All posts by Yvette

INF537 The final note

INF537 is the finale to my Master of Education Opus.

Music - like anything requires time. INF537 also has required time to gain the most from it.
Music – like anything requires time. INF537 also has required time to gain the most from it.

It’s enabled me to bring together the numerous melodies that each unit taught and finally see how they interweave and echo each other in a beautiful theme and variation form.

I was enthused by the cavatina of the various guest colloquiums, each entwining and complimenting the INF537 basic melody line. Not all of the colloquiums supported my work, though all were incredibly interesting and provided valuable information. I focused on Simon Welsh and Pip Cleaves to blog about as these colloquiums gave me interesting points to research and reflect on.

Learner analyitics can help a course thrive and survive or crash and burn, tit all depends on how well us use the metrics.
Learner analyitics can help a course thrive and survive or crash and burn, tit all depends on how well us use the metrics.

Simon Welsh provided an excellent counterpoint with his Learner Analytic presentation that resonated to my current work role. I reflected upon thoughts I had been building from INF530 and INF443 and contemplated in Learning analytics – who is watching the watchers (Drager, 2016 July 27).

Pip Cleaves discussed the ‘Diffusion of Innovation cycle’ (Rogers, 2003), which made me rethink the Gartner Hype Cycle (Gartner, 2016) and how the adoption rates directly link to Rogers (2003) work. Those cycles prompted me to jump to the Horizon Report (NMC, 2016) and think about how both cycles impact on what is reported annually by the New Media Consortium (NMC, 2016).

I now have the empathy and understanding to walk a mile in others shoes thanks to Pip Cleaves.
I now have the empathy and understanding to walk a mile in others shoes thanks to Pip Cleaves.

As an educator it’s supremely important to recognise the levels of engagement with technology my students fit into and where within the ‘Diffusion of Innovation cycle’ (Rogers, 2003) they belong and contextualize my training delivery accordingly, as well as adjust my expectations of them to ensure we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

What I benefited most from during these colloquiums was the experience for the class to moderate and work together in small groups. This enabled us to create firm contacts with in the course. My group worked in harmony via Twitter and a live Google document. We fast came to the realization the nightmare we put out students through when asking them all to edit live at once, a truly memorable and wonderful experience.

I am sitting back happy to watch others perform due to my support and reaching out to them.
I am sitting back happy to watch others perform due to my support and reaching out to them.

INF537 has enabled me to re-examine Communities of Practice and given me the impetus to encourage my peers to setup up a new Community of Practice and newsletter for the WA VET Sectors Adult Literacy and Numeracy area, which has been launched, which I intimated to in Participatory culture – Do we dare to partake? (Drager, 2016 August 9), and am happy to sit back and watch their performance.

I gained a new respect for the output of scholars with the assessment task on Digital Scholarship and posted my assessment onto my  blog INF537 Digital Scholarship Interpretive discussion paper (Drager, 2016 September 16) for future INF537 students to benefit from, paying it forwarded to the next cohort. I do this in the hope that they will also review my various blog posts which contain information on accessibility, participation as well as vital other topics and benefit from my solo learning journey.

I am ready to solo
The individual case study gave a soloist focus to my ongoing learning at the end of this unit.

My coda came in the form of the Case Study final assessment. This was challenging, fun, exciting and liberating assignment that gave an opportunity to showcase what I could do on a topic of my choosing, it really was my cadenza. The dissonance that I have increasingly discovered, thanks to my research for my case study, is the little is no understanding that individuals have when it comes to preserving data. I have discovered that we have lost valuable data from the end of 2015, simply because DTWD were using a different system for webinar streaming. This one event made such a cacophony that it prompted my post You live you learn you upgrade (Drager, 2016 October 3).

Started on a small public stage.
Started on a small public stage.

In my final refrain INF537 has been a wonderful learning experience that has developed my skills in research, and renewed my energy for participation in my networks. It has added a rich timbre to my Opus and has me finally ready to perform on a grander public stage, rather than busking in the high street.

Now I am ready for something grander.
Now I am ready for something grander.


Drager, Y. (2016, October 3). You live, you learn, you upgrade [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, September 16). INF537 Digital Scholarship Interpretive discussion paper [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, August 9). Participatory culture, do we dare to partake? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, July 27). Learning analytics – Who is watching the watchers? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Gartner. (2016). 2016 Hype Cycles Highlight Digital Business Ecosystems. Retrieved from

NMC Horizon Report > 2017 Higher Education Edition Wiki. (2016, October 11). Retrieved from

Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press

Network literacy evaluative report INF532

Part A: An evaluative statement using the networked learning experiences documented on your Thinkspace blog as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of this subject.

