INF532 Assignment 2: Network literacy evaluative report

Evaluating my networked learning experiences

Knowledge Networking for Educators (INF532) is only the second module of my Master’s studies and already my conceptual understanding of fundamental concepts such as learning and knowledge, and the role networks are playing in the information age, has changed significantly (Wocke, 2017a, Wocke, 2017b, Wocke 2017c).

Siemens’ (2006) views on connectivism informed my emerging understanding of learning and knowledge: Knowledge is no longer only recorded in artefacts such as books and journals, nor is its creation and exchange exclusively the task of institutions such as schools, universities, and libraries – knowledge and information now also resides in vast and complex digital networks. We can learn from anyone, anywhere, at any time. Learning is now more than static personal knowledge acquisition, it also involves dynamic processes such as decision-making and connection-making – learning requires participating and creating in these networks of knowledge. Siemens says it well: “Instead of the individual having to evaluate and process every piece of information, she/he creates a personal network of trusted nodes: people and content, enhanced by technology.” (p.33).

I was not very well “connected” when I started this module, but quickly my INF532 studies convinced me of the need to engage in learning in these knowledge networks. The practice-based and experiential learning format of this course provided me with the opportunity to explore this networked environment. I developed the skills and competencies needed to choose who I will connect with, in which spaces I will learn, and which tools and new formats of information production I will use to manage and harness the continuous flow of resources and information. Some of my explorations were recorded in journal format on Exploring KN tools, a page on my blog (Wocke, 2017d).

Using Twitter, the social networking and microblogging service, was my first intentional step to connect with the global network of educators. This is where I read the “headlines” of what is happening in the world of education and daily receive DIY-professional development, presented by people I choose to listen to and learn from.

 

Direct contact with great educators who can and will respond to me thrills and inspires me! I learnt to curate this flow of information with Tweetdeck and Twitter lists. Together with the “#INF532”-cohort I explored a Tweet chat, a format I did not find very effective, more meaningful conversations happened in spontaneous twitter messages with other students. This is a clear illustration to me that tools must be carefully evaluated and chosen for personal use, as I wrote in the second part of this contribution to the discussion forum (Wocke, 2017e).

Communication, cooperation and collaboration with members of my INF532 cohort convinced me of the value of peer-learning in networked communities. The INF532 “ecosystem”, or knowledge network, acted as the catalyst through which new knowledge could emerge (Cormier, 2010), it is regrettable that more exchange and development of ideas did not take place in the discussion forums and that few students blogged during the study session. Links made during online meetings and in the discussion forums led to a fun collaboration experiment that one of my classmates blogged about (GWTeaches, 2017a; Gillingham, 2017). We both learnt and were inspired by the experience. While I had previously blogged about Lucier (2012)and Tolisano’s (2012) “Seven degrees of connectedness”, I was not convinced that mere connectedness would lead to friendship – this collaborative experience convinced me: I am now connected with an Australian teacher librarian who will be a friend, as well as a valuable member of my personal learning network (PLN), for a long time (Wocke, 2017f)!

I continued to build my PLN and social learning environment by joining various wikis, Facebook and WhatsApp groups for librarians. These communities act as knowledge networks where I can ask questions, volunteer answers and suggestions, and share good practice. I wrote about one such experience here (Wocke, 2017g). My “learning” has now moved out into digital spaces and platforms, taking on a social form, it happens on-demand and is completely self-directed and personalised. Learning is no longer something formally planned, but happens informally and spontaneously all the time. I am convinced that this is what learning should be and am committed to further explore alternative flexible technology-based learning environments and approaches, such as flipped, blended- and flat learning, to create authentic student learning experiences, which are teacher-crafted, but student-directed (Wocke, 2017h).

As I found it almost impossible to keep track of all the great resources I was exposed to in this world of information overload, I experimented with a number of tools until I settled on feedly, as news aggregator and diigo as social bookmarking tool. Diigo groups now form part of my knowledge networking web. I find tagging and commenting valuable knowledge networking practices, with which I curate and contribute value to my PLN (Wocke, 2017e).

For production of the required INF532 artefact, I explored many tools (see Exploring KN tools), created and narrated a presentation, uploaded the resulting video to YouTube and posted on social media for feedback – all unchartered and terrifying territory (GWTeaches, 2017b; Wocke 2017d; Wocke 2017i)!

