities, including the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability in order to realise the goals of the Melbourne Declaration (ACARA, 2016).  It is specified in the ICT general capability that, “to participate in a knowledge-based economy and to be empowered within a technologically sophisticated society now and into the future, students need the knowledge, skills and confidence to make ICT work for them at school, at home, at work and in their communities” (2016, para 2).

These international and national directions have made teachers increasingly aware of the necessity of using technology to support both higher-order and future-proof learning in their practice, yet what is often overlooked are the difficulties experienced in altering pedagogy and curricula to reflect these needs (Lindsay, 2015).  Jenkins et al. identify one such difficulty is that the school day is already “bursting at the seams” and teachers feel they cannot cram any new tasks into their instruction (2006, p.57).  Bull et al. also identify a number of challenges to the application of new techniques of knowledge production and participatory learning in schools.  These include time constraints, limited access to online media tools by some educational bodies, an increased complexity of classroom management when technology is introduced, limited research available to guide best practice and limited models of effective integration for teachers to follow (2008, p.102).  The reality, however, is not all negative, and both Greenhow and Bull et al. suggest trends in social scholarship are connecting traditional or formal scholarship with informal, social networking tools to integrate participatory learning into existing subjects and assessments (2009, pp.43-45, & 2008, p.104).  Greenhow provides the use of social bookmarking tools and social bibliographic sites as evidence of this type of scholarship in practice (2009, pp.43-45).  Other research, provides evidence that blogging is an emerging academic practice that is becoming more prevalent and provides scholars with the opportunities for sharing, conversation, collaboration, “soft” peer-review and building an academic identity (Scanlon, 2014, p.18, Weller, 2011, p.4, Kirkup, 2010, p.81, Greenhow et al., 2009, pp.249-251).  According to Jenkins et al., this mixed reality “functions as a new form of the hidden curriculum, shaping which youth will succeed and which will be left behind as they enter school and the workplace” (2006, p.3).  If these authors are correct, then a failure by individual schools to develop a suitable approach to networked participatory scholarship puts their students at risk of being significantly disadvantaged and unprepared for lifelong learning beyond school.

Conclusion

This paper has discussed the impact of networked participatory technology and cultures upon scholarship.  Moves towards tacit knowledge construction, openness and collaborative practices have been identified as key trends impacting scholarship.  The research for this discussion paper suggests that the take-up of digital scholarship in the schooling context has been slow and inconsistent.  As such, commentators in the field are concerned that the next digital divide will between those have developed the skills and competencies to participate in networked environments and those who do not.  This is an important consideration for all educators and those who care about the academic and working futures of today’s youth. 

References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2016). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/introduction

Boyer, E.L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered. California: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Buckley, S., & Du Toit, A.. (2010). Academics leave your ivory tower: From communities of practice. Educational Studies, 36(5), 493-503.

Bull, G.,Thompson, A., Searson, M., Garofalo, J., Park, J., Young, C., & Lee, J. (2008). Connecting informal and formal learning experiences in the Age of Participatory Media. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 8(2), 100-107.

Crockett, L.,Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. [Epub]. Kelowna, B:C: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Gee, J.P. (2010). New digital media and learning as an emerging area and worked examples as one way forward. Massachusetts: MIT Press. Retrieved from

Greenhow, C. (2009). Social scholarship: Applying social networking technologies to research practices. Knowledge Quest, 37(4), 42-47.

Greenhow, C. (2011). Youth learning, and social media. J. Educational Computing Research, 45(2), 139-146.

Greenhow, C.,Robella, B., & Hughes, J.E. (2009). Learning, teaching, and scholarship in a Digital Age. Educational Researcher, 38(4), 246-259.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students-2016

Jenkins, H.,Clinton, K., Purushotoma, R., Robinson, A., J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Paper presented at MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF.

Katz, R. (2010). Schoalrs, scholarship, and the scholarly enterprise in the digital age. Educause Review, 45(2), 44-56.

Kirkup, G. (2010). Academic blogging: academic practice and academic identity. London Review Of Education, 8(1), 75-84. Retrieved from http://10.1080/14748460903557803

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs. (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf

Murray, C. (2007). Changing landscapes: Schools of the future. In S la Marca (Ed.). Rethink! Ideas for school library design (pp. 19-29). Carlton, VIC: School Library Association of Victoria Inc.