Information is now accessible on the worldwide web for everyone, not just for scholarly elite. However, since the 1990s an acute issue that is becoming more important is the curation and filtering of information (Bawden & Robinson, 2009). A simple search on any topic will result in a plethora of hits. Using tools to aid curation of content is vital to a person seeking to make the most of the myriad of information for individuals and their personal learning network (PLN) (Visser, 2011). Individuals will go through a trial and error process before settling on a suite of tools that will work from them personally, as explored in curation – the final frontier (Drager, 2016 October 4).

A 21st Century educator needs to have a solid understanding of how the social nature of knowledge networking and content production can help them lead their organisation from being knowledgeable to knowledgeable (TEDx Talks, 2010). While teachers might use technology in their personal lives there has been an increasing disengagement with the use of technology for education purposes, especially in the VET sector (O’Brien, & Maor, 2013). Unfortunately it is critical that educators adapt to a new way of teaching to survive in the education sector (Drager, 2016 July 12).

Wheeler (2010) stresses educators must become self-directed and socially connected learners who can develop a PLN as a key component of their professional toolkit and Patnoudes (2012) states that PLN is a structure for learning and it’s crucial for educators to understand how to employ effectively their PLN for lifelong learning (Drager, 2016 October 8). Educators need to embrace the 21st Century multi-literacies (Nussbaum-Beach, & Hall, 2012) and become active participants in the development of content and sharing of knowledge (Rheingold, & Weeks, 2012; Drager, 2016, August 9). An educator can easily become a connected learner; they simply need the will to commit and the ability to reach out to others for support (Lindsay, 2016; Drager, 2016 September 13). The act of reaching out and sharing is of benefit to the educator, their direct connections and the wider education sector. For an educator sharing is an obligation, not an elective (Gerstein, 2015) and it’s important to pay the knowledge forward (Drager, 2016 October 8).

Educators need a good understanding of their own TPACK (, & Koehler, 2016; Drager, 2015 January 12) as well as the capability and capacity to use instructional design methodologies. Design and development of content uses instructional design principles such as ADDIE and it’s important for educators to understand not only instructional design but the affordances of tools they’re using to disseminate information (Bower, 2009; Drager, 2015 January 19).

Instructional design is defined as the process instruction is improved through the analysis of learning needs and systematic development of learning experiences (Kearsley, & Culattahttp, 2016) and is echoed by Morrison’s personal definition (2013) which is why instructional design is crucial for developing content. The five first principles identified by Merrill (2002) underpins instructional design models and provides a framework for problem centred instruction which forms the basis for many blended and online courses and content, such as in ‘Blending and flipping- not just for cooking’ (Drager, 2016 October 9).

21st Century skills are vital for educators to effectively create authentic learning experiences that will have meaning for their students (Herrington & Parker, 2013) while also ensuring that curriculum is being met (Drager, 2016 August 9).

Jonson (2014) says “Blended learning is about good teaching and making the most of our online and face to face environments”. Blended delivery is not an easy approach. It requires thoughtful and deliberate instructional planning which can impact the teacher student relationship because of the pedagogical approach (Herrington, & Parker, 2013). The dynamic of interactions move from teacher-student (sage on the stage) to student-student (peer to peer with guide on the side teach role) and technology becomes a new space for teaching and learning in the classroom (Jonson, 2014; Lukin et al., 2009).

The VET sector already views the trainer as a facilitator or ‘meddler in the middle’ supporting students’ in-class interactions (Herrington & Parker, 2013; Day & Kumar, 2010) rather than the traditional ‘sage on the stage’ (Lukin et al., 2009). By employing different teaching methodologies such as flipped learning, blended delivery and virtual classrooms as well as the facilitator’s direct involvement with the students in the education assistant (Drager, 2016 July 13) and facilitate e-learning (Drager, 2016 October 9) courses was crucial for student success.

Learner 2.0 –  are students born after 2000 and have been wrapped up in technology their entire lives (Wheeler, 2015) are our current learners. Meeker (2016) identifies that students who fall into the Millenials generation prefer visual/video over traditional text. When designing learning experiences for students we need to understand them and create engaging experiences for specific cohorts, not just a blanket one-size-fits-all approach (Herner-Patnode, Lee, & Baek, 2011; Drager, 2016 September 21; Drager, 2016 August 5; Drager, 2016 July 27).