The comments from a critiquing fellow-student provided valuable perspective on my artefact and I learnt much about design and presentation principles from viewing and critiquing the artefacts produced by my cohort (Mifsud, 2017; Wocke, 2017j). My investigations into instructional design, as part of creating the artefact led to the conviction that well-designed knowledge network artefacts makes learning more efficient and engaging and leaves the teacher free to focus on supporting student learning (Reeves, 2011).

Blogging started as a requirement for my studies. On a theoretical level, I understood that blogs are powerful platforms that encourage reflective learning; it was only after reading some of my recent posts that I realised that I had stopped creating mini-essays and am now truly reflecting on my learning (Wocke, 2017k). Reading the blogs of my cohort, and educators that I value, is contributing to my understanding of their thinking and helping me develop the use of this new mode of information production (Wocke, 2017l; De Saules, 2012, 14). Blogging is not only about publishing, but about connecting (Richardson and Mancabelli, 2011, p. 34). Jarche (2016) finds blogging his strongest form of learning, the keystone of his sense-making, but acknowledges that for him it also took time and practice to develop routines of critical thinking, processing knowledge, and creating something new (Jarche, 2010). Tolisano (@langwitches) recently tweeted: “Blogging is NOT and activity, but a process” (2017).

Through the learning experiences discussed above, I have become convinced that in our digital environment – where the Internet mediates connections – educators must utilise the affordances of the world-wide-web to connect with, learn from, and be inspired by other educators (Warlick, 2009, p. 13). By developing PLNs to learn through and from, educators can be  “connected” and harness these digital networked learning environments, not only for their own professional learning, but to facilitate authentic and meaningful learning experiences for their students.

 

Reflecting on my development as connected educator

Through my studies of INF532 my understanding of what it means to be a connected educator in the 21st century has developed, here is what I learnt:

  • A connected educator is a life-long and connected learner. A learner who consciously and intentionally develops a personalised learning network of experts, mentors and peers to learn with and from (EdTechReview, 2014; Meador, 2016).
  • A connected educator cultivates this network through social media networks and in online communities of practice, utilising this network as a resource and curation mechanism (Bumgardner & Knestis, 2011; Wenger, 2011; Cisnero, 2014).
  • A connected educator contributes to and leads collective intelligence practices through the transparent sharing of experiences, practice, and content (Nussbaum-Beach & Hall, 2012, p. 48).
  • A connected educator is a leader who brings what is learnt in these collective online experiences and communities back to his/her own institution. S/he leads educational reform by introducing innovative approaches to learning and instruction, that leverages the affordances of technology. S/he integrates creatively and intentionally designed knowledge products, creating authentic learning experiences that fosters student-driven learning and engagement (Groff, 2013, p. 9; Revington, n.d.).
  • A connected educator is a leader who contributes to and facilitate the professional development of colleagues, by modelling his/her own networked life-long-learning practices and leading peers in knowledge networking practices (Edudemic, 2015).

Here is my reflection on my journey to become a connected educator (this far) and how I see the path ahead:

The connected educator is firstly a connected learner”, I wrote early in my INF532 journey (Wocke, 2017f). I agree with the views of Nussbaum-Beach & Hall (2012, p. 18) and Richardson and Mancabelli (2011, p. 42) that connected learning is about participation, about learning in relationships, engaging in self-directed, interest-based learning, while connecting and collaborating online. As I started to participate in online communities and building my personal network, I realised that learning is social, continuous and fluid, not only formal, but also informal and spontaneous and unstructured. I became convinced of the need for “the new culture of learning” that Thomas and Brown (2011)  proposes and I wrote about it here (Wocke, 2017m).

