Part B: Critical Reflection ETL523

The concept of digital citizenship
As a result of completing this unit, I now know that Digital Citizenship is so much more than attributing ownership of resources. I have learnt from Greenhow (2010) about the importance of setting norms of behaviours for digital citizenship and I now appreciate Ribble’s (2011) description of nine elements of Digital Citizenship as illustrated in this sketchnote by Sylvia Duckworth.

Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

Ribble’s nine elements of Digital Citizenship

Ribble (2011) discusses nine elements of digital citizenship.
Sylvia Duckworth created this sketch note to represent Ribbles’ 9 elements of digital citizenship.

 

 

 

 

 

I have found this unit to be very engaging. The assessment tasks have been a collaborative group project and an environment scan. These tasks have immersed me in projects that are personalised and that invoke deep learning. I am beginning to see how this deep learning is built on the pillars of Web 2.0., learning design, leadership and new approaches to pedagogy as described by Lindsay (2016). It has made me think more clearly about how I can introduce engaging assessment tasks that provide personalised and deep learning for my students.

Wheeler (2012) made me think deeply about personal learning networks that were powerful, personal, and professional. I made a visual representation of all the components of my DLE. Again, I am pleased to be able to acknowledge the standards and habits of learning that contribute to a DLE.

The participatory nature of this unit allowed me to explore what it meant to be a digital citizen and I really enjoyed collaborating online with my group members on our group project “Enlightened Digital Citizens”. I felt personally connected to them and this made me more accountable for my learning. I gained a first hand experience about what it means to collaborate and learn online and select tools and learning spaces for my Digital Leaning Environment (DLE). We set up learning spaces that were personal and public so that we could collaborate and create a learning module to demonstrate enlightened digital citizenship.

Locke's Learning Spaces

Locke’s learning spaces

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledging Locke’s (2007) learning spaces within the DLE made me realise more about why we need some elements of the DLE that at times might seem redundant.

Digital Learning Environment

Components of the Digital Learning Environment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My group members were excellent role models and I was able to explore ideas in a less formal environment. The task to collaborate and create an online learning module made me realise how important it is to set challenging and authentic assessment tasks to engage learning.
Another side effect of the participatory nature of this unit, is that I’ve realised that it is essential to have a presence online. I need to create a positive digital footprint that is not delineated between personal and professional. The idea of personal branding is important and this is something I will prioritise on completion of this unit.

ETL523 has framed the context for developing my education leadership skills. Lindsay’s definition of a teacherpreneur makes sense to me.

A techerpreneur can also be called an ‘edupreneur’ or even an ‘outlier’. To be a connected and collaborative educator and education leader is the first step towards being a teacherpreneur. The next step is leading curriculum reform, leading new approaches to professional learning, and working to connect students and teachers with the world (Lindsay, 2016)

I have embarked on the KNDI journey as a teacher who loves to connect and share ideas and network with knowledge and information. With every unit I complete, my mindset is evolving and I am gaining confidence with the creation of digital artefacts.
Finally, ETL523 has made me realise that I need to model positive digital citizenship to students and to other teachers. I need to be braver in my interactions online and continue to challenge myself in the creation of digital artefacts.
The environmental scan gave me the opportunity to put my knowledge of digital learning environments into action and review our digital learning environment at school.

References

Greenhow, C. (2010). New concept of citizenship for the digital age. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 24-25.
Ribble, Mike. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. International Society for Technology in Education.
Wheeler, Steve. (2013) Future learning environments: professional, powerful and personal’ (YouTube / 2:09 mins) | https://youtu.be/db9PXLqoduQ
Lindsay, Julie (2019) Module 1 ETL523
Lindsay. J. (2013). Leadership for a global future [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.julielindsay.net/2013/04/leadership-for-global-future.html.
Lindsay, J. (2016) ‘Global education: Leading pedagogical change in a flat world’, Pearson PreK-12 Education. Retrieved from https://www.pearsoned.com/education-blog/global-education-leading-pedagogical/
Locke (2007) Six spaces of social media [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://test.org.uk/2007/08/10/six-spaces-of-social-media/

Reflection on Assignment 2

As a result of completing this group assignment, I now have a deeper understanding of what Digital Citizenship is and how it can be developed in schools. The participatory nature of this assignment has revealed to me what it means to collaborate and work in our own digital learning environment.

