Critical Reflection on INF537


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.

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

group computer

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:

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.



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:

What pedagogical and content knowledge do you bring to your practice?

The pedagogical and content knowledge I bring to my practice has evolved through my experiences as a Primary school teacher, study and practice as a teacher-librarian( in Primary and now a Secondary school) and currently through more extensive study in knowledge networks and digital innovation. I have strongly valued the way continued education has built up my pedagogical and content knowledge.

The main pedagogical and content knowledge I would draw on regularly is related to:

*social construction of knowledge

*the inquiry process

*Vygostky’s Zone of Proximal Development

*Knowledge building cycle

*evidence based practice

*reading strategies

*Hattie’s effect sizes

*Connectivism as a Digital Age Learning Theory

*Design Thinking

*Knowledge Networks construction and maintenance

*21st century literacies

Some of the References that have resonated with me are

Brown, T. (n.d.). Retrieved from Design Thinking – Thoughts by Tim Brown:

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organisations. Harper Business.

D.School. (2012). Method:How Might We Qustions method. Retrieved 2014, from

Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis, M. (2011). Future Work Skills 2020. Phoenix: University of Phoenix Research Institute.

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

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation accerlation: transforming organisational thinking. Boston: Pearson.

O’Connell, J. (2014, June). Preparing for the Impact of Web 3.0. Retrieved June 2014, from SlideShare:

Organisation, V. L. (2013). Feedback in schools by John Hattie. Retrieved October 2014, from Visible Learning Organisation:

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

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved March 31st, 2014, from elearnspace:

Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice a brief introduction. Retrieved April 2015, from





Assignment 6 Part B:Critical Reflection INF536

The commencement of this subject ‘Designing Spaces for Learning’ correlated with opportunities at my workspace to put my design thinking skills to the test.  My Leadership team at my school were noticing that I had valuable insights to share and I was ready to join them on a design process to design some new physical spaces in the school.

Personally I have learnt the value of observing environments and people to make better choices and decisions. I appreciate good service, functional spaces and the value of listening to users.

The nature of the Blog tasks encouraged me to realise the potential in changing the learning spaces to encourage collaboration, creativeness and newness.

Very early in the semester after reading Kuratko’s The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration: transforming organizational thinking.(2012) I began to recognise the value in collaboration, involving stakeholders in decision making  and developing a common language  abut design.  In preparation for initial talks about our school’s new Library design I developed a Flickr page where all stakeholders could add and observe images of Libraries they liked. I also helped transform and guide their thinking by sharing the principles from Kuratko (2012) and Brown (2009). What eventuated were  new, varied and many ideas! My library assistant even came up with a complete design and was included in the discussions with the leadership team and architect. This was a great example of participatory design (Woolner, 2009).

Following on from this positive experience I then began to frame my ideas for learning spaces in a more defined manner. My first attempt was to write a design brief for the new library using Kurtako’s (2012) recommendations as a guideline. The next design brief I wrote was for the entrance of our school (Blog task 3): for the first time ever I used Stanford’s How might we?… Method.  This simple change in framing the design brief really allowed be to come up with new ideas and contemplate the unknowns (Hatchuel,2004).

I have come to realise, partly through recently completing the Case Study on changes that have happened in our digital learning space that I can use my understanding of the design process, design thinking approaches, creative culture and the importance of recognising the influences and interactions of learning pedagogy, space and technology (Wilson & Randall, 2012) to reflect on past practices and make better decisions during future design projects.

Digital design is an aspect of education where I can see a lot of potential for innovation. The different online spaces like  McIntosh’s (2010)‘Seven Spaces’ , Thornburg’s(2014)campfires, watering holes, caves, life spaces and then Runnquist’s(2011) mountain-top spaces  has helped me identify new ideas that are yet to be integrated in our developing online spaces.