Once committed to developing my PLN I found myself constantly reading, favourite-ing, tagging, commenting, subscribing, sharing. I now have a healthy and developing PLN of experts, mentors and peers that I utilise to enhance my professional and academic growth, to motivate and to inspire me. When I evaluate my online participation according to White and Le Corno’s model (2011) of online behaviour (that I wrote about in Visitor or Resident in the online world? (Wocke, 2017n), I note an interesting progression:

My online participation and connectedness has increased and shifted from personal to professional, due to the active engagement with knowledge networking environments and innovative social networking tools and content curation platforms exposed to through INF532.  Reflecting on the crowded state of the professional side of my diagram, it is obvious that carefully direction of my online activities, focus and organization is needed to ensure a healthy work-life balance (Richardson and Mancabelli, 2011, p.36). Kanter’s (2012) adaptation of Jarche’s (2011) Personal Knowledge Mastery model, is a good starting point. “Seeking” information and resources, must be streamlined through the use of appropriate tools, services and aggregators; making “sense” happens by thoughtfully and reflectively annotating, tagging, blogging, and adding value; and “sharing” – giving the worthwhile back to your network in enhanced, or distilled format.

With a solid PLN now in place, exploring combinations of online tools,  and spaces, engaging in connected learning environments, I am aware that I am still primarily a consumer (even an “active consumer”, according to Danah Boyd (2005)), but not often bold enough to be producer and creator. Mayfield challenges me when he says: “To Refactor, Collaborate, Moderate and Lead requires a different level of engagement – which makes up the core of a community.” I contribute, cooperate, but do not yet truly collaborate or lead. The next steps in my connected educator journey are clear:

  • I must implement lessons learnt through the case studies we evaluated in INF532 that clearly illustrate the way to construct authentic global learning experiences by seeking and facilitating collaboration opportunities for my students to become participating global citizens.
  • I must boldly and transparently publish and share my knowledge products and clearly and deliberately develop my online identity, reputation and brand (Lindsay, 2016, p. 14). I must continue to blog. I must develop my identity and brand on Google+.

As teacher librarian, I have the opportunity to co-create knowledge artefacts, to collaborate, introduce online tools and spaces for creative knowledge production, to implement flexible technology-based learning environments (Wocke, 2017h).

I have started to take a more active leadership role in my school, presenting at professional development opportunities, as with this presentation/turned knowledge creating artefact , (which I documented here) (GWTeaches, 2017b, Wocke, 2017o). It was such a motivation when our principal tweeted and blogged as a result (Butterworth, 2017)!

Lambert (1998) writes that the core of leadership is about learning together and constructing meaning and knowledge collectively and collaboratively (p.5). This is the journey I am on – to be a connected educator, learning through and with – and contributing to – my PLN; bringing back to my school innovative ideas and sound practice, leading by example.

 

 

 


References

Boyd, D. (2005, October 8). Remix is active consumption not production [Blog post]. Retrieved from Apophenia website: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2005/10/08/remix_is_active.html

Bumgardner, S., & Knestis, K. (2011, May 1). Social networking as a tool for student and teacher learning. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from https://www.districtadministration.com/article/social-networking-tool-student-and-teacher-learning

Butterworth, R. (2017, August 13). @GrethaWocke inspired me in her presentation at http://www.icsz.ch to share my blog [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Rebecca_Butters/status/896816876906573825

Cisnero, K. (n.d.). A beginner’s guide to content curation [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://blog.hootsuite.com/beginners-guide-to-content-curation/

Cormier, D. (2010, December 8). What is a MOOC? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/eW3gMGqcZQc

De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0: New models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/desaulles-m.pdf

Gillingham, A. (2017, July 28). Collaboration in action [Blog post]. Retrieved from Creating our future website: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/adrienne/2017/07/28/inf-532-using-twitter/

Groff, J. (2013, February). Technology-rich innovative learning environments. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/Technology-Rich%20Innovative%20Learning%20Environments%20by%20Jennifer%20Groff.pdf

GWTeaches. (2017, July 28). TweetstoBlog [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/9nk0NztZscc

GWTeaches. (2017, August 12). ICSZ personal learning networks [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/SBp8AbwTXr4

Jarche, H. (2010, March 30). Critical thinking in the organization [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://jarche.com/2010/03/critical-thinking-in-the-organization/

Jarche, H. (2011, July 12). Personal knowledge mastery [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://jarche.com/pkm/

Jarche, H. (2016, March 22). Sense-making with social media [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://jarche.com/2016/03/sense-making-with-social-media/

Kanter, B. (2012, October 4). Content curation primer [Blog post]. Retrieved from Beth’s Blog: http://www.bethkanter.org/content-curation-101/

Lambert, L. (1998). Building leadership capacity in schools. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Lifelong learning is a crucial educational mindset. (2015, January 5). Retrieved September 30, 2017, from Edudemic website: http://www.edudemic.com/lifelong-learning-educational-mindset/

Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. International Society of Technology in Education.

