Knowledge Networking Artefact & Exegesis

As an assessment task I created this knowledge networking artefact which is titled:

How does a teaching team benefit from developing an online community of practice?

youtube artefact Capture

 

Exegesis:

The knowledge networking artefact titled “How can our teaching team benefit from developing an online ‘community of practice’?” is an instructional text for the teaching team at my school about why, how and what we need to do to collaboratively build an online, networked ‘community of practice’. This community of practice will enable us learn collaboratively, share what we have learnt and form a knowledge network about the teaching pedagogies that frame the school’s Delivering Excellent Learning & Teaching strategy.

This artefact is important because the teaching team has the potential to reap many rewards individually and as a group from the collective knowledge they can create. They have not engaged in online learning as a whole group like this before and will benefit from leadership in developing this online space. A recent survey (Appendix A) of teachers’ knowledge about the key teaching pedagogies and the teachers’ attitude to online and social learning revealed a wide variety of existing knowledge, experience and attitudes.

The instructional design of this artefact was guided by an attempt to maximise “the effectiveness, efficiency and appeal of instruction and other learning experiences” (Moloney, 2010). The current state and needs of the teaching community (learners), the definition of the end goal of instruction and the creation of an intervention to facilitate a transition (to a community of practice) were the three steps that were undertaken to develop the artefact.

The needs of the learners were surveyed and found to be highly varied.  The end goal of the instruction is to lead and help develop an online, networked community of practice and this artefact, followed by the facilitation of an online learning space on the school’s Moodle site will be the intervention.

As a school community we have been expected to engage in Brisbane Catholic Education’s (BCE) Delivering Excellent Learning and Teaching(DELT) Strategy (2014)which expects the teaching staff to understand the teaching pedagogies supported by Hattie(2014), Sharratt and Fullan’s (2012)work.

The inspiration to produce this artefact came from an experience in my own workplace where there is currently a need to engage in and discuss these professional readings but not to create more face- to-face meetings for teaching staff to attend. As the teacher-librarian in the school I have been encouraged to organise resources to support the DELT strategy. I thought that there was an opportunity to lead a knowledge network community to explore, create and develop a common language about the theory of action that will support the engagement in this strategy.

Although the focus audience for this video is the teaching community of my school, the plan I have for our networked community of practice may be used in other schools under Brisbane Catholic Education.

The video is divided into four sections covering the why, how, what (and what next) of developing the networked community of practice.

The content of the artefact includes aspects on communities of practice, knowledge networks, network and social literacy, participatory culture and collaborative learning tools. Combining all these aspects for a very focused task meant that I tried to keep the technical process simple. The script was condensed to drop the duration from nearly eight minutes to just over five minutes. There is a continual narration, five minutes of information is enough to describe the why, how and what of this knowledge network.

The digital tools of PowerPoint, Audacity and YouTube were combined to produce an audio-visual presentation with colourful and interesting images, a summary of main points and a comprehensive narration. Most images were collected via Pixabay because of the copyright free status of the images. Canva, the free online graphic design software was used to create the title slide to make it look different and therefore capture attention. Exciting, creative and colourful images, but I had to be careful with text colour and placement of the text due to the backgrounds I created.

The execution of the design required some new technical knowledge and skills. There are many ‘how to’ videos on YouTube; a particularly good instructional video named ‘How to Make Your 1st YouTube Video with PowerPoint’ proved to be a valuable resource.  This video gave advice on important aspects of instructional design including script writing, timing, types and amount of text, technology to use, recording tips and combining images and text. Detailed steps are given on how to add an audio file to the PowerPoint and upload the recording to YouTube as a video movie. The recording of the script using Audacity was the most difficult element of this technical exercise. This was due to the need to speak clearly, some background noise and the length of the text. Some music could have been added, but I was cautious not to complicate the video.

