PART A – An evaluative statement using the networked learning experiences documented on your Thinkspace blog as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of this subject (900 words).
INF532 has been engaging, challenging and informative. Readings about information life cycles, introduction to new digital media platforms, regular engagement in online collaborative spaces with INF532 colleagues, increased use of curation tools and, most importantly, the challenge of creating a Knowledge Network (KN) artefact, meant I was stretched, pushed and challenged to grow as a networked learner and connected leader.
My blog post New Models of Information, published on 7 March, 2015, built on my previous understandings of the life cycle of information. De Salles reading (2012), John Seely Brown’s work on The Global One School House (Seely Brown 2012) and A New Culture of Learning (Thomas and Brown 2011) have informed 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. From INF532 I have learnt that the ease of access to information has resulted in a new life cycle of information which has implications for our future. Businesses are now exploring new models of information production through trusted sources such as blogs and wikis which is increasingly seeing information as an international currency.
The design of a KN Artefact as introduced me to Powtoon, an online website providing animation tools to create professional-looking animated instructional videos. The uploading of this artefact to YouTube resulted in me publishing my first two public videos. This as evidence that I was able to design, develop and deploy a product which demonstrated an understanding of education informatics as acknowledged in Monique’s critique (McQueen 2015) when she wrote, “I liked the use of infographics to explain concepts.”
Like Monique and many other INF532 students, I have been active in the online world for quite some time and engaged with a range of innovative online tools including Twitter, WordPress, Thinkspace, Flipboard and Zite as articulated in Becoming a Connected Educator, Part 1 of my two part KN Artefact. However, networked learning experiences facilitated by INF532 has further encouraged, supported and assisted my journey to engage with other online tools and spaces for creative knowledge production and learner engagement. For example, I better understand the value of Skype as a learning tool as per the readings referenced in my blog post, The Value of Skype for Learning. Skype can support learning by connecting students with experts to support curriculum in a number or ways. Also, it can result in rigorous learning with expectations for students to collaborate, participate, communicate and create in a number of ways as depicted through Tolisano’s lens.
And, it is through this lens that I invited Eric Sheninger to provide feedback about our Skype conversation held Monday 8 May, 2015.
It is through the Skype experience with Eric and reading the blogs of Shannon McClintock Miller (2013/14) and Tolisano (2011-2014) that I can see the potential of connecting Skype to create social networks and connect communities of practice within and beyond a school setting. Skype is certainly a digital tool which I will engage with more to enhance learning, teaching and professional practice as articulated in the Flat Classroom Project of 2007 and the ongoing work of http://www.flatconnections.com/
INF532 also introduced me to a new curation tool, Storify. As the creator of a ‘story’ I have been able to curate the most important voices involved in a networked event or networked forum by publishing them as a story. It is through Storify I am able to connect with my PLN and provide my perspective of comments, questions and reflections which (I felt) truly represented the event threads and themes from the event or forum. This demonstrates my ability to use the digital curation tool of Storify and utilise my personal learning network across a number of forums to enhance professional growth, personal knowledge management and collective intelligence practices. Using Storify to Curate has enabled me to produce online content and place information in context for the reader. By linking Storify with Twitter (as I did for the Storifies I created) I demonstrated the ability to use a new media tool to curate content on Twitter forums Twitter to connect communities of practice within and beyond my professional context.
My blog post Flipped Classes and Self-Directed Learning and the discussion forum conversations which preceded this post confirmed my understanding of the interplay between formal and informal learning in physical and digital venues. Furthermore, INF532 has encouraged me to re-engage with other online tools Diigo and Pinterest and introduced me to Google+.
Overall, my blogs indicate engagement with only a few new tools and I cannot say that I have a ‘new suite’ of media tools. Rather, I have added to my current suite of tools by going to a substantial depth of understanding those tools. Therefore, I commit to look at A new tool for gathering, organising and making the most of blog posts: Feedly or Trying out a different digital curation tool – Listly, as blogged by Monique McQueen (2015).
In conclusion, through my blog posts, I have engaged with online tools to curate information and build knowledge within professional spaces. Through those tools including Twitter, Powtoon, Youtube, Thinkspace and Storify I have created spaces which have assisted my colleagues to engage with their professional learning. As such, at times, I have demonstrated a creative approach to resourcing and facilitating learner engagement in a variety of forms, formats and environments. I have little doubt that INF532 has further developed my capability to contribute to the ongoing professional dialogue and research in the field of education through new platforms as well as through my personal blog http://gregmiller68.com/.
PART B – A reflective statement on your development as a connected educator as a result of studying INF532, and the implications for your role as a ‘connected leader’ within your school community, and/or at district/state/national level (900 words).
If students are to become connected learners, then teachers need to engage with online networks and grow their PLN (Thomas and Brown 2011; Ito 2012; Nussbaum-Beach and Hall 2012; Seely Brown 2012). This confirms the need for educators to become connected in a knowledge networked world (Rheingold 2011; Ferenstein 2014), and this is why educational leaders such as myself, need to engage as connected learners through participatory example.
