Tag Archives: Personal Learning Spaces

Up close and personal – my PLN

As a professional educator over the years I have spent time and energy building a network of people I can reach out to for help, support and knowledge. In recent times I have helped others to discover the importance of communicating with other professionals to broaden their perspective to enhance their teaching and knowledge of current issues within their industry areas.

Personal learning jigsaw cc-BY-NC license Yvette Drager
Personal learning jigsaw
cc-BY-NC license Yvette Drager

For me I have personally used Twitter for a number of years. It started sitting at work one day and I asked my colleague the simple question “Do you use Twitter?” The blank look said it all. As we were the source of professional development I knew that I had to start building wider and stronger networks to keep me informed. So I chose Twitter to start reaching out to the big wide world and have never looked back. I encourage others to reach out and follow other educational and industry professionals.

One of the key reasons to create a personal learning network (PLN) is to stay connected, and I love the opportunities that social media gives me. The vast majority of my tweets are work related, what can I say I like to compartmentalize my social media streams. Upon saying that this past week my work persona on Twitter collided with my personal life when a fellow student tagged me in a FB post crediting my tweet she reposted into a CSU Facebook page.

Coping with writing anxiety, tweet about how to break through writing anxiety. Shared with INF532 via #
Coping with writing anxiety, tweet about how to break through writing anxiety. Shared with INF532 via #
Tweet reposted by my fellow student in Facebook group, a medium that I do not normally use for education but for Theatre jobs.
Tweet reposted by my fellow student in Facebook group, a medium that I do not normally use for education but for Theatre jobs.

 

 

ENGAGE and PARTICIPATE are the key, starting slow reaching out to people who are known then slowly building, exploring asking, answering and experimenting has been the key. I have long been a champion within my government agency of social media, including the need for writing a robust policy around how employees can use social media on behalf of the agency. It is nice to finally say that my PLN is robust and helps me to learn and explore different concepts and thoughts daily.

I have to say that as I have had to redefine my work and move to new job roles due to restructuring I have had to learn new skills, my PLN helped save my bacon, oh and my job numerous times over. Without the new ideas, thoughts and encouragement I would not be as effective with my work as an educator that I am. I chose Twitter to start my PLN journey with the wider world and have since branched out into Facebook and Google+. I can say that no matter the medium I know that my PLN is there for me to support my life-long learning and in turn I am there for my PLN.

References

Rheingold, H., & Weeks, A. (2012). Participation power. In Net smart: How to thrive online (pp. 111-145). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Online full-text available via CSU Library

Nesloney, T. (2013, September 23). My PLN saved my career. Nesloney’s adventures: Thoughts from an elementary teacher . Retrieved from http://nesloneyflipped.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/my-pln-saved-my-career.html

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

successI titled this post with a quote from Winston Churchill as I felt it was fitting with a review of INF532 digital artefacts.

We need feedback to improve, but giving feedback to colleagues and peers can be a challenge. As educators we ask our students to review each other’s work to build their critical thinking skills. In Higher education peer review is an important stand point that can assist in the tenure of professional educators as well as provide useful insight into scholarly work.

Recently in INF532 the assessment task was to create a digital artefact about Knowledge Networking and to provide a self-exegesis with regards to the design and effectiveness of the digital artefact. This process was challenging and enlightening at the same time. There were moments of sheer frustration and then the light-bulb moment when clarity hit. I have worked as a designer and project manager for many online resources to support the VET sector, so I challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone of known technology and do something slightly left field that would meet the brief.

quote-chalk-think-wordsIt was hard. However, I am pleased to say that my user test group really liked my unusual idea of using a fairy-tale to tell my story. The reason it was frustrating was that music I had sourced two days before submission was no longer available to use in multimedia projects under the creative commons licence. This meant that I had to re-cut the whole audio track and reinsert that audio back into the animation; this is a skill that I have been developing since I have started this course and one that is proving to be valuable.

So back to peer feedback, below my thoughts about the fine learning artefacts that one of my peers has created. All of my peers have done an equally wonderful job but time prohibits reviewing everyone’s so I have chosen one that resonated with me and will have a look at it in-depth.