Merrill’s top first principle is particularly important to the VET student – “learning is promoted when learners are engaged in solving real-world problems” (2002). Resmick says that Scratch (along with other game based learning programs) “teach our children to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively” (Ray, Jackson, & Cupaiuolo, 2014; Hanghøj, 2013) and can help support students to learn via failing in a safe and supportive environment. This philosophy extends to include real-world online tools to makes the learning authentic and real for students in a meaningful and relevant context, which is often more effective than learning that happens outside of the context (Herrington & Parker, 2013; Van Eck, 2006).

Being networked is important for students and educators alike. It can be a rich, fulfilling experience that can be symbiotic to both educators and students as information and the ability to reach out to professionals in industry is available now unlike never before.

Part B: A reflective statement on your development as a connected educator as a result of studying INF532, and the implications for your role as a ‘connected leader’ within your school community, and/or at district/state/national level.

In reflecting back on INF532 there was a number of key learning points that resonated with me throughout the unit that deal with pedagogy and making effective connections. I was fortunate to do INF532 at the very end of my course and have been able to draw on knowledge and experiences from previous units as well as from my work.

I now have a solid grasp on not only the need for curation but also a practical implementation of it in my everyday work practice as explored in curation – the final frontier (Drager, 2016 October 4). Though digital obsolescence was not covered in this unit I feel that it is important to be mindful of, especially when using tools for curation purposes and blogged about this in you live you learn you upgrade (Drager , 2016 October 3) with interoperability and transference (import/export) and maintaining networks being paramount (Good, 2014). I am cognisant now that the filtering, selecting and managing of information streams can be problematic for users and can lead to ‘pathologies of information’ such as Information Anxiety, Infobesity, Satisficing (Bawden & Robinson, 2009) so used tagging to improve user experience on my blog. This idea has flowed through to my workplace where our website and LMS now employ tagging for enhanced user interaction and search-ability to improve work flow  Boud, & Garrick, 2012).

Creation of a digital artefact helped me in stepping outside my comfort zone to create something quirky for training with inspiration being drawn from the Library of Congress Snow Byte and the Seven Formats; A Digital Preservation Fairy Tale. I set the bar high and worked through a formal development process which helped focus the context for the resource to be used and provided a necessary blueprint (Oliver, 2000). The process included scoping projected target group, project managing timelines, storyboarding the resource and finally producing the digital artefact: How a PLN saved the 3 pigs (Drager, 2016 September 13). The creation of the digital artefact, though not worth a huge amount of marks certainly was a critical learning point within the unit. As a result I have developed skills in PowToon and have broadened my skills in Camtasia, Adobe Photoshop and location of creative commons audio and images and will be using my digital artefact as a basis for a content creation session early in 2017 for VET professionals.

Partnering in this unit is important (Prensky, 2010) with each stakeholder group playing a distinctive role, which supported the authentic learning experiences that were worked through both individually and as a learning cohort (Herrington, & Parker, 2013; Oliver, 2000; Herrington, Reeves, Oliver, & Woo, 2004). Vital to a successful course is the valuable peer-to-peer learning that goes on and is central to knowledge networking (Davidson, & Goldberg, 2010), which in this unit was employed in the peer review of the digital learning artefacts and enabled students to get honest supportive feedback from like-minded peers as demonstrated in Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts (Drager, 2016 September 30).

Unintentionally the sessions I present to trainers follow Merrill’s five first principles, which I’ll endeavour to make a conscious decision to use this as a framework in the future so I can use the principles as a teaching point. Technology in the classroom should directly link to curriculum and the educator needs to be informed by the five principles of meaningful learning; technology active, constructive, intentional, authentic and cooperative outlined by Jonassen, Howland, Marra, and Crismond (2008) to ensure that students are being taught how to become effective connected learners.

Blended delivery and technology enabled teaching is important, but not to the detriment of the pedagogy. In the VET context there is a need to scaffold the learning and link to previous experiences for adult learners to develop a deep understanding of principles (Roblyer, 2013; Drager, 2015 January 11) via authentic learning and Anderson and Krathwohl’s knowledge dimension taxonomy (2001). For me I must ensure correlation between skills learnt in a classroom and the transferability of skills into the workplace (Buzzard, Crittenden, Crittenden & McCarty, 2011; Drager, 2016 July 9) for the training and professional development sessions I present, as outlined in Blending and flipping – not just for cooking (Drager, 2016 October 9) and Less screen more green – an adventure in blended delivery and games (Drager, 2015 May 18).

