October 2016 archive

Evaluative Report

 

EVALUATIVE REPORT

 

Introduction

 

Harking back to my undergraduate degree (History at the University of Ottawa), I can see myself spending hours in the library, isolated with only my stack of books and dusty microfiche to keep me company. Although twelve years ago, it makes for a clear juxtaposition to my current study: INF532 Knowledge Networking for Educations.

 

The following evaluative and reflective statements will make up a report that will document my journey to becoming a more connected educator.

 

Part A: Evaluative Statement:

 

I am able to build on knowledge networking to strengthen school-based classroom engagement and learning through intentional and reflective online instructional design;

 

The ubiquity of devices and access to knowledge has enabled a shift to a more participatory culture (Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton, & Robison, 2008). As educators, it’s no longer an option to be connected (Couros, 2011), we must participate by building knowledge through online collaboration, curation, creation, and communication. Furthermore, it’s the educational leaders’ responsibility to “demonstrate and model collaborative practices to support pedagogical change” (Lindsay, 2016, slide 49).  From its onset, this subject has demonstrated the importance of becoming a networked learner (Rheingold & Weeks, 2012; Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011).

It’s only been through “living the story” (Lindsay & Davis, 2012, p. 102) that I’ve continued to grow as a connected educator. Often when faced with difficult questions, I turn to my Personal Learning Network (PLN) as a means of getting quality information back.

 

 

This prompted several retweets which pushed the original message further and as a result, I was directed to this superb resource from the New Zealand government. This reflects Lindsay’s (2016) sentiment: “in a flat learning environment it’s who you know not what you know” (slide 54). The use of my PLN enabled me to strengthen my school’s direction in terms of a strategic plan and by doing so enrich the learning of both staff and students.  

I recently blogged about an experience where I participated in an online presentation where some passionate secondary students were raising awareness and funds for a social justice cause. Not only did I establish connections which has resulted in these students now intending to interact with my own class, but also, by using this approach paired with the Fuze platform, I brought the idea of going global to our own social justice fund raising projects (Grant, 2016a, para. 4). Here, the use of my PLN can be seen helping me generate potential engagement as well as provide ideas on the design of future learning opportunities.  

 

I can use a suite of new media tools for information management, content creation, content curation, collaborative work, and connecting social networks and communities of practice within and beyond the school. I can design, develop and deploy products, tools or strategies that show an understanding of education informatics;

 

Information is growing at a rapid rate and as a result, there’s been a shift to an era of information abundance (De Saulles, 2012, p. 15). Pegrum (2010) hones in on one aspect of this and identifies that “navigating overlapping personal, social and professional networks – all linked together technologically by the internet – requires a level of network literacy which is not as widespread as is often assumed”(p. 347). My digital artefact sought to upskill students in networked literacy and help them transform into connected learners. Through it, I was able to showcase my growing ability to incorporate new media tools. I created the YouTube video “The What and Why of Connected Learning,” utilised Padlet and Google Docs to foster collaboration skills, curated pertinent resources for participants and created the website using Google Sites. Of the design considerations, I wanted to ensure that the participants were active learners. This was also reflected in the media tools and curated resources selected as it was important that students became actively involved in the learning process (Bonwell and Eison, 1991, p.2).

I also thought it was important for me to try out an abridged version of my artefact. As the resource was directed towards senior secondary students (mine currently getting ready to sit their VCE exams), I decided to target my Year Nine English class and get them blogging. My post, ‘Little Wins’ outlines this ongoing learning journey with them. Highlighted in my post on “NetworkPeer Learning” was Wenger, McDermott’s and Snyder’s (2010) seven principles for cultivating communities of practice. Right now, I’m building their confidence and developing a shared community space where they can interact and develop skill before venturing into a more public realm (p. 58). In addition, I believe this group needs to see the value of blogging as otherwise “members would be reluctant to participate” (Grant, 2016b). The use of these blogs will enable them to create content, build a community of practice and lead to exploring learning experiences outside of school.   

 

I can utilise a personal learning network to enhance professional growth, personal knowledge management and collective intelligence practices.

 

This subject has allowed me to showcase much of what Nassbaum-Beach and Hall (2012) define a connected learner;  “learners who collaborate online; learners who use social media to connect with others around the globe; learners who engage in conversations in safe online spaces; learners who bring what they learn online back to their classrooms, schools and districts” (p. 3-4).

By publishing my digital artefact online, I was able to receive feedback from a global range of people that caused me the reflect upon and improve on my product.

 

 

 

 

 

This discussion definitely helped me grow.

