Based on the readings this week, this post will briefly tease out some of my thoughts regarding networked peer learning (NPL).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Thomas and Brown’s (2011) ‘new culture of learning’ reflects “a growing digital and networked infrastructure [that] is amplifying our ability to access and use nearly unlimited resources and incredible instruments while connecting to one another at the same time”(p. 17-18, 2011). They highlight “play, questioning and imagination” (p. 19) as the base of this approach to learning.
This culture of learning is something that’s resonated with me and reflecting back to recent years, has encapsulated some of my evolution as an educator. I’ve been able to take my learning online and grow and connect with other educators by sharing resources, opinions and classroom experience. Questioning has been the driving force behind this journey of professional improvement and it’s been successful as a result of exploration or ‘play’ on networked environments.
Thomas and Brown (2011) posits: “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). Herein lies the difficulty when attempting to change school culture to enable a focus on modern education. Many educators are not yet ready to make that shift despite the technological change that’s already happened. Without this acceptance, many will continue to use the ‘old culture of learning.’
The internet and the world wide web have stimulated the creation of new models of information productions. The De Saulles (2012) ‘New models of information production’ article highlights both evolutionary and revolutionary changes to blogs, wikis and collaborative publishing, social networks, search engines, podcasting, as well as the data that’s generated as a result of these practices.
One defining characteristic of the internet is the ease of access and the growing connectivity that the world’s 3.4 billion internet users are experiencing (Kemp, 2016, p. 7). As a result, the models of information production have continued to develop and challenge industries that refuse resist change. This resistance to change was best exemplified in the De Saulles (2012) article whereby Encyclopedia Britannica didn’t use this new medium and as a result, was overtaken by Wikipedia.
Given the profound shift in the models of information production, there are undoubtedly challenges that educators and/or information professionals face. Among which is the need for leadership to embrace these models, on going professional development for teachers as well as measures to ensure a shrinking of the digital divide.
De Saulles, M. (2012). Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and
consumption. Facet Publishing.
Kemp, S. (2016). Digital in 2016 [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from
This subject has been an opportunity to focus on an area that has been the elephant in the room for many educators. With the pressures of today’s classroom, upskilling in matters of privacy, copyright, cyber safety, etiquette and device management is the thing that people intend to learn about that ends up being disregarded.
With that in mind, it’s been great to have the chance to develop a more thorough understanding of broader concepts within digital citizenship. After all, it “encompasses many aspects of life with technology and cannot be limited to a definition that includes the word computer” (Lindsay & Davis, p. 99).
Lindsay and Davis’ (2012) ‘Enlightened Cultural Model’ visually highlights all the digital citizenship issues that are raised when working online.
Lindsay and Davis’(2012) ‘Enlightened Cultural Model’
Permeated by the ‘rays of understanding,’ the ‘areas of awareness’ explore micro (individual) and macro (social, cultural and global) factors that result from technology access.
To be completely honest, I haven’t contributed to the subject with blog posts or discussion within the subject forums. Instead, the reflections that I’ve have continued to shape the way I’ve conducted myself within my new leadership role (Curriculum leader), in the classroom as well as my online presence.
The inappropriate use of copyright materials is rife with teachers. We even have our own saying “don’t reinvent the wheel” which often justifies the stealing of digital content without acknowledging sources. I’ve made a concerted effort to showcase the appropriate use of creative commons licencing which has enabled staff to see a tangible way of operating within the rules. This is a choice that I’ve individually made yet has a social impact on the staff I interact with.
One of the challenges faced in my new role is justifying the shift to 21st-century approaches to staff that are reluctant to change their technological/pedagogical approach.Exemplifying this is the need to cultivate a professional learning network. My staff need to see the power behind networked learning. Steve Wheeler identifies the ability to “connect with others, and create a professional network” as skillset of the 21st-century employee. This semester I’ve tried to model this by reaching out to a global audience through the use of Twitter in an attempt to demonstrate value by posing questions to generate data and resources in addition to strengthening connections. I’ve encouraged our staff to seek out other participation spaces (McIntosh, 2010) that meet similar objectives (ex. Pinterest and Google+) to provide alternatives to Twitter.
