Here I am at the end of another engaging and enlightening subject as part of my Master’s journey. While many of my cohort in this subject are celebrating the end of their Masters, I still have one more to go before graduating. I should feel elated, but I have a sense that I have not been able to give me all to this latest subject. Life, health, and school consumed large parts of my attention over the past 14 weeks, and I never managed to fully engage with the subject Forum and activities. As a connected educator, that has been connecting through various social media platforms and through conferences for years, it has been difficult to deal with the feeling of not realising my full potential with this subject. But that is what makes Master’s study while working Full-time so difficult at times, and after 3 years you need to just grind it out sometimes to reach the finish line. At the same time, it was exciting watching my wife graduated from her Master’s journey in September
So, how have my views, knowledge, and understanding of the work of an education professional in digital environments evolved over this subject?
From the start, the intensity of the subject was there and I loved the opening discussions and Colloquium with Bruce Dixon Bruce Dixon (Modern Learners) as this set the tone for the rest of subject. The readings and discussions were designed to push and challenge our thinking about education and what scholarship actually is. Many of the ideas were not necessarily new, but rather an exploration or reinforcement of the whole Master’s course.
As we started getting into the first assessment on Digital Scholarship I connected with Jordan Grant & Matt Ives to co-host a Twitter chat on the topic. This helped us clarify and support each other on this journey.
The work of Martin Weller I found fascinating, and I even ended up buying a hard copy of the book and connecting with him on Twitter. Even the work of George Veletsianos further pushed my thinking on what Networked Participatory Scholarship (Veletsianos, 2012) is and how that could influence academia. These two writers formed the basis for my Interpretive Essay on Digital Scholarship, and at times as I explored the topic I found it hard to digest. I found the way Weller (2011) describes digital scholarship perfectly summed up the topic as a “sufficiently broad term to encompass many different functions and so has the flexibility to accommodate new forms of practice; not just teaching and research.” (p. 3) and he also identifies a digital scholar as “someone who employs digital, networked and open approaches to demonstrate specialism in a field” (p. 4).
It is this topic of Openness that I have embraced in my own journey as a connected educator over the past 4 years. Sharing ideas through Blogs, Twitter or TeachMeets have been a part of my motivation and own ideals for education. This is where Weller states that ‘Openness’ is a ‘state of mind’ (2011) and as Price says that “you need to have motivation for deep and powerful learning to happen.” (Price, p.111), both support my own understanding of what it is to be an educator in digital environments. It was great to see the mention of David Price’s work with his book OPEN, it is one of my favourite reads from the last few years and I’ve been fortunate to connect with him during this time. My Digital Scholarship essay left with me with similar thoughts of Veletsianos (2015) that further research on how these new practices will become the standard for scholars and why some will resist open approaches will become paramount as we move forward.
My Case Study idea came from a task I did in the ETL523 course and from being a Year 12 teacher for the past seven years. I used a lot of my experience and knowledge from previous subjects in the Masters of Education (knowledge networks and digital innovations) course to support my research and thinking. My Case study focused on:
This allowed me to explore a passion area of mine and challenge me along the way to see what we have been doing at the school and what could be improved. Yes, this was a challenge to complete amongst the insane workload of a Queensland senior teacher during the end of Term 3 and start of Term 4,(plus a History Teachers Conference over 3 days in the holidays with Jordan Grant) but somehow I managed it and I look forward to sharing it with my school leaders.
This brings to an end this subject, with one remaining to be completed in 2018. At the same time, I will be embarking on my own new journey as I take on a new role at a school in a new city. The new role will allow me to use my knowledge from this course and challenge me as I take on new responsibilities. Looking forward to this next journey in being an education professional in this ever-changing digital environments we find ourselves in.
Price, D. (2013). OPEN: How we’ll work, live and learn in the future. United Kingdom: Crux Publishing.
Weller, M. (2011). The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. Retrieved from http://www.SLQ.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=773623
Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked participatory scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers & Education, 58(2), 766-774.
Veletsianos, G. (2015). A Case Study of Scholars’ Open and Sharing Practices. Open Praxis, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.7.3.206