Contributing is also instrumental when becoming a connected educator. Throughout this subject I have contributed others learning by providing feedback on artefact, and sharing resources and opinions. The following tweets highlight some of my contributions that build collective intelligence.

 

 

 

 

When reflecting on his own PLN, Eric Sheninger accurately articulates my sentiment “The resources, ideas, strategies, different points of view, support, and feedback that I received from people across the globe… pushed me to pursue transformative change” (2016, para. 3). By having access to these online networks my knowledge and professional practice improves.

 

Part B: Reflective Statement:

#INF523

My digital artifact notes: “Remember. People don’t normally develop effective networks overnight. This will be a timely process that requires continual work” (Grant, 2016c). For me, this statement also rings true in regards to how your PLN is in a continuous state of development. Newer nodes are frequently being added and then strengthened while others fade and become less important. This subject was a chance to continue the process of building connections, maintaining connections and activating connections (Rajagopal, Joosten-ten Brinke, Van Bruggen & Sloep, 2011, para. 7). As a result of this process of building, maintaining and activating, I’ve taken part in robust discussions and expanded my knowledge as well as my network. The example below is a small snapshot of what was previously discussed.  

 

This course challenged me to express my voice in a form that I’ve never been comfortable with; the blog. As one of the tools of the connected educator, it’s important that I look to build on my blogging skills. As the course has progressed, I felt that my blogs have gotten a lot better and they’re moving in the direction of what Will Richardson (n.d.) defines as ‘real blogging’ where it “links with analysis and synthesis that articulates a deeper understanding or relationship to the content being linked and written with potential audience response in mind” (para. 11). My blogs “Little Wins” and “Sunday Morning MOOC” best exemplify this. These blogs as well as the others, mark a portion of my contribution to the subject and the wider body of educational work that exists online. As students contributing to this knowledge network, we are “rewarded with potentially rich opportunities for student learning, connections to individual knowledge and expertise, and tremendous insight into emerging areas of research” (Couros, 2010, p. 127). This process has continued to develop me into a more connected educator.

 

My School

Being a connected leader allows me to be informed about the latest trends in education. This provides me with the opportunity to encourage growth within my staff. Recently, this manifests in the ‘Tekkie Brekkie’ initiative that I’ve been leading at my school. This is a bi-weekly meet up where staff come together and share ideas involving education technology. Godin (2008) explores the idea of the importance of empowering ‘tribes’ to communicate (p. 20). Through this increased communication, colleagues are being exposed to tools that can be implemented within their classrooms and thereby potentially improve their professional practice. In the future, I’ll continue to draw from sources such as Willemse & Freedman (2013) to stimulate this discussion.   

In a recent interview for a leadership position within my school, I was asked  “what are your strengths as a leader?”.

Of the qualities that I stammered off, I made a point to say that I was a ‘connected educator’.

“What’s that?” asked a deputy principal from another school…

Within our INF532 bubble; an extension of MEd (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) and a further extension from my own PLN composed of educators that clearly place some value on connected education… it’s sometimes easy to forget how so many of our colleagues have yet to take advantage of connected learning principles. Within this role, I’d like to continue to empower teachers within my school community to become more connected.

As a starting point, I’ve recently explored the resource ‘The Connected 10 Educator Challenge’ and believe it could “jumpstart teachers on their journey to becoming connected”(Grant, 2016d).

 

Beyond:

As you can see, my journey to becoming a connected educator began in 2009 when my principal at the time introduced me to Twitter. Immediately, I was amazed at not only the amount of educators that were on the platform but the amount of resource sharing that was happening.

Since then, I’ve been expanding my PLN and looking for ways to have meaningful conversations about education. In 2014, I was selected to be part of the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney. This was a profound experience for me as it put me in a room with like minded educators and allowed us to form a new network of ambassadors for change. Reflecting back, it was this event that helped me develop as a connected leader.

Over the last two years, I’ve contributed as a connected leader by presenting at the Google Apps for Education Summits in both New Zealand and Australia and at state and national level history conferences.
Conclusion

My final reflection for this subject is that a connected learner/leaders’ work is never done. While my undergraduate studies reflected a learner that was completing assessments then moving onto the next topic, a connected learner is constantly consuming and producing (Couros, 2010) and invested in the content. Their links to resources and people remain as long as they are maintaining the connections.

Thomas and Brown (2011) ask “what happens to learning when we move from the stable infrastructure of the twentieth century to the fluid infrastructure of the twenty-first century, where technology is constantly creating and responding to change” (p. 17). The answer is #INF532 and CSU’s MEd (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation).