Cameron Innes INF532 Project

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FoL0Wr_iyY

Cameron designed this for his Year 9 students in the United Arab Emirates with English as a second language.

His opening screen really set the playful tone of the animation; you love football almost as much as you love your phones.

1-football-phones

 

 

 

 

The use of still photos and animated characters really supported his story.

PowToons is simple to use but sometimes it does do odd things with animations, such as floating a student in mid-air such as at the time code 00:52, but it did not distract from the narrative.

1-floating-student

 

 

 

 

Cameron made a really nice point about how students learn through talking with each other. He soft sold the idea of networking by showing students how they are already doing this by talking to each other outside of school via many mediums including via technology which he then pointed out that this is digital networking, really nice way to add this for students to understand.

The introduction of the concept of Informal Learning was very well done with the analogy between a soccer game and an assignment. It was simply done and a very powerful point especially around its importance about how much they learn from their informal learning.

3-informal-learning

 

 

 

 

Using phones for research

Cameron discusses how his students can reach out to people around the world for help and knowledge rather than just relying on the people immediately around you. But I love the slide that introduced this concept, you don’t always have time to research such as during a game but sometimes you have time to really think and research a topic such as why does Messi (football/soccer star) have blonde hair now. The use of humour really gave a lift to key points and linked well to the topic.

4-informal-learning

 

 

 

 

Excellent  introduction made by Cameron about Digital Literacy and the key points. It is such a vital and important point but is not pushed so that the students almost do not realize they have learnt something important.

4-literacy-network

 

 

 

 

Digital Curation was introduced by them moving towards to goal of going to University. I really liked the reasoning behind why the student would care. I would suggest that perhaps white writing for the Mind boggling amount of information might have been better as when it transitions down to the black block you had difficulty reading the text.

university

 

 

 

Introducing digital curation tools that can be used on the students phone and using the tag line “You are in charge of your phone and your learning” give a simple a powerful message as this group of students really use their phones in an extended manner.

digital-curation

 

 

 

 

I loved the message if you can avoid the stupid things and capitalize on the good things really resonated, especially with the accompanying image. It works on multiple levels to encourage the viewer that using networks is a good thing.

6-good-things

 

 

 

 

The point about traditional school changing and informal learning becoming integral to success is a final powerful thought that provides a solid conclusion to the animation.

7-schools-are-changing

 

 

 

I did like the animation without background music, but for the final 15 seconds of dead air, when the attributions were being shown it would have been nice to have employed some background music or maybe even some sound effects from a soccer game to link back to the topic.

Overall the animation was excellent and really engaged the learner through humour and by linking it to two things the prospective audience loves, soccer and their phones. Cameron’s voice over was excellent and he has a great voice for voiceovers and was great to listen to.

 

 

Social media in the VET classroom

VET inclass example of a twitter back-channel.
VET in class example of a twitter back-channel.

Social media for many means catching up with what friends are doing via Facebook or following the latest celebrity on Twitter. But is can be so much more than that for an educator who is prepared to put in some extra work to effectively use to Social Media within a class environment.

It is important to consider the affordances in relation to the learning program to determine if there will be of benefit to the students (Bower, 2008). There will always be resistance from some students when social media for a variety of reasons. Due to this resistance it is important to ensure that any learning done through this mechanism is duplicated elsewhere.

One crucial issue is of course age, with many social media requiring the user to be over a certain age to agree to the terms and conditions. For use in a VET classroom, as outlined by Roblyer (2013) it is crucial that appropriate social media site are chosen that will create a professional learning avenue for students. It is also important for students to understand this is a professional site and should not be linked to their personal activities. By utilizing the affordances outlined by Bower (2008) and the taxonomy of learning, teaching and assessing created by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) a teacher can provide supported pedagogical reasoning behind why they are choosing a specific social media platform in their classroom.

One interesting piece of research by McCorkle D.E, and McCorkle Y.L., (2012) focussed on the use of LinkedIn in a marketing class room. The article outlined the assessment program that stepped students through the very basic setting up a profile to building a professional network.

This strategy has been reflected in current practice in the 2014 Article in Training Matters which focused on the use of LinkedIn in a VET Certificate III in Pathology qualification. The lecturer used LinkedIn in a variety of ways; the initial use was a discussion forum between students and industry but then it branched out as a mentoring forum for alumni students; a employment and job placement area; industry announcement. The heavy ties with industry through LinkedIn gave currency to the course.