As Locke (2007) proposed, a digital learning environment consists of  six learning spaces. McIntosh (2012) included a seventh learning space, namely a learning space for data. As our final product, (a Learning Module to support Educators lead Digital Citizenship in Schools) began to emerge,  we created our own digital learning environment.  We collaborated in learning spaces such as Padlet and Flipgrid curating resources in Pearltrees and developed a website in Weebly. We reviewed ISTE standards for Educators and demonstrated attitudes and habits of learning such as flexibility, curiosity and inquiry. We added to our digital footprint by creating artefacts and curating resources and we have definitely established a professional learning network that will extend beyond the project.

Learning Spaces

Learning Spaces used in the Development of Enlightened Digital Citizens

In creating my slide share presentation on ‘Taking Control of Your Digital Learning Environment’ I reflected on how I could incorporate visual literacies into my presentation. I explored how I could use an image to create rich and dense sources of information.

This led me to exploring how to create infographics and images using Canva. Canva is a collaborative tool so we set up a team folder to work collaboratively on images and logos. I have enjoyed experimenting with the extensive templates and typefaces and reflected on how powerful it is to be able to link an image with words and how fonts and tones affect the message.

Choosing Digital Tools for DLE

Choosing Digital Tools for the DLE

 

Seek Sense Share in the DLE

Using your DLE to make sense of information

I realised that digital literacy encompasses many other literacies such as information literacy, visual literacy, media literacy to name a few. No longer will I ever consider digital citizenship as something to be ticked off at the beginning of the year. My team modelled referencing and acknowledging images with ease and they have been great role models for me.

Working in a group has demonstrated why I need to tag resources and comment on curated items so others know why I have added them.

Working in a group has reiterated to me that I am a connected educator so that I can remain up to date with current and future digital fluency needs.

Working collaboratively has not been without challenges. Initial problems of connecting meant that other tools had to be found. Design issues had to be discussed and consensus on learning outcomes and scope had to be negotiated. Working in a team has developed our values of learning and spirit of sharing and it has been incredibly rewarding.

Implications for my teaching practice.

This assignment has made me rethink how I could embed such a collaborative group task into my own teaching practice.

It has made me more open to group tasks. We were able to pull each other through when motivations were waning or life was busy. I have learnt so much from my other team members and I have established good connections for the future.

The creation of an artefact of choice has definitely improved my fluency in communicating a message using digital artefacts. I enjoyed watching the artefacts of my team mates progress and am keen to try and model what they have done using their tools of choice.

Creating a website allowed us a safe space to publish our artefacts and receive feedback.

I have never felt more connected and participated more than I have in any other course and I am definitely becoming an enlightened digital citizen as a result of this assignment. It has been a pleasure collaborating and co-creating and connecting with them.

 

 

Digital Citizenship

The challenges of introducing digital citizenship to students is that it is often done at the beginning of the year as a one off rather than being embedded in their learning everyday.

As educators we need to role model what good digital citizenship looks like. Teachers need to be more aware of what the best practices are in being active online.

Students think they know how to use the tools and how to access information easily, and don’t value the standards put in place.

Digital citizenship is more than just copyright and privacy. Digital Citizenship is about developing your digital literacy skills and mindset.

Teacher capacity in digital literacies needs to be further developed.

As the digital  environment continues to evolve, teachers need to make sure their skills are also continuing to develop.

The current discussions about banning mobile phones in schools is not particularly helpful. Rheingold (2010) suggests that students need to learn how to exercise their attention so that they don’t become easily distracted.

I thought Lindsay’s comment about ensuring the task was appropriate was extremely useful. With meaningful tasks that provide student agency such as developing a game or creating a website, students are focused and engaged in their learning.