This artefact is set in an educational context where the teaching community ( as part of Brisbane Catholic Education) is working towards basing their practice around current proven teaching pedagogy that is being supported by the professional development programme ‘Visible Learning’ facilitated by Cognition Education. This programme is focused around John Hattie’s acclaimed research about maximising impact on learning (Hattie & Yates, 2014). It also draws upon principles of ‘Visible Learning and Visible teaching’.  The core of the ‘Visible Thinking and Learning’ concept is the importance of nurturing thinking in the everyday lives of learners (students and teachers) and make the thinking visible so a culture of thinking can be developed and strong learning communities established in organisations (Ritchhart, Church, & Morrison, 2011). Leaders in these educational organisations are being urged to take risks and encourage a willingness to reach outside the comfort zone of established practices (Ritchhart, Church, & Morrison, 2011). Lyn Sharratt and Michaels Fullan’s (2012) ideas in Putting FACES on the Data; what great leaders do! is influencing this educational context. Sharratt and Fullan (2012) emphasise the importance in developing a collective capacity which involves teachers in schools and between schools engaging in serious conversation about what good teaching looks like and how it is achieved. The networked ‘community of practice’ would help develop this collective capacity; this community can be the key to improving their performance (Wenger, 2006). This collective capacity will be dependent on networked (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011) and peer to peer learning.

The physical context of this artefact involves a large growing secondary school college with a varied staff. The Principal and leadership are supportive and encourage innovative use of technology and sharing of ideas. Students and staff are able to be constantly connected because of the integration of digital learning using many mobile devices. Not all staff are taking advantage of the digital connections available. There is a need for them to become more effective connected educators. The need for a sense of community was important for our adult learners (Snyder, 2009).

A growth in digital learning spaces is also being observed in the educational context of our schools. We live in a world embedded in digital learning spaces. Our current digital context is increasingly a social context where social media plays a large role. There is a strong need for the development of social-media and network literacy in all learners; as described by Rheingold (2010) and Pegrum (2010).

The current digital context allows all people to be creative and share the information they have created. To be a connected and participative member of a community of practice is it desirable that members share their ideas and create new resources. There is potential in the social networking tools of this knowledge network to harness the power of participation (Rheingold, Participation Power, 2012).

In the future there are many opportunities for the teaching team to become more connected educators and expand their Personal Learning Networks.

The artefact was created to help cultivate a networked community of practice. The main points to communicate to the audience was why there was a need to do this; that is directly relate this to the focus audience and provide a motivation for them to engage. The second part was on how; that is to become a connected learner,  develop social and network literacy and engage in peer to peer learning, engage in a participatory culture. The section about what we plan to do gave a practical plan of implementation and the active manner that the teaching team will participate. The final note was an invitation for the participants to branch out publically and make connections out of our school teaching community.

The instructional design was guided by Karen Moloney’s (2010) tips to survey the learners, define the goal and create an intervention. As Moloney describes there is no excuse for bad instructional design with technology making things faster and cheaper. A survey was done via a simple email; the video was made with simple and mostly free technology and Moodle (a fantastic LMS) will be used to facilitate the knowledge network. Moloney also recommended taking into consideration learning styles with a blended learning design and using e-learning as a solution. The instructional-design also needed to support a sense of community. To do this these Design theory goals were incorporated; cultivating a learner-centred environment, leveraging of community synergy, respect individuality, diversity and experience, focus on a real-life problem and promote self-directed learning (Snyder, 2009).

The aim is to create a networked community of practice where all teaching team members feel included and participate. To cultivate this community it needs to be designed for evolution or to grow into the future, it should allow openings for dialogue, allow for all levels of participation, focus on value, mix familiarity with excitement and the unknown and create a rhythm or pattern of behaviour for the community (Wenger, Seven principles for cultivating communitites of practice, 2002).

The most important element of this community to be developed is the networked element of it and the shared goals and interests (to implement the BCE’s DELT strategy). Networking is a key element in professional careers to support individual’s growth and learning. The skills at the centre of networking include the ability to identify and understand other participant’s ideas and work in relation to one’s own. It is also important to assess the value of another person’s contribution or work. The participants’ positive attitude leading to a deliberate intention to form connections with others is also as well (Rajagopal, Joosten-ten Brinke, Van Bruggen, & B., 2012). These networking skills described in Rajagopal’s  (2012)Personal learning network model are similar to Rheingold’s (2010)interconnected 21st –Century Social Media Literacies; attention, participation, collaboration, network awareness and critical consumption. Rheingold stressed how these skills become interconnected in people with good social media skills and that it is these skills that will shape and influence the cognitive, social and cultural environments of the future. The technologies of LMS in schools are just the skeletons; the participants shape the content.

Encouraging participation and making it approachable for all of the teaching community was a priority in the design of this artefact. Guided and effective online participation can translate into real power. We can start a participatory culture with each individual act of participation building upon another to create architecture of a participatory culture (Rheingold, Participation Power, 2012). The teaching team will need to eventually start connecting with other outside educators and develop their own PLN to truly contribute to the world wide phenomenon of Knowledge Networks.

