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.

IFTF_FutureWorkSkillsSummary_01                        2015-K-12-Report-Topics-Graphic-1024x794

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.

Key influential documents that are informing our discussions and practice

There are two influential report  documents have been regularly referred to in numerous university subjects, my assignments, our digital colloquiums and keynote presentations at conferences. They are these two reports:

*Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition ( as well as the Library and previous editions)

*Future Work Skills 2020

Although they are both American publications they have great currency for our Australian schools and school libraries. The organisation  of the Horizon report of outlining the challenges; solvable, difficult and wicked and trends and developments in technology ; short-term, mid-term and long-term impact make the information easy to follow and prioritise. This report affirms the topics we have been studying in each subject and confirms that the time is coming to integrate the new ideas into practice. many of the ideas in recent journal articles and key note presentations like those at EDUTech are represented  in the Horizon Report too. It’s interesting that the word “Wicked” is used about very difficult challenges. “Wicked” is a term used in design thinking referring to interesting problems that really makes us think creatively and in an innovative manner  to solve them.

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The Future Work Skills 2020 report is often mentioned by scholars who want the audience to rethink the curriculum we are delivering in order to meet the future work skills of our students. Unlike the Horizon report which is rewritten each year the Future Work Skills 2020 report has not been updated but still remains current. The drivers and the skills are related to those that are regularly mentioned in the Horizon Report. There is effective colour coding in the diagram below to indicate which drivers are relevant to which skills.

IFTF_FutureWorkSkillsSummary_01

Early in this degree, this reports served a need to help me understand the landscape of digital landscapes in schools. When they are referred to conferences and colloquiums I now understand the content and thinking behind them. In the final assignment now I am using them as a measure of good practice  to compare the student and teacher behaviour I have observed.

 

 

Using Current Pedagogy to Create Agile School Libraries in a Digital Age

Throughout this current subject: Digital Future Colloquiums and the preceding subjects in this degree I have been about to pinpoint many strategies and ideas that I can integrate into my practice as a Teacher-Librarian.

Judy O’Connell’s latest presentation  explains how School Libraries can develop agile approaches in a digital age.I am already integrating many of the strategies mentioned and I can foresee how my Library team  can continue to improve. I think it is  important for all educators and support staff to realise the potential that lies ahead. I plan to  share the key ideas with my fellow teachers some time. This presentation explains how school’s library program can support, leverage and inform about  the technological drivers in our world. The presentation summarises the concepts that support knowledge networks and digital innovation in Libraries.   Using current pedagogy to inform School Library programs is the best practice because it is easy to explain and justify our roles in schools.

judy agile approach

I have used some of the  ideas and resources in the presentation to synthesise the research, theory and recommendations for my current case study:

A Description of the Autonomous Behaviours Learners Develop when they Independently Publish Digital Artefacts Online and the Importance for Educators to Encourage this Learning.

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

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.

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.

Leveraging Technology in a Library Program

In the chapter Innovative Technologies in Library Science (Farmer, 2014)comments are made about technology transforming Library spaces.  Libraries that leverage or take advantage of technology provide the most favourable, current and high quality programs for their clients of learning communities.

As a teacher-librarian and Library program leader, I need to pay attention to the societal trends that are highlighting technology as a key driving force. These include; emerging technologies that impact access to information, online education, data protection and privacy, highly technology-connected societies and technologies that revolutionise the global information economy. Access needs to be provided to all of our clients’ communities: by doing this we demonstrate our value and ability to contribute to the community’s development (Farmer, 2014).Social Media is a technology we need to leverage. It can be used to promote our programs outwards to the community and become more visible.

Digital curation is a tool that many teacher-librarians are practising to present information to their learning communities. Fortunately there are many free digital curation tools. Cataloguing digital collections and presenting through OPAC searches is very important for regular access.

I am currently having a rethink on the design of a contemporary digital library space.  I understand that marketing strategies will be very important, visual communication and community-based webpages. Planning systemically for digital interactions will be important too.

The obvious follow on is the physical space of the Library. Not unlike many Libraries, the library where I work is about to go through a physical transformation: we are currently in the designing phase. As well as combining IT and Library services we are moving towards a social learning commons approach for our physical space.  We want to facilitate: informal and formal interactions between people, cross-curricular interaction and innovation, technology tools for collaboration, spaces for experimenting and making, displays of creative work.

Reference

Farmer, L. (2014). Innovative Technologies in Library Science. In V. Wang, Handbook of research on education and technology in a changing society (pp. 178-189). IGI Global.

Participatory Learning in a Library Program

If participatory learning is manifested most profoundly in the maker movement, then school libraries are in the box seat. Teacher-librarians can “hack the curriculum” and provide varied opportunities for school community to design, create and share in the Library spaces and the rest of the school.

Opportunities to engage in the design thinking process, including trialling, prototyping and failing are still far and few between in schools. A makerspace can provide a safe place for self directed designing, creating and learning.

I am about to begin this journey of starting a makerspace movement in the school where I work in the role of the teacher-librarian and a thought leader. It’s time to become a “maker-teacher”: I don’t know how to code, program or make electrical circuits, but I do know who to ask to work with me, how to facilitate students to work together and how to connect with others and find out what to do. I am crafty, but need to practice making more technical creations.

The next step on with a school makerspace will be to show students how to share and make their creations public. To develop the students into true contributing digital citizens the teaching community may need to redefine our approach to digital literacy. A lot more conversations need to be had about how to change the environment on the web responsively and creatively. Blogs, wikis and other web 2.0 tools need to be named participatory media not ‘new media’ (they have been around for years now). Proven successes like to YOUmedia and Dream Yard projects look very exciting: they provide great opportunities for student-centred learning.

Digital badges are an interesting concept and remind me a bit of the MOOC concept where it can be open to everyone to engage, learn and succeed. It could be a great way of connecting people to expertise. I think it will take a while to shift attitudes to the type of assessments we provide.