I like the current research that includes Digital Wellbeing as part of Digital Citizenship.

As part of our group work we have curated some of the best resources on Digital Citizenship in this pearltrees.

Team Digitial Citizenship

Digital Learning Environment

In ETL523 Module 1, Lindsay (2019) summarises the digital Learning environment as ‘the Tools, Skills, Standards, Attitudes and Habits of Learning while using technology and accessing digital resources..’ p2

Veletsianos (2016) suggests Digital Learning Environment’s are technologies, resources, platforms and systems … which can be used for teaching and learning purposes.

Everyone’s DLE is personalised but there are some common components. The DLE is constantly evolving to meet new needs.

Hews (2012) has represented his PLE with this visual representation.

Personal Learning Environment: Janson Hews

For my study in ETL523, a breakdown of my DLE consists of:

HW Technologies: my Laptop, my Iphone, my Ipad

SW Technologies: Thinkspace Blog, the CSU Interact Blackboard site, the Adobe Connect for online Meetings, email, browser, google drive

Tools: Feedly, Twitter, youtube, OneNote, Curation tools such as diigo, Zeef, Wakelet, pearltrees, Canva, Web 2.0 tools for the creation of artifacts

Standards: CSU presentation guidelines, Thinkspace Policies, Creative Common Standards, APA referencing

Skills I am developing: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem solving(when things don’t work), time management,

Attitudes: respect for others, responsibility, persistence, resilience, motivation, positivity,

Habits of Learning include reflecting, curating, sharing, amplifying, connecting, writing,

Resources include Blogs, Journals, Wikis, youtube videos, podcasts, module pdfs, websites, newspaper articles

People in my DLE include my lecturer Julie Lindsay, thought leaders such as Robin Good, Kathy Shrock, Silvia Tolisano, my cohort team members Anne Conde, Bonnie Peake, and Sam Rojas and my twitter PLN.

References 

Lindsay, Julie. (2019) Module 1: What is Digital Citizenship?

Morrison Debbie. (2013) Online Learning Insights  retrieved March 31, 2019

Veletsianos, G.(2016) Digital Learning Environments. In N. Rushby & D.Surry (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology. (pp 242 – 260). West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

 

 

 

Introduction to ETL523

I have been busy setting up my Digital Learning Environment in preparation for ETL523.

Goals:

  • To reflect weekly on my blog
  • To curate and annotate articles using diigo
  • To curate a best of resources using PearlTrees
  • To amplify and share my learning on Twitter
  • To read each module thoroughly and complete reflections on my blog
  • To participate by reading the discussions on the discussion forum and reply to or comment on ideas made by other participants.
  • To build connections between other people doing this course.
  • To annotate the modules and record my thinking in OneNote
  • To learn some Web2.0 Tools such as proprofs.

Performance Phase

Daily

  • Check email, Twitter, diigo, discussion board

Monday’s and Wednesday’s

  • Read the module
  • Write notes in OneNote
  • Post to Blog

Reflection

Each tool has taken time to get used to. Regular use is required to build on past learning otherwise it takes me time to get back into it. Clear tasks are needed so that I don’t get overwhelmed and indulge in the negative self-talk that is unhelpful and time consuming. The online meeting was excellent and I set up a mindmap creating connections with others in my course. I like the tips provided in Zimmerman’s Performance Phase to keep me on track such as time management and helpseeking. I am going to use Zimmerman’s Theory of Self Regulated Learning to improve my Learning in this unit.

Image taken from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Self-regulated_learning.png#file

Reflection

INF 530 – Reflection

Word Count 533

Concepts and Practices for the Digital Age has made me rethink the impact technology is having on the world and realise the enormous productivity potential of this transformational period in history.

The web has evolved from Tim Berners-Lee vaguely exciting idea in 1991 to an open, networked and data driven environment of today with 5 billion more users to join over the next 10 years. Our global information ecosystem consists of users with mobile devices allowing content and information to flow across the virtual environment. The digitization of information and the preservation of knowledge to avoid a Digital Dark Age is a vital part of working with the information evolution.