 

REFERENCES

Bonwell, C.; Eison, J. (1991). Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom AEHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, D.C.: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 1-878380-08-7. I Retreived from  http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED336049.pdf

Couros, A. (2010). Developing personal learning networks for open and social learning. Emerging Technologies in Distance Education, 109–128. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120177/ebook/06_Veletsianos_2010-Emerging_Technologies_in_Distance_Education.pdf

Couros, G. (2011, July 10). This is not optional anymore… [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/2107

De Saulles, M. (2012). Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption. Facet Publishing

Godin, S. (2008). Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us [Kindle Edition]. London, UK: Piatkus

Grant, J. (2016a). Going Deeper [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/iteachilearn/2016/10/02/going-deeper/

Grant, J. (2016b). Network Peer Learning [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/iteachilearn/2016/10/03/network-peer-learning/

Grant, J. (2016c). Get Connected. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/gogetconnected/

Grant, J. (2016d). Artefact Review [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/iteachilearn/2016/10/10/artefact-review/

Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Mit Press Retrieved from https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/titles/free_download/9780262513623_Confronting_the_Challenges.pdf

Lindsay, Julie. (2016, June 8). The Digital Imperative: Connect Learning With The World  [Slideshow]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/julielindsay/the-digital-imperative-connect-learning-with-the-world

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2012). Flattening classrooms, engaging minds: Move to global collaboration one step at a time. New York: Allyn and Bacon

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press

Pegrum, M. (2010). “I Link, Therefore I Am”: Network Literacy as a Core Digital Literacy. E-Learning and Digital Media, 7(4), 346–354. https://doi.org/10.2304/elea.2010.7.4.346

Rajagopal, K., Joosten-ten Brinke, D., Van Bruggen, J., & Sloep, P. B. (2011). Understanding personal learning networks: Their structure, content and the networking skills needed to optimally use them. First Monday, 17(1). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3559/3131

Rheingold, H., & Weeks, A. (2012). Participation power. In Net smart: How to thrive online (pp. 111-145). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Introduction: The power of networked learning. In Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Richardson, W. (n.d.). Will Richardson’s Wiki – Connective Writing. Retrieved from https://weblogged.wikispaces.com/Connective+Writing

Sheninger, E. (2016, October 2). A Principal’s Reflections: What’s Hidden in You? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://esheninger.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/whats-hidden-in-you.html

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Arc-of-life learning. In a new culture of learning : cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (pp. 17-33). Lexington, Ky. : CreateSpace

Wenger, E. McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2012). Seven principles for cultivating communities of practice. In Cultivating communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge (pp. 49-64). Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/wenger-e.pdf

Willemse, A., & Freedman, K. (2013). ANZ 23 mobile things [Blog Post]. Retrieved from http://anz23mobilethings.wordpress.com/the-23-things/

 

Artefact Review

As a teacher, there’s not much better than finding a resource that encompasses everything you’re after. Jacques du Toit’s digital artefact that aims to jumpstart teachers on their journey to becoming connected is one of those resources.

 

‘The Connected 10 Educator Challenge’ is separated into sections that explore digital tools that increase a teacher’s’ connectivity as well as firmly establish a connected mindset (du Toit, 2016, para. 1). They include:

 

  1. What is a connected educator?
  2. What is Twitter
  3. Getting started with Twitter
  4. Google+
  5. YouTube
  6. Podcasts
  7. Facebook
  8. LinkedIN
  9. TeachMeets
  10. Blogging

 

Seemingly influenced by Simon Sinek’s ‘Starting With the Why’, Jaques first resource makes a strong case for connected learning by embedding high-quality YouTube videos and linking to articles and blogs that convincingly provide the call to arms that some educators may need when initially investigating a topic.

 

Jacques’ use of active learning principles ensures his learners aren’t bored or consumed by the information. They get to explore, create and play. Another strong design choice was his inclusion of a clear summative checklist after each section. This allows teachers to accurately monitor their progress verse the ‘Challenge Checklist’.’

 

The scope of this resource is really impressive. Each of the ten sections are composed of solid resources that empower teachers to become connected.
While structurally the web page is a little long when scrolling through, this design decision doesn’t detract from that usefulness of the site. I’ll be using it in the future.

Little Wins

I’ve been having a bit of a battle with my Year 9 English class about blogging. Almost a month ago (in our subject twitter chat), I shared with the group that: 

 

 

 

Their argument centred on the fact that it was “their” work it should be up to them if that was shared. Julie noted: 

 

That’s a tough argument  to make to an emotional teenager.

