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.

Reflection on latest guest colloquium with Cathie Howie from MacICT

Last week’s guest colloquium with Cathie Howie from MacICT was a source of affirmation, inspiration, information and interest. This was because many of the ideas they are exploring and investigating in their work are what we have been studying  in this degree about knowledge networks and digital innovation.

The combined work from Macquarie University and the NSW Department of Education is drawing its direction from reports like the Horizon Report and the Future Work Skills 2020. These documents are referred to often in our scholarly conversations. I am once again referring to them in my recent case study for this final subject.

Design mindsets, design thinking, STEM & STEAM approaches, makerspaces and a vision for learning in a digital age where all mentioned in the presentation and following conversations. These concepts and approaches are now becoming the common themes in PD and education & technology conferences and publications. These concepts are also major conversation topics on Twitter too amongst educators.

I really liked the sound of MacICT’s work in Transmedia storytelling. I think this is a very adaptable method of getting students to produce content rather than just being a consumer. Transmedia storytelling also encourages creativity and digital literacies.

I look forward to following the workings of MacICT in the future and hopefully taking part in their professional development opportunities.

ABC Splash: Analytics and Action!

The first guest speaker in our colloquia series: Annabel  Astbury from ABC Splash described this resource and the decision making behind it in a way that motivated me to revisit  the site many times this week.

The discussion with Annabel carried many common threads of discussion with recent ideas and analytics I have heard shared at EDUTech, School Library PD’s and not forgetting the previous subjects in our course. These ideas ranged from

  • The need for students to be content providers and makers,
  • Relinquishing control sometimes to our collections,
  • Personalisation of learning,
  • Global education strategies including video conferencing,
  • Listening to student voice for content decisions,
  • Increase in use of mobile devices

The diminishing requests for technical help are interesting. I wonder if we as an audience are becoming more used to navigating websites or if we get help in other ways like asking another knowledgeable person ( maybe even Youtube).

I was particularly impressed by the partnerships ABC Splash had with such a high calibre and varied other organisations. Open source and sharing of information is growing – we will all only benefit for sure.