Lucier, R. (2012, June 5). Seven degrees of connectedness [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thecleversheep.blogspot.ch/2012/06/seven-degrees-of-connectedness.html

Mayfield, R. (2006, April 27). Power law of participation [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://ross.typepad.com/blog/2006/04/power_law_of_pa.html

Meador, D. (2016, August 22). Building a Personal Learning Network Will Make You a Better Teacher. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from ThoughtCo. website: http://Building a Personal Learning Network Will Make You a Better Teacher

Mifsud, K. (2017, September 17). Knowledge networking artefact review [Blog post]. Retrieved from Head full of books website: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/kristie/2017/09/17/knowledge-networking-artefact-review/

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Reeves, A. R. (2011). Where great teaching begins: Planning for student thinking and learning. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2xOit9g

Revington, S. (n.d.). Authentic learning. Retrieved from http://authenticlearning.weebly.com/

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing knowlegde. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Retrieved from http://www.newcultureoflearning.com/newcultureoflearning.pdf

Tolisano, S. (2012, June 7). Seven degrees of connectedness (The infographic) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://langwitches.org/blog/2012/06/07/seven-degrees-of-connectedness/

Tolisano, S. (2017, September 29). Blogging is NOT an activity, but a process! #blogging #learning #metagognition [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/langwitches/status/913540184666398721

Warlick, D. (2009, March/April). Grow your personal learning network. Learning & Leading With Technology, 12-16. Retrieved from http://www.learningandleading-digital.com/learning_leading/200904?pg=14#pg14

Wenger, E. (2011, December 28). What is a community of practice? Retrieved October 2, 2017, from http://wenger-trayner.com/resources/what-is-a-community-of-practice/

What is a connected learner? (2014, January 31). Retrieved September 30, 2017, from EdTechReview website: http://edtechreview.in/dictionary/1005-what-is-a-connected-learner

White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new topology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049

Wocke, G. (2017l, July 11). New models of information production – characteristics and challenges [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/07/11/new-models-of-information-production-characteristics-and-challenges/

Wocke, G. (2017m, July 19). Adapting to “a new culture of learning” [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/07/19/adapting-to-a-new-culture-of-learning/

Wocke, G. (2017f, July 23). Becoming a connected educator [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/07/23/becoming-a-connected-educator/

Wocke, G. (2017c, July 27). The need for network literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/07/27/the-need-for-network-literacy/

Wocke, G. (2017n, July 27). Visitor or resident in the online world? [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/07/27/visitor-or-resident-in-the-online-world/

Wocke, G. (2017o, September 9). KN Artefact: Introduction to developing an online PLN [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/07/27/visitor-or-resident-in-the-online-world/

Wocke, G. (2017i, September 9). KNArtefact post [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/GrethaWocke/status/906453046347096066

Wocke, G. (2017b, September 11). Knowledge changed, and so must I [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/09/11/knowledge-changed-and-so-must-i/

Wocke, G. (2017g, September 16). Knowledge network effectiveness, a facebook group as example [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/09/16/knowledge-network-effectiveness/

Wocke, G. (2017h, September 17). Facilitating flexible learning environments [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/09/17/facilitating-flexible-learning-environments/

Wocke, G. (2017j, September 17). Introduced to Google+ [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/09/17/introduced-to-google/

Wocke, G. (2017k, September 19). Bloggin’ away [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/09/19/bloggin-away/

Wocke, G. (2017d, September 20). Exploring KN tools [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/tools-and-strategies-for-establishing-a-productive-pln/

Wocke, G. (2017a, September 23). Learning – knowing where [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/09/23/learning-knowing-where/

Wocke, G. (2017e, September 24). Module 2.2 discussion forum post [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2017/09/24/module-2-2-discussion-forum-post/

 

 

Module 2.2 Discussion forum post

This text is from the INF532 discussion forum

 

Developing your personal learning network

Based on your reading, identify three (3) principles of participation and engagement that you can apply to enhance the development, refinement, or expansion of your PLN.
Provide a brief explanation of how you can turn each of these principles into action.

