Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Modern Learning


After two and a half years studying seven diverse subjects I have reached the capstone subject INF537 – Digital Futures Colloquium.


I am sharing this subject with some familiar people who I have interacted with in online meetings, forums and Twitter, and collaborated with using wikis, shared documents and Google hangouts. I have enjoyed the participatory aspects of my studies immensely and have learned so much from my peers as well as the subject coordinators. Feeling isolated is a common complaint about online learning but I believe my decision to make myself visible, contribute in the forums and reflect openly on my blog and Twitter has mitigated this feeling, and instead I have felt connected to people who I have never even met in real life. Does this make me a modern learner?

The first guest colloquium with Bruce Dixon founder of Anywhere, Anytime Learning Foundation and Modern Learners discussed what it is to be a modern learner today and whether schools are meeting the needs of modern learners. Along with Will Richardson he has produced a white paper 10 principles for schools of modern learning to help school leaders reimagine, redefine and transform student learning in schools. The general consensus amongst participants was that the current Australian school system and some international systems are too dependent on testing and assessment to truly meet the needs of modern learners. Bruce advocates change in the current model of schooling so that schools can develop students who are “deep, powerful, curious, agile learners” (Richardson & Dixon, 2017). In the colloquium he elaborated that modern learners are inquiry-based, social learners (connected) and self-directed. I think that according to the aforementioned quote, I possess the attributes of a modern learner. During the colloquium Bruce suggested that we learn best when learning is relevant to our context and and I have appreciated that I have been given agency to direct some of my own learning experiences during this course.

I am excited that I have been given an optional extra opportunity (along with INF532) to connect with a class at Rutgers University in the USA. Although this commitment places additional demands on my time, I believe this online global interaction will be very worthwhile. It will put network learning into practice for me, expose me to new tools, ideas and people.

Google Hangout for CSU/Rutgers University Online Global Interaction

The depth of discussion that has already taken place in the INF537 forums and during the colloquium has been a bit overwhelming but I am doing my best to keep up and contribute. The subject I did last session was not as interactive and participatory so I am grateful that this cohort of modern learners is so giving and dynamic because discussion really helps my understanding.



Richardson, W., & Dixon, B. (2017). 10 principles for schools of modern learning. Retrieved from

Learning, growing and exploring

I have read the chapter Arc of Life Learning by Thomas & Brown (2011) a few times since starting this course. When I read it recently, it reminded me of the local photography club I belong to. It is a made up of a group of adults who share a common interest and meet regularly to listen, discuss, share, learn and teach each other about their passion. Most members of the club are motivated to participate and experiment (Thomas & Brown, 2011), just like those mentioned in the chapter because of their passion and desire to learn more.

The club also has virtual spaces for the communication, dissemination and sharing of information. A website includes club news, the history of the club, the calendar of events, competition rules images by members and curated resources on photography. Email is used to remind people of upcoming events, to summarise club meetings for those who were unable to attend and other organisational activities. Recently a members only Facebook group was established where members can continue conversations between meetings by asking each other questions and sharing images, resources and knowledge. Some members are learning how to use Facebook from their peers at the club so that they can participate.

Learning and the transfer of knowledge amongst members occurs through a fusion of resources (Thomas & Brown (2011):

  • expert presenters
  • club member presentations
  • workshops
  • photography competitions with judging/critique
  • excursions
  • video tutorials
  • books and magazines
  • informal conversations

Image by Karen Malbon ©

Some members also participate in online photography groups and meetups that are organised online through social media networks such as Meetup, IgersMelbourne, Canon Collective and Facebook groups.

Members are creating something meaningful (Thomas & Brown (2011) and sharing their photography on Instagram, Flickr, 500PX or making photobooks and prints. Members of my local photography range in age, experience and formal education level attained but their passion keeps them “learning, growing, and exploring”  (Thomas & Brown (2011, p. 18).


Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Arc-of-Life learning. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (pp. 17-33). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.