Nowadays, the reality of our online lives is that we’re not 100% in control of what is said or posted about us and I think that’s what Julie was referring to in the stirring tweet above. 

Darren Kay and I expressed similar views in regard to Julie’s comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

So now to get you caught up. Keep in mind that we’ve had holidays so we’re not too far down the track!!!! 

After getting students to fill out a Google form to collate their blog addresses, I asked them if I could share their blogs with the class. As expected, there were a handful of students that needed a bit of extra motivation to share their work with their classmates but after a bit of convincing, I managed to get 95% on board.

Of the concerns raised, some new ones appeared… “My work isn’t up to scratch,” “why would someone want to read what I think,” or “I’m a terrible writer.”   

I think this is normal. The journey to becoming a connected learner happens at different paces for different students. I’ll continue to build trust and confidence, and the students will respond. Another member of my PLN had a similar experience  

 

 

I’ll keep you posted on more little wins. 

Sunday Morning MOOC

Sunday mornings generally mean an early rise with my young kids, a cooked breakfast, a bottomless cup of some fine percolated coffee, and trawling my Twitter feed to catch up on the ‘likes’ that I didn’t have time to read throughout the week.

A couple weeks ago, I added a new thing to my Sunday morning ritual. Tuning into George Couros and Katie Martin lead the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC or #IMMOC weekly Hangout. Thus far they’ve had some really interesting discussions and a solid lineup of special guests. Last week, Kaleb Rashad really struck a chord when he talked about the importance and power of human centred design in education. Feel free to check it out here.   

Our post material for module 4.2 asked “how would you establish a knowledge network?” Before I respond to that, I began thinking about how Couros created such a following for his network? I suppose fairly easily (if you don’t include writing the book)…  As he’s a prolific blogger and sharer over social media; with a firmly established PLN, the organisation of his Innovator’s Mindset network might not be as difficult.

So what about your average connected educator? Would their process be much different?

Thoughts about the platform would need to be considered. What’s best for sharing ideas? Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder’s (2002) seven principles for cultivating communities of practice also comes to mind and is also something that should be considered. In particular, the first principle, design for evolution. While Couros’ hashtag provides a searchable backchannel for those interested in monitoring the discussion, I really like how he’s chosen to have participants upload brief YouTube reflections. This reflects the design for evolution principle whereby they “combine design elements in a way that catalyzes community development”(p. 53).

But I digress… Couros isn’t your average educator.

If I was to have an active role in creating an education-based knowledge network, I’d promote using Twitter, tagging people within my PLN that I’d think would value participating in it. This would expand to experts within the field, hoping they may retweet the post in order for the network to gain traction.   

References

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Seven principles for cultivating communities of practice. In Cultivating communities of practice : a guide to managing knowledge (pp. 49-64). Boston : Harvard Business School Press.

Digital Artefact

Even though I posted my artefact in the discussion forum, I thought I’d better post it here.

It targets senior secondary students.

Website: Get Connected

I also created this video that’s embedded within the site.

 

I’d love to hear your feedback.

Network Peer Learning

Based on the readings this week, this post will briefly tease out some of my thoughts regarding networked peer learning (NPL).
network-literacy

Wenger, McDermott’s and Snyder’s Seven principles for cultivating communities of practice as they address core concepts with NPL. Of the seven, I feel the focus on value as vital. Without this meeting its goal, members would be reluctant to participate.

 

Prensky’s guidelines for students and teachers provides an important checklist in the establishment of a NPL environment. With regard to his suggestions for teachers, I may have added ensuring you’re using the right platform. Corneli, Danoff, Pierce, Ricuarte, Snow MacDonald also emphasise this with their discussion of Co-Learning Platforms.

References

 

Corneli, J., Danoff, C.J., Pierce, C., Ricuarte, P., and Snow MacDonald, L., (eds.) (2016). The peeragogy handbook. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL./Somerville, MA.: PubDomEd/Pierce Press. Retrieved from http://peeragogy.org.

Prensky, M. (2010). Partnering : a pedagogy for the new educational landscape. In Teaching digital natives : partnering for real learning (pp. 9-30). Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Corwin Press.

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Seven principles for cultivating communities of practice. In Cultivating communities of practice : a guide to managing knowledge (pp. 49-64). Boston : Harvard Business School Press.

 

Network Literacy

As one would assume, the notion of network literacy has evolved since the conception of the internet.

An early perspective, McClure (1994) defines it as “the ability to identify, access, and use electronic information from the network” (p. 115).