Digital convergence is an evolving reality. The amazing advances in computational capability, forecasted by Moore’s Law, drive the accelerating impact of networked technology. Youtube, cloud computing, mobile learning, personalization, social media are all part of our new culture of learning. In this new culture of learning, information technology has become a participatory medium giving rise to an environment that is constantly being changed and reshaped by the participants within.

New skills are needed to navigate the digital learning environment. Digital Literacy provides students with the skills to engage with traditional subject areas in new ways such as searching, producing, publishing, filtering, and organizing information and digital citizenship ensures that students work with information in an ethical way.

Connected communities allow learning to become open, social and participatory. A scale or network effect is emerging as a result of the quantity of information available. Digital natives still need to be guided through the digital learning landscape. Personalisation, collaboration and informalisation are at the core of learning in the future. In the digital learning ecosystem, It is only when we connect with the information, interact with the information, and make the information that we learn. Being a node of the network means being part of the transaction of imparting and sharing information. Being part of a connected community requires there to be a two way directional flow of information. Information fluency means that students can create, synthesise, critically analyse and disseminate information with others.

Faced with the ever increasing digitization of resources, as well online communities creating Open Educational Resources, semantic web technologies have developed to link and integrate data. Access to big data is transforming how people (and machines) make decisions. Tagging and Indexing information for searching and filtering is becoming an essential part of digital literacy. This metadata and open access to data raises new questions about ownership, privacy, ethics and power. Curating information for personal go-to repositories of artefacts which are socially connected could be valuable in the future. Curation skills and organizational skills need to be taught to our digital natives. These are skills that we need as lifelong learners. As Machine Learning and AI improves, how can we know the difference between human curated and machine curated information? The real impact of Learning analytics and Big Data are in embryonic stages and promise to be transformational.

Information is a fundamental entity in the knowledge work domain of educators. However, digital literacy and information literacy and habits of thinking will be hallmarks of successful lifelong learners in the new digital age.

Computational Thinking

Computational Thinking

Computational Thinking and why it should be taught in schools.

 Introduction

Computational thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing a solution in such a way that a human or a machine, can effectively carry out. It is a way of thinking that is applicable across all disciplines and can be considered an essential component of digital literacy. While computational thinking competencies are based on the use of computer science techniques, it also depends on critical thinking and existing knowledge and how we apply them to solve complex technological problems.

 

Computational Thinking as a Model of Constructivism

The term computational thinking was first used by Seymour Papert, one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, and a student and colleague of Jean Piaget in Geneva. Papert worked with Piaget to understand how children construct meaning. In 1980, Papert published “Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas.” He went on to develop advanced ideas in robotics and systems thinking that the Lego company itself would eventually transform into products under the title “Mindstorms,” in honor of Papert. Papert’s argument for constuctivist learning is summed up in this extract from “Mindstorms”:

Many children are held back in their learning because they have a model of learning in which you have either ‘got it’ or ‘got it wrong.’ But when you program a computer you almost never get it right the first time. Learning to be a master programmer is learning to become highly skilled at isolating and correcting bugs … The question to ask about the program is not whether it is right or wrong, but if it is fixable. If this way of looking at intellectual products were generalized to how the larger culture thinks about knowledge and its acquisition, we might all be less intimidated by our fears of ‘being wrong.’

While Seymour Papert, may have been the first to describe computational thinking, Jeanette Wing, Vice President of Microsoft research, has more recently called for computational thinking to be a “universally applicable attitude and skill set everyone, not just computer scientists, should be eager to learn and use”.

 

Wing (2006) describes Computational thinking as the ability to break a problem down and express the solution in a form that a computer can understand and evaluate. According to Liu and Wang (2010) Computational Thinking is a hybrid of other modes of thinking, such as abstract thinking, logical thinking, modelling thinking, and constructive thinking:

 

Computational Thinking can promote a mindset of innovation and design. It provides students with a model to use digital technologies to make things better, faster, cheaper, quicker. The affordances of coding can make an algorithm or procedure more efficient or duly scalable using data structures and in built logic routines.

