600 words to summarise my personal learning and involvement in the subject does not seem to be enough. Surely that will barely touch the sides… Therefore I will focus on the key components that have stuck with me.
The module I enjoyed the most was Module 3: Knowledge Networks – Connected communities, open access, and connected learning. This module covered a range of areas I am already highly involved with, so to delve into the topic deeper was highly interesting and engaging. Chapter 4 of Conole’s (2012) book, Designing For Learning in an Open World was shared with us and after reading through it I found myself purchasing the whole book. Although it was written in 2012 and technology advances at an alarming rate, I found Conole’s writings to be very relevant of the learning happening in our schools currently; not only with the students but with the teachers as well.
One of the discussions that arose from this module was about open, social and participatory media. I remember looking through some of the comments and feeling overwhelmed by the detail some of my fellow students had gone into. How on earth could I match that? But reading on from there I found some comments more at my level of research and understanding.
After writing a comment myself (see below image), I was enlightened to see some of the responses. Having had minimal comments on my blog posts, it felt great to be heard and have some interaction with fellow students. In saying that, there was plenty of interaction with my peers on Twitter using #INF530 to communicate.
A big focus of this unit has been on how 21st century technologies have changed education. Although the role of the teacher may differ from previous years, Godsey (2015) stresses that teachers still hold the position of motivators, creators and facilitators. The 21st century focus on problem based, child based, real life related, creative inquiry and play based learning is magnified with the introduction of connected learning and digital technologies. It needs to be stressed, however, that the focus is on good pedagogy, rather than the technology that is being used. The technology is simply a tool to assist in good teaching and learning (Crockett, 2012).
I consider myself to be a big Twitter user, however, going back through the hashtag (INF530) has lead me to believe that my peers tweet more than me. I would often find myself looking through posts or resources posted by someone else. or reading through their replies to one-another without being able to add to the discussion. I am looking forward to future units as I now know what to expect. The goal next semester with be to stay ahead of the modules. This way I will be able to post my ideas and immediately, unlike this semester where I have jumped onto the discussion forums only to find my question already answered or my thoughts already voiced.
I have to admit that I only enjoyed the second of the major assignments required in this unit, the digital essay. Although we got to choose our book for the book review, I felt rushed and wasn’t entirely happy with my finished assignment. In a way it was a good experience as it encouraged me to do better in the digital essay. Only time will tell if that belief comes to fruition. The digital essay was also more enjoyable as it allowed me to explore Module 3 and social media use in education in even more detail.
Moving forward with the rest of my Masters, I feel more prepared and have expectations of what the upcoming units with bring. I truly believe I made the right decision by dropping one of my units early on. It was difficult enough to work though the content of one subject with a newborn baby let alone two. A big thanks to Judy for being so understanding and available to me throughout this unit.
Churches, A., Crockett, L., & Jukes, I. Literacy is not enough: 21st century fluencies for the digital age. Corwin Press: San Francisco.
Conole, G. (2012). Designing for learning in an open world. Springer: New York, NY.
It is incorrect to assume that all students these days are digital natives. Just because they were born in an age where technology is used frequently does not mean that they are born with advanced technological skills, or even with access to technology. I have seen this first hand when working with students over the last few years. The range of knowledge and skills is expansive, from students who have their own blogs set up to others who have never laid hands on an iPad.
My classroom is set up as a contemporary learning environment where students are encouraged to work at their own level to solve problems. There is continual growth with this setup, with students wanting to achieve higher personal results than they have previously. Students are encouraged to use a range of no tech, low tech and high tech resources, and share their knowledge of these tools in ‘watering holes’ or ‘campfires’. As teachers, we use the six fluencies from the 21st Century Fluency Project to create a range of problem-based tasks that relate to real-world experiences for our students. (See more on my personal blog).
It was interesting to read about preservation of data and think about what we are keeping and how we are preserving it. At present we are using a mix of cloud based tools (Google Classroom, Dropbox, etc), hard drives, which students back up once a week, as well as hard copies of documents. The catholic schools in Western Australia have recently started using SEQTA which is a great tool that encompasses a range of areas. But a lot of training is needed to prepare teachers to use it successfully and, unfortunately, many are only using it to take the roll twice a day.
The use of SEQTA within our schools also raises the question, ‘are we preserving the right information?‘ I feel that the answer is sometimes no. As educators we bring out different strengths in students. I feel that at times certain pieces of information should be left in the past or forgotten so that children have a ‘fresh start’ and can be involved in their learning without prejudices from prior experiences. For example: a child has used their device outside of the classroom and been told off for it. Does this need to be put onto their SEQTA record to follow them for the rest of their schooling? Surely there are more important notes to be taking!
Helen Haste talks about the Five Competencies that young people need in education for the future. She also discusses the concept that 21st Century students are collaborative tool users who need a range of competencies to thrive in an ever-changing environment. I agree with this statement. In 2014 one of my students moved overseas for a semester. This lead me to create a virtual classroom (Google Classroom) where I embedded a range of flipped learning tasks and activities. Having a virtual classroom not only enabled this student to stay up with the work her peers were doing, but was a fantastic lesson on for all students on how to adapt to change. They needed to use a range of new and old tools effectively to complete their tasks successfully.
I know that I am going to be challenged by the content in this subject but I am looking forward to expanding on my personal knowledge so that I am able to better teach my students and peers. I already have so many new ideas that I am looking forward to incorporating into my 21st Century learning environment.
Trentin, G., (2011). Technology and knowledge flows: the power of networks. Chandos Pub, Oxford.