New Media Consortium. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf

O’Leary, T. (2012, October 10). Making connections to end digital divide. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/making-connections-to-end-digital-divide-20121009-27aul.html#ixzz2nF0cHrLS

Pearce, N.,Weller, M., Scanlon, E., & Ashleigh, M. (2010). Digital scholarship considered: How new technologies could transform academic work. In Education, 16(1), 33-44.

Rheingold, H. (2012). Net Smart: How to Thrive Online. MA: Cambridge.

Scanlon, E. (2014). Scholarship in the digital age: Open education resources, publication and public engagement. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(1), 12-23.

Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21-22). CJ Koh Professorial Lecture Series No. 4 in Singapore: Learning in and for the 21st Century Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf

Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26, 65-73.

Starkey, L. (2011). Evaluating learning in the 21st century: a digital age learning matrix, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(1), 19-39.

Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked Participatory Scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers & Education, 58,, 766-774. Retrieved from http://10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.001

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: how technology is transforming scholarly practice. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Moderating a Colloquium: Annabel Astbury from ABC Splash

Providing Aussie content for

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.  This week, I teamed up with classmate Patricia Buckley to host Annabel Astbury from ABC Splash.

This was an insightful presentation of the history and development of the ABC Splash site, the resources and artefacts available in the collection, and the design considerations and use of analytics by the team at ABC Splash.

ABC Splash was established in 2012 and produced in partnership with Educational Services Australia.

The initial funding ran out 2014, but the team was able to keep the pilot programme running due to  frugal management and are now taking it to its next stage. This was just one of many government projects funded to demonstrate fast broadband and promote the Australian Curriculum.

Initially, there were two main aims of ABC Splash:

  1. to digitise archive resources for education and the new Australian curriculum.
  2. to develop interactives, infographics, games and other digital tools.

The team now comprises of seven staff members and funding has been extended to continue the site.  There are presently over 3000 resources mapped to the Australian Curriculum. This is an impressive effort and the result is a very useful resource for Australian teachers and students.

Throughout the colloquium with Annabel Astbury, I was struck by the many connections to motivations and processes identified in the literature research studied for INF536: Designing Spaces for Learning.  Many of these motivations and processes were also utilised by the ABC Splash team in the development and delivery of this resource.  Some of these included: 

  1. Annabel’s leadership of this project demonstrates a commitment to championing the resource within and beyond the ABC Splash team.  This proactive publicising of the site provides the perseverance that is necessary throughout a project in order to see the vision through to reality (Kuratko, Goldsworthy & Horsby, 2012, p.111).
  2. The ABC Splash team’s commitment to an ever-changing and evolving resource and learning space demonstrates a successful mindset for design which values the ongoing assessment of learning spaces, resulting in iterative design and continuous improvement (Oblinger, 2005, p.18).
  3. The ABC Splash team have a commitment to more than just providing quality resources – through initiatives such as the live events and competitions they also promote student achievement and build community, thus creating new patterns of social and intellectual interaction.  Within learning space design literature, this is identified as an important philosophy that assists in maintaining learner-centred and education-centred change (Istance & Kools, 2013, p.47).

A second connection that I made during Annabel’s presentation was an idea raised by Selwyn who asks researchers to consider “the organizational, political, economic and cultural factors which pattern the design, development, production, marketing, implementation and ‘end use’ of a technological artefact” (2010, p. 69).  An example of this drawn during the colloquium is that the initial funding for ABC Splash was driven by the political pressure to push the Australian Curriculum and in recent time the STEM agenda.

References

Istance, David, and Marco Kools. “OECD Work on Technology and Education: Innovative Learning Environments as an Integrating Framework.” European Journal of Education 48.1 (2013): 43-57. Web. 29 Sept. 2014

Kuratko, Donald F., Michael G. Goldsby, and Jeffrey S. Hornsby. “The Design Thinking Process.” Innovation Acceleration: Transforming Organizational Thinking. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 103-23. Print.

Oblinger, Diana. “Leading the Transition from Classrooms to Learning Spaces.” Educause Quarterly 1 (2005): 14-18. Web. 27 Sept. 2014.

Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(1), 65–73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00338.x.

