Image attribution: Lisa Plenty 2017

Shortly after starting my Master of Education, Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation (KNDI), I stood with a colleague presenting to Year 9 students about the importance of goal setting. After articulating her carefully considered 5 year plan, she turned and asked me to enlighten the students with my own. Caught between admiration for my colleague and fear-induced paralysis at not having an answer, I uttered something about completing my Masters, just to get out of the spotlight and avoid looking like the planet’s most disorganised educator. I have since considered my answer might have indicated that in a changeable and unpredictable context, perhaps I didn’t know what might be possible within the subsequent 5 year period and, whilst not meaning to undermine the value of being goal driven, that flexibility of thinking and openness to change may be a strength, not a weakness.

Amongst other challenging and inspiring units of study, INF537 has been a final Masters opportunity to question the purpose and role of contemporary education, and to consider the very concept of learning amidst change. The colloquium events with both Bruce Dixon and Mike Hourihane challenged me to further question the status quo. Dixon’s discussion of the efficiency over effectiveness conundrum in education was a concept that both reflected my experience and challenged me – how might we make learning more effective and work around the wicked problems of efficiency? (Plenty, 2017 a).

Hourihane’s presentation answered that question, whilst raising others (Plenty, 2017 b). His overview of the Think Global School (TGS) demonstrated that it is possible to completely rethink the structure of schooling. With determination and courage to take risks, TGS has explored a vision of education with authentic student learning at the forefront of decision-making; where Richardson and Dixon’s 10 Principles for schools of modern learning (2017) are actively practiced. Whilst each colloquium event was valuable, these two particularly inspired my direction for the assessment tasks.

The INF537 Interpretive Paper and Case Study were an opportunity to connect new learning with areas of interest generated through my KNDI study. Studying INF533, I discovered the New Literacies presentation, and become fascinating with the idea of ‘broadcast vs everyday technology’ (Thompson, 2013), a concept to which I connected again reading Weller (2011). The capacity for democratisation is something I have found a very significant element of the participatory internet, and therefore democratised learning became the focus for my Interpretive Paper (Plenty, 2017 c). Throughout my study, I have written repeatedly about the need for teachers to engage with Professional Learning to extend their ability to teach with technology and employ new pedagogies (Plenty, 2016; Plenty, 2017 d). However, I had not previously investigated in detail what was required to meet the needs of teachers and facilitate effective PL that might encourage a shift of practice. The case study presented an opportunity to investigate this need, which now more than ever relates to my employment.

Reflecting over my INF537 participation, I would like to have engaged more with my study peers and blogged more, but as Heather Bailie noted in her blog post, the study/work/life combination became very challenging. However, the confidence that I have gained through my KNDI experience since 2014 to engage in online networks has been instrumental in channeling my career. I have transitioned from a role in Arts education and Pastoral Care, to a unique role as a Technology Coach and this week, I started a new role as a Director of Digital Learning and Innovation, one I could only have imagined in 2014. So whilst I could not quite articulate my future trajectory back in 2015, my study and the employment opportunities I have been afforded have enabled me to reposition myself as an educator. I started INF537 with the video below, and it still stands as a summary of 3 highly productive, engaging years of personal and professional growth through KNDI. It has been an amazing ride.

References

Bailie, H. (2017). Overwhelmed and under-coherent [blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2017/08/01/469/

Plenty, L. (2016). Network Literacy Evaluative Report [blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2016/10/15/network-literacy-evaluative-report-the-inf532-travelator/

Plenty, L. (2017a). Thoughts from my busy brain [blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2017/07/23/thoughts-from-my-busy-brain/

Plenty, L. (2017 b). Thinking global with TGS [blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2017/08/13/thinking-global-with-tgs/

Plenty, L. (2017 c). Module 5 teacher professional development forum post [blog post]. http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2017/04/17/module-5-teacher-professional-development-forum-post/

Plenty, L. (2017 d). Digital scholarship – democtratising education. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/lisa/2017/09/29/digital-scholarship-democratising-education/

Richardson, W., & Dixon, B. (2017). 10 principles for schools of modern learning. Retrieved from www.modernlearners.com

Thompson, C. (Producer). (2013). The new literacies. Retrieved from http://library.fora.tv/2013/09/22/the_new_literacies

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. London: Bloomsbury academic.