Tag Archives: PLN

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.

 

 

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