Assessment 1: INF541 Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 1

It is the Year 2017 and the introduction of new technologies and applications is accelerating. The education landscape today is markedly different to previous generations. The current group of Year 12 students in Queensland were mostly born in 2000; they have grown up in a world that is saturated with media, internet connectivity, smartphones, tablet computing, gaming, social media and video streaming. This is their world now, and educational systems are rapidly scrambling to adjust and keep up.

               eLearningIndustry (2017)

As John Seely Brown poses this question for schools to reflect on regarding their future, “What will schools, universities and research institutes look like in five years time?” (DML Research Hub, 2012) This is difficult to grasp based on the changes that keep taking place and the sheer speed of technological changes. At the same time according to Becker (2011), digital games technology is developing at a furious pace but relatively little scholarly work exists on the use of modern digital games for education. This is where the article of Jennings (2011) also adds to the argument through the research by Griffith University professor, Dr Catherine Beavis, an expert in video game-based learning,  where she says “schools still have a way to go before they can harness the full educational potential of video games” and she believes that  ” there is tremendous potential for games-based learning, but also the potential for things to go seriously wrong…”

 

My own personal belief is that Game Based Learning (GBL) should be part of the whole digital education reform, and that it deserves a place alongside introducing ‘digital literacy’ skills and embedding it in all aspects of curriculum.  Both Vincent Trundle, digital education producer at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), and many other educational researchers recognise how using video games to create diverse learning experiences is beneficial and important in being incorporated into contemporary education (Jennings, 2011). These games allow students and teachers to further develop the key 21st-century skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, connecting, and critical inquiry.

Digital Game Based Cartoon (2011)

As games and gaming appear to have arrived on the educational-technology agenda, how do you see them fitting into your practice?

As a senior History and Business teacher I mainly teach the Year 12s at the school, focused on developing skills and preparing them for OP/ATAR requirements. This makes it very important that any gaming/games that I consider to integrate fits in well with the subjects and benefits the skills development of my students. I have used Kahoot and BreakoutEdu, and various other games along the way; but they need further thought and research.

 

What is the context of your learning?

This is my 3rd last subject with my Masters studies in Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation. At the same time, I’m very active with my PLN online through Twitter (@jdtriver), Google Educator Groups and TeachMeets. They have all given me a rich experience on the importance of twenty-first century digital pedagogy and driven me to keep developing my skills.

 

What are your personal aims in this subject?

To develop a greater understanding of the research and theory behind GBL. Also to explore different games, platforms and tools; seeing how they could benefit myself, my students or my colleagues. I would also like to be able to integrate GBL more effectively in my senior class and share my knowledge with my school community.

 

What challenges are you hoping to meet for yourself?

Managing work-study-family-health balance for a start, as well as the various education commitments outside my school that I’m involved in. I would like to develop a greater understanding of GBL, and as someone that is fairly new to gaming in general, I would like to challenge myself to explore and try various new GBL ideas along the way. The biggest challenge will be to share my newly acquired knowledge with staff and overcoming any resistance to these ideas.

 

I’m looking forward to the journey ahead and deeper exploration of GBL.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Becker, K. (2011). Distinctions between games and learning: A review of current literature on games in education. In Gaming and Simulations: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications (pp. 75-107). Hershey, PA

Digital Game-Based Learning Cartoon (2017) flickr photo by Son Le (GER) [IMAGE] Retrieved from https://flickr.com/photos/donjonson/5351362611

DMLResearchHub. (2012,Sept 18). The global one schoolhouse: John Seely Brown [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/fiGabUBQEnM

Elearningindustry.com. (2017). Gamification and Game based learning. [IMAGE] Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/gamification-and-game-based-learning-yes-they-are-different.jpg

Jennings, J. (2014, November 20). ‘Teachers re-evaluate value of video games’ [Digital Newspaper Article], The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/teachers-reevaluate-value-of-video-games-20141110-11jw0i

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.

