Critical Reflection on INF537

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As I reflect on this final capstone subject in this highly challenging, varied and so highly relevant degree, I have a sense of professional growth and achievement. Digital Futures Colloquium has contributed to the affirmation, integration and synthesis of ideas from the three other subjects I studied. We have covered aspects of teaching practices for the digital age, designing spaces for learning, design thinking, makerspaces, knowledge networks, digital scholarship and participatory learning.

Two years ago when I began this course I stated that my aim was to be a teacher librarian who can lead a community of learners into a digital world, enjoying opportunities to collaborate, create and help learners use new digital media. I feel confident to do this now because I am a highly networked and digitally literate educator who learns autonomously as I interact with digital media. Being able to understand how digital literacy and scholarship works allows me to design learning experiences and spaces where a school community can develop these skills too. I have the future work skills to ensure that I can add value to the technology that we use as learners and educators.

It has been easy to see how I in my role as a teacher librarian can integrate my understandings of learning in a digital age into my everyday practice. I know that the school library program plays a major role in promoting current pedagogy, adoption of technology, leveraging technology, promoting participatory learning, digital scholarship and digital citizenship.

My digital scholarship skills increased through the practice of research, sharing and refining ideas, reading and responding to blog posts, e-books and websites. Many of the professional readings have been highly appropriate to share with my colleagues and have had a major influence on the ideas that shape my practice.

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My final assessment, a case study addressed the question “Do students become more autonomous as learners when they independently publish digital artefacts online?” and it’s major themes and findings about digital literacy, future work skills and the development of an agile approach to working in a digital age, allowed me to take the first step in leading the school community to match the trends, challenges in the adoption of technology.

This case study provided an opportunity to practice digital scholarship skills with survey design, communication and analysis. Through the use of technology tools, I examined and created many examples of digital media.  I correlated the recommendations for digital learning with my data and could see a pattern of behaviours which could inform better practice. I was pleased that I could see a real pathway for changing the way technology can be adopted in my school community.

In the future the connections in my personal learning network will remain vitally important to ongoing professional growth. Through the digital colloquiums in this subject I have widened this network and seen how others are working in an agile and sharp manner to leverage technology in schools and other learning environments. Listening to the likes of Annabel Astbury and Cathie Howie were excellent opportunities to engage with other professionals who  work together with educators to facilitate the best learning possible in a digital age. A very appropriate collection of ideas that I intend to use to inform my practice was Judy O’Connell’s recent presentation “Developing Agile Approaches in a Digital Age”. This presentation puts the school library centre stage in this approach.

judy agile approach My fellow students and lecturers have been a great source of collaboration and participatory learning. We have continued to engage in the backchannel of Twitter to support our learning and also respond and share through the subject discussion forums. This participation is vital to online learning and results in more ideas, resources, knowledge networks and global connections resulting in digital innovation for learners.

Case Study Closed

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Time to reflect now that my final draft of my case study report is complete. My word count is currently a small problem but I have reached out to my network namely my job-share partner to read through and act as my editor.

My case study was one of those projects that organically grew and developed. Through extended professional reading  and experiences collecting data my ideas on how to organise the analysis and the key issues arose. In past academic case studies ( in fact I have only really done one other in my first masters degree) I found that the process of time allows different ideas, statistics and evidence to cross over and correlate. I eventually had the idea this time to overlay the digital literacies with the survey questions, interview transcript contents and evidence of students’ work, using colour coding. Discussions in the digital colloquium with Cathie from MacICT also helped to confirm that colour coding was a good strategy. What eventuated was a view of the data which highlighted the importance of digital literacy skills  in the autonomous learning that occurs when learners publish digital artefacts online independently.

What has eventuated is not a lot different form my proposal, it’s just more detailed. If I was to do another case study, one thing I would try is to approach it with a design thinking approach. There were some things I didn’t think of  till I was too far into the process.Time to observe and then ideate would of been good. A backward design approach where I would start at where I want to finish may of helped too.

Overall I’m quite happy with the evidence, creativity and thinking behind my case study. Time now to share it with my school teaching community, after all it was about them and for them.

Themes for the Case Study

This mindmap evolved as I did my reading and identified common themes in the related research. I am now going to choose a theme or two to work with.

inf537 casestudy mindmap

My survey questions covered these three avenues: what learners do with Web2.0 and 3.0 technologies, issues of equity in and access to these experiences and the building of theory and consequential practice.(probably not so much about equity)

My expected outcomes were ;

*Insight into what online communities the students are choosing to connect with.

*Identify different skills and information that students obtain and share when they publish digital artefacts online.

*Students will share positive and negative online experiences.

*It could become apparent that the students are learning and creating more out of school hours than during school.

*Students may be not keen to share or discuss their publications.

*Teachers will learn about the value in “flattening the classroom “and providing global education opportunities for their students.

Most of these outcomes are becoming apparent. The concept of “flattening the classroom” has not really come up, but I think that it is not a “known” concept for many teachers. It is still a concept I could refer to, I am thinking now that 21st Century skills and key drivers in the adoption of technology may be my key themes.

What path should I take now?

The question I wish to answer in my case study is Do students become more autonomous as learners when they independently publish digital artefacts online?

To plan the survey and interview questions I needed to decide on what path to take in the research. Greenhow, Robeila and Hughes (2009) offered learner participation and creativity and online identity formation as two themes that are relevant to this topic of research. The focus will be on students everyday use of Web2.0 and Web3.0 technologies and their learning both in and outside of the classroom. Learners’ ability to communicate with a global audience through the web and how these different types of experiences have an effect on the roles of teachers and students and new ways of interacting and publishing knowledge artefacts. The three avenues for research that were explored in the survey and interview questions were what learners do with Web2.0 and 3.0 technologies, issues of equity in and access to these experiences and the building of theory and consequential practice (Greenhow et.al., 2009).

The following screenshots show the surveys that were created in Survey Monkey covering these three avenues of research.

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The topics of discussion for my face to face interviews with students and staff will be based around these statements.

Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship in a Digital Age: Web 2.0 and Classroom Research–What Path Should We Take “Now”?

Educational Researcher, Annual, 2009, Vol.38(3), p.246 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

Case Study Research Proposal.

Case Study Research Proposal.

Proposal topic:

Do students become more autonomous as learners when they independently publish digital artefacts online?

Brief description of my project including information, learning, social or organisational needs, problems or concerns to be addressed

This project will focus on the secondary school students I work with as a teacher-librarian and English teacher. Many students publish digital artefacts online in their own time and independently of the school:  I am interested in how these activities help them become more autonomous learners.

The project will require time to talk to the students and access to the digital artefacts they have produced.  Aspects of privacy and outside school activities will need to be considered. Parental permission may be needed. My Principal has already supported the case study.

The concepts of “flat classrooms”, global education, participatory cultures and self-directed learning could be discussed in this context.

Expected outcomes of my project

The outcomes of this project will shed light on what our students are creating and learning about in their own time.

Other expected outcomes include:

  • Insight into what online communities the students are choosing to connect with.
  • Identify different skills and information that students obtain and share when they publish digital artefacts online.
  • Students will share positive and negative online experiences.
  • It could become apparent that the students are learning and creating more out of school hours than during school.
  • Students may be not keen to share or discuss their publications.
  • Teachers will learn about the value in “flattening the classroom “and providing global education opportunities for their students.