Learning in the Digital Age = Participation

Lighthouse

One of the key themes that have been impressed upon students engaged in the Master of Education Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation course (MedKNDI) is that learning in the digital age involves understanding and participating in digital cultures.

Throughout these studies, I have also been introduced to some expert educators and researchers discussing the idea of participatory digital cultures.  Some researchers that appear regularly in my reference lists include Henry Jenkins, Mimi Ito, Danah Boyd, John Seely Brown, Doug Johnson, Howard Rheingold, Christine Greenhow, Mike Ribble, Helen Haste, Will Richardson, Selen Turkay and James Paul Gee.

The challenge these thought provokers pose to those of us teaching in schools is:

How can we embed opportunities for participation into our programmes, 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 we complete the course and engage in the colloquiums on offer, it is my goal 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.

A useful guide for this reflective investigation is the 2016 standards for students recently produced by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  I have used this publication to develop goals for enhancing my professional practice during and beyond the studies undertaken in INF537: Digital Futures Colloquium.

Learning goals for digital futures

References

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

International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). THE 2016 ISTE standards for students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students-2016

INF541 Reflection – Assessment 5 – Part B

Game based learning

As a Teacher-Librarian, the delivery of school library services, classroom pedagogy and the impact of technology on learners and learning, has been a key focus of my practice. To this end, INF541 Game based learning has been both relevant and professionally interesting.  In my first blog post for this subject, I wrote that I was interested in being immersed in game based learning:

  • for professional growth;
  • to explore the research on why educators believe it is necessary to incorporate games, game design and programming into contemporary education and investigate how they are going about doing this;
  • to spend time playing games;
  • in order to better understand and prepare students for work, study and life in modern society, by learning if and how games can build critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity; and
  • to mentor, resource and support colleagues to experiment with GBL in their own classrooms.

The course work for Game based learning has provided many opportunities in these areas and significantly broadened my thinking about future directions at our school.

Professional growth

Professional growth has certainly been an outcome of completing Game based learning.  The environments we were encouraged to participate in, the resources and readings provided and the assessment items all extended my knowledge and have begun to inform my practice as a teacher-librarian.  In particular, the reflective blogging and collaboration in Twitter have been a fruitful process for me.  I found this kept me on track with the work load of the coarse, encouraged me to think deeply about topics and connecting to the blogs of other students provided insights that have informed and resonated with my own practice.

Exploring the research

One of the opportunities afforded through the course was to read a wide range of literature throughout the modules. In particular, exploring this research highlighted that digital games have the potential to enhance learning, yet adding them to the curriculum in formal settings is no simple matter.  On this point, educators interested in games for learning need to consider the games available, classroom and game pedagogy, frameworks for adoption, teacher training, and implementation strategies. It is also essential to consider the need for sound pedagogical practice when using games to teach.  While some authors, such as Gee, believe that good games incorporate good learning and identifying the learning inherent in games is of prime importance (2005, p.34), an alternative view is that successful game based learning requires a lot more of a teacher than finding a good game.  A valuable point is that teachers seek the sweet spot between game design and educational process for the effective adoption of games for learning (Arnab et al., 2012, p.162).  Consequently, teachers interested in games for learning need to be aware that planning this type of learning is a challenging and demanding prospect. Taking these points into consideration will be enormously important for my leadership in school library services as I contemplate how to include games in our school library collection, propose the establishment of a gaming space in the school library and support classroom teachers to include game-based learning into their curriculum.

The course work for Games based learning has also informed my library practice.  As a teacher-librarian, information literacy is a primary focus of my work. I decided to focus my compendium chapter on researching why school libraries should be motivated to use and promote game based learning. This work has provided some very practical ways that our school library can move towards becoming a space and a service that offers opportunities into the participatory cultures of digital games.

Spend time playing games

INF541 challenged participants to develop a questing disposition and identify and evaluate a range of games and game environments through direct experience and immersion.  In an early blog post, I revealed that “my use of game-based learning and understanding of the potential of games for learning is quite limited.  Just as Griffith University professor of education Dr Catherine Beavis identified that schools still have a way to go before they can harness the full educational potential of video games (Jennings, 2012), so too do I”.  Further blog posts document the games I experimented with during my learning journey in this subject.  In the post titled Playing around, six of these games are discussed.  These were a mixture of games produced for educational and entertainment purposes.  Later, as part of the research for the compendium chapter, I became curious to play a game called Portal to explore the claims that it could build information seeking skills.  My experience is documented in the blog post titled A Gen X and Millennial conversation about Portal.