I struggled to formulate my answer to this discussion topic, until I asked myself this question: “What is the goal with developing my PLN?” From my answer, my principles of participation emerged.

ENGAGE in active participation in online networks, to grow and develop as a connected educator (or “take it to the next level”)

Seek and develop opportunities to engage in conversations and projects, and build relationships, that will connect me as an educator to others in my profession. Do this by purposefully progressing along the continuum of participation.

NEXT ACTIONS: For me this means to move beyond lurking in corridors (reading/watching/listening) to entering and taking part in more conversations (share, comment, ask questions, create dialogue) and eventually be bold enough to seek cooperation and collaboration.

Develop efficient work habits, literacies and competencies to participate in the connected world (or “choose and use your tools”)

Being a connected learner requires having the knowledge, skills and competencies to navigate the networked, digital world. A connected educator is familiar with, and competent in, using a palette of online tools with which to participate and engage in knowledge creation. A connected educator is also an effective curator of information sources and tools for own knowledge building and sharing.

NEXT ACTIONS: I need to improve my skills to produce multimedia artefacts – videos, screencasts and podcasts. I need to sort my use of Diigo out, pronto.

Set goals for development of my PLN and reflect on progress (or “how’s the plan going?”)

Connected educators are life-long learners who take control and actively plan for and manage their own learning. Development of a PLN is about improving as a connected educator and librarian. I need to plan next steps and engagements in the participation continuum, implement them and reflect on what was learnt – successes, failures and surprises.

NEXT ACTIONS: I need to write and reflect on my learning more often – this probably means a blog. I am not a blogger yet and reflecting is not a natural practice for me.

 

Mod 1.3 Discussion forum contribution

The text below was a contribution to the INF532 discussion forum

A new paradigm

The greatest takeaway from Module 1 is really the greatest takeaway from my Masters studies so far: Understanding the Information Society better – its possibilities and challenges, and gaining some insight into the implications for educational institutions such as schools.

Much of our formal education is still based on an information-scarce model, where learning was restricted to institutions which were teacher-, classroom-, and textbook-based. We are now able to learn anything, anywhere, from any “teacher” and from many, many information sources. (But what does this mean for my grade 6 students, I wonder?)

Educational institutions must prepare students for a society in which change is inevitable – which is why creativity and innovation, lifelong learning and learning-to-learn is so important. Students must take an active role in their learning, which is no longer only formal, static and discrete, but can also be informal, and should be continuous and fluid. (But what does this mean for my grade 6 students, I wonder?)

The networked and connected nature of the Information Society not only allows self-directed learning that is not bound to a classroom, but the social and participatory new media, that developed through the internet and the WWW, allow learning to be social and collaborative. Students will need communication, collaboration and leadership skills along with digital, information and media literacy skills. (And again: What does this mean for my grade 6 students, I wonder?)

What challenged my thinking?

“Knowledge-building” and “collective intelligence”, “knowledge work” and “intellectual capital” – these concepts and what they mean for school-based education is still a challenge to me.

On a more personal Level: My view of my learning is still too static and linear. I want to be able to read all the readings and feel that I have mastered it. I am still too much of a solitary learner and not enough of a collaborative, social learner – bring on Module 2 🙂

Learning – knowing where

https://visual.ly/community/infographic/education/connectivism

My understanding of knowledge is being stretched and remixed some more as I read George Siemens’s “Knowing Knowledge”. I blogged about how knowledge is contextual and is held together by a network of connections here. I then went on to blog (here) about know-whatknow-whyknow-how and know-who. It seems that I missed out on one important form of knowing: know-where (or is it nowhere? ). Siemens sees it like this:

Here is what I understood from his descriptions of knowledge and learning:

Learning is more than knowledge acquisition (p. 25). It is the process of creating networks (p. 29): External networks where we connect and form information and knowledge sources and internal networks where decision-making (about what to learn and to know) and pattern recognition and connection making occurs. It is adding new nodes, adjusting the importance of the existing connections. “The connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing” (p. 30).

So, learning relates to knowing-where (p.32).

Knowing where (which nodes: expert, library, internet site, etc.) to go to find the knowledge. Because knowledge exists in networks. “The learner aggregates relevant nodes… and relies on each individual node to provide needed knowledge.”

Knowledge and learning are processes that execute an intricate dance that occurs in networks:

“To learn is to come to know. To know is to have learned.”

