INF532 Read & Reflect Module 1.1

Reflection on

De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). London: Facet.

  • What are some of the defining characteristics of the Internet and world wide web that have stimulated the creation for new models of information production?
  • What are some of the challenges that these models present to educators and/or information professionals?

 

One of the defining changing characteristics of the internet that fascinates me has been the rise of not only Google, but Social Media platforms as a whole. Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Google+, and others have grown exponentially over the past decade and a company like Facebook is continuously evolving. I recently read an article that showed how FB has changed and is now on of our main forms of news & classifieds; replacing traditional print media, but also many online retail sites like carsales.com. At the same time that FB increases its users, more data is being generated and more information being shared. As an educator the challenge is making sure students understand the role these sites will play in their lives, but also how they can manage the information they share and receive. One of the biggest challenges for most Australian schools is that many websites and social media sites are completely blocked for students.

Growing & Connecting

It has been a journey from a basic understanding, to an enlightened disposition on digital citizenship over the past 12 weeks. I have been an active participant online with using PLN’s, managing my digital footprint and recognising the role of creative commons. However, the course has managed to extend my understanding significantly with regards to school leadership and vision, and I have been fascinated by the readings and resources in the course.

I have only made 2 blog posts thus far in the course this semester, and my intentions to do more have been consumed by being a full-time teacher and barely keeping my head above water at times. Being constantly connected and interacting with a PLN has made me use that as my main areas to reflect and question course material. My first blog post introduced some of my thoughts and a link to my personal blog, which has over 80 reflective posts from the past 3 years. The second blog post introduced how I’m introducing my students to twitter and the concept of PLN’s. I have always encouraged using social media for learning, but now I’m actively teaching my students how and why it is important to understand digital citizenship concepts.

Initially, the course introduced concepts that I was very familiar with, DLE, PLN, Information overload & curation; but then the move to understanding global digital citizenship issues really challenged me to explore it more deeply. The group assignment paired me with three educators that come from very different backgrounds, and locations. Working collaboratively through Hangouts, Google Docs and the Wikispaces platform was challenging; but ultimately rewarding with our final product that we produced. Besides the group task, being able to chat on a regular basis with fellow students online has allowed us to push one another and assist each other on this journey.

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One of my favourite quotes from the modules was this one, “21st Century skills harness not only the power of technology but the power of people” from ‘Flattening classrooms, engaging minds’, (Lindsay & Davis, 2012, p. 2). Connecting with fellow students on Twitter has been a great way to share ideas and resources, including the Twitter chat myself and Jordan Grant ran on digital citizenship (Storify of chat).

Being passionate about connected learning and forming a wide-ranging PLN has allowed me to explore many opportunities. This course, previous units and various readings have formed the basis of some of the presentations I will be doing at a number of Conferences over the coming months. Creating positive professional networks gives me access to a variety of experts, but also allows me to share with others.

 

The last 3 modules put the school vision and leadership clearly in the framework and how important it is to have strong leadership. My knowledge has grown in understanding that the whole spectrum of digital citizenship needs to be embedded in all areas of school. My own research and readings have confirmed that teachers themselves need to be better equipped to teach digital citizenship, and that many schools do not have a clear vision on digital citizenship beyond cyber safety.

Moving on from this course I hope to create more awareness at my school on the range of digital citizenship areas, especially student digital footprint and creating global connections. To accomplish this it would involve getting the school leadership on board with a number of key stakeholders to determine the school vision for digital citizenship. There are a number of key resources shared by educators and organisations, from Christine Haynes’s post, to the Common Sense Media (2016) website. As I pursue to bring about some changes I know it will need to be a collective effort, but an absolute necessity in preparing students for the connected future.

Connected Learning

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

 

 

 

References

Common Sense Media (2016). Common Sense: Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/digital-citizenship

Haynes, C. (2016). Digital Citizenship: A Community ApproachRetrieved from http://christinehaynes.me/digital-citizenship-a-community-approach/

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2012). Flattening classrooms, engaging minds: Move to global collaboration one step at a time. New York: Allyn and Bacon.

 

The origins of my Blog Name

I shared this post recently during the #28daysofwriting with my Blog. A bit more background about me and the origins of my blog name.

Teaching (River)

Photo by Takashi Hososhima (CC BY-SA 2.0)
I qualified as a teacher in 2010 and started my first full-time teaching post at the start of 2011. I had decided to change careers when my wife and I moved to Australia at the start of 2009. Previously I had done a gap year in New Zealand to play rugby, then studied 4 years and obtained degrees in Logistics Management, then two years in the UK, followed by four years in South Africa before moving to Australia.
 
Photo by Neil Howard  (CC BY-NC 2.0)

When I started blogging I had to choose a Title for the Blog and signing up to Twitter I had to choose a twitter Handle. I selected the names ‘The Teaching River’ for the blog and @jdtriver for Twitter. By pure coincidence the school I work at is called Riverside, but this is not where the ‘river’ name originated. (parts of this blog post is from one I did many years ago)


So let me explain.

Photo by Mark Seaton (CC BY-NC 2.0)

I believe our lives as teachers, (as individuals and as students), is like a river. We start life flowing along from a starting point. We have different influences as we grow up – parents, siblings, family, friends, school, sport, hobbies, culture and much more that form and shape our character. We leave our comfort, our family homes and familiar surroundings and head downstream to the next phase in our lives.

Photo by Adeel Shaikh (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

We then enter our lives as teachers, where we have countless streams flowing into the river – students, colleagues, parents, communities, media, technology, government, and each one may have multiple streams. Then as the river flows, we go through calm patches – the periods where everything just runs smoothly. Then there are times of rapids, filled with ups and downs – teaching goes through so many emotional and stressful phases, but the river does not stop and nor does our teaching. No matter what is happening, the river pushes through and garners momentum as it heads towards the ocean.

Yellowstone River by Charles Peterson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)



Then there are the streams that flow out from a river. This is where we influence people and make a difference in their lives. Then they head off in their own river and influence the lives of others. Eventually the rivers will reach the ocean, and this symbolises how teaching never ends and the legacy you create in your students goes out to the rest of the world.

Life does not happen in isolation, we all are influenced by others and in turn influence people. I know that my life as a teacher I will go through many phases, ups and downs, and that they are all part of my own learning journey.  This is how I see the link with a river, the continuous flow of developing my own skills, learning, gaining knowledge and wisdom, being a role model, a positive influence and mentor to my students.
 
I love ‘Teaching’, I’m proud to call myself a ‘Teacher’; and the complexity of learning and constant change makes it the most fascinating profession in the world. 
 
‘Always Learning’

The Start

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I’m sitting here tonight getting myself ready to launch into my first Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation) subject, INF530 Concepts & Practices for a Digital Age. What an exciting course to start this new learning journey with, and I’m nervous and excited at the same time. There will be a learning curve, there will be challenges and there will be frustrations, but the growth that lies ahead is so inviting. From deciding to enroll in this course 6 months ago, to now, the anticipation has been building.  Now the time is here.

I’m looking forward to this journey; Learning alongside so many wonderful educators and being challenged in my thinking by the incredible lecturers involved. ‘Always Learning’ is part of my motto with everything I do, and I’m looking forward to doing this with everyone in this course over the next few years.

Jacques

Image: creative commons licensed (BY 2.0) Flickr photo by Official US Navy Page: https://flic.kr/p/fcEdEt