With any social media it is important for students to understand why they are being asked to participate. Twitter as a back channel for on topic discussion by students during a lecture or presentation can vie valuable insight into the understanding by the students. This can simply be as easy as putting together a hashtag for the class group to respond to. In Hew & Cheung (2013) article they outlined how one institution saw an increase in GPA’s in the test group using twitter which was put down to students engaging with lecturers and content discussions via this social medium. Being able to access this application through a mobile device or desktop meant that the students were able to continue to learn and reflect of critical points 24/7.

The implementation of social media in a VET classroom does warrant investigation as an avenue to support students who are often in the workplace or studying through a blended delivery approach.

References

Anderson, L., & Krathwohl, D., (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies.Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi:10.1080/09523980701847115

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4). doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Hew, K., & Cheung, W. (2013). Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice. Educational Research Review, 9, 47-64. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

Jelfs, A., & Richardson, J. (2013). The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2). doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01308.x

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1). doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

McCorkle, D., & McCorkle, Y. (2012). Using Linkedin in the Marketing Classroom: Exploratory Insights and Recommendations for Teaching Social Media/Networking. Marketing Education Review, 22(2), 157-166. doi:10.2753/mer1052-8008220205

Passion for teaching. (2014). Training Matters, (20), 17. Retrieved from http://www.dtwd.wa.gov.au/employeesandstudents/training/otherinformation/trainingmatters/previousversions/Documents/April%202014/Training%20Matters%20April%202014%2017.pdf

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Blog task 1 Are digital games being overlooked in ‘digital education’ reform?

I never have admitted to colleagues before, but yes I am a gamer. From the very basic hand-held version of ‘Pong’ called ‘Blip’ to the much cooler ‘Simon Says’ I have been into digital games. In the early 1990’s when you saved your money to upgrade from 4 MB of RAM to 8 MB of RAM simply to play ‘Sam and Max Hit the Road’. I vividly remember moving our lounge chairs into the study to play ‘Myst or Riven’ for the evening, yes quite simply I was hooked.

However, I could also see that games could be used by educators to have students explore concepts in different ways for example ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego’ to have students demonstrate through puzzle solving their geographic understanding of the world.

Listening to Golding (2015) certainly made me think of the many different game types and styles I have used in the past and are still using now, both personally and as a launch pad of ideas in classes. As an educator my passion is for using technology in my teaching, where appropriate, while adhering to the moto; less screen, more green.

My current thinking on gaming in education is impacted on by my current work context, teaching adults in the VET sector to use technology to enhance training practices. As an educator of adults I am aware of the lazy stereo types regarding the abilities and motivation of older students (Jelfs & Richardson, 2013) and know that today’s adult students will use technology as a key part of their learning experience, which is why any ‘gaming tasks’ for education need to be authentic (Herrington & Parker, 2013)

The article by Jennings in the Sydney Morning Herald (2014) which discusses the ‘highly motivational’ aspect of games made linked to Herrington and Reeves’ (2010) reflection on how GenMe (Generation Me Twenge, 2006 students) are positively affected by the interactive games and simulations they have played. This makes GenME are open to having authentic simulation tasks, which mimic real world activities, in their training to enhance their learning and make them real world ready. It is an area that often the VET sector falls down on as games of any nature are often seen as frivolous and not meaningful learning experiences, where as if ill-structured problems of the kind found in the real world (Reeves & Herrington, 2010) are used as the basis for a simulation (utilizing gaming principles) then gaming in a VET classroom could be advantageous for student understanding

One aspect in this unit I am keen to explore is authentic learning through personal learning experience via branching activities. This is something that could be constructed in both digital and non-digital classrooms. An example of the branching activities that I am thinking of is the interactive YouTube video Choose a different Ending (2009). This was created by the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police Service to help combat knife crimes by teenagers. It is an authentic activity that steps the users through a series of choice and consequences.

I am also keen to explore the use of gaming principles in existing mainstream technology, such as Learning Management Systems, for simulated learning experiences for VET students via conditional release and badges. This work I also want to link to workplace learning and seeing how onsite work can also be included using gaming principles in an assessment strategy for VET students.