(p.26)


Reference:

Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing knowledge. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/KnowingKnowledge_LowRes.pdf

USB Blended Learning. (2014, January 24). Overview of connectivism – Dr. George Siemens [Video      file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx5VHpaW8s

Bloggin’ away

Blogging did not come easy to me. I was adamant to produce academic discourse, pearls of wisdom, for every required blog post. I went as far as dragging Shirky into my argument by agreeing with great minds like Luther and Poe to say that “Increased freedom to publish does diminish average quality… The easier it is for the average person to publish, the more average what gets published becomes”. Somewhere in this reasoning lay my reluctance to “just” produce another blog post of 200 words. Because, yes, it is so very easy to press the publish button, to publish the average. (That post was discarded because I did not find it worthy…)

I started blogging as a requirement for the first module of my Masters’ studies (INF532 being only the second). Each blog post was a mini-essay, complete with punchy introduction, body paragraphs, thoughtful conclusion and a worthy reference list. I did not realise that my practice was not exemplary and scholarly, but stuck in an era where learning was static and solitary. As my understanding of the nature of knowledge creation in the networked digital era grew, I started to value the opportunity to blog.

Walker Rettberg (2009) believes that blogging combines two types of writing “thinking-writing, which helps us think and presentation-writing, which we do in order to communicate a message. Blogging is a response to ideas or experiences, but – because we are aware that we are connected to a network, there is an audience and possibly a conversation out there – we take care that our thoughts are articulated more clearly.  As MacNess (2012) blogs: “The openness of blogging and the possibility of encountering alternative perspectives is a way of avoiding blind spots.”

As my learning becomes more practice-based and experiential, I am starting to realise that reflective practice – such as blogging requires – is leading me to question my actions, values and beliefs, altering the way that I see the world. Critical reflection, through blogging, is creating an opportunity for transformational learning (McClure).

But, hey, this is a blog post not an essay, remember, so let’s get more practical: In a way blogging is like swimming: the only way to swim is to get in the water; the only way to learn how to blog, is to blog.

Which is why I’m bloggin’ away.


References

MacNess, J. (2012, May 10). Blogging for reflective learning [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbNTI3di2mg

McClure, P. (n.d.). Reflection on practice [Brochure]. Retrieved from http://www.supervisionandcoaching.com/pdf/Reflection%20on%20Practice%20(McClure%20undated).pdf

Shirky, C. (2010). Means. In C. Shirky (Author), Cognitive surplus: Creativity and generosity in a connected age (pp. 31-64). New York: Penguin Press.

Walker Rettberg, J. (2009). Blogging as a tool for reflection and learning. In A. K. Larsen & G. O. Hole (Eds.), E-pedagogy for teachers in higher education.

Facilitating flexible learning environments

Todhunter (2013) is correct, there is some confused use of terminology in the confusing field of online learning. His discussion of blended learning, online education, open learning, and flexible learning motivated me to clarify my understanding of these principles and determine what I believe they mean when applied to a school environment.

Convergent information and communication technologies (ICT) have transformed our entire world, not excluding the educational environment. ICT is a tool, be it a very powerful tool, to be used in education; it is our task to know its possibilities and limitations as we employ this tool to design and craft real, authentic and meaningful learning experiences for our students.

Electronic devices and the networked environment of the Internet allow access to digital tools and online platforms that enable the inclusion of virtual learning experiences into face-to-face classroom instruction. This extension of the classroom and classroom instruction enable us to consider the different learning styles, preferences and needs of our students in learning design. We can utilise the tools at our disposal to facilitate student-driven learning experiences that are personalised and adaptable. We can facilitate flexible learning.

I like the approach from the University of British Columbia to Flexible learning, which helped me develop my own understanding:

  • Some learning will happen in the classroom. Some of it individually, some of it socially, with collaboration, participation and cooperation.
  • Some learning will happen outside of the classroom. Here structured as flipped learning, and blended learning approaches, (and here is the difference).
  • Some learning will be aided through resources inside the classroom and some resources will be outside of the classroom, incorporating our flat and connected world, as Julie Lindsay explains in this video: 

We have always acknowledged that the learning needs of all students are not the same, differentiated learning, individualised according to additional support or extension is possible when we include e-learning as we scaffold and create learning experiences for our students.

