I encountered INF537 Digital Futures Colloquium, near the end of my MEd KN & DI journey. It promised the opportunity to consider the impact of knowledge networks, of collaboration and innovation in digital cultures of learning and what this can mean for my professional development and practice.
From the start I was confronted by a repeating truth: in collaborative digital environments we learn with and from one another – whether it be with and from this cohort, our subject coordinator, industry experts, exemplary practitioners or thought leaders – as I wrote in my introductory blog post for this module (Wocke, 2019a). I involuntarily thought back to what some of the thought leaders and exemplary practitioners I came across had to say about a digital culture of learning:
- Downes (2006) said knowledge consists of the network of connections formed from experience and interaction with a knowing community.
- Brown (2000) said the Internet is not only an informational and social resource but a learning medium where understandings are socially constructed and shared.
- Rheingold (2011) said we co-construct our learning in collaborative learning communities online.
- Siemens (2014) said networked learning happens through external social spaces, where social systems and technology systems are now part of human knowledge.
It is, it seems, all about collaboratively learning in a connected knowing community. It was time to bring my learning into spaces where it can be socially constructed and shared. When I came across the term “outward-facing learning” in Module 1, it resonated immediately. I was determined to develop as a participatory learner and share my thoughts as a connected learner during this module:
I started off by participating in every single discussion on the INF532 Padlet board and Flipgrid. When the Flipgrid slot was too short to share my view on communities of practice, I created and published my first podcast (inserted below).
This I shared in a blog post (Wocke, 2019b) and via Twitter (Wocke, 2019c). I was quite surprised when two members of the cohort actually listened and commented – I AM part of a community of collaborative learners, it seems!
#INF537: My reflection on Communities of Practice, where I applied Wenger’s definition to a Facebook group for school librarians in my PLN, got too long for flipgrid and I posted a podcast on my blog https://t.co/ov3jsYzPgm
— Gretha Wocke (@GrethaWocke) August 3, 2019
During my research for the paper on Digital Scholarship, which I wrote about in A revolution by digital scholars (Wocke, 2019d), I realized that open access has developed further than just free and unrestricted access to research, it’s also about open data, transparency in peer review and an open approach to science assessment (“Openness Inspires Innovation”, n.d.). This convinced me to make this part of my practice and bring my personal research for the INF537 research paper into the open. I included in my project proposal links to my working data gathering documents, effectively giving open access to the project as it developed (see below).
Since scholars like Weller (2012) proclaims that blogging sits at the heart of being a modern academic and that newly constructed knowledge can be shared in so many new formats and media in the digital domain, I decided to further turn my learning “outward-facing” through blogging. I produced the narrative part of the data gathered for the INF537 research project into a series of blogposts, that I called August Online, thereby further developing my reflective practice (Wocke, 2019e).
— Gretha Wocke (@GrethaWocke) August 8, 2019
I have to be honest that not everything worked according to plan. In a post called Modelling Digital Scholarship (Wocke, 2019f), I proudly announced my intent to be authentic in making my learning “open”, by blogging out loud as I investigate digital scholarship and by posting a “draft” of my paper for my cohort members to comment on – REALLY practicing how I see knowledge creation developing in the digital era. Sadly, two factors kept me from reaching this goal: firstly, time constraints did not allow me to complete a draft in time for comments, and secondly, this (admittedly small) cohort proved on the whole to be disappointingly unresponsive and un-collaborative. None the less, all of this proved to be part of the learning curve, and at the end of this module I am not surprised to look back on my learning and find “It is all connected!”
Brown, J. S. (2000). Growing up digital: How the web changes work, education, and the ways people learn. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 32(2), 11-20. Retrieved from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/Growing_up_digital.pdf
Downes, S. (2006). Learning networks and connective knowledge. In Collective intelligence and elearning. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60566-729-4.ch001
Openness inspires innovation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2019, from PLOS website: https://www.plos.org/who-we-are
Rheingold, H. (2011, July 22). Learning reimagined: Participatory, peer, global, online [Blog post]. Retrieved from Connected Learning Alliance Blog: https://clalliance.org/blog/learning-reimagined-participatory-peer-global-online/
USC: Learning and Teaching. (2014, January 21). Overview of connectivism – Dr George Siemens [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx5VHpaW8sQ
Weller, M. (2012, April 29). The virtues of blogging as scholarly activity [Blog post]. Retrieved from The Chronicle of Higher Education website: https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Virtues-of-Blogging-as/131666
Wocke, G. (2019a, July 15). INF537 digital futures colloquium – A new journey [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/07/15/inf537-digital-futures-colloquium-a-new-journey/
Wocke, G. (2019f, July 29). Modelling digital scholarship [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/07/26/modeling-digital-scholarship/
Wocke, G. (2019b, August 3). Communities of practice: An audio reflection [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/08/03/communities-of-practice-an-audio-reflection/
Wocke, G. (2019c, August 3). #INF537: My reflection on Communities of Practice, where I applied Wenger’s definition to a Facebook group for school librarians in my PLN, got too long for flipgrid and I posted a podcast on my blog https://bit.ly/2YHxHbY [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/GrethaWocke/status/1157528399893729281
Wocke, G. (2019e, August 4). Why this? [Blog post]. Retrieved from August Online website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/augustonline/page/3/
Wocke, G. (2019d, September 5). A revolution by digital scholars [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2019/09/05/a-revolution-by-digital-scholars/