 

References

Broderbund Software. (1996). Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (Version 3.0). The Learning Company

Cyan Worlds. (1993). Myst. Red Orb Entertainment.

Cyan Worlds. (1997). Riven. Red Orb Entertainment.

Golding, D. (2015). Games in Space. A Short History of Video Games.  Retrieved 9/3/15, from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/shorthistoryofvideogames/podcasts/svg-1/5937684

Jelfs, A., & Richardson, J. (2013). The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2), 338-351. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01308.x

Jennings, J. (2014). Teachers re-evaluate value of video games, Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/teachers-reevaluate-value-of-video-games-20141130-11jw0i.html

Metropolitan Police Service, Knife crime and gun crime campaigns and videos. Safe.met.police.uk. Retrieved 8 March 2015, from http://safe.met.police.uk/knife_crime_and_gun_crime/campaigns_and_videos.html

Purcell, S. (2002). Sam and Max Hit the Road. Lucas Arts.

Reeves, T. C., & Herrington, J. (2010). Authentic Tasks: The Key to Harnessing the Drive to Learn in Members of “Generation Me”. In M. Ebner, & M. Schiefner (Eds.) Looking Toward the Future of Technology-Enhanced Education: Ubiquitous Learning and the Digital Native (pp. 205-222). Hershey, PA:. doi:10.4018/978-1-61520-678-0.ch012

Twenge, J.M. (2006), Generation me: why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled – and more miserable than before. New York: Free Press

Creative Coffee Morning Tea – Creating and designing online effective PLN spaces for VET training

Assessment 5

Focus of the morning: Design of online spaces to improve Personal Learning Networks to support training in the VET sector

I held my Creative Coffee Morning Tuesday 16/09. I was lucky enough to have a wide group of online facilitators, managers and administrators from the WA Vocational Education Training (VET) sector in Perth for another event so piggy backed my Creative Coffee morning with it.

I had members from the DTWD elearning team host the event and participate in small breakout group work around ‘Design of online spaces to improve Personal Learning Networks that can support training’ in the VET sector.

I kicked off with a quick look at how students are already building personal networks, then straight into morning tea where it was great to hear enthusiastic discussion from attendees around the topic. 

Creative Coffee Morning tea opening slide
Creative Coffee Morning tea opening slide

After tea and coffee were drunk and the sumptuous morning tea eaten we broke into small groups to discuss and reflect on how the attendees could use this idea in someway in their training. It was good to see ‘heated’ debate around the subject as it made people consider and think about the topic. Each of the small groups were encouraged to brainstorm on butchers paper to share back, which you can see an example of in the flicker album.

From speaking with everyone who attended they went away afterward with some inspiration as to how to either trial this idea or to open discussion with their teaching cohort and management to move the idea forward, which is fantastic.

Not only that but because of the networking everyone came away with contact details of like minded participants who can become part of their own Personal Learning Network.

Some images from the event

https://www.flickr.com/photos/66165146@N06/sets/72157647646262952/

Event takeaway thoughts

  • Timing is everything! This group were able to come together very quickly as we had them for another event, which meant that they were more than happy to join in on an added mini-event
  • Location, location, location. The choice of a venue was driven by our other event and was in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Perth. This was close to public transport and parking, which made it so much easier for delegates.
  • Good food. It always helps to ensure that food is filling and tasty, which was met in abundance we had outside catering which provided amazing food and a very small cost..
  • Last point – WiFi DOES matter (no matter what people say). Unfortunately CCI had told us we had access to WiFi for the event, but this was not forth coming. As a result we did not push twitter.

The final fantastic outcome was that my boss see’s the power of this type of event for engaging people and as a result we are going to continue with ‘pop up’ events throughout the year as a tag-on to our large events.

My comments on other blogs

Comment 1 – Matt

http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mattives/2014/09/16/creative-coffee-and-croissant-morning/#comment-45

Comment 2 – Monique

http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2014/09/15/creative-coffee-morning-blog-task-4/#comment-30

Comment 3 – Heather

http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/jesoods5/2014/09/13/task-5-coffee-chat/#comment-25