The knowledge networking artefact I created; “How can our teaching team benefit from developing an online ‘community of practice’?” was designed and constructed to begin a focused social learning environment for by teaching team to achieve the goals set by the Brisbane Catholic Educations Delivering Excellent Learning & Teaching strategy. In participating in this knowledge networking activity it is possible for the teachers to develop network and social media literacy, as well as the confidence to expand their PLN.

References

Brisbane Cathoic Education (2014). Brisbane Catholic Education Delivering Excellent Learning and Teaching 2014-2016 Strategy. Retrieved March 2015, from Brisbane Catholic Education KWeb: https://kweb.bne.catholic.edu.au/Documents/Delivering%20Excellent%20Learning%20and%20Teaching%20strategy%20book%20ONLINE%20VERSION.pdf

Hattie, J., & Yates, G. C. (2014). Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn. Routledge.

Moloney, K. (2010). There is no excuse for bad instructional design. Training and development in Australia, 22-23.

Pegrum, M. (2010). ‘I link therefore I am’: network literacy as a core digital literacy. E-learning and digital media, 346-354.

Rajagopal, K., Joosten-ten Brinke, D., Van Bruggen, J., & B., S. P. (2012). Understanding personal learning networks: their structure, content and the networking skills needed to optimally use them. First Monday, Volume 17, Number 1-2.

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention and 21st-century social media literacies. Educase review, 14-24.

Rheingold, H. (2012). Participation Power. In H. Rheingold, Net smart: how to thrive online (pp. 111-139). USA: MIT Press.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of netwroked learning. In W. Richardson, & R. Mancabelli, Personal learning networks: using the power of conections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Moorabbin: Solution Tree Press.

Ritchhart, R., Church, M., & Morrison, K. (2011). Making thinking visible; How to promote engagement, understanding and independence fo all learners. San Francisco: Wiley.

Sharratt, L., & Fullan, M. (2012). Putting FACES on the data: what great leaders do! California: Corwin Press.

Snydner, M. M. (2009). Instructional – design theory to guide the creation of online learning communities for Adults. TechTrends, 48-56.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). Arc-of-life learning. In D. Thomas, & J. Brown, A new culture of learning: cultivating imagination for a world of constant change (pp. 17-33). Lexington,KY: CreateSpace.

Wenger, E. (2002). Seven principles for cultivating communitites of practice. In E. Wenger, Cultivating communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge (pp. 49-64).

Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice a brief introduction. Retrieved April 2015, from http://wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/06-Brief-introduction-to-communities-of-practice.pdf

A Check up on my 21st-Century Social Media Literacy and Participatory Skills

question marks

Throughout the last 14 weeks my social media literacies have improved by using more tools, more regularly and in a more creative manner. Howard Rheingold (2010) has identified five interconnected social media literacies that lead to one being a critical and effective consumer of digital media.  How am I going with these five skills ? :

Attention: My radar has definitely been fine-tuned and is is focused on quality

Participation: I am sharing and interacting more with others online. I am more connected than I was a few months ago. I need to keep on working on this (see below in this post about being part of the architecture of participation)

Collaboration: Doing things together with others. I am slowly building up knowledge networks. i want to more collaboration with my work colleagues in particular.

Network Awareness: I understand more about how networks work. This includes both the social and technical aspects .

Critical Consumption: I am a better skilled critic with more experience. I ask the question ” Why , How and What should I be paying attention to this information?”

I have been operating in my zone of proximal development ( for most of this degree really) surrounding myself with knowledgeable others and technology and tools (Wheeler, 2014). As Wheeler describes in his slideshare “Digital Age Learning“; there is an architecture of participation that we can become part of as a digital learner. This architecture of participation involves networking, user generated content, curation, tagging and bookmarking, collaborating, sharing and amplifying.  I have become a more effective part of this architecture.

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention and 21st-century social media literacies. Educase review, 14-24.

Wheeler, S. (2014, April). Digital age learning. Retrieved May 2015, from slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/timbuckteeth/the-changing-face-of-digital-learning

image: http://www.cyberwise.org/#!cyber-civics-blog/cp08

It’s important to try new things…

learing_results_page_image

The future is looking bright and exciting. I am really feeling motivated after trying out some new tools and making connections with more like-minded peolple in my PLN.

