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Developing a global understanding of educational technology

Category: ETL523

Assessment 3: Reflective Post

For the first month or so of this course I positioned digital citizenship as a concept, that should be explicitly taught to student but isn’t  clearly outlined in the Australian national curriculum. I believe if you were to combine elements of the digital technology subject, health and the ICT capabilities as outlined in ACARA you could create a full digital citizenship program.  However as this course has gone on, I have realised digital citizenship is more than just a bunch of skills and competencies outlined in a curriculum document that children need to learn but it is rather a lens to see learning through.

A digital citizenship lens can be used to enhance any learning experience or content, as it acknowledges the relationship between a learner and technology and how that impacts on constructing knowledge. When you apply a digital citizenship lens to a curriculum, 21st century learning is born.  And the most effective way of delivering 21st century learning experiences is through a digital learning environment, where students are provided with a safe and supportive environment to practice and model competencies and skill needed needed to thrive in today’s complex and interconnected global landscape (Bernhardt, 2015).

This subject has not deepened my understanding of what digital citizenship is but how digital learning environments need to fostered and grown in order to be effectively established. The environment scan and report has been one of the most rewarding assessment tasks I have completed during this Masters program, due to the fact it made me stop and critically look at the barriers and challenges my school will face as they try to build a 21st century learning program, a goal we should be working towards. I underestimated the roles of policies and procedures in implementing and driving change. I am however concerned, as much as I believe the answer is in implementing and enforcing policies and procedures that promote best practice, I know teachers, we don’t like to read and policy documents that will inform our teaching. We look at our students and their needs and go from there. So the big question for me is how do you build staff capacity and enthusiasm for embedding 21st century learning practices such as a digital learning environment? How can I support my colleagues, when they look at the needs of a students to think through a digital citizenship lens?

As much as I would love this to be my full-time job at in my school, it is not. Which means it must be someone else’s. This line of inquiry and professional direction needs to exist somewhere within my school and arguably in every school. A leader who is willing to advocate for technology and its role in learning on the leadership front, for practical reasons such as budgeting, timetable and resourcing but philosophical reasons such as embedding and promoting the value and importance of considering the digital citizenship lens in curriculum and pedagogical design.

One of the biggest take-aways from this course and experience, is that my school is not alone in this journey. Digital citizenship is a global movement, and from the course discussion threads, it is clear that no matter where you are in the world, schools are currently working towards the same goal. When I stumbled upon the New Zealand Ministry of Education e-Learning Framework, I was so thrilled to find an inclusive and practical resource that was designed using a global perspective, which is one of the reasons why I shared it with the cohort.

I would love to read everyone’s reports for this final assessment, as I believe that we can learn a lot from each other particularly in this digital citizenship landscape.

 

References:

Bernhardt, P. E. (2015). 21st century learning: Professional development in practice. The Qualitative Report, 20(1), 1-19.

Te Kete Ipurangi. (n.d.).e-Learning Planning Framework. Retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/e-Learning-Planning-Framework

Assessment Reflection

As we put the finishing touches on our collaboratively built digital citizenship learning module, I am starting to look back over the last few weeks and critically reflect on what this experience has taught me. To help in this reflection I have broken down this co-creation task into three areas being communication, process and product.

Starting with the productOverall I am very pleased with the layout, style and learning intention of the module. As a team we agreed it was imperative to have a clear target audience, with clear learning objectives. However, over the course of the construction, I do believe we slowly lost sight of our original objectives. I found myself guilty of this as I found new Web 2.0 tools and tried to get them to align with the objective. Even though the module is not as fluid as I would have hoped, I do believe the product we created uses a range of innovative, interactive and engaging tools.

The process of constructing our module was the most enjoyable aspect of collaborative project. Part of the process for me included constantly reflecting on how this learning module would cater to the needs of my current students, considering potential language barriers and the issues that may arise from cultural knowledge constructing practices.  I was fortunate to be part of  team that was not only receptive to my suggestions but was also forthcoming in sharing their perspective, as a result we co-created a balanced learning experience considerate of global perspectives.

Communication was the most challenging aspect of the project. At the beginning we were incredibly proactive in establishing clear synchronous and synchronous communication channels including using Microsoft Teams, Zoom meetings and recording progress using TaskinaBox. We were conscious to use tools that allowed collaboration such as Wix, yet soon discovered that the platform did not support multiple users editing the site at once. Although we established clear channels of communication, I completely underestimated the time required to share information and respond accordingly to others using the platforms. As a result, I felt as if it was more efficient for me to go ahead, make changes, add content and then go back and ask if the team agreed.

The most valuable lesson I have learnt from this project is the importance of establishing roles. From experience facilitating group work with students I do understand the value of establishing roles and responsibilities however this project reaffirmed this practice. The members in our team naturally fell into different roles, of which can be defined by the work of researcher Dr Meredith Belbin .  Noni became the Shaper, the one who kept us on track. She was the most online and responsive of the team. Lena was the Monitor Evaluator, the fact checker the brains. Her natural ability to draw links between concepts, resources and curricula coupled with her enthusiasm to share and support the team, positively impacted on each of our artifacts. Angela was Teamworker, listening and responding to ideas and keeping the project moving. I fell into the roll of Resource Investigator, I created the Wix site and tested and experimented with plugins, page formatting and navigation. Overall our team worked as a team should, listening to each other and helping to support achieve our collective and individual goals.

Welcome to ETL523 – Digital Citizenship

After a few busy months away from Ed Tech UAE, I am finally back and couldn’t be more excited to get into the latest subject in my CSU Masters of Education journey, may I formally introduce ETL523 Digital Citizenship.

Now I am excited for many reasons. First, I am looking forward to getting back into the blogosphere and this subject provides the perfect, brain stimulating material needed to do this. As a classroom teacher and now digital technology teacher, I have taught everything from PE to English, Geography, Drama and Robotics and for me digital citizenship, although arguably the most important set of skills and knowledges needed for the 21st century, continues to slip through the cracks in K-12 schools. I’ve been there, I understand. Reading, reading, reading, Counting, counting, counting. A day in a classroom can be instantaneously filled with fundamental learning experiences without even acknowledging the existence of the digital world. So many questions come to mind. How should we rank or value digital citizenship against other KLA’s such as mathematics, humanities or science? Where does digital citizenship actually fit in schools and curriculum? Who teaches? Who learns it? What actually is it? I am a digital citizen? Is there are difference between being a digital citizen in the UAE verse Australia? Or the world? Is digital citizenship different depending on which country you are in? Or is it a global term?

The second reason I am excited to get into this subject, is the complete relevancy to my current work. I am in the planning stages of developing four Digital Citizenship units from students in Grades 4 to 9 at my school. There is nothing my satisfying than putting research into practice. I hate reading for the sake of reading (unless its a fun holiday novel), so to have the opportunity to delve into research and collaborate and share ideas with other educators, provides my programming with a whole new dimension.

I think this is going to be a very exciting semester ahead. Stay tuned.

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