Part B: Critical Reflection INF530

My views, knowledge and understandings of an education professional in digital environments has developed over the course of this subject. I was hoping to better understand digital technologies which could be used to broaden student learning experiences and collaborative opportunities. This subject has given me some insight into this area, but I am not confident with my application of this knowledge at this time.

Module 1.3: Trends in Technology highlighted the various skills for the 2020 workforces, and the idea of a Global One Room Schoolhouse by John Seely Brown.

The ideas posed in Future Work Skills 2020 showed the importance of 21st Century graduates possessing a wide skill set. I found these ideas interesting and saw connections of the key skills to some of the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities and Cross-Curriculum Priorities. To ensure my students can become effective and efficient workers, I now feel more confident to incorporate the General Capabilities and Cross-Curriculum Priorities more explicitly into my classes.

The ‘Global One Room Schoolhouse’ is associated with the idea of connected learning through social or collaborative tools. From the video, I considered the potential of this type of learning to connect with experts in different fields and across the globe. I would like to try incorporating Skype meetings to engage students in first-hand commentary from professionals in fields of study.

Module 1.4 introduces Helen Haste’s concept of Problem Solver vs Tool User. She discusses how the tools we have available change how we approach a problem. I considered that problem solvers were tool users, just using a wider range of tools. To apply this understanding, I would have my students consider the tools and skills they have available to them and how they could be used to solve a problem or information need. In doing so, my students and colleagues become aware of what the student brings to the classroom, and can assist in developing other tools/skills to enhance learning.

Connectivism was a new concept to me this semester, but I have referred to it many times since learning of it. I think this concept has the potential to link to my previous comment of problem solver vs tool user. By using digital environments (tools), students can respond to information needs, and create and share new knowledge and understandings. I can apply this concept through using digital platforms (GoogleDocs, social curation tools, flipboard) for students to share understandings or questions for their peers to respond to.

Through Module 4: Globalisation of Learning, I discovered that globalising learning can challenge how and why we learn (Selwyn 2012) . We are now learning through digital interfaces from ebooks, online courses, including video-based lessons and online collaboration. The reason for our learning, and for teaching students to learn digitally, is to provide learners with the knowledge and skills to compete in a knowledge-based economy, where their learning here would allow them to work elsewhere.

Geo-spacial learning (Module 4.2) provided me with some ways to involve students in the world around them. I enjoyed learning of ways to do this in the set readings and the discussion forum. I had not heard of some of the tools before now. This is an area which I need to further research to better understand these tools and possibilities into inquiry learning.

I greatly enjoyed the content associated with digital literacy (1.5), information behaviour (2.2), Information Fluency (3.2), and curation (3.7). These topics showed the connections of library skills and behaviours to all aspects of learning. I have added these different perspectives to my own understanding.

In my role as an education professional in digital environments, I think it is important for students to know how to solve problems and use the tools available to them. They need to know how to learn. It is also important for students to have opportunities to interact with and explore the world around them to gain a bigger picture of the impact their learning could have on their lives.

 

References

Connected Learning Alliance. (2012, September 18). The global one room schoolhouse: John Seely Brown. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/fiGabUBQEnM

Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis, M. (2011). Future work skills 2020. Retrieved from http://www.iftf.org/uploads/media/SR-1382A_UPRI_future_work_skills_sm.pdf

Haste, H. (2009, June 25). Technology and youth: Problem solver vs tool user. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/YZRoS5QlJ44

Selwyn, N. (2012). Education in a digital world: Global perspectives on technology and education. [Routledge]. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central.

Blog Reflection

For the third blog for this topic (INF530) I provided a reflection comment for Emily’s post on technology trends.

This was my response:

Hi Emily, thanks for your post. I would like to reflect on your discussion of digital literacy.

In my view, digital literacy encompasses information literacy. There is a focus on locating, evaluating, and using information from digital platforms. Digital literacy is particularly important in the information environment we live in; locating information which meets the user’s need and evaluating it for accuracy and relevance are integral 21st Century Skills.

There are links between digital literacy, information behaviour, 21st Century skills and lifelong learning. Bawden and Robinson’s (2012) discussion of cognitive models of information behaviour and information search processes highlights the differences in how people go about finding information. With my TL hat on I see information search models (guided inquiry, project-based learning) as a platform for integrating the teaching of digital literacy skills. The development of digital literacy skills in students is dependent on the opportunities to learn and practice. These are skills which need to become second nature to students.

