INF533 Assessment 4 Part C: Critical Reflection
At the start of this subject I was coming from a place where my work as an educational professional was somewhat at war with the digital environment, or at least with the engagement with it through the technology available in my last classroom-teaching experience. I discussed this with Helen in the forums (Styan, Simon, & Croft, 2018). I knew that integration of information and communication technology (ICT) was a requirement of the New South Wales (NSW) Syllabus (NSW Education Standards Authority, n.d.) and was seen as a key part of the role of teacher librarians (TLs) (Combes, 2016, paras. 42-45), but from hard experience, I had lost my enthusiasm for putting it into action.
My exploration of digital literature in the first half of the session was frustrating at times (Simon, 2018d), but I ultimately found some inspiration as mentioned on my blog (Simon, 2018e). Learning about the historical development of digital literature (Rettberg, 2012) was fascinating and readings from practitioners such as Annette Lamb (2011) and Maureen Walsh (2013) gave me practical ideas for how to evaluate and select pieces of digital literature and use them in classroom programs. I still wrestle with the idea that just because literature is digital it requires new literacies to comprehend it, as I discussed on my blog (Simon, 2018c) and in the forum (Simon, 2018a). Nonetheless, David Leu and his colleagues make a strong case for the importance of acknowledging and explicitly supporting specific skills required when reading digital texts (Leu, et al., 2011; Leu, Forzani, Timbrell, & Maykel, 2015). This new understanding underpins my conviction that it is essential for educational professionals to include digital reading experiences in their lessons and to explicitly instruct students in digital literacy across all levels of instruction.
The process of exploring digital literature to find examples for the review assessment encouraged me in my use of social media for connecting and networking with colleagues. Though not initially in my comfort zone (Simon, 2018b), establishing a habit of checking Twitter and the #INF533 hashtag has enhanced my professional practice. It has helped me to communicate with my classmates (Simon, 2018h), keep abreast of developments in the field of electronic literature (Simon, 2018j), and start widening my professional network (Simon, 2018i). I intend to keep up the habits of engaging with Twitter and my blog as I continue to develop professionally. I will also recommend engagement in professional social media networking to colleagues as an essential ingredient in modern educational professional development.
Reading about digital storytelling (DST) was interesting and I reflected on the curricular value of it in my response to the Module 4.1 question cross-posted to forum and blog (Simon, 2018f). However, working through the practical application in the final assessment project really developed my ideas and feelings about DST as a learning tool as well as the responsibilities that educational professionals working in the digital environment have to the educational community. Making my own decisions about how to present my chosen story revealed the depth of learning possible through projects of this sort; I worked hard to represent Robin’s (2008) seven elements of DST (Robin, 2008 as cited in Matthews, 2014, p. 29) in my work. Looking at the range of choices members of the cohort used as platforms-many of them not mentioned in the literature from our course readings-to present their stories gave me pause to think. It highlighted for me the responsibility of educational professionals to contribute to the research and practitioner literature with current thinking on tools and pedagogy given the rapidly evolving digital environment. To fulfil this responsibility, I intend to prioritise professional communication and publication in my work-life as an educational professional.
To sum up, I have come to believe that the work of educational professionals in digital environments must begin with pedagogy. Setting out with a clear intention of integrating consumption and creation of digital texts (Simon, 2018g) in the instructional program is key. In order to do that in a contemporary and relevant manner, one must maintain an active presence in relevant social media venues. I see now that feeling pressure to use technological tools that were on hand led to the distress and discouragement I discussed earlier. Letting the choice of technological tools flow from the pedagogical and programming needs should help prevent disillusionment and provide encouragement to educators to press on and find ways to teach effectively in a digital environment, although it will not be a panacea for all frustrations with the practical issues of using technology in schools.
Combes, B. (2016). Digital literacy: A new flavour of literacy or something different?. Synergy, 14(1). Retrieved from https://www.slav.vic.edu.au/synergy/volume-14-number-1-2016/reflections-and-actions/611-digital-literacy-a-new-flavour-of-literacy-or-something-different.html
Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live
Leu, D. J, Forzani, E., Timbrell, N., & Maykel, C. (2015). Seeing the forest, not the trees: Essential technologies for literacy in the primary-grade and upper elementary-grade classroom. Reading Teacher, 69(2), 139-145. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=109228758&site=ehost-live
Leu, D. J., McVerry, J. G., O’Byrne, W. I., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L., Everett-Cacopardo, H., . . . & Forzani, E. (2011).
The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(1), 5-14. doi: 10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1
Matthews, J. (2014). Voices from the heart: The use of digital storytelling in education. Community Practitioner, 87(1), 28-30. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/1474889132?OpenUrlRefId=info:xri/sid:primo&accountid=10344
NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). (n.d.). Integrating ICT capability. Retrieved from https://syllabus.nesa.nsw.edu.au/support-materials/integrating-ict/
Rettberg, J. W. (2012). Electronic literature seen from a distance: the beginnings of a field. Retrieved from http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2012/41/walker-rettberg.htm
Simon, M. (2018a, July 15). A critical reading of Leu’s “new” literacy [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_32816_1&conf_id=_59197_1&forum_id=_125929_1&message_id=_1877671_1&nav=discussion_board_entry
Simon, M. (2018b, July 23). Re: Shannon 2041 [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_32816_1&conf_id=_59197_1&forum_id=_125927_1&message_id=_1901296_1&nav=discussion_board_entry
Simon, M. (2018c, July 29). It can be nice to find your echo chamber [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mrssimonsays/2018/07/29/it-can-be-nice-to-find-your-echo-chamber/
Simon, M. (2018d, August 12). Re: Assessment two decision making [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_32816_1&conf_id=_59197_1&forum_id=_133479_1&message_id=_1946751_1&nav=discussion_board_entry
Simon, M. (2018e, September 5). Exploring innovative digital literature and using socially networked reading sites in classroom settings [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mrssimonsays/2018/09/05/exploring-innovative-digital-literature-and-using-socially-networked-reading-sites-in-classroom-settings/
Simon, M. (2018f, September 20). Digital storytelling: My perspective including social media and learning connections [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mrssimonsays/2018/09/20/digital-storytelling-my-perspective-including-social-media-and-learning-connections/#more-517
Simon, M. (2018g, September 20). Digital storytelling: My perspective, social media and learning connections [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&course_id=_32816_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_59197_1&forum_id=_125938_1&message_id=_2000735_1
Simon, M. [MrsSimon_says]. (2018h, August 3). Both! That was fabulous 🙂 Have you seen A Duck Has an Adenture[sic]? #INF533 http://e-merl.com/stuff/duck.html [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/MrsSimon_says/status/1025498820304498688
Simon, M. [MrsSimon_says]. (2018i, September 18). My first library-related professional development outing J. Interesting and useful information [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/MrsSimon_says/status/1042175291471192064
Simon, M. [MrsSimon_says]. (2018j, September 25). This looks interesting – perhaps one to read after assessments are handed in? #inf533 [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/MrsSimon_says/status/1025498820304498688
Styan, H., Simon, M., & Croft, T. (2018). Digital environment in primary schools [Online forum thread]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages
Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment. In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers (pp. 181-194). Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)