As the subject draws to a close, the challenges and opportunities afforded have been many and have already started to impact my working life. In particular, I believe these understandings need to be translated to practice so that digital games will improve the opportunities of the students we work with.  I have not only had the privilege to read about digital games for learning but have also experienced the possibilities of learning through games and look forward to extending this to students so they are better equipped to solve problems creatively in a future that will require it.

References

Arnab, S.,Berta, R., Earp, J., De Freitas, S., Popescu, M., Romero, M., Stanescu, I., & Usart, M. (2012). Framing the adoption of serious games in formal education. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 10(2),159 – 171. Retrieved from http://interact.csu.edu.au/sakai-msi-tool/content/bbv.html?subjectView=true&siteId=INF541_201630_W_D

Gee, J. P. (2014). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Second Edition . [Electronic version]. New York: St Martin’s Press.

Jennings, J. (2014, November 30). Teachers re-evaluate value of video games. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved March 7, 2016, from http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/teachers-reevaluate-value-of-video-games-20141110-11jw0i

 

 

 

 

 

A Gen X and Millennial conversation about Portal

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During research on games and their ability to impact information literacy, I came across an article that discussed the potential of Portal by Valve to do just do that.  As part of the course work for #INF541 at CSU, I had also challenged myself to experiment with game play as I have little personal experience in these environments.  And so, I purchased the game.

After half an hour of trying to figure out what to do next, I finally entered the game world.

My reading had told me that the goal of the game was to move through portals into different rooms and that each movement represented a puzzle that I had to figure out through trial-and-error.  I had even come across a ‘cheat’ saying that the first solution involved moving a cube onto a button to open the Portal.  I thought “I’m going to nail this”.

After another half an hour, I finally figured out how to go forward, backwards and left to right but where was the cube? I just seemed to keep running into walls – was there even anything in this room?

My next move was to call my fifteen-year-old son to come and help me.  He was disgusted – “Mum, look around you?”

Ha? What? I can look around?

My son then proceeded to tell me that I just don’t have a 2D brain.

TRUE

Next, he told me that the game is just about solving puzzles.  This is exactly what the literature had also stated so I spent another hour in the game and did eventually manage to find a cube and open a portal.  However, I am sad to say I never did solve another puzzle.  To be honest, I am still trying to understand how the game is a puzzle.  It is completely unlike any other puzzle I have ever completed.

Clearly, I have a long way to go ……

However, what the experience did reinforce is the idea that playing digital games does necessitate the following skills and dispositions:

Skills

problem solving

active discovery

intuitive knowledge

Dispositions

perseverance

determination

curiosity

trial-and-error

Digital games and literacy

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In Australia, the contemporary digital landscape has impacted educational systems.  According to Carrington, students today are surrounded by ever-evolving digital technologies and practices (as cited in O’Connell, 2014, para.2).  Consequently, the curriculum must now be “built on a view of literacy that encompasses but extends beyond traditional print and oral forms to include digital [and] multimodal forms” of information (Beavis and Apperley, 2012, p.12).

Digital games are one form of media that have been introduced to classrooms as learning tools (Van Eck, 2006, p.16).  Because of this, Beavis, O’Mara, and McNeice suggest we need to investigate how digital games function as new forms of text and literacy (2012, p.4).  Unlike traditional literacy which is largely inactive, games require a combination of understanding text, images, and sound as well as physical activity.  To understand the literacy of digital games, Beavis and Apperley maintain that we need a model that considers games as both action and text (2012, p.13).  to this end, Galloway states that “while games’ meanings are negotiated and produced in the interaction between text and reader, as is the case with any text, it is important to understand how the are enacted and instantiated through action (as cited in Beavis and Apperley 2012, p.14).

In conclusion, digital games have expanded our definition of literacy to incorporate physical interactions.  It will be interesting to observe how other emerging technologies that integrate sensory and immersive experiences and augmented reality further alter future definitions of literacy.

References

Beavis, C., & Apperley, T. (2012). A model for games and literacy. In C. Beavis, J. O’mara, & L. McNeice (Ed.). Digital games: Literacy in action (12- 23.). Kent Town: Wakefield Press.