Most importantly in this unit I am at a point where I will share my work both with fellow students and to my wider personal learning network (PLN) via social networks such as Twitter as discussed in Up close and personal – my PLN (Drager, October 8). I have been surprised at the number of views that my simple digital artefact has had. In the past I may have been concerned with the reactions, but I’m happy now to share my good quality thoughts/content and move on. I suspect the change in my mindset is due to my well-developed PLN who expects me to share and comment and has invigorated my informal learning (Nesloney, 2013).

In thinking about the personal growth I have made in this unit and linking previously learnt skills and knowledge as well as the development of new skills has led to my professional practices being improved. I am now a connected educator who can help lead the VET sector in primarily WA and then linking out to the whole world. I have been fortunate enough this year to serve on the NMC 2017 Horizon Report for Tertiary Education (International report) and the 2016 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education (Australian report), which is directly linked to my learning from this unit, so I can now say I will impact on the world stage largely thanks to INF532.


Adobe. (2015). Photoshop (Version Creative Cloud) [Computer software]. Retrieved from

Anderson, L., & Krathwhol, D. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of education objectives. New York: Longman.

Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The dark side of information: Overload anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies. Journal of Information Science, 35(2), 180–191. doi: 10.1177/0165551508095781

Blended learning. (2016, September 18). Retrieved from

Boud, D., & Garrick, J. (Eds.). (2012). Understanding Learning at Work (1) [Routledge]. Retrieved from

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi: 10.1080/09523980701847115

Buzzard, C., Crittenden, V., Crittenden, W., & McCarty, P. (2011). The Use of Digital Technologies in the Classroom A Teaching and Learning Perspective. Journal of Marketing Education, 33(2), 131-139. doi:10.1177/0273475311410845

Creative Commons. (2016, October 3). Retrieved from

Davidson, C. N., & Goldberg, D. T. (2010). Ch 7. (ln)Conclusive: Thinking the future of digital thinking. In Future of thinking: Learning institutions in a digital age (pp. 175-199). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Retrieved

Day, J., & Kumar, M. (2010). Using SMS Text Messaging to Create Individualized and Interactive Experiences in Large Classes: A Beer Game Example. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8(1), 129-136. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2009.00247.x

Digital Obsolescence. (2016, July 30). Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, October 9). Blending and flipping – not just for cooking [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, October 8). Up close and personal – my PLN [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, October 4). Curation – the final frontier [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, October 3). You live, you learn, you upgrade [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, September 30). Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, September 21). Profiling – Not just for the FBI [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, September 13). Knowledge networking digital artefact and exegesis INF532 [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, August 9). Participatory culture, do we dare to partake? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, August 5). Are we there yet? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, July 27). Learning analytics – Who is watching the watchers? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, July 13). A new age dawns [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, July 12). INF532 – Information environments [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2016, July 9). Social media in the VET classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2015, May 18). Less screen more green – an adventure in blended delivery and games [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2015, January 19). Affordances of Moodle – a multiplatform application [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2015, January 12). TPACK framework [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Drager, Y. (2015, January 11). Why we should use technology in the classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Gerstein, J. (2015, March 29). Sharing: A Responsibility of the Modern Educator [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Good, R. (2014). Content curation tools: 21 criteria to select and evaluate your ideal one. Retrieved from

Hanghøj, T. (2013). Game-based teaching: Practices, roles, and pedagogies. In S. de Freitas, M. Ott, M. Popescu, & I. Stanescu (Eds.) New pedagogical approaches in game enhanced learning: Curriculum integration (pp. 81-101). Hershey, PA: .doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-3950-8.ch005

Herner-Patnode, L., Lee, H.-J., & Baek, E.-o. (2011). Reflective E-Learning Pedagogy. In Instructional Design: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications (pp. 18-33). [Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global]. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch103. Retrieved from:

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), pp. 607-615. doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C., Oliver, R. & Woo, Y. (2004). Designing authentic activities in web-based courses. Journal of computing in higher education, 16(1), pp. 3-29. Retrieved from

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Jonassen, D.H., Howland, J., Marra, R., & Crismond, D. (2008). Meaningful learning with technology (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

Jonson, Jen. (2014). Blended learning and technology integration [Video file]. Retrieved from

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Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator. Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Moorabbin, Victoria: Hawker Brownlow Education.