 

PLN’s and Digital Citizenship

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Over the past 10 weeks doing the ETL523 subject I have found the course to be extremely interesting and challenging at the same time. I know that I have been growing/supporting my own PLN over the past 4 years through Twitter, Google+. Blogging, Instagram, Facebook, etc. and learning what it means to be a digital citizen. I have actively worked with my students the past few weeks in developing their understanding of digital citizenship and how they could use social media for learning. They already use Facebook to chat about school, use Skype when discussing work, but now I want to show them the potential of Twitter and other tools to create their own PLN. It’s going slowly, trialling some ideas with my history students in-between all the curriculum we need to cover, and it is really a learning process. Feel free to check out the hashtag that we are using in the class #mhrcc16. More experiments and exploration to follow in the coming weeks. Any advice or suggestions is always appreciated.

 

Now my focus over the next 3 weeks turn to the final assignment in the course and preparing for 2 intense weeks of Conferences, training and events that follow it.

At long last a Blog Post

With all my intentions to be more active in blogging this year, and focus on this one in particular, it has just not happened. The teaching year started off with such a bang with an increased workload and my little girl starting Prep, and now I’m trying to find my blogging voice again. Over the past 4 years I have been a regular/infrequent blogger on my personal site: The Teaching River. Here I have about 80 posts, almost 15,000 views and great recap of my thoughts over the years. Writing does not come naturally to me, but I realised how powerful blogging is as a reflective tool and I have persisted. Some of my posts have been enlightening for myself, others have been badly written, and others have inspired some of my readers. Please have a look if you would like to know more about me.

I have found beside blogging, Twitter as my go-to place for all information and sharing. I started slowly, but over the past 2 years I have become fairly active on Twitter and my PLN has grown exponentially, and herein the power of a PLN has created many opportunities, sharing and collaboration.

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This quote I found last night on Twitter sums up beautifully the potential of a connected PLN allows on Twitter:
Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 8.37.29 PM

 

 

 

I’m loving this unit ETL523 on Digital Citizenship. It is an area that I love exploring and reading about. It is part of my daily life, and I’m hoping to integrate more of these ideas into my school over the coming months.

Now it is time to catch up on the Forums, a few readings finish the modules and delve into the first assignment with my group.

Assessment 4 Critical Reflection Blog post

What a ride this has been! Almost 14 weeks of intense exploration of design thinking and learning spaces. Over the course of the past semester I have been challenged, stretched and pushed to my limit. Juggling full-time work, family and studies is not for the faint-hearted. My first exposure to design thinking happened a year ago at the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney where the two days was led by members of NoTosh, Tom Barrett and Hamish Currie. It was an eye-opening experience, but nothing like this course, that is now drawing to a close.

 

Moonshot Statement

My Moonshot Statement from GTA Sydney 2014

From the opening of the course with Phillipe Starck (2007, March), “design is the possibility to invent a new story”; to John Hockenberry (2012, June) saying how important intent is in design. Discovering how important user-centred design is, and the reaffirmation of my thoughts on students wanting to be challenged. Over the weeks I have learnt more about immersion, synthesising, ideation, prototyping and feedback. This design journey is so powerful and I can see new connections/ideas to experiment with in my own learning context.


flickr photo shared by @boetter under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

I started with the initial Blog post about a small change in my learning space – Here, and the main focus was on getting the actual users (the students) involved in reimagining the space. The second Blog post – Here, showed the chaotic design of my staff room with all its faults. Both these posts made me realise the power of observation, and especially trying to place myself in someone else’s shoes. This is so powerful in developing a sense of empathy, and it is one of my big takeaways from the course.

My 'War Room' with these new fun Tesla Amazing Magnetic notes

My ‘War Room’ with these new fun Tesla Amazing Magnetic notes

Another area that I really enjoyed was learning about the Coffee mornings, followed by a form of professional learning that I love, TeachMeets. These informal opportunities are a fantastic opportunity for a diverse group of people to share, connect and build relationships. The ‘Seven Spaces of Learning’ discussed in Module six was very interesting and are that I plan on exploring further. Spaces where learning take place are continuously evolving, and it is fascinating seeing the power of technology and new creative ideas transforming learning.

