Assignment one reflection

When I told my daughters (aged 14 and 17) that my first assignment for ETL523 was a group project they both rolled their eyes and groaned. It seems they’ve both had bad experiences of group projects, feeling (rightly or wrongly) that they end up doing most of the work while others slack off. Then the 17-year-old said “Oh, it’ll probably be ok mum, ‘cause you’re old”!

Well, I don’t know how much age or experience had to do with it but I have to say that I found this assignment to be a great experience, probably the most enjoyable one so far in this degree (this is my fifth subject).

It was clear from the assessment rubric and online class meeting that this assignment was as much about learning about and through collaboration as it was about the particular aspect of digital citizenship we had elected to focus on. I could see how easy the temptation to delegate rather than collaborate could be – “ok, there are four of us, let’s divide our topic into four distinct sections and take one each” but this approach would not result in an integrated, consistent learning module.

I feel very fortunate in finding myself in Team 5.2 with Karen, Glenda and Amanda. We were able to find lots of common ground and quickly bonded. It helped us greatly that we were able to meet face to face early on. This meeting allowed us to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short space of time in a way that would be difficult to replicate online. We were lucky to not have challenges of time zones for scheduling online meetings, just the usual work and family commitments. As Karen has said, each member of our group brought their own particular skills and knowledge and we were able to take advantage of strengths and learn from each other. Every page in our wiki has input from each of us.

Team 5.2 hard at work

Team 5.2 hard at work

There were a couple of frustrations, more technical than anything else. The Wikispaces platform has some quirks – adding extra blank lines after embedded objects each time anything else on that page is edited; embedded objects appearing, disappearing, and reappearing seemingly at random (and without intervention); and applied styles reverting for no apparent reason.

Also, keeping up with the various discussion threads was tricky. In an update email it was not always clear which discussion or page the new comment came from. This is ok if you are on a computer but not so good when you are out and about and on your phone – it might be a question you could answer quickly but if you’re not sure of the context…

Completing INF532 (Knowledge Networking for Educators) last year was a great preparation for ETL523. I was able to share what I had learnt about instructional design and we were able apply it in the design of each page and the module overall. Even more helpful was the experience of creating an artefact. Last year I learnt a lot, mostly the hard way, about designing and editing a video, particularly the importance of writing and recording the script first. This time my artefact, an introduction to the whole learning module, came together relatively painlessly. It’s still a time-consuming process but, unlike last year, I didn’t feel I was wasting time re-doing things. And the audio and video matched beautifully. Here it is:

I’m very proud of the learning module we created and I’m looking forward to sharing it with teachers at my school.

Knowledge networking artefact critique

Part of assignment 2 for INF532 is to critique an artefact created by a fellow student for assignment 1, using the assessment rubric criteria as a guide:

  • Demonstrates effective use of digital tool/s for creative knowledge construction
  • Demonstrates an understanding of instructional design and the application of KN theory to the creation of a knowledge networking artefact

My critique is of Simon Kaddissi’s Connected Learning:

Simon has used an iMovie trailer template, where sections of content are punctuated with animated links, to construct his artefact. This tool has been used competently although sometimes the background music either disappeared or competed with the narration. The video grabbed attention at the beginning with exciting music and a range of interesting still images. Further in there was potential for engagement to wane with long sections of narration over single text-based slides. The topic – what is connected learning, and target audience – year 10-12 students, were clearly articulated however I feel the language may be too academic for this level. There was some recall of prior knowledge elicited.

Compelling reasons for engaging in connected learning were articulated, but specific and relatable examples to give students clear steps for moving forward were lacking. The “tips for getting started” consisted of reading the text on the screen with no further elaboration – what does “be a beacon of light” mean in this context? In the “Frequently Asked Questions” section, the narration seemed to shift focus from addressing students to addressing teachers.

Simon has produced a competent knowledge networking video demonstrating some use of instructional design theory. It could be improved with more visual variety and a less formal, more conversational script.


Knowledge Networking Artefact

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by hbailie

My artefact for assignment one will be a video titled “Get connected with Google+”.


A video targeted at teachers who do not identify as Connected Educators, primarily for my own school but not specific to it. The video will firstly explore the value of becoming connected through quotes and data from teachers (crowd-sourced through Twitter, Google+ and Teachmeets) and theory from literature. The second part will demonstrate the use of Google+ as a non-threatening starting point for developing a PLN. Google+ has been selected as it is part of Google Apps For Education and offers flexibility in connecting and sharing within user-defined groups (circles) and specific interest communities.

Digital Tools and Spaces

I plan to use some or all of the following (and possibly others too…)

Google forms
WeVideo/YouTube Creator Studio/iMovie


Using Google forms I have set up a survey which I have been sharing widely on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Google groups and to email communities. It can be filled out from here too – please do!