Your discussion of teaching skills to interpret information has strong connections to the readings from module 3.1. It brought to mind Brabazon’s (2009) discussion about what digital natives thought they should be learning. One respondent mentioned several times we should be teaching them how to learn (p.177, 180). Conole (2012) agrees with this sentiment stating, ‘learners need to develop strategies for finding and validating appropriate resources’ (p.55).

In my opinion, the focus of the Australian Curriculum should be the General Capabilities. They are the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (n.d.) take on 21st Century learning skills and provide a checklist for students to show application and understanding of skills relevant to their futures. Digital and Information literacy fit into Critical and Creative Thinking and ICT Capability. As such, integration of the General Capabilities into teaching and learning covers elements of digital literacy and information literacy and assists in the development of lifelong learning skills.

Although students of today may have more screen time and access to more technologies than students used to, it is not right to assume they have the knowledge and skills to effectively and efficiently traverse the information landscape to achieve their goals. Conole (2012) states that ‘many learners, despite being competent technology users, lack the appropriate academic literacy skills to appropriate these free resources for their learning’ (p.52). Brabazon (2009) and Conole (2012) highlight that effective use of digital tools and resources relies upon development of skills in teachers and students (p.181 & p.51).

Schools with trained TLs have resources available to them to assist with skill development of both teacher and student. When classroom teachers work collaboratively with TLs, a range of opportunities for the teaching and application of digital and information literacy skills arise. Through inquiry learning students can develop these skills in context, and hopefully see the connections to future tasks.

References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (n.d.). General Capabilities. Retrieved from https://australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/

Bawden, D. & Robinson, L. (2012). Introduction to information science [London: Facet]. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=2076216

Brabazon, T., Dear, Z., Greene, G., & Purdy, A. (2009). Why the Google generation will not speak: The Invention of digital natives. Nebula, 6(1), p.163-180. Retrieved from http://www.nobleworld.biz/images/BDGP.pdf

Conole, G. (2012). Designing for learning in an open world (Vol. 4) [Springer]. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/reader.action?docID=1030803

Trends in Technology Developments

kalhh / Pixabay

Recent trends in educational technology developments are varied. Ranging from transformation to 1:1 device schools, to integration of emerging technologies into teaching and learning.

Digital conversion is important in the discussion of technology developments (Project Tomorrow, 2013). It can occur incrementally via individual classes and teachers or a whole school project. In the incremental adoption, the Teacher-Librarian assists teachers in building their skills to create ‘individualised digital conversions’ (Project Tomorrow, 2013, p.1). Whole school digital conversion transforms teaching and learning, and communication with the community (Project Tomorrow, 2013, p.1).

Teacher access to, and experience with, emerging technologies is likely to boost their interest and skills in digital learning and the scope of tools for classroom integration (Project Tomorrow, 2013). According to From chalkboards to tablets: The digital conversion of the K-12 classroom, teachers want to develop skills in emerging technologies to facilitate differentiation and personalisation of learning opportunities (Project Tomorrow, 2013, p.16). We know that students adopt and adapt technologies daily, (Project Tomorrow, 2013, p.1). Teachers need to continue integrating these technologies to support deeper learning approaches (Freeman, Adams Becker, Cummins, Davis, & Hall Giesinger, 2017, p.14).

The NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K-12 edition refers to ‘Advancing Cultures of Innovation’ (Freeman et al., 2017, p.12) and ‘Deeper Learning Approaches’ (2017, p.14) as a requirement for driving technology adoption in the long term. This includes focusing on teaching strategies, integrating prior learning, using tools and apps to support deeper learning, and enhancing Project Based Learning with technology to create a flipped classroom environment (Project Tomorrow, 2013, p.14, 16).

Specific emerging technological trends and their importance in education include Maker Spaces, Robotics, Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things. The NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K-12 edition (Freeman et al., 2017) refers to these trends varying from short term to long term implementation.

Maker Spaces emphasize hands on and deep learning through technological tools (Freeman et al., 2017, p.40), providing opportunities to focus on higher order thinking, problem solving, and experimentation. They are often seen in an environment which nurtures creativity and collaboration and promotes individual and peer-peer learning (Freeman et al., 2017, p.41).