 

So Computational thinking  is a problem-solving process that includes the following characteristics:

  • Formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them.
  • Logically organizing and analyzing data
  • Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations
  • Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps)
  • Using mathematical models such as induction to develop more efficient, fair, and secure solutions.
  • Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources
  • Understanding the consequences of scale, not only for reasons of efficiency but also for economic and social reasons
  • Generalizing and transferring this problem solving process to a wide variety of problems

 

 

These skills are supported and enhanced by a number of attitudes that are essential dimensions of CT. These attitudes include:

  • Confidence in dealing with complexity
  • Persistence in working with difficult problems
  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • The ability to deal with open ended problems
  • The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution

So What is Computational Thinking and How should it be taught? By Michael Godfrey 4:28

Rationale for Computational Thinking

Academic work supports the inclusion of algorithmic and computational thinking in schooling. It is becoming more common in world curricula to teach coding, with examples in the United States, the United Kingdom and Finland. The recently developed National Curriculum in England includes Computing, which includes coding. This supports STEM initiatives currently emerging in developed nations where the manufacturing economy is being elevated to that of the service economy and ICT is being used and embedded in all careers and in all aspects of life.

There is a National Curriculum for CT and most Australian states have adopted it. The NSW Board of Studies has published its own guidelines for coding and computational thinking.

President Obama, in his weekly address in January 2016 announced a $4-billion Computer Science for All initiative to give all students an opportunity to learn computer science. Reactions quickly spread to make clear that the important skill is not coding, it’s computational thinking.  Pedagogies which promote the type of learning valued in STEM areas, cluster around student-directed learning, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. These thinking skills are also crucial to forming the foundations of an adaptive and nimble global workplace of the future.

Conrad Wolfram talks about computation and the new era of knowledge in the economy. With the vast amounts of data available, we need computational skills to be able to analyse this data and use the data in a meaningful way.

Methods for introducing and teaching Computational Thinking

Pedagogies which promote the type of learning valued in STEM areas, cluster around student-directed learning, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. These thinking skills are also crucial to forming the foundations of an adaptive and nimble global workplace of the future.

Computational Science education literature suggests many ways to develop students’ computational thinking capabilities. The literature recommends connecting Computational Thinking to students interests (Resnick et al., 2009), through computer games (Carter, 2006; Lenox, Jesse, & Woratschek, 2012) or multimedia based learning tasks (Blank et al., 2003). A Games based approach has been show to increase students enjoyment of learning computing while developing Computational Thinking concepts (Repenning, Webb, & Ioannidou, 2010). These approaches can be differentiated to engage students of all abilities by providing students with a low floor, high ceiling and wide walls, that is tasks that are easy to learn, hard to master, and flexible/ adaptable to a wide range of applications (Resnick et al., 2009).

 

Resnick proposes in this TED Talk, that fluency comes not through interacting with new technologies, but through creating them. The former is like reading, while the latter is like writing. He means this figuratively — that creating new technologies, like writing a book, requires creative expression — but also literally: to make new computer programs, you actually must write the code.

The point isn’t to create a generation of programmers, Resnick argues. Rather, it’s that coding is a gateway to broader learning. “When you learn to read, you can then read to learn. And it’s the same thing with coding: If you learn to code, you can code to learn,” he says. Learning to code means learning how to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively. And these skills are applicable to any profession — as well as to expressing yourself in your personal life, too.

In his talk, Resnick describes Scratch, the programming software that he and a research group at MIT Media Lab developed to allow people to easily create and share their own interactive games and animations.

 

The statement that CT is not coding appears persistently in the literature. In England, the government’s launch of the “Year of Code” has provoked an adverse reaction. However, Voskoglou et al suggest CT is a learned approach and there’s no better way to learn it explicitly than through coding. Programming employs all the components of CT and the knowledge gained through the experience of tackling programming challenges – both explicit and tacit – can provide a framework not only for computer science, but for any field from natural and health sciences to the social sciences and humanities.