Learning in the digital age is no longer static, but fluid. We have to be flexible to make the most of it.


References

Australian Government, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (n.d.). Learning design. Retrieved September 17, 2017, from http://ldt.eworks.edu.au/PartA/S11_1.aspx

Flipped Learning Network. (n.d.). The four pillars of F-L-I-P. Retrieved September 17, 2017, from https://flippedlearning.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/FLIP_handout_FNL_Web.pdf

Julie Lindsay. (2017, August 14). Thinkpiece 2017 Julie Lindsay [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=n4iR-zm7dIE

Todhunter, B. (2013). LOL — limitations of online learning — are we selling the open and distance education message short? Distance Education, 34(2), 232-252. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2013.802402

University of British Columbia. (n.d.). Flexible learning. Retrieved September 17, 2017, from http://flexible.learning.ubc.ca/

University of South Florida. (n.d.). What is blended learning? Retrieved September 17, 2017, from The Blended Leanring Toolkit website: https://blended.online.ucf.edu/about/what-is-blended-learning/

 

 

 

Introduced to Google+

Thank you Lee-Ellen Franks (@LelliSaid) for introducing me to Google+ as a tool with which to develop my personal learning network – I have not explored Google+ before.

The artefact provides a conceptual introduction to various elements of knowledge networking theory: knowledge networks -> personal learning networks -> connected educators. By progressively linking these the audience (educators) are able to form a basic cohesive understanding of the theory and are given an understanding of the application of these concepts – by learning of the benefits of developing a personal learning network (PLN).

The design and development of the artefact are clearly articulated for the intended audience. Educators are engaged through contextualising  a real-world problem and existing scenario (our tech savvy students and their connected world which distracts them).  This is followed by a presentation of new knowledge (introduction to PLNs and development of a PLN with Google+) and an opportunity to practise related skills and integrate this into their knowledge base (exploring Google+). The artefact clearly demonstrates a developing understanding of instructional design in the creation of this knowledge networking artefact.

Powtoon is a very appropriate choice for creating the artefact and the product demonstrates a sophisticated use of the tool. The presentation is lively and up-beat, with clear presentation of the textual elements.

The content delivers not only an introduction and application of  knowledge networking theory, but a compact introduction to Google+, providing clear instructions on how to use the tool and which benefits it has for teachers.

I enjoyed watching this artefact and now have a clear idea of what Google+ is and how I can utilise it in development of my PLN.

As ideas for possible improvement of the artefact I would suggest:

1.) considering reducing the number of elements in the artefact – for example removing the part on digital skill development which is not of primary importance to the stated topic, as well as

2.) considering adding narration to some parts of the artefact to add an audio element to the textual elements, thereby adding variation and catering for different learning styles.

 

 

 

Librarians curate

“…curation is a time-honoured task that will exist regardless of the tools used.”

@NikkiDRobertson

Gerrit Visser (2011) says curators are people who continually finds, groups, organises and shares information resources. He might as well be describing what a librarian does. We provide access to information – to reliable, appropriate and relevant information sources, specifically selected (curated if you must) for a particular audience, be it teachers or students. We create balanced collections of sources, created from different media and published formats. We annotate our sources, give credit to where we found them, add comments and contextualise.

Collections of information sources are regularly evaluated for value and limitations and expanded and weeded as needed. We have been creating pathfinders and libguides ever since we ditched vertical files.

We model our curation skills and habits to colleagues and students and help them develop the skills and habits needed to become curators themselves. We identify and suggest tools with which to curate.

Curation, resource selection, collection development, call it what you must, has always been an integral part of what librarians do. This role has become more, not less, important in the digital age. In the digital age we curate digital collections, not only of information sources, but of apps and other software tools. We experiment and evaluate tools in the ever-changing online world.

We go further than curation. We talk about information overload, filter bubbles, ethical use of the information we find in resources, intellectual property rights, creative commons, remixing and more. We inform and educate. We also curate.


REFERENCE

Robertson, N. D. (n.d.). Content curation and the school librarian. Retrieved September 16, 2017, from American Library Association website: http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/docs/KQNovDec12_OE_TAGS.pdf

Visser, G. (2011, November 25). Gerrit Visser: Use smart knowledge networks to be a curator. Paper.li.

