As I reflect on how my views, knowledge and understanding I found myself further exploring ideas and notions yet comforted by day-to-day practice within the classroom. I never viewed myself as a designer nor entailing design-thinking skills, however through recent literature studies I recognised the array of elements I utilise on a daily basis. Design-thinking skills are skills that we need to allow our students the opportunity to explore and develop.
Throughout the course, I was challenged by what the future holds for education and learning institutions. Educators must embrace change, use new technologies, review our teaching pedagogy and collaborate with others. Administration, educators and academics must encompass a holistic thinking approach that views beyond the boundaries of the school. Education extends beyond the previously conceived perceptions and educators must provide students with opportunities to be challenged, collaborate and sense a level of connection.
My greatest learning of digital learning environments throughout the course was the use of the university portal. Within this one environment I was retrieving course content online, responding through forums online and researching online. This learning environment was very new to me as previous study I engaged in was face-to-face classes. Initially my eagerness to engage with new digital tools was overshadowed by some intimidating and confronting environments. I find switching role from teacher to learner is always a valuable experience as I reflect on my personal teaching practices.
Reflecting on my feelings of intimidation throughout the course I recognise that is not a learning environment I intend for my students. People are more likely to prevent themselves from feeling pain than they are to strive for pleasure. With this in mind I do my best to create an environment that is safe, and a place to make errors in which to learn from. Does a public forum create a safe environment? Is the person making the most comments online the only one who is working? Do people who have fabulous thoughts/ideas/resources not present these on the forum? Considering the responses to these questions, I pose the question:
How effective is this learning environment?
However, in this Information Age, people are required to partner up with learning skills, literacy skills and life skills. Today, people must be life learners. Being a learner of the 21st century, one must acquire the skills to think critically, work collaboratively, think creatively and be an effective communicator. Literacy skills are vital and in today’s world but being able to read is not enough. One must be able to connect with media and technology, as well as understand the various forms of information that is produced. Life skills are the traits that ensure people experience success both as a learner and in the world beyond. Living in the 21st century one needs to be flexible, show initiative, display social skills, be productive and demonstrate leadership. Digital environments have the potential to create opportunities, enhancing skill development provided that today’s educators manipulate the space appropriately.