 

The role of space in learning is important, but it is the actual pedagogy developed with the space in mind that activates the learning. Exploring the readings and videos in this course has shown me some wonderful creative designs and supported a lot of my own thoughts on using student voice in designing learning. The role of multidisciplinary teams in generating ideas, coming up with solutions and being creative is another point to remember.

 

I have made new contacts through the Forum, Twitter and used Google Hangouts with Jordan Grant on almost a daily basis to discuss and explore the content (especially the week leading up to assessment deadlines). Overall the course has ignited my interest in delving deeper in design thinking and how space impacts learning. I’m looking forward to exploring the work of Ewan McIntosh, Charles Leadbeater, Tim Brown, Stephen Heppell and many others over the coming months. Time to immerse myself in the next phase of learning…

 

References

Hockenberry, J. (2012, June). Transcript of ‘We are all designers’. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/john_hockenberry_we_are_all_designers/transcript

Starck, P. (2007, March). Design and destiny [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/philippe_starck_thinks_deep_on_design

Blog Task 2: Observation – The Staffroom Collision

The area selected is my school staffroom, a place where it is getting harder and harder to move around in.
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The Staffroom (Sketch by J. du Toit, 2015)
My observations took place during the morning rush around break time, as staff eat lunches and have coffee. Observations included seeing how people interacted with the kitchen area and the seating area (more here: https://goo.gl/OyiLs2). I watched as staff tried to get to the microwaves first, then dodging one another as they try and get coffee made. At the same time staff trying to get their lunches out the fridge, find elusive spoons/forks, and trying to get to a seat as quickly as possible. The seating is very close to one another, makes it difficult to move between. The middles school staff come through, walking a maze to get to their staffroom (This was a new area added this year, the outside area was converted.). Many tables remain empty, and one table very loud (junior school, great conversations taking place).
One of the issues that I’m noticing is that it was redesigned in a similar way as the previous staffroom; (before the move to the new building space and growth in staff numbers). This is an issue that John Hockenberry (2012) mentions in his TED Talk – ‘we cannot keep designing like we did in the past’.  The space needs adjustment, including considering new and creative ideas to better meet the needs of teachers and learners (Brown, 2008).
Time to initiate change…

INF530 Reflection Blog

I started this course with a great deal of energy and excitement, after all I had been waiting a few months for it to start. Immdeiately the topics, the concepts and format felt so natural to me. From my 1st Blog post “The Start” I wrote: “There will be a learning curve, there will be challenges and there will be frustrations, but the growth that lies ahead is so inviting” and “I’m looking forward to this journey; Learning alongside so many wonderful educators and being challenged in my thinking by the incredible lecturers involved.”

My Blog Post on Connected Potential & Changing Mindsets set me on a journey of discivering a few new concepts like the debate about ‘Digital Natives’. This is one area I have defintely changed my viewpoint over the course and by observing it first-hand with students at my school. So many are struggling with technology, and we need to be teaching digital literacy and how to use the tools much more explicitely. The course has really opened my eyes to this concepts through the modules and readings.

I also made the point in this Blog Post, “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.”

This became the driving force behind my digital essay. trying to come to an understanding of what 21st century skills are, why we should be modelling them to students and the reason why they are not, have been constant nagging questions over the last few months.

Along with this image I posted in the blog it started my thinking on mindsets, and how important they are in a digital landscape.

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

 

Two comments on the Blog started my thinking even further regarding mindsets and networks.

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The theory of Connectivism was completely new to me, and once again it started appearing often in my posts and in my final digital essay. In my Blog post ‘Connect to Live’  I was able to explore the concept a bit further and started linking it with personal learnring networks. As George Siemens (2015) decribed is as the “amplification of learning, knowledge and understanding through the extension of a personal network”.

My biggest issue throughout was time, between family and school commitments I felt strectched to capacity often. Even now as I write this I’m trying to finish it early as I have other edcuation commitments for the weekend and next week that are pressing. Time is often a factor for changing mindsets, it is a good excuse and an easy one to use. I realised with my first assignment that being time-poor can be detrimenntal in studies and school.

