Studying digital-age concepts and practices with immersive engagement in multimodal environments and new information ecosystems has remodelled, rebuilt and remediated my personal, professional perspectives of being a 21st Century educator.
This unit has challenged with engagement in conversations and relationships across multiple platforms including Twitter,
Facebook, Diigo, Interact 2, Adobe Connect, discussion boards, chat rooms, email, Youtube and Trove. I have rehashed, sampled, mashed-up, tweeted, retweeted, annotated, commented on, shared, and distilled.
These are the tools of the new ecology and studying them allows a much greater understanding of the affordances of the landscape and how to effectively apply them in pedagogy and practice.
Learning about linked data; the idea that ivory towers of data stored and kept separately no longer serve humanity’s best interest (Tim Berners-lee talks about it in this TED address) powerfully informed my own mindmap of where data is and how it might form into a more cohesive, useable, touchable ‘thing’. Viewing the dead sea scrolls via the digital preservation project, seeing a Guttenberg Bible, exploring the World Digital Library and contributing to Trove allowed me to think on what it is to have access to so much information and how access alone does not translate to information fluency.
Accepting traditional media networks no longer hold the keys to the transmission of information means understanding journalists are no longer able to operate a network of information where they control the outcomes. This effectively makes journalistic skills a requirement of active citizenship, so educating in this area means flipping the old understandings of networked society. This is the professional practice concept I synthesized into the multimodal work, This Connected World.
The potential for digital networks making journalists irrelevant is voraciously debated in the field. In my critique of Thomas E. Patterson’s Informing the News,(Patterson, 2013) I concluded the community still needs skillful transliterate journalists to make information meaningful. Educating journalists requires a whole new ecology of communication practice where they are part of the wider, information society where wealth is measured by “intangible, information-based goods”.(Bawden & Robinson, 2012) Understanding how journalists and communicators utilize the affordances of the web informs my ongoing teaching practice with a much greater focus on maintaining a discursive, digital presence and a far less fearful attitude to connected learning led by enquiry, facilitation, self-direction, knowledge construction, multi-tasking and problem solving. (Cronin, 2010, p. 162) According to Ravenscroft (2011) the richness of any ongoing dialogue in this connectivist world is intrinsically related to new digital practices.
I’ve pondered the differences between teaching content and teaching thought and recognize the importance of an interpretive pedagogy integrating time for interpretation, creation and critical assessment, helping “teachers and students critique and deconstruct dualistic thinking”(Ironside, 2004). Courses that reinforce rote learning, Ironside (2004)adds, stop students attaining higher-order thinking.
Studying information flow and taxonomies of learning has also finely tuned how I unpack and present information, in the same vein as Starkey (2011, p. 19) notes the focus on education has changed from teaching prescribed knowledge to learning , creating new information and critical thinking, through connections. Conole’s (2013) map of Web 2.0 tools illustrates how the web makes flexible learning pathways possible and that it is up to educators to apply the right processes for best practice outcomes.
Akcaoglu, M., & Lee, E. (2016). Increasing social presence in online learning through small group discussions. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(3). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v17i3.2293
Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2012). Introduction to information science. London: Facet Publishing.
Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world
Cronin, J. G. R. (2010). Too much information: Why facilitate information and media literacy? Journal of Humanities & Arts Computing: A Journal of Digital Humanities, 4(1/2), 151-165. doi:10.3366/ijhac.2011.0014
Ironside, P. M. (2004). “Covering content” and teaching thinking: Deconstructing the additive curriculum. Journal of Nursing Education, 43(1), 5-12. doi:10.3928/01484834-20040101-02
Patterson, T. E. (2013). Informing the news : the need for knowledge-based journalism. New York: Vintage Books.
Ravenscroft, A. (2011). Dialogue and connectivism: A new approach to understanding and promoting dialogue-rich networked learning. International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning, 12(3). doi:http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/934/1676
Starkey, L. (2011). Evaluating learning in the 21st century: a digital age learning matrix. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(1), 19-39. doi:10.1080/1475939X.2011.554021