Reflections as/on/about…. the/am I a Connected Educator?

I am on the continuum of moving between co-operation towards collaboration as defined by Nussbaaum-Beach & Hall (2012). I have been on Twitter since 2011 and a regular blogger since 2012. There is no doubt regular engagement with these two tools has opened up a whole new world of learning for me. Most especially, when I blog I learn from my own reflections as well as the comments which come back my way. I am thankful to those who take the time to comment as they are engaging and active in building upon my knowledge and, together, we co-create a way forward for my dilemma whilst at the same time prompting their thinking about matters of learning in schools.

In saying that, collaboration still only plays a ‘support role’ to my main function as educational system leader. My learnings in that job are encountered through traditional approaches of meetings and the sharing of ‘paper based’ reflections. If I was truly collaborative, I would lead learning in a more ‘connected way’, more so than the static delivery of information. 21st century educators understand that connecting, collaborating and learning is essential to their job. More so, they understand the great leverage that technology brings to their ability to do so across the world.

In relation to the ‘Five Literacies’, I am relatively well placed. As a principal, I ‘facilitated and inspired learning and creativity’ by enabling new ways of learning which included a team based planning and delivery to open space learning for 150 students across a number of subjects in Year 7 & 8. Another example was the development and resourcing of a compressed approach to a HSC course which allowed students to sit the HSC exam one year early and thus free up more time for study in their final year by way of a 9 day fortnight.

I have not yet ‘developed digital-age learning experiences’ and therefore this is my literacy of most deficiency. I consider myself satisfactory in the area of ‘Model digital-age work and learning’ though my participation in the Masters of Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation at CSU. Furthermore, my regular use of Twitter and WordPress as ways of connecting with, and learning from, educators across the world serves me well in this area.

As principal, I communicated across a few electronic forums and encouraged others to use the school’s Social Media forums to communicate, promote and celebrate great learning. This was always supported with numerous reminders and options to engage with programs which advocated and taught safe and legal use of the digital information. Therefore, I am relatively well pleased with my commitment to ‘promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility’.

Personally, I am ‘engaged in professional growth and leadership’ by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. As a leader in a school setting, I regularly demonstrate a vision for learning which is supported by extensive use of digital technology.  I participate in global communities and regularly pass on that information to personnel in my local community as a way of connecting them to a global PLN. I could use more current research in my line of work to engage colleagues with the powers of learning that come with being a connected educator.

Through my actions as a connected educator, I have developed a vision for learning which is,

for students to become ‘self-directed learners’ through the provision of learning opportunities which provide them with greater choice of subject matter, learning methods and pace of study. Such a commitment will see students become more involved in decision‐making processes and extensively using digital technologies to collaborate and connect in order to ‘learn by doing’ with relevance to the real world.”

Such a vision requires teachers to see themselves as learners and engage in the actions of ‘connected educators’ as articulated by Nussbaaum-Beach & Hall (2012) on page 19.

 

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.

 

New Models of Information Production

I Have just read Chapter 2, New models of information production (pp. 13-35) from De Saulles’s 2012 book, In Information 2.0 : new models of information production, distribution and consumption.

The reading reminded me of the unprecedented and immediate accessibility to information through the rise of the internet as a distribution platform, and how this continues to shape new models of information production. Social media giants such as Facebook & LinkedIn being are able to map online communications between individuals and organisations which can result in a intricate understanding of the collective interests of large sections of the population.

The reading identifies the rise of blogging as a platform which has directly impacted on information production for print media. In quoting a 2012 OECD report, the author highlights that media platforms can save up to 60%  of costs by stripping out the printing and distribution costs associated with the traditional newspaper value chain. However, even with the emergence of such notable sites including Huffington Post and, in Australia crickey.com, blogs have not acted as a replacement for print media. In fact, blogs authored by newspaper journalists supplemented online content and acted as an extremely cost effective way of producing more content for readers. My question is, “How much content is too much content?”

In citing the Huffington Post as a case study, it mentions ,”It is not unusual for an item to attract over 5000 comments.” Well, that is a lot of ‘letters to the editor’ and allows for interaction between those ‘letter writers’, almost all of which would receive little recognition, interaction or access through traditional print media communication.  All of sudden, any single one of us has the potential to become a published writer, able to interact with many others across the world, through the connectivity of online blogs.

The article also makes the point that business are exploring new models of information production in that they enable industry experts to develop their own platforms for knowledge sharing and bypass traditional publishing methods. The author cites Nature Publishing Group who “harness the power online networks to complement its businesses” (2012;21).

The changes to information production from increased use and success with blogs is an evolutionary one. More revolutionary are the changes resulting from Wikis which are typically used as online collaborative platforms. Wikipedia, the world’s fifth largest website (according to this 2012 article) has revolutionized the information being a ‘go to’ source for most people when initiating their investigation about a person, place or item of interest. The article poses the question of financial viability; however three years on the wiki has grown to become a trusted source accepted by universities, schools and colleges

The ease and access to information means it is now an international currency. Big data allows for people to share information and use is to build knowledge in a seamless, connected way across the world. The Internet can far more quickly connect people and the content they are looking for, and this has implications for the teacher standing at the front of the classroom. No longer is one teacher the font of all knowledge, far from it. No longer is the text book the sole trusted source for one to learn. In fact, the teacher and the text book are just one of many contexts for students when they learn because the accessibility to information via websites, blogs, wikis and other forms of Social Media allow for students to connect, communicate and collaborate world wide when building knowledge. This reaffirms the need for students to develop the skills to use information to collaborate, communicate and critically think in order to prepare them with the skills required to work in teams by using ‘big data’ to solve respond to the needs, desires and problems of people across the world.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Regards

Greg

 

De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0 : new models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). London : Facet.