Pegrum’s (2010) definition incorporates much of what McClure had mentioned in terms of the identification and access to information but builds upon the knowledge of the innovation of social media networks.  He notes that individuals access “networks of expertise – identifying, and following or friending, appropriate individuals and groups – to gain access to informed perspectives and specialized information” (p. 348)

Rheingold (2011) expands upon this and explains that “the structure and dynamics of networks influences political freedom, economic wealth creation, and participation in the creation of culture… [and] supports the freedom of network users to innovate.” Here, Rheingold correctly identifies the far-reaching effects of networks.

All agree on its importance as current and future skill.

Like McClure, Pegrum and Rheingold, I believe that network literacy is skill that needs to be addressed. Learners need experience navigating these environments in order to see how fruitful these connections can be.

 

McClure, C. R. (1994). Network literacy: A role for libraries? Information Technology and Libraries, 13(2), 115-125.

Pegrum, M. (2010). “I Link, Therefore I Am”: Network Literacy as a Core Digital Literacy. E-Learning and Digital Media, 7(4), 346–354. https://doi.org/10.2304/elea.2010.7.4.346

Rheingold, H. (2011). Network Literacy Part One. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6UKWozzVRM

Going Deeper

 

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for the past two weeks but it’s seemed to escape me until now.

For some time, I’ve considered myself a ‘connected educator’. I share my education opinions on social media and I look to connect with and learn from others as a means of improving my professional practice.

Often, these ‘connections’ to different nodes in my network can seem impersonal. You get a resource here… read an article there… you like or + someone’s tweet or post. At the end of the day, a lot of this communication doesn’t feel as personal as it could or should.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have some time up my sleeve and happened to stumble upon a post from Julie asking for people to provide an authentic audience for some students. Without really thinking about it, I clicked on the link, expecting to be in a username on a list of hundreds watching some sort of live presentation. Imagine my surprise to find myself one of two people in a fuze meeting space with some very passionate students from Helensvale State High School. They skillfully presented a social justice initiative and took time to respond to my questions. The students then asked about what social justice issues students at my school were interested in or currently addressing and wanted to know if they could contact them to talk about their passions. How about that?…

Reflecting back, maybe I haven’t been as connected as I possibly could be. Could I be working harder to establishing stronger, more meaningful collaborations? Surely these learning opportunities and connections would provide greater learning avenues for my students.

My challenge now is to dig through the curriculum and see where it makes sense to collaborate with other groups and to strengthen the relationships that already exist within my PLN.
Oh and here’s the link to students’ GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/Projectsamoa

Exploring the Concept of a Connected Educator

This blog post will explore prompts from Nussbaum-Beach and Hall’s (2012) chapter ‘Defining the Connected Educator’

Have you moved beyond cooperation? What role is collaboration playing in your professional learning and practice? What’s new about collaboration for 21st Cent learners.

Nussbaum-Beach and Hall’s (2012) chapter ‘Defining the Connected Educator’ defines some of the characteristics of a connected educator. Of them, the pair highlight collaboration as a skill required by connected educations and argue that it goes beyond simple cooperation in that the contributions of individual members are valued more as they are irreplaceable on account of a unique skillset, knowledge or ability (p.12).  

 

Looking critically at the role of classroom teacher, it’s difficult to say how much of a shift towards Nussbaum-Beach and Hall’s version of collaboration has been made. Schools that value cross-curricular opportunities for their students would require this collaboration amongst staff whereas those that only utilise curriculum planning within domains would rely on cooperation.

 

In terms of my own professional practice, I feel that my professional learning network and further university study has strengthened the teams that I operate within. By developing a unique skillset within knowledge networking and digital innovation field, I feel that my contributions are harder to replace in my current work environment. This leads me to believe that much of how I interact within teams is collaborative.

 

As for twenty-first century learners, collaboration has been amplified on account of technology. It’s “transformed how people find each other, interact, and collaborate to create knowledge” (ibid, p. 13). Social media platforms and abundant web-based resources exemplify this.

 

Are you multiliterate? Of these literacies, which is the most surprising to you? Which do you find the least most challenging?

After taking the self-evaluation rubric for new literacies of the 21st Century, I’m happy to report that I’m officially multiliterate. My strongest section was ‘model digital age work and learning.’ I feel as though I can effectively contribute, collaborate and communicate in digital forms. I use every opportunity to explore and utilise digital tools that enhance student achievement.

At times it is difficult to utilise and implement the data collected to inform learning and teaching that further enables personalisation. Teaching is a profession that is generally time poor. Greater time release/allowance would enable more effective targeting of this outcome.   

 

References:

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.