I feel more motivated now to facilitate a creative culture in my educational organisation and beyond. I know I am able to facilitate conversations about creative culture after a successful creative coffee morning. I do notice sometimes that the ’Status Quo’ and pragmatism  in education organisations can challenge one’s ability to be creative when changing learning spaces, but I think that a better understanding of approaches like design thinking will help me contribute to transforming the future schools that I work in and have an impact on student’s learning.


Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organisations. Harper Business., Stanford University, How might we?… Method Card: Accessed March 1, 2014

Hatchuel, A., Le Masson, P., & Weil, B. (2004). CK theory in practice: lessons from industrial applications. In DS 32: Proceedings of DESIGN 2004, the 8th International Design Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation accerlation: transforming organisational thinking. Boston: Pearson.

McIntosh, E. (2010). Clicks and Bricks: How Schools Buiidlings Influence Future Practice and Technology Adoption. Educational Facility Planner, Volume 45, Issues 1 & 2.

Runnquist, A. (2011). Learning envrionments based on learning. Retrieved October 2014, from Vittrabloggen:

Thornburg, D. D. (2014, March). From the Campfire to the Holodeck, How Place Matters in Education. Retrieved October 2014, from Youtube:

Wilson, G., & Randall, M. (2012). The implementation and evaluation of a new learning space: a pilot study. Research in Learning Technology, Vol.20.

Woolner, P. (2009). Building schools for the future through participatory design process: exploring the issues and investigating ways forward. BERA 2009. Manchester.

Digital Space comparisons

A number of posts on this blog have discussed the evolution of the digital spaces at the school I teach at.

This is a picture of the ‘CommonPlace’ LMS and digital space which is our school’s current intranet.


Figure 1: ‘CommonPlace’ student workspaces

Common place 2

Figure 2: A student workspace in ‘CommonPlace’

The next group of images are of sites developed on ‘Remodel’ to facilitate a flipped classroom, collaborative learning and strong feedback focused teaching and learning pedagogy.

science space  video

Figure 3: A video for students to watch for homework on ‘Remodel’

science space link

Figure 4: A link to online curated content from the school Library in a ‘Remodel’ workspace.

science space

Figure 5: Information about a subject’s content for the term in ‘Remodel’.

science space

Figure 6: The front page of a Science unit with an outline of the activities to be expected in ‘Remodel’.

As can be seen ‘Remodel’ has allowed the teachers to produce much more dynamic digital learning environments.

Pedagaogy, Space and Technology; a wonderful combination

Optimal educational learning spaces require pedagogy, space and technology to  enhance, use and support each other.  Below is a diagram that I have found helpful in illustrating how pedagogy, space and technology work together in learning spaces.

pedagogy, space and technology 2 radcliffe The PST Framework (adapted from Radcliffe, 2009, as cited by Wilson, G. and Randall,M.,2011)

Interestingly I found another version of Radcliffe’s framework on the Journal of Finnish University of Applied Science website(Wikström-Grotell, C.,2013).

PST framework 1

Finland has emerged as the leading OECD country in educational achievement . One key element has effected Finland’s success -excellent teachers using quality pedagogy(Sahlberg,P., 2010). Finnish schools also concentrate on equality, educational attainment , distribution of budgets, high quality and innovative school learning spaces.

Evaluating using this framework could allow  for quality evaluation and focused attention to the key interacting factors of pedagogy, space and technology.


*Jetsonen,S., Johansson, E., Nuikkinen, K. & Sahlberg, P. The Best School in the World. Musuem of Finnish Architecture.

*Sahlberg, P. (2010). The Secret to Finland’s Success:Educating Teachers.Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

*Wikström-Grotell, C. (2013). Arcada – A Place For Space. Journal of Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences, No 1 (2013).

*Wilson, G., & Randall, M. (2012). The implementation and evaluation of a new learning space: a pilot study.Research In Learning Technology, 20(2), 1-17. doi:10.3402/rlt.v20i0.14431