Engaging with course readings and resources contained within INF532 has confirmed that I need to continually develop myself as a ‘connected educator’. Furthermore, I am obligated to continually challenge myself to be the best ‘connected leader’ I can be at a district, systemic level in my role as Secondary Schools Consultant in the Diocese of Broken Bay. The implication is that I have to continually improve and even transform myself both as a learner and leader.
As an INF532 student, I have grown considerably as a ‘connected leader’. Participation in INF532 has reminded me of the need to ‘know my class’. That class is made up of the 40 educational leaders and officers who support principals and staff in their quest for school improvement across a network of 43 schools. As a ‘connected leader’ I take seriously my role to assist ‘my class’ understand knowledge networks and online PLNs, and to discover how these can assist educators to become connected.
Soon after commencing INF532, there was an obvious implication for myself as ‘connected leader’, to grow and develop the understanding of knowledge networking for CSO staff and teachers in the Diocese of Broken Bay. On March 15, 2015, I wrote in my blog post, Reflections on/as/about…. Am I a Connected Educator?
“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.”
So, on Monday 13 April I held a Connected Educator Workshop. As part of that workshop, it was most pleasing for me to use my Powtoon artefact, published on YouTube. A number of workshop participants were interested in the Powtoon application used to make the artefact. My ability to provide a user’s guide, some tips about sound recording, and general information about the tool, ensured I was acting as a ‘connected leader’ within my workplace.
There have already been signs of DBB personnel responding to the call to become a ‘connected educator’. On 24 May, 2015, by Heather Bailie commented on Emails of Connected Educators, “Congrats Greg, R’s email is a great testament to the value of your workshop and C’s is a long way from being evidence of a fail. To have provoked one educator to addiction and got another lurking is a great result.” As recorded in Emails of Connected Educators, @racheltyne1 has been the ‘star pupil’ by becoming, “involved in chats with educators from all over the world sharing ideas and teaching practices with different topics.” She is also “excited at the possibilities that could be used to connect students to the world.” I am pleased my leadership has facilitated this development of Rachel as a ‘connected educator’.
Leadership often requires bringing people with you and challenging the status quo. 9 regular users of Twitter out of ‘My Class’ of approximately 40 (workshop participants and other colleagues), well and truly ignores the Wikipedia 1% rule (Internet Culture). Furthermore, it is evidence that, as a connected leader, I actively promote Twitter as a social media platform which allows one to share, comment, post and, most importantly, learn from others.
The excellent conversion rate of colleagues engaging with Twitter provided impetus to develop three DBB (Diocese of Broken Bay) hashtags including #dbblearn #dbbiPad and #DBBPEN. Each hashtag has been developed in order to share resources, offer reflections and collaboratively engage in a connected online world. Although the sharing has been mainly done by the nine active participants, I am obligated as a connected leader to keep working with DBB personnel to explore and exploit the benefits of Twitter for networked learning. This will require me to collaboratively work with DBB education leaders and officers to better understand the learning opportunities that come with Twitter, and be innovative in evaluating its use for learning, teaching and professional practice.
In conclusion, actions I have taken as a result of my participation in INF532, have seen me manage personal and participatory knowledge networks to communicate effectively and work collaboratively with others for ongoing professional development. As a ‘connected leader’ I need to continually design, evaluate and implement differentiated learner-centred instruction that connects ‘my class’ within blended formal and informal learning environments. Blogging about my journey on http://gregmiller68.com/ and inviting comment from my PLN will assist my continuing journey both as a ‘connected educator’ and ‘connected leader’. Of course, the more ‘connected leaders’ we have, the more ‘connected educators’ there will be, and the more ‘connected educators’ there are, the greater the probability we can strengthen school-based classroom engagement and learning through intentional and reflective online instructional design. I look forward to the next stage of the journey.
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.
Ferenstein, G. (2014). “The one form of literacy you need right now.” Retrieved 23 May 2015, 2015, from http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/05/linkedin-cofounder-reid-hoffman-makes-a-convincing-case-for-a-new-type-of-literacy/.
Ito, M. (2012). “Connected Learning: Everyone, Everywhere, Anytime.” Retrieved 12 March 2014, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viHbdTC8a90.
McQueen, M. (2015). Critique of Greg Miller’s artefact ‘Using Twitter to grow your PLN’. Monique’s Reflective Blog. T. S.-. CSU, Think Space – CSU. 2015.
McClintock Miller, Shannon (2013/2014). Van Meter Library Voice. [blog].
Nussbaum-Beach, S. and L. R. Hall (2012). The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age, Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Rheingold, H. (2011). “Networked Literacy – Part One.” Retrieved 23 March, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6UKWozzVRM&feature=youtu.be
Seely Brown, J. (2012). “The Global One Room Schoolhouse “. Retrieved March 12, 2014, from http://youtu.be/SoRV0BEwvEU.
Thomas, D. and J. S. Brown (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change.
Tolisano, S. (2011-2014). Langwitches Blog.