Future learning tools and strategies I would like to try in the future:

* Use Storify to collate ideas and resources from external PD ( first attempt can be at EduTECh this week). Sometimes we go to great PD but struggle to get time to share the ideas.

* Create a public blog for my School Library program and experiences. Just got the go ahead to start this.

*Help students connect globally or just with a local author using Skype, Google Hangouts or other social media tools (inspired by Millers blog posts).

*Have a play with Augmented reality. I am not familiar with this field or gaming really. Out of my comfort zone 🙂

*Integrate more student-directed creating and making with technology in the Library – a monthly Makerspace Monday to get us started

*Continue to use Feedly to get the most out of the Blogs I choose to visit – started this week.

* Encourage my staff to like and use Twitter and help them create PLN – might to start with a small group. Will use Greg Miller’s video

* Be a friendly mentor and leader and show my teachers how they can use digital, social tools to amplify students learning .

image: http://gettingsmart.com/2012/05/what-does-going-digital-mean-for-the-future-of-k-12-assessment/

 

Limitations of online learning – Have we got it right yet?

group computer

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-learning

Schools, learning institutions and educators are consistently trying to build up innovative, engaging and collaborative online learning spaces. Are these spaces what we say they are and are students and teachers coming to the party with this strategy yet? Todhunter (2013) in his paper  about the limitations of online learning  puts forward the thesis that the framework of the terminology in online learning is inconsistent with the actual offerings available; he looks to stakeholders for clarity about what is on offer and happening out their in the wider picture.

Blended learning ; that is a combination of face to face time and online learning time is what is happening in many classrooms. School’s vary still in their uptake and variety of online learning technologies.My school leadership are still in the process of engaging the interested and influential teachers to try new types of curriculum and learning approaches, and identifying the best tools. We will then share evidence of this teaching approach and engage the other teaching staff (much like Greg Green’s strategy in his Flipped school).

A strong focus  in schools is on developing teacher quality and relationships with students. Many teachers still base their relationship building with students around face to face contact – it is important. Good quality and collaborative online learning can assist with engagement of learners and in turn have a positive effect on relationships . Todhunter (2013) names the lack of social interaction as one of the most severe barriers to online learning – I say more teachers need to learn about forming social knowledge networks and integrate true collaboration into their online learning environments. This knowledge can shape good teaching pedagogy and practice. It will also lead to the amplification of learning.

If ‘flexible learning’ is enabling learners  to to learn what, when and how they want (self-directed) it would be good to include this in teaching practice to help students develop a sense of ownership of their learning. Shifting the emphasis on specific needs for students by moving from mass instruction to student-directed instruction can assist in differentiation too.

So, in my workplace at the moment we need to work on the design and type of tools we use in online learning. Education for teachers about building knowledge networks through online tools will also help. There is a strong need for social interactions to build relationships between teachers and students , teachers and teachers, and between students. Blended instruction is the best way currently to do this, I believe.

 

November, A. (2011). Learn from a school that has completely flipped out – An interview with Greg Green on flipped learning model. [podcast]. November Learning Podcast Series. Retrieved from: http://novemberlearning.com/an-interview-with-greg-green-on-flipped-learning-model

Todhunter, B (2013) LOL — limitations of online learning — are we selling the open and distance education message short? Distance Education, 34(2), p.232-252

A Flipped school!!

Listening to Greg Green talk about ‘Flipping’ his whole school was very interesting. The high school was experiencing socio-economic  issues with their students that many schools could relate to ; lack of technology, lack of learning culture and support from home, a difference of priorities, and an inconsistent level of access to technology for students at home. Greg Green and his staff came up with a simple but innovative strategy of flipping their lessons. I could relate to his process of engaging a small group of interested teachers, showing evidence of positive outcomes, stimulating conversation amongst teachers and then slowly growing the involved parties. I have used this strategy to try and change teaching pedagogy.

I found a blog post about ‘flipperatiated’ instruction. The three basic recommendations of

1. Begin with the end in mind.

2. Know the score. ( use of quizzes & data collection)

and 3. Re-frame your role ….are good beginning points to have a go at flipping instruction.

