Connected Potential & Changing Mindsets

The new innovations of the past two decades have created a digitally connected community of learners. Yet, many educators are not embracing the potential they hold and are thus becoming more disconnected with their students and communities. This is part of my own personal aim in this course – to learn new ideas, skills, knowledge and understanding, so that I can support my students, staff and parents in embracing the Digital Age.  Students may be assigned the term ‘Digital Natives’, but many are far from being proficient or aware of their own learning and interactions in the digital world. The reading about Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (Prensky 2001) reinforced some of my views on the topic of ‘digital natives’ vs ‘digital immigrants’ perspective. Even though my students are all born in the Digital Age (current Year 12’s born in 1998), many are unskilled in utilising technology as a an effective way to learn, create, connect and communicate.

The concept and practices of the Digital Age is the driving force behind enrolling into the CSU Masters course. The Digital Age is where I’m working, living, learning and interacting in, and thus it is essential as an educator that I’m acutely aware of my own understanding and knowledge of this area. My teaching context involves being the Head of Humanities for an independent Christian College in a regional town in Queensland. The region is one of the lowest socio-economic areas in the state, with some of the highest unemployment figures across all areas of society (a challenge in itself). My role involves teaching Senior Modern & Ancient History, as well as Business Management for Year 11 & 12. Since changing careers from Logistics to Education I have been amazed by the connected world for educators and I love engaging in discussions with educators from all sectors.

There is a digital convergence taking place with regards to media, literacy, communication and sharing of knowledge. The ubiquitous nature of technology is allowing for new practices to emerge and requires new methods of engaging learners to develop. However it does not come down to technological skills alone, but rather the mindset changing amongst educators and students. This is well supported in this image by Reid Wilson on ‘The Profile of a Modern Teacher’:

The Profile of a Modern Teacher by reid Wilson (CC BY-NC-ND)

Another reading I came across was on ‘What is 21st century learning? by Amy Heavin that was published on Fractus Learning:

“What is 21st century learning?

  • It is collaboration.
  • It is creativity.
  • It is critical thinking and problem-solving.
  • It is research and information literacy.
  • It is digital citizenship.
  • It is responsible use.”

Immersion into the developing these skills to connect and share knowledge will become key for educators and students. The ease of access to information and possibilities to share knowledge has resulted in a paradigm shift that needs to be embraced, fostered and utilised to realise its full potential.

The  Connected Learning Research Hub discussed in Module 1.6 really reinforced my beliefs, and challenged me to develop my own thinking further to serve my students.  The infographic I find incredibly powerful, and is a wonderful model of learning in the information age. This leads me into my own goals and challenges with making connections between the different groups, allowing digital tools to be utilised to their potential and developing my own knowledge and understanding through this course.

Connected Learning

Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub (CC BY 3.0)

 

References

Connected Learning Infographic | Connected Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2015, from http://connectedlearning.tv/infographic

Educators Need to be 21st Century Learners Too… (2014, July 15). Retrieved March 15, 2015, from http://www.fractuslearning.com/2014/07/15/educators-21st-century-learners/

Prensky, M. (2001, 12). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. doi: 10.1108/10748120110424816

Sheninger, E. C. (n.d.). Digital leadership: Changing paradigms for changing times.

Wayfaring Path. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2015, from http://www.coetail.com/wayfaringpath/2014/10/14/the-profile-of-a-modern-teacher/

3 thoughts on “Connected Potential & Changing Mindsets

  1. I absolutely love the” Profile of A Modern Teacher.” Thank you for sharing this. Am starting to believe that teaching in the 21st C is all about mindset and developing a can do attitude. Definitely an exciting time to be a modern teacher.

    • Hi Michelle. I also love ‘The Profile of a Modern Teacher’. Mindset and connecting is definitely key for professional growth.

  2. I hear you, Jacques.

    Yes, changing mindsets is a challenge. And yes, there are many educators are not embracing the potentials they could – are teachers too busy, too tied with the familiar, or simply too tired to take on new technologies that would connect with students and enliven education?

    I too come with an interest in changing the mindset of both students and educators, but also with an interest in taming the flow of information and communication that is thrust upon us all. Even now as INF 530 continues, there is an occasional wall I hit when it all seems too much to take on. If nothing else, I have re-learned what it feels to be a student in today’s ‘always on’ information overloaded world.

    But yes, as an educator it is also clear that having technology and technological skills is not enough, and that we must control the tools.

    Yet another example of this hit home recently, when at a staff PD, a newish online tool was introduced. To me it was simply an updated version (maybe rebadged) of an earlier “web 2.0 tool” (do we still use that term?), but that it was received and utilised collaboratively was a positive thing. So finding these tools to connect is great – we just need the right time, place and context.

    Another thing I particularly like about your post, Jacques, is ‘the Profile of a Modern Teacher’, which clearly illustrates the need for educators to be learners too – among other significant but humbling challenges. Perhaps it is worth placing in many staffrooms – alongside the ‘Connected Learning Infographic’?

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