 

Computational Thinking in the Classroom

Computational thinking can be immersed in the classroom by:

  • Immersing students in the problem-solving process, both individually and collaboratively
  • Teaching students how to decompose problems and then apply that to larger tasks
  • Providing students with opportunities to seek or explore different solutions
  • Providing students with opportunities to apply computational thinking skills across different discipline
  • Using Computational thinking in Mathematics to solve unsolvable problems

 

Conclusion

Computational thinking is not just about thinking like a computer scientist or learning to code. The educational benefits of being able to think computationally reinforce intellectual skills and can be transferred to any domain.  As a problem-solving process, Computational Thinking can be easily adapted across all disciplines including arts and languages. All students will benefit when computational thinking is applied.

 

 

 

References

Bundy, A. 2007 Computational thinking is pervasive. J. Scient. Pract. Comput. 1, 67-69

Grover, S., & Pea, R. (2013). Computational Thinking in K–12 A Review of the state of the field. Educational Researcher, 42(1), 38–43.

Israel, Maya. (2014)Supporting all learners in school-wide computational thinking: A cross-case qualitative analysis Maya Israel* , Jamie N. Pearson, Tanya Tapia, Quentin M. Wherfel, George Reese University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States

Liu, J. & Wang, L., “Computational Thinking in Discrete Mathematics”, IEEE 2nd International Workshop on Education Technology and Computer Science, 413-416, 2010.

Journals

Sfard, Anna. 2008 Thinking as Communicating : Human Development, the Growth of Discourses, and Mathematizing

Stager, Gary. March 2014 Seymour Papert Inventor of Everything Ted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-dFTmdX1kU from 5:15

Wing, Jeannette. “Computational Thinking.” Communications of the ACM 49.3 (2006): 33-35. ACM Digital Library. Web. 7 Apr. 2007

Wing, J. M. (2008). Computational thinking and thinking about computingPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 366(1881), 3717-3725.

Wing, J. M. 2006 Computational thinking. Commun. ACM 49, 33-35.

Wing, J. M. 2008 Five deep questions in computing. Commun. ACM 51, 58-60. (doi:10.1145/ 1327452.1327479)

Stager, Gary. March 2014 Seymour Papert Inventor of Everything Ted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-dFTmdX1kU from 5:15

Voskoglou, Michael Gr.  and Buckley, Sheryl. Problem Solving and Computers in a Learning Environment  Egyptian Computer Science Journal ,ECS ,Vol.36 No.4, September 2012 ISSN-1110-2586

 

Teacher resources

http://www.csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/CurrFiles/472.11CTTeacherResources_2ed-SP-vF.pdf

Google’s resources on CT

Code: The New Literacy highlights why every student should learn to code.

Gary Stager, Gary. March 2014 Seymour Papert Inventor of Everything Ted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-dFTmdX1kU from 5:15

Tatr, Deborah. ” Can computational thinking change how we teach science?” 2015 Virginia Tech 3:27

 

Blog Task 4 – Proposal for Digital Essay

Digital Essay Topic Proposal

Education and the Internet of Things

Proposed digital tools and/or spaces to be used

I will present the digital essay as a blog post on a CSU Thinkspace site.

Rationale for topic focus for the multi-modal essay

Connectivism is a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information. According to George Siemens, learning is no longer an individualistic activity, but rather, in our digital society, it is the connections and connectiveness within networks lead to learning.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects—devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. The IoT allows objects to interact and integrate across the physical network. .

I will explore how the Internet of Things impacts on Education.  Social and participatory media sees the internet evolve into a two dimensional, dynamic, interactive, ecosystem where user participation is key. Learning is now on a global landscape and students are connected way beyond the classroom.

The role of the teacher and student is evolving in the Internet of Things.

This digital essay will:

  • Examine the impact connecting the unconnected has on learning.
  • Define how the Internet of Things is evolving in the Education landscape
  • Explore how student inputs such as cloud computing, BYOD, wearable technologies, Geospatial applications, and Big Data integrate to the Internet of Thing and how these inputs influence learning.
  • Outline the role of the teacher and student in the Internet of Things digital environment.