Beavis, C.,O’Mara, J., & McNeice, L. (2012). Literacy learning and computer games: A curriculum challenge for our times . In C. Beavis, J. O’Mara, & L. McNeice (Ed.). Digital Games: Literacy in action (3- 11.). Kent Town: Wakefield Press.

O’Connell, J. (2014). Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age: INF530 Module 1 [Electronic material]. Retrieved from http://digital.csu.edu.au/groups/inf530-concepts-practices-for-a-digital-age/

Van Eck, R.(2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who arerestless. Educause review, 41(2),16 – 30. Retrieved fromhttp://er.educause.edu/articles/2006/1/digital-gamebased-learning-its-not-just-the-digital-natives-who-are-restless

 

Playing Around

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As a student of INF541, I have been encouraged to explore games in order to understand the dynamics, features, appeal and the educational value they may offer to modern curriculums and pedagogy.  Prior to undertaking this subject, I had very little experience with digital games and so have been purposefully playing around in order to expand my knowledge of these environments.  Here are a few I have tried out:

Proof

This game is downloaded as an App and requires the participant to set a self-identified challenge and then to invite others to compete to achieve the goals or join a pre-existing challenge.  This can be used for anything including changing a habit, a fitness challenge, setting study goals or saving money.  Categories of existing challenges that a participant can join include health, relationships, career, creativity, finances, lifestyle, spirituality and just for fun.  This game counts on the motivation of competing against others to reach the top of a leaderboard.  This is much like the current trend of wearing a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit.

Quandary

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Quandary is an ethical decision-making game that sets a context where players lead a new human colony on a distant planet.  The establishment of the colony requires the player to make difficult decisions that do not have a clear right or wrong answer.  The developers of the game, claim that it develops skills such as “critical thinking, perspective-taking, and decision-making”.  This game is quite text heavy and although I quite enjoyed playing it, when I trialed it with a focus group of year eight students, they expressed mixed reactions to the game.

Freerice

Freerice is a game that provides learning with social activism.  The game allows participants to choose a subject that interests them and then answer multiple-choice, content knowledge questions on that topic.  Subject include English, Humanities, Maths, Chemistry, Language Learning, Geography, and Sciences.  For each correct answer, the participant earns 20 grains of rice that will be donated to feed the hungry.  Freerice is a non-profit website that is owned by the United Nations World Food Program who claim that they have goals: “to provide free education and to help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free”.  This game and the resultant food donation is made possible through sponsors who pay to advertise on the site.  In terms of fun, this game is really drill-and-practice quizzes and can become quite repetitive.  It receives a positive rating from Common Sense Media who rate media based on both age appropriateness and  learning potential.

Spent

Spent invites players to experience what it might be like to have to survive living on the poverty line.  Players are given $1000 to live on for one month.  The game throws a number of difficult challenges at the player and asks them to choose from two, often equally unappealing options, for example, Do you hope your sick daughter gets better on her own or risk your job by leaving early to take her to the doctor?  Developers aim to raise a player’s’ awareness of how quickly changes in employment, housing, medical costs and other expenses can have disastrous consequences.

Rocket League for Xbox

I was encouraged to play this game “just for fun” by my fifteen-year-old son.  Rocket League is a physics-based multiplayer-focused soccer game played by high-flying vehicles.  Sound ridiculous? It is – it is but also ridiculously fun!  As a novice gamer, I found it quite difficult to get the hang of steering and scoring goals but it was addictive and I couldn’t stop laughing (and maybe swearing a little) the whole time I was playing.  While the motivation to keep playing is a strength due to the design feature of challenge and mastery, I would have to use my imagine to see how this game would meet learning the goals of any traditional curriculums.

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Trivia Crack

Like Rocket League, I tried Trivia Crack just for fun.  When I was having a look at what games are popular, this one kept coming up in reviews.  It is really a basic trivia game modelled on Trivial Pursuit that allows a player to play against known and unknown opponents to obtain six characters.  Trivia Crack receives a positive rating from Common Sense Media who state that “answering trivia questions, on the whole, can be a fun way to test yourself and maybe learn something too, but when you make it competitive, it raises the stakes and makes it a lot more fun”.

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