A Critical Reflection ( / Taking the Red Pill)

Please forgive the overplayed movie reference, but #INF530, for me, was like stepping into “The Matrix”. Perhaps I should say stepping out of “The Matrix” – the computer simulated world humans live a half-life in, and into the “real” world. What I’m trying to get at is that I’ve been floating through life, even as an educator and tech-guy, without knowing what’s really going on. #INF530 has opened my eyes to the undercurrents of technology, knowledge, and information which flows around us, shapes our understandings and pulls us into the future. In taking this Masters program, I chose the red pill; I want to see how far the rabbit hole goes.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pauldineen/2121606903/ – Paul L Dineen – CC BY 2.0

I can honestly say I’ve developed both as a professional and as a person in taking #INF530. Both are intertwined, sure, but it’s not very often you can say that a professional development course or the like affected you at a deeper level. I’ll get to that later. As a teacher and an IT leader though, I’ve developed knowledge which has had an immediate implication on my practice.

Probably the most hard-hitting was a realisation half-way through #INF530 (Reflective Blog Post 3) that I was using:

“what I thought was smart use of Web 2.0 software, a bit of blogging and wiki-learning. It turns out though, I’m probably just engaging students in “low level” learning experiences”

And that was quite a tough pill to swallow. It was also though, a platform. A starting point. An ideal to chase. I’m now much more focused on providing learning experiences which enable connections to occur, for creativity to flourish, and for passions to be followed. It’s up to ME to embody the change that schools need to take, and I’m taking responsibility to do just that.

So I’ve learned a lot ~

Theories of knowledge flow (From Reflective Blog Post 2, on Connectivisim)

“It is a learning theory for the digital age – one which acknowledges we live in a world of multiplicity. Individuals and communities are nodes of knowledge, scattered about, complicatedly connected”

Concepts of linked data, the semantic web, and meta-data (From Reflective Blog Post 4)

“Berners Lee claims there is a latent, largely untapped potential of the world wide web to link data sets and information together. It’s also called ‘the semantic web’ – a “common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries.”

But what I’ve really found to be a development for me, was working in the participatory nature of #INF530. It was amazing to see how quickly people bonded and started talking. We had a shared passion and a shared goal, and were “all in it together”. It was an interesting feeling for someone like myself who is usually quite blasé and “too cool” when it comes to group endeavours. I immediately felt this one was different. And I’m not going to sit here and say it was always easy – I ooh’d and ahh’d a number of times over making comments, posting, and asking questions. I battled with some inner self saying – “what have you got to share?”, “who cares what you think?”, “they already know that!”. But I came to realise (while not always comfortable) putting your ideas out there and connecting with others is vitally important. Setting your ideas free, no matter how silly you think they are, can always lead to other ripples in the pond down the line. It’s altruistic. It benefits society.

So thanks, #INF530. You’ve not only given me oodles of new knowledge and aspirations and ideas to put into place in my classroom, but also an increased propensity to share, connect and collaborate. And that, is a great thing. It was tough getting back into study (time-management wise) but I’m very glad I did, and am looking forward to the next few years and developing even more.

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