Blog Task 3 – Reflective Task

 

Jimmy Richard’s Blog post on “Connected Learning and Digital Literacy” made me want to dive back into exploring more about Connectivism as a Learning Theory.

Connected Learning

Connectivism

Image from Judy O’Connell

Siemens (2004) states that ‘Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. He concludes that ‘The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe. Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today.’ This further emphasizes the need for our students to have outstanding digital literacy and critical thinking skills. Our students need to know where to go to find information and how to think carefully about the validity of information retrieved.

Siemens(2004) highlights the need for digital literacy skills to be able to “plug into sources to meet the requirements”. He acknowledges that “learning is no long an internal, individualistic activity” and that “The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era’

Connectivism allows us to extract information and knowledge from social media and other social networks. It enables us to make sense of information and knowledge through the complex, uncertain, open and changing digital content in personal and group networks. The theory suggests that learning exists outside the individual for example in organisations or a database.

Connectivism proposes to see knowledge as a network and learning as a process of pattern recognition.

In order for connected learning to occur, our students need to develop superior digital literacy skills. Digital Literacy Skills seem to describe many things. The best definition comes from Bawden (2008). He describes the key elements digital literacy:

  • “knowledge assembly,” building a “reliable information hoard” from diverse sources
  • retrieval skills, plus “critical thinking” for making informed judgments about retrieved information, with wariness about the validity and completeness of internet sources
  • reading and understanding non-sequential and dynamic material
  • awareness of the value of traditional tools in conjunction with networked media
  • awareness of “people networks” as sources of advice and help
  • using filters and agents to manage incoming information
  • being comfortable with publishing and communicating information as well as accessing it.

I also reflected on Ky Hinselwoods blog on Connected Learning.  He makes the point that the difference between the other theories of learning such as Constructivism and Behaviourism and Cognitivism is that Connectivism deals with information and learning outside of the individual, for example in organisations or databases.

I like that Gonzales (2004) explains that knowledge itself, due to its exponential growth, has a half-life that can be measured in months and years – that the information we connect to now, may be obsolete this time next year. Being able to differentiate between old and new information, assumes that the learner bring an element of maturity with them to the learning, whilst they connect with information.  It is no longer about the knowledge as information because knowledge is in a constant state of flux. It is how we engage with the information and what we do with it.

Hinselwood (2016) points out that a potential challenge of adopting a connectivist approach to learning, particularly in a formalised setting like a state high school, is the notion that there is no real concept of transferring knowledge, making knowledge, or building knowledge (Siemens, 2004). Downes (2012, p. 93) explains that when the connectivist approach is utilised, that learners do not ‘acquire’ or ‘receive’ knowledge from their teacher;  but perhaps this is a good thing. Perhaps old methods need to evolve, as society evolves around it. As we continue to move through the digital age, the process of disseminating information is shifting, no longer reliant on information being passed from one person to another; teacher to student, but from a plethora of networks, both physical and digital, to the learner.

It has underlined the importance of making students aware of three things.

  • How information changes and exists outside of the learner.
  • The importance of students being independent learners and
  • The value of building digital literacy skills in the maths classroom.

References

Downes, S. (2012). Connectivism and Connective Knowledge: Essays on meaning and learning networks. National Research Council Canada. Retrieved March 27 2016, from:http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Gonzalez, C., (2004). The Role of Blended Learning in the World of Technology. Retrieved March 25, 2016, from:http://www.unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/2004/september04/eis.htm

Siemens, G. (2004). elearnspace. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital AgeElearnspace.org. Retrieved 26 April 2016, fromhttp://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Wall, J. (2016). INF530, Module 2.4, Thinking in networks.Retrieved from School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Interact 2 Webspace: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-712645-dt-content-rid-1707661_1/courses/S-INF530_201630_W_D/module2/2_4_Thinking_networks.html

Blog Post No 2 Trends in Technology

Key Trends in Technology affecting Education

Technology is evolving at an ever increasing speed. Mobile devices are getting smaller, more powerful and more personal. The combination of advanced networked technologies and the affordability of mobile devices has formed the basis for the digital revolution we are now living in. Classrooms are being transformed as we adapt to new ways of communicating and thinking.