My views of edcuational professionals in digital environments have changed, and are constantly evolving. From my digital essay I have realised how important a PLN is, a growth mindset, modelling good digitila citizenship and supporting others in their journey. I hope as I progress in this course I can apply some of the education theories, build on my understanding of the changing nature of learning in the 21st century and be able to leverage this to serve my colleagues and students more.

References

Siemens, G. (2015). elearnspace. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.Elearnspace.org. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Wilson, R. (2014). The Profile of a Modern Teacher [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.coetail.com/wayfaringpath/2014/10/14/the-profile-of-a-modern-teacher/

Connect to live

I’m in my 5th year of teaching, after changing careers, studying and moving countries. Over the past 3 years I have become more engrossed and aware of the emergence of connected learning environments. From joining Twitter, reading blogs, writing blogs, listening to podcasts, and connecting with educators across Australia and the world. It constantly amazes me the wealth of knowledge and sharing that connected educators are doing online, and it encourages and inspires me every day. ‘Connected Learning’ and ‘Digital Literacy’ is quickly evolving into foundations of my own teaching strategies. In a rapidly evolving world of information technology, it is becoming paramount as a teacher that I’m able to develop these areas in my students and allow them to develop their skills.

Everything Is Connected

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by auspices: http://flickr.com/photos/auspices/14892685406

Technology has allowed new connections, interactions and participatory cultures to emerge. To be able to to use theses to the best effect, we foremost need to have a clear understanding and grasp of ‘Digital Literacy’ and how it relates to education. Bawden (2008) identifies a number of key facets of digital literacy; they include areas such as knowledge assembly, retrieval skills, critical thinking, using people networks and publishing information. This reflects strongly with my own teaching context whereas a History teacher these skills are key – Finding information, collecting it and being critical of the information in conducting a historical inquiry, forms the bedrock of research in History. The other aspects of using networks and publishing the created information is the missing element, and this is where I see further progression needs to take place within my own teaching context for my students.
Connected Learning would not be able to exist without Digital Literacy. Connected learning should be part of our daily lives as educators, we have the ability to connect with other educators online through Twitter, Blogs, and many other ways. However many of my students are still not utilising their connections to facilitate learning, and this is the area to focus on. This ties in well with what Helen Haste argues that in the future people will need to be able to adapt to change, to use new and old tools effectively, and to be confident that they can act in effective ways. These students are the future citizens, the future workers, the future inventors, the future leaders and they will need a set of skills that is different to what I grew up with.  Louise Starkey (2011) also supports these ideas about learning, “… appears to be slowly evolving from a focus on what has already been discovered and prescribed as ‘knowledge’ towards a focus on critical thinking skills, knowledge creation and learning through connections.”.  Through this the learning theory of ‘Connectivism’ is explained by George Siemens(2015) as being the “amplification of learning, knowledge and understanding through the extension of a personal network”. The Digital Media & Learning Research Hub is a fantastic resource place that explores, and showcase connected learning and what the key principles are. Quoted from their website: “….connected learning calls on today’s interactive and networked media in an effort to make these forms of learning more effective, better integrated, and broadly accessible.” Guiding principles include a ‘Shared purpose’, ‘Production-centered’ and ‘Openly networked’.

Connected Learning: The urgency and the promise from Connected Learning Alliance on Vimeo.

The connected learning environment, and how to interact with it professionally, socially and innovatively. My future goals will include improving my own understanding and knowledge of these areas, and also teaching my students how to become more digitally literate, more connected with learning and how to become more socially conscious citizens and leverage digital tools for their learning and the benefit of others.

References

Connectedlearning.tv,. (2015). Connected Learning Principles | Connected Learning. Retrieved 29 March 2015, from http://connectedlearning.tv/connected-learning-principles

Siemens, G. (2015). elearnspace. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.Elearnspace.org. Retrieved 26 March 2015, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Starkey, L. (2011). Evaluating learning in the 21st century: a digital age learning matrix. Technology, Pedagogy And Education, 20(1), 19-39. doi:10.1080/1475939x.2011.554021

YouTube,. (2015). Technology and Youth: Five Competencies (part 3 of 4). Retrieved 19 March 2015, from http://youtu.be/pqt3ZmtBTOE