 

flipped

November, A. (2011). Learn from a school that has completely flipped out – An interview with Greg Green on flipped learning model. [podcast]. November Learning Podcast Series. Retrieved from: http://novemberlearning.com/an-interview-with-greg-green-on-flipped-learning-model/

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/fliperentiated-instruction-create-customizable-classroom-joe-hirsch

A new tool for gathering, organising and making the most of blog posts: Feedly

feedly icon    One of my goals was to start following some blogs properly in a more organised manner. I want to develop my knowledge, make more connections and interact with other connected educators. I decided I should focus my exploration on three main areas; Libraries, Makerspaces and Contemporary Learning. I consulted the collective knowledge of Twitter, got a few re-tweets and an answer from a respected colleague that Feedly  was worth a try to collate my blog feeds.  I found Feedly very easy to use, I do find that once you use a few digital tools one’s digital literacy skills build up and you take to new tools a bit easier each time. Quality over quantity is going to be my motto. I am pleased about how it’s going so far.

feedly screen capture

The Power in Participation

Today I had a very positive experience in the power and positiveness of sharing knowledge, ideas and participation. I decided to share a visual representation of some innovative thinking about the design of my schools new Library. I had engaged in a PD session on goal setting which focused on the value of the Why, followed by how, then finally what of a goal. Our goal is to design a Library that allows our current and contemporary Library and IT pedagogy to happen and work. I didn’t think we should go straight to talking about the building itself, but rather focus on the why, then how and what. We took a chance and presented our ideas in this format to our schools Leadership, architect and educational organisation representative. I put our ideas in a visual format. They thought it was brilliant.

why how what

I had been encouraged to share this collation of ideas. It took a little bravery as I had approached this task an a slightly unorthodox manner. So today I have shared it on my local TL discussion list and then I shared it on Twitter.

twitter page

Sharing it on Twitter with subject hashtags helped raise the tweet, mentioning a couple of well known professionals set off a number of re tweets, new followers and interactions(over a couple of hours) – it was exciting to watch it unfold (for a relative Twitter beginner) ! In another post I am going to reflect on all the social media and network literacy skills I have been practicing by creating and sharing this content.

twitter power

Trying out a different digital curation tool – Listly

‘Listly’:a digital curation tool for making lists was recommended to me via my local TL network day. These ‘lists’ can be catalogued and added to the school library collection. Listly can be used to make visually appealing lists, share the lists and allow others to interact and share ideas about the lists. It is also set up like many other digital curation tools to be shared via social media. The first ‘list’ I have made up is about the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s film interpretation of Romeo + Juliet. My Year 10 English class (along with the rest of the year group) are currently writing an essay about how this interpretation of the play detracts or enhances the script. It would be great for the students to interact with the list and share their comments. I would like to make some more lists about the costumes and sets to support this learning. As the lists are public I had to be very careful about using copyright friendly material.

listly r j

A case study: using augmented reality to amplify learning in the school library program

I first came across this example of immersive augmented reality in a school library activity when I saw it’s creators down for leading a session at next week’s EduTECH  conference. Two local teacher-librarians Anne Weaver from All Hallows and  Cathy Oxley from Brisbane Boys Grammar teamed together to organise an immersive, augmented reality role play fantasy quest. This activity was set to be performed in a park, but due to the weather it happened inside the library. Working in teams and reading instructions the students participated in challenges amplified by the immersion in numerous augmented fantasy virtual worlds and scenes. As well as promoting fantasy fiction and reading, this experience integrated augmented reality in a really authentic and entertaining manner. I think its great for engaging young adult learners. Anne Weaver has a post on her blog about this innovative learning activity.

augmentedhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immersion_(virtual_reality)

 

An amplified learning idea to try out – connecting over books & reading

SLJ1301_GoodReads

I was inspired whilst looking at Shannon McKlintock Miller’s blog post describing the way she facilitates opportunities for  authors to connect with her readers to continue integrating technology into our Library program at my school workplace. Shannon has worked with illustrators and authors.

I have been planning on introducing Book Clubs for both Middle and Senior school students. I want to spend time engaging with high quality  and exciting new literature with these students. Tristan Banck’s novel “Two Wolves” is book that has been nominated for this years CBCA Book of the Year Awards. It has had excellent reviews and I think both girls and boys would enjoy it. I do know Tristan Bancks following several visits he has made to our school – I have to ask him first if he’s keen to participate in this idea. I am planning on using this book as our first Middle School Book Club book. After we read and discuss it together I thought we could meet up via Skype or Google Hangout with Tristan and discuss the book. I have a great screen in the Library that we could all sit around, connect and share knowledge. I look forward to trying this out.

I am also  really looking forward to hearing Shannon McKlintock Miller speak at EduTECH next week. Exciting times!