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.

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.

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

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?

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.

teacher survey questions screen shotstudent survey questions screen shot

 

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.

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.

When is content curation most effective?

Is-Content-Marketing-the-hot-new-trend-infographic

Content Curation is most effective when the person is being both a strategist and curator. The person is informed, experienced and can be trusted. They need to have an intention to create a planned digital ecosystem.  In education content curation can be most effective when conducted by a teacher-librarian who knows their school community, curriculum and great tools to use. The teacher-librarian should have a strategy on how their clientele are going to access and use the curated content.

Another line of thought is that when practiced and encouraged a class of students and their teacher collaboratively curating content for a shared learning task could be effective in regards to the students owning  and directing their learning. This process needs to be lead by an educator with a strategy for the digital ecosystem too: even better if they are team-teaching with the school’s teacher-librarian.

 

‘Beware of Online Filter Bubbles’: an important video to view

Watching the TED talk ‘Beware of Online Filter Bubbles’by Eli Pariser reinforced for me the important role of the teacher-librarian in schools and also network and social media literacy (Rheingold,2010).   As a connected educator I need to be aware of where I sit in the internet, how my choices (of what I am clicking) effect the information I am viewing.  I have noticed regularly on Facebook and Twitter the number of suggested or similar posts come up.

you and internet Capture

(Pariser,2013)

The information conveyed by Pariser reinforces too all the warnings we give to students about overusing Google. if they keep on clicking on “junk food ” sites they are going to get more “junk food” sites next search.  Students’s ‘crap detection’ radars are going to have to work double time.

In the last twelve months in my role of as a teacher-librarian I have been using Peartrees to curate sites for topics that are taught.  We then catalogue these collections in our Library catalogue. There has been mostly positive responses to us doing this. A few teachers have complained that the students should find the sites themselves. It is my view that if the student bothers to find the Library’s curated collection and use the sites, its a good thing. The sites can act as a beginning point and may be a lot better than those that are being blocked by their own “filter bubble”. Hopefully my curated collections meet the Pariser’s recommendations for internet sites.

filter bubble important Capture

(Pariser, 2013)

pearltree collection Capture

Pearltree curated collections

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

Reflections on “Defining the connected educator”

Reflections on Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Pg 13.

Moving from co-operation to collaboration

My online study over the last eight years has played a major role in being a collaborator. As a student learning together with other students I have learned to appreciate the value of collaboration and forming networks of knowledge.

I don’t think I have moved beyond co-operation to collaborating completely as I need to share more and engage in more online conversations outside of the online university spaces.  Trying to get students and other teachers in my school community to collaborate is still very much a work in progress.

For 21st century learners collaboration is expected now to move forward and become part of a learning or professional network. Their traditional learning experience can be expanded so much. The place of social media will be expanded and more complicated. I think 21st century learners will need to engage with these platforms.

Pg. 17

Multiliterate?

This reflection activity was definitely a bit of a wakeup call; I need to actively increase my ability to engage students in real-life and global situations and continue to promote reflection with collaborative tools.  I need to make my learning environments richer in technology. I intend to increase my use of Moodle in my teaching so this should help. I think I am a learner leader in my workplace and amongst colleagues, one of the main reasons though is because I age actively engaged in post-graduate learning. It was not surprising to me then that I got my highest score in the section about ‘engage in professional growth and modelling digital citizenship and responsibility. I didn’t score myself many 3’s ( and nothing above) so I clearly have some work to do.

Pg.21

The connected educator

My understanding of a connected educator is a professional who is a learner, leader and sharer in collaborative knowledge networks. They make purposeful decisions to engage with others online to learn more about educating people. They encourage others to do the same as well. A connected educator helps create powerful knowledge networks with other connected educators.

“A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator” includes many connections with knowledge networks. I think when we truly become connected educators; sharing becomes part of our nature and not an over-thought task. I still have to make a conscious effort to share – I do wonder often if I am sharing the right sort of material.

A new culture of learning

Thomas and Brown’s article Arc-of-Life Learning  describes a new culture of learning that has evolved with the development of technology .It involves a digitally networked infrastructure where learners interact, form connections and collaborate whilst accessing the huge information network on the internet whilst participating in a variety of structured social media formats or web 2.0 tools.

As an adult  learner who is participating in my second online University course in less than ten years I can say that I have experienced this learning culture. Some of it has been supported by online forums on the university sites and at other times on social media eg. Twitter. Working in an online world I have reached out through this media.  This seems a common element in the stories shared in this article.

As an educator though, I have seen the education system be slow to take advantage of these opportunities in the digital world. Students don’t always share openly, unless they have to for an assessment task. I think it takes some practice and students have to experience the positive feelings and success described for themselves.

I know that students interact in this culture of learning out of school for  personal interests eg. computer gaming and coding.We need to encourage them to create knowledge in this way for their school studies.

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