Our school, like many other secondary schools in NSW, operates a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) program allowing students to use their preferred device and work within the platform they are most comfortable with. Students are able to participate in online learning alongside their regular classes and are responsible for the backup and security of their own data. Open Educational Resources such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) including Coursera, Code Academy and Open2Study are allowing students to freely participate in courses they would otherwise not have access to. Our learning management system based on Canvas, allows the blending of online learning with formal and informal instruction and creates an environment that fosters curiosity and creativity. Flipped classroom learning is implemented as part of our Learning Management System (LMS). Our school is already on its second LMS having implemented a Moodle based system and now we have moved to a Canvas system.

Access to Personal Devices allows for Personalised learning. Students are often offered choice in assessment tasks and choice in how they present a task. Some may choose to present an imovie and others prefer to produce a slideshow. They have a choice in communicating and presenting information.

Each year, the New Media Consortium (NMC) and Educause release the NMC Horizon Report which looks at the technology most likely to shape education in the next five years. The NMC Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018 was produced to explore emerging technologies and forecast their potential impact expressly in a STEM context. One of the key trends that is identified in the report is a shift towards deeper learning approaches that involves “the delivery of rich core content to students in innovative ways that allow them to learn and then apply what they have learned…

 THE NMC Horizon Report notes that “As technologies such as tablets and smartphones are more readily accepted in schools, educators are leveraging these tools, which students already use, to connect the curriculum with real life applications. These active learning approaches are decidedly more student-centered, allowing learners to take control of how they engage with a subject…” (p.8)

Immersive learning environments allow students authentic experiences of solving problems in the real world. The 2013 STEM Report notes that “Virtual and remote laboratories reflect a movement among education institutions to make the equipment and elements of a physical science laboratory easily available to learners from any location, via the web. Virtual laboratories are web applications that emulate the operation of real laboratories and enable students to practice in a “safe” environment before using physical components. Students can typically access virtual labs 24/7, from wherever they are, and run the same experiments over and over again. p 8

An example of an authentic industrially situated virtual laboratory is the virtual radioactive experiment created by the Kemi Jona and Mark Vondracek at University of Queensland to allow students to perform radioactive experiments in a safe environment.

With access to unlimited resources, students need skills to validate digital resources and search for digital resources. Digital Literacy is the ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyse and synthesise digital resources, construct new knowledge, create digital resources, and communicate with others. It is much more than just being able to use digital resources. It is something we need to actively teach rather than assume digitally native students automatically know. Socially acceptable netiquette and rules of online communication need to be observed to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstandings. Cybersafety and privacy guidelines need to be established.

John Seely Brown tells us in ‘A new Culture of Learning’ 2011 that the half-life of any skill is about five years. This impacts what we teach. The 21st century skills are a set of abilities and behaviours that students need to develop in order to succeed in the information age including critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.

The role of the teacher is also transforming with technology. The role of a teacher is no longer the  Sage on the Stage but rather a rich and diverse learning designers who navigates students through the abundance of content at their disposal.

Learning analytics is an educational application of “big data.” As students ‘google’ their way through the internet, they leave a clear trail of analytic data that can be mined for information. Learning analytics is in its early days. Specifically we use online mathematics programs to provide immediate feedback and quickly rectify areas requiring improvements. The progression of learning analytics allows new forms of assessment for learning.

The Maker movement is fueling service driven learning and entrepreneurial projects. 3D Printing, simple circuits, wearable technology and robotics are now all accessable and limited only by imagination and desire. The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a state in which vast numbers of objects are interconnected over the Internet and can collect data and transmit and receive information.

References

ICT trends in Non Government Schools 2014, research conducted by Computelec

New Media Horizon 2016 Report Higher Education Edition

Thomas, Douglas and Seely Brown, John (2011). A new culture of learning