 

 

Knowledge network effectiveness, a facebook group as example

 

The Int’l School Library Connection (ISLC) group on facebook acts as a knowledge network.

Having read Puch & Prosak’s article titled Designing Effective Knowledge Networks, I will comment on my interpretation of their principles to the above mentioned mentioned facebook group.

The ISLC group is a collection of individuals who connect through the facebook platform to invent and share a body of knowledge related to international school libraries. The focus is on developing, distributing and applying knowledge about the running of school libraries, associated policies and procedures.  Facebook provides a web-based platform where existing membership of the social media platform is now extended in a more specialised closed group (membership must be applied for). The shared interest is school library matters and the common goal to find solutions to problems and share good practice – more conceptually providing a vehicle for knowledge diffusion and a forum for interpersonal connectivity.

The main goals seem to be to facilitate connectivity, learning, and support of individual members’ work and needs.

Members seem to identify with the network and its aspirations, readily sharing their connections, resources and experiences. Community members share (and comment) on stories and anecdotes or ask for resources or advice. The contribution by members set a tone of safety, making it “ok” to show vulnerability and speak personally and boldly.

Although there is evidence of a leader, the group seems mainly self-organised.

The leader – and founder – of the group maintains a strong visible presence and acts as a role model, inspiring members. She is also the gatekeeper to grant membership to the group.  She seems to understand how online convening serve to build cohesion, connectivity, collaboration and engagement. A core group of very experienced librarians can also be identified and seen to contribute to discussions and requests for help on a regular basis. These act as a secondary level of leaders, although it is possibly a natural extension, flowing from their experience rather than an intentional design factor.

The nature or a Facebook platform does not leave much freedom for design of the network and its interactions. One of the big disadvantages is that created knowledge remains difficult to “mine”. There seems to be an attempt to tag with #tags, but this is inconsistently modelled and only partly successful. This is a clear example where intentional design principles can improve the functionality of the network.


REFERENCE

Pugh, K., & Prusak, L. (2013). Designing effective knowledge networks. MIT Sloan Management Review, 55(1), 79-88. Retrieved from http://niura.es/intranet/uploads/designing-effective-knowledge-networks.pdf

 

 

Knowing… the what, why, how and who

Way back in 1996 the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development identified 4 different kinds of knowledge which are important in the knowledge-based economy: know-what, know-why, know-how and know-who. I have found this view helpful in building my understanding of knowledge, and knowledge networks and communities of practice.

Here is a short summary of the types of information identified and how it was traditionally “learnt”:

TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE HOW IT IS ACQUIRED
know-what (facts) this can be seen as “information” and learnt from books, lectures, etc.
know-why (scientific knowledge)
know-how (skills and capabilities) learning by doing
know-who (social relations that allow access to specialists) learned in social practice

The digital and connected nature of our information society is, however, changing how we interact with information and how we acquire these types of knowledge:

Knowledge which can be reduced to information (know-what and know-why) is no longer scarce, it is more than abundant and we can access it when and where we want to. A consequence of this information-rich environment is a decrease in the need to know-what and know-why.

Know-how, to the skills and capability to do something, has traditionally been learnt socially: a student learning from an authority figure, and practically: “learning-by-doing”. Information and communication technologies are also changing the nature of know-how:  the practical and social aspects are being replaced in some cases by the affordances of technology. I can learn from an instructional video, I do not need a master or a practical setting in which to learn the know-how of many skills. With technology, it becomes possible to codify some forms of know-how and make it more explicit. Other forms of know-how are more tacit – embodied in expertise and best transferred in the form of stories or through coaching or apprenticeship (Archer, 2009, p.68). These types of knowledge creation and transfer can be facilitated in communities or networks of practice.

Know-who relates to the social relationships which enable access to experts and their knowledge. The know-who seem to be present in knowledge networks: those who know, those who are learning, and the connected relationships between them. It relates to socially embedded knowledge and the mechanisms for social creation of knowledge which cannot can be facilitated by ICT (but not replaced by it).


REFERENCES

Archer, N. (2009). Classification of communities of practice. In E-collaboration: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications (pp. 67-77). Hershey, PA.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (1996). The knowledge based economy (Report No. OCDE/GD(96)102). Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/sti/sci-tech/1913021.pdf