Wrestling with Hurricane Digital Age – #INF530 Critical Reflection

For a few years now I have aspired to be a Digital Leader by ‘Wrestling with Hurricane Digital Age’ at a local school community level. The rapid change that comes with new and emerging digital technologies is obvious with every click on a Twitter link, each reading of a professional blog, or the latest email from an educational organization. Each provides something more to think about. It really is mind blowing how much change is taking place. Because it is impossible to keep up, the challenge for teachers and principals willing to wrestle with the change, has been to know what is important.

Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age, #INF530, has introduced me to the latest thinking about education and schooling and further equipped me for the ongoing, relentless and continuous ‘Wrestle with Hurricane Digital Age’. There is much information out there for teachers regarding the latest trends in education; however, #INF530 has:

–          affirmed my push for creativity in classrooms;

–          confirmed the need for students to develop their learning networks; and,

–          introduced me to connectivism, the learning theory for a Digital Age.

Creativity

The future of students lies in being able to communicate, share and use information to solve complex problems, in being able to adapt and innovate in response to new demands and changing circumstances (OECD 2006; Cisco Systems 2008; Partnerships for 21st Century Skills 2010). This will require students as adults to marshal and expand the power of technology to create new knowledge and expand human capacity and productivity (Binkley, Erstad et al. 2010).

It is pleasing this is recognised in Australia. As part of the implementation of the Australian Curriculum General Capability for Creative and Critical Thinking (ACARA 2010) students are required to explore and organise information to generate ideas and actions. #INF530 has confirmed that it is necessary for teachers to understand the creative learning process, which starts with student ideas and imagination which then leads to students ‘creating’, ‘making’ and ‘designing’ for their real world with the possibility of innovation being the end product.

Networked Learning

Mimi Ito’s Video – Connected Learning: Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime (2012) impressed me greatly. Her comment “anybody can help somebody else get better at something” means everybody has a part to play in the education of a learner, child or adult. It is now an essential skill for teachers as learners, and students as learners, to access expertise. This will require all learners to establish, develop and maintain learning networks and learning nodes that respond, update and regularly change .

Antero Garcia’s paper (2014) confirms youth expertise can be networked, amplified and accessed globally with new digital media tools. I see it as important that teachers, as facilitators of learning, harness this ever increasing opportunity for students to develop networks to assist them with their learning.

Connectivism

#INF530 formally introduced me to connectivism. Whilst I can identify the elements of connectivism, I now have a deeper understanding of it as a valid learning theory applicable to a Digital Age. The Learning Theory of Connectivism brings an academic rigour and substance to learning in a Digital Age. Connectivism literally “connects” and “joins the dots” of contemporary learning. I am obligated to introduce this to teachers within my school, teachers within my system and spread the theory among my global network. An academic approach striving for a scholarly understanding of the “Connectivism” as a Learning Theory, will bring credibility to the process of teachers and school leaders responding to the demands of a digital age.

Therefore, as an education professional in digital learning environments, I am obligated to

i)                    Maintain a commitment to the creative learning process;

ii)                  Encourage all learners to develop their learning networks; and,

iii)                Promote connectivism as a valid learning theory for a Digital Age.

Yes, it is challenging for teachers, principals and school systems to ‘wrestle with Hurricane Digital Age’; however, #INF530 has my ability to confront the challenge.

 

REFERENCES

ACARA (2010). “Australian Curriculum.” Retrieved 24 April 2014, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/Critical-and-creative-thinking.

Binkley, M., O. Erstad, et al. (2010). Draft White Paper 1 Defining 21st century skills; A report to the Learning and Technology World Forum 2010 in London as part of the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills project created by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. U. o. Melbourne. London.

Cisco Systems (2008). Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century: A White Paper.

Garcia, Antero, ed., 2014. Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.

Ito, M. (2012). “Connected Learning: Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime.” Retrieved 12 March 2014, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viHbdTC8a90.

OECD (2006). Think Scenarios, Rethink Education.

Partnerships for 21st Century Skills (2010). “Framework for 21st Century Learning.” from www.P21.org.