Luckin, R., Clark, W., Logan, K., Graber, R., Oliver, M., & Mee, A. (2009). Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning: practices, perceptions and profiles of 11-16 year old learners?. Learning, Media and Technology, 34(2). Retrieved from

Meeker, M. (2016). 2016 Internet Trends Report. Retrieved from

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Morrison, D. (2013). Why online courses [really] need an instructional design strategy. Online learning insights. Retrieved from

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

NMC. (2016). 2016 NMC Technology Outlook > Australian Tertiary Education. Retrieved from

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Nesloney, T. (2013, September 23). My PLN saved my career [Blog post]. Retrieved from

O’Brien, T., & Maor, D. (2013, December). Pipe dreams or digital dreams: Technology, pedagogy and content knowledge in the vocational educational and training sector. Paper presented at 30th Ascilite Conference, Sydney. Retrieved from’Brien.pdf

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Prensky, M. (2010). Teaching digital natives: Partnering for real learning. London: Sage.

Ray, B., Jackson, S. & Cupaiuolo, C. (Eds).(2014). Participatory learning. MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative.

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

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Blending and flipping – not just for cooking

In recent years “blended delivery” has become a catch phrase with many in the VET sector saying that they are doing this, but really have no actual understanding fo what blended delivery is.

Blended delivery requires that the instructor takes time to carefully creates an instruction plan that will leverage the affordances of various technology to support and augment face-to-face training. The beauty of blended delivery is that it can incorporate “Flipped Learning” and moves the focus from teachers to student to student learning, which can form some of the most powerful learning experiences.

Though student to student interaction can form powerful learning experiences it is still critical that a teacher, who can take the form of a facilitator, is still involved to guide the learning.

In recent years I have been teaching a block of professional development that is aligned to the Certificate IV TAE unit Facilitating Online. The cohort is often distanced by location so I take great pains to ensure a face to face component (synchronous sessions) fortnightly. During this the students present on the topic of the week to their fellow students, and manage the discussion forums. This is critical as it enable peer-to-peer learning and then I cover what-ever has been left out of the students presentations. Each student suffers nerves, though each of them are seasoned professionals from the VET sector who present training daily to students.

The reason behind this methodology is to give all students the ability to use various technologies. Of course the students are heavily mentored through the whole presentation process to ensure as little stress as possible.

At the commencement of each week I post a video that provides content, in a short humorous style along with readings and activities. This is the content that all students are expected to have reviewed prior to the virtual class. I set these expectations at the start of the course and have the students complete a class code of conduct to ensure that they understand what both their peer and I want.

Due to the remoteness and connectivity issues for some of my students I have had to ensure that all the course is designed in such a way that it will display on minimum bandwidth. Also for accessibility concerns all videos are also close captioned.

I take seriously the need for students all to have a voice, even the quietest has amazing insights to offer, and this teaching approach has worked well in having our wall-flowers step up and takes charge in a non-threatening environment.

This Facilitate elearning is based around problem centered instruction and uses the first principles outlined by Merril (2002).

Designing and working with students online can often be seen (incorrectly) as an easy option that does not require much effort on behalf of the trainer. Senior management often has this skewed view of online learning. It is often hard, especially if you are using a blended option.

Recently our team in the Government agency I work for have taken the challenge that all our conferences and professional learning events will be delivered in a blended option. This means that we live stream key sessions at all events. I am not going to say it was easy at the beinginning it was horrid, however, in our third year of doing this means it is now second nature and we are able to provide valuable learning opportunities to people all over Australia who may not have been able to attend otherwise.

This is taking blended to a whole different lever as we do not just stream the sessions, but if there is small group work being done in the session then this will be replicated in the virtual classroom so that our online attendees have a full and rich learning experience.

It has meant that we now also have a fleet of laptops, professional cameras, microphones and hand held devices that are needed to run events. However that being said my sessions that I stream are run with a laptop and my webcam, simple and effective. We do stress anyone can do what we do, and you do not need a Hollywood budget either.

This approach has been flawed with some of the senior management from RTOs not fully understanding the concept. But with dedication and perseverance the joy of blended will be adopted on a wider scale by many other organisations as we now run sessions on how to run a blended event.

21st Century skills such as problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, communication and collaboration as all key and need careful scaffolding and mapping to ensure that both the digital work blends with the face-to-face work for all formal and informal activities and assessments within a course. By being flexible with the more traditional teaching course material and giving students the reason to up-skill themselves quickly to ensure they can pass on information accurately to a learning cohort means that going for the flip and using a blended approach provides  a more personalised approach to instuction, gets students buy-in and more inportantly utilises technology to augment the training (Roblyer, 2013).


Jonson, J. (2014). Blended learning and technology integration. YouTube. Retrieved April 29, 2014 from

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instructionEducational Technology Research and Development, 50 (3), 43-59.

Michalowski, A. (2014). Planning for blended learning environments and measuring progress. Youtube. Retrieved April 29, 2014 from

Morrison, D. