a) An evaluative statement using the networked learning experiences documented on your Thinkspace blog as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of this subject
Educators need to understand the social nature of knowledge networks and the production of information to lead the members of their school communities on a process from being “knowledgeable to knowledge-able” (Wesch, 2010). Throughout this subject Knowledge Networking for Educators INF532 using my blog as a place of reflection, thought and creation I have come to understand more about the nature of information, social networks, information management, learning with digital tools and the value of a personal learning network.
In my first blog post for INF532 I wrote about being a student studying these new models of information (McQueen,2015 March 17) I wanted to attain more knowledge and skills about encouraging my learning community to create content, facilitating great learning (for all), preservation (& curation) of information and expand my Personal learning Network (PLN) and Personal Learning Environment (PLE). I have not been disappointed by the experiences that followed in this subject.
New models of information based on the technology tools of blogs, social media and global communication have had an exponential growth effect on content creation and seen the transformation of existing information formats. Blog posts now can be seen as credible sources of information for e.g. The Huffington Post (De Saulles, 2012). Blogs are going to form a major part of my future PLE in the future; using the tool Feedly to follow blogs more effectively and strategically is a great starting point (McQueen, 2015 May 29).
Educators and our students are operating in a world where there is a new culture of learning. It’s a culture of learning where we can easily access unlimited resources and amazing technological tools, where learning can be ‘real’ in nearly every area of education and our lives (Thomas & Brown, 2011). This subject encourages educators to examine this culture and try to work out ways to cultivate it, helping others best learn and develop skills to continue learn in many contexts; digital, social and those that don’t even exist yet. I share many progressive thinking educators’ view that schools’ progression into this new culture of learning is being hindered and not supported by many aspects in our educational system (McQueen, 2015 March 21).
However as leaders in educational pedagogy we must take advantage of opportunities to show others how learning environments can be designed differently. We need to take advantage of the diverse, collective nature of the new learning culture where others can learn from each other (Thomas & Brown, 2011) In Assessment item 2 for this subject I planned and designed a knowledge artefact to instruct my school teaching community about how a teaching team can benefit from developing an online community of practice (McQueen, 2015 March 22). The knowledge networking concepts that I addressed in the artefact were ‘communities of practice’ (Wenger, 2006), ‘participatory cultures’ (Rheingold, Participation Power, 2012), ‘networked learning’ (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011)and ‘social media literacies’ (Rheingold, 2010). The process of creating this artefact was time consuming, but the persistence in learning to use new tools was worthwhile in the end. I took time during this process to research instructional design techniques that were relevant to adult learners’ needs (Moloney, 2010). The exegesis about this knowledge artefact summarised the purpose and impact of my artefact in supporting knowledge networking in my school’s community of teachers (McQueen, 2015 May 31).The opportunity to observe and critique another colleague’s knowledge artefact provided feedback and access to these artefacts for further use and also practice in the art of evaluating instructional design elements (McQueen, 2015 May 27).
INF532 has facilitated many opportunities to develop a suite of new media tools for information management, content creation, content curation, collaborative work. I have tried out new tools like Listly (McQueen, 2015 May 29), Feedly (McQueen, 2015 March 21), Pixabay (McQueen 2015 May 31), and persevered with some of my existing tools like groups Diigo and Pinterest to use them more widely. My ever expanding use of Twitter though has been the most influential in developing my PLN. The power of participation (Rheingold, Participation Power, 2012)was recently made evident when some recent new ideas on the planning of a new Library spaces were amplified via Twitter. Linking information with hashtags and connecting with influential others makes the sharing of good ideas easy. Facilitating these connections leads to the feeling of being a ‘connected educator’ or even leader (McQueen, 2015 May 29).
Pariser’s (2013) talk about “online filter bubbles” highlighted the importance of not only the way networks are influential and monitored in the internet but also the place of educators and especially teacher-librarians to be content curators. Using social curation tools like Pearltrees, Listly, and Pinterest are ways for connected educators to curate and share at the same time (McQueen, 2015 May 22).
Taking time to consider a better future direction in education, so we can support connected learners led to a closer investigation of flipped teaching (McQueen, 2015 May 29) .Amplifying learning using digital tools like Skype, Twitter and Google Hangouts is a simple but effective way of engaging learners and broadcasting their knowledge and created content (McQueen, 2015 May 29). Augmented reality is another new form of engaging connected learners which warrants further investigation (McQueen, 2015 May 28).
INF532 and the reflective blog I continued to contribute to, has provided the networked experiences which have collectively and creatively have made me a much more connected educator.
b) A reflective statement on your development as a connected educator as a result of studying INF532, and the implications for your role as a ‘connected leader’ within your school community, and/or at district/state/national level
To be a connected educator one must first understand what it means to be a learner within our (digital) connected work and also examine them as educator (Nussbaum-Beach & Hall, 2012). As a result of studying INF532 I have developed an understanding of how knowledge networks form, can be facilitated and encouraged to flourish and also examine myself as a (connected) educator.
In the beginning of INF532 I reflected on my status as a connected educator (McQueen, 2015 April 6). Whilst engaging in Nussbaum-Beach & Hall’s (2012)reflection activity I identified a need for me collaborate with a wider group of people more often especially those teachers and students at my own school, engage students in real-life and global situations and make learning environments richer in technology. I have always been a learner leader in my academic groups, school and district community but I obviously needed to connect more; outside (not just in an academic manner) and within my school community. I can say that I have become more collaborative through content creation, sharing and connective with others over the last semester. Throughout INF532 I have learnt the rules of good and effective content curation (McQueen, 2015 May 23), the power in participation to build a PLN (McQueen, 2015 May 29) and how my pedagogy that I bring to my practice has progressively shifted. I recently checked in with my social media literacy skills (Rheingold, Attention and 21st-century social media literacies, 2010) and found that yes they are interconnected and more refined (McQueen,2015 May 31).
A big learning curve and confidence boost as a connected educator happened when I uploaded my very own knowledge networking artefact to YouTube: How can a teaching team benefit from developing an online community of practice , shared it in Twitter and then bravely with my own school’s teaching community. The process of writing the exegesis and assessing others helped reinforce the important of using such artefacts to lead communities in building knowledge networks (McQueen, 2015, May 31 & 27).
The mindset that “we must take up the challenge on designing the future of education” (rather than dream or dread it) can lead to exciting prospects for the future of leaning (2Revolutions, 2012). The future design of schools and education requires a shift from hierarchical to networked learning to be able to be lifelong learners. Connected educators and leaders who understand these concepts are needed in schools to ensure that learning that happens in their schools is future proof (Schravemade, 2015). Establishing and setting purposes for these knowledge networks is an important part of this process too(McQueen, 2015 May 23).
In taking up this challenge, I will need to continue to try new tools and strategies, expand my PLN, create new content, share and curate content, and support connected learners. At the end of INF532 I shared some ideas for my future endeavours; they range from more complex curating, to public blogging and amplifying learning globally (McQueen, 2015 May 30).
The implications for my role as a connected leader will happen in my classrooms physical and digital), school, district and even globally. Teacher-Librarians play an important role because “they are intrinsically linked to effective and responsive information curation and dissemination in distributed environments within and beyond the school” (O’Connell, 2011) I feel a responsibly to lead the design for change in my local and global communities. I am lucky I have a supportive Principal who believes teacher librarians can be game changers. I have always felt that Libraries and their leaders and staff have opportunities to be the antidote to those aspects that our education systems have not got quite right. The study I have done so far in this degree and INF532 has provided me with a seat at the table to join in and lead conversations about new designs for learning in our schools.
I listened with interest to Greg Green, the Principal who ‘flipped’ his whole school. It didn’t happen overnight. He connected with a small group of like-minded educators who could see a more effective way of teachers and students working together to facilitate better learning. They were a group of innovative educators, they tried out new tools, shared their ideas and success; others caught on (November, 2011). Now Green and his team have redesigned the learning and their students have developed life-long learning skills. This is knowledge networking and designing better education practices at its best.
As a connected educator who now has skills in creating knowledge networks I can design better education practices too and in the process support and lead connected learners on any scale: local to global. I can lead them in the use and organisation of information, sharing of ideas, learning and the creation of knowledge.
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