Robotics promotes critical and computational thinking, and coding. These skills aid students to develop resilience, collaboration and assessment of risks (Freeman et al., 2017, p.42). Robotics can promote engagement through a program called ‘TeachAssist’ which can provide interactive content, and track student progress (Freeman et al., 2017, p.42).

Virtual Reality provides computer generated environments to simulate the presence of physical items and provide realistic sensory experiences. They provide authentic learning experiences beyond STEM classes; increasing engagement and enabling experiential learning, or experiencing abstract concepts (Freeman  et al., 2017, p.46-47).

Internet of Things refers to objects which have computing power and ability to transmit information over networks (Freeman et al., 2017, p.50). Within a school environment there are privacy and security considerations to be addressed, particularly if implementing Smart student ID cards (Freeman et al., 2017, p.50). These could track movements and interactions of students.

Technology will continue to change. Over 2009-2017 the Horizon K-12 Reports identify changes in the long-, middle- and short-term trends. Understanding technological developments is necessary to maintain engagement and development of 21st Century classroom skills. Teacher understanding of apps and tools to assist with student centred deep learning opportunities is also integral.

 

References:

Project Tomorrow. (2013). From chalkboards to tablets: The digital conversion of the K-12 classroom. Retrieved from https://tomorrow.org/speakup/pdfs/SU12EducatorsandParents.pdf

Freeman, A., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., & Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K-12 edition. Retrieved from https://cdn.nmc.org/media/2017-nmc-cosn-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf

Understanding concepts and practices in a digital age

geralt / Pixabay

Learning Context:

I am undertaking this course to further develop my information and digital skills for use in a teacher-librarianship role. I am interested in understanding current and emerging digital technologies/platforms which may broaden students use of information, technology, and collaboration within their learning. I wouldn’t define myself as a ‘big’ technology user, I mainly use it (phone, tablet, laptop) for internet searches and document processing, and the occasional eBook. I usually handwrite notes and tasks before typing assignments/unit plans and reading from hard-copies. I find it easier to think and absorb information that way. A challenge for me in this subject will be using different online networking and productivity tools to achieve the same goals.

Knowledge and Understanding:

From the module content so far my understanding of concepts and practices in a digital age has definitely expanded. My prior knowledge was limited to using technology in the classroom for engagement, research, and publishing (IWB and 1:1 devices), and the TPACK model discussed at uni.

I understand better now how technology has changed over time and the impacts that has had (and will have) on education. When I was going through school computers were used for research, publishing and emails. Even in the last 12 years things have changed considerably. Now there are social platforms that can be used to enhance learning and collaboration. There is a need for the educator to understand how learning can be connected within a multi-platform and multi-media environment, and to understand which tools are best for the job.

All around the world people are connected and learning via some sort of social or collaborative tool. This relates to the idea of the ‘Global One Room School House’ and the reciprocal teaching of those involved. I think the possibilities of this type of learning are great. We can now connect to people in different countries and learn directly about different cultures. But these sorts of tools need to be explored for their potential to truly be reached.

There is a wealth of knowledge readily available through the internet now. A concept integral to effective student learning in a digital age is knowing what skills students need to progress and how to teach them. ‘Rethinking Learning: 21st Century Learner’ discussed the need for 21st century learners to have connections and environments to enhance discussions and learning. They also need play based skills – creativity, engagement and social. I can see the how inquiry topics can integrate both sets of sills and help students develop them for the future.

I understand the importance for all users of technology to have at least a basic understanding of digital literacy. I agree with many points in Bawden’s chapter on digital literacy, particularly the role of digital literacy as an integration tool to encompass multiple forms of literacy. I see the connections between the various types of literacy and particularly notice the link to research skills and media literacy. Digital literacy is another important concept in the digital age as it assists with the understanding and use of information within a digital environment.

I am already seeing a wealth of connections between concepts and practices in the digital age and how they may relate to my role as a teacher-librarian.

About Me

My name is Deborah, I am starting my Master in Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) with Teacher-Librarianship electives.

This is my third degree. I have my BEd(R-7)/BA, and Grad. Dip. Library and Information Studies. I have been working in a Riverland SA high school as Teacher-Librarian/English/History for the last two years, and in an Adelaide Hills primary school as Teacher-Librarian before that.

Through this degree I hope to expand my knowledge and application of information & digital literacy tools/skills, and explore the Teacher-Librarian role further.