Students need teachers to create tasks that enable them to become digitally fluent. Forcing them to think in that environment helps them hone their skills in digital literacy, collaboration, research and critical thinking (Stripling, 2010).
Both assessments have created powerful new learning experiences that forced me to grow. The first assessment task allowed me to work in a global collaborative space for the first time. Our team was even global in nature! We had an Australian, a Kiwi, an Australian hailing from South Africa, and a Canadian (that’s me)! I was unfamiliar with the use of wikis and it definitely challenged us collectively to work in that space. In order to do so, we also used Google docs as well as Hangouts for robust collaborative discussion that helped us achieve our desired outcome. In terms of content, the topic of ‘Social Media and Networking’ allowed me to explore how one sculpts a positive digital identity. This helped me launch my very own website where I’m planning to continue my adventures as a global educator.
I really enjoyed the second assessment as it was an authentic task that allowed me to apply my learning within my current context. The data that I was researching and receiving was current and it feels as though my recommendations (when shared to leadership) will be taken on board.
Half of my learning in this subject area can be directly attributed the articles curated and shared via social media. My co-learners active on Twitter have been amazing in this regard. In particular, Jacques du Toit and Matt Ives have filled my notifications up with pertinent readings that extend our knowledge and are then used in our frequent Google Hangouts discussions. Recently, we endeavoured to involve all connected educators within the subject for a cumulative Twitter chat regarding digital citizenship. Jacques was kind enough to make a storify of the event.
As technology continues to become more ubiquitous, greater lengths need to be taken to ensure that digital citizenship is embedded in learning in a way that makes it rich, real and relevant.
This post examines the Simmons and Hawking (2009) reading ‘Planning to Teach an ICT Lesson’ and discusses some of its key/interesting points. There was lots more to this reading so make sure you do it!
“Taking the time to establish our learning objectives provides a powerful way of focusing our attention on learning rather than activities” (p.57)
Definitely an important part of the lesson. This allows students to get an idea of where you are headed and what is expected. Hattie (2012) also contends that this will benefit students by enabling them to better monitor their progress (p.67).
Checking for understanding is also important throughout the lesson. Don’t assume that students have met all the learning objectives within the lesson (Simmons & Hawking , 2009, p. 64).
Polling the students using a quick Google form, Socrative exit ticket, or simple show of hands helps you subgroup a class into flexible learning ability groups.
“Where the balance is towards ‘teaching time’ children are often entertained and their teacher feels like they are teaching their socks off, but actually there is only limited learning taking place” (p.75)
This is definitely one of the things that rang true for me throughout this reading. In my early teaching years, I tended to spend more time in almost lecture/board notes mode while commanding every student in the room to give me their undivided attention. I didn’t think about having the students move around. I didn’t think about the fact that their previous class had a 40-minute lecture, I didn’t think about the different types of learners. in my current school, we have seventy-five minute lessons. I try to get at least 3-4 different types of activities going throughout this time as an attempt to engage all learners.
“Whenever you set an activity tell pupils how long they have and regularly remind them how long they have left” (p.76)
Students will use every drop of time that you give them. I normally think of the most realistic time you’d need to complete the activity then subtract 3-5 minutes. The trick is that you can always add more time…
“Where a class typically arrive with low energy levels you could engage them in a quick mental warm up activity before beginning” (p.77).
Starter activities are great for captivating attention, getting students motivated and energised about what will happen next.
Simmons & Hawking’s seem to cast worksheets in a positive light. They argue that they are a way to save the teacher’s voice, creates a calmer atmosphere and provides an opportunity for differentiated self paced learning” (p. 80).
I do not share their enthusiasm. Students should be engaged and motivated by the work they’re doing. I can’t remember where I heard or read this idea, but I can’t remember one single worksheet that I’ve ever completed in my primary or secondary career. That’s interesting… I think teachers should be focused on creating STAR moments. That is, Something They’ll Always Remember.
“Finish the main activity with plenty of time for the plenary” (p. 81).
This is a great time to get feedback on your students’ learning. Exit tickets are the new black. Use them to gain knowledge of your students understanding and your teaching. Ask your students. Check out some other ideas here: http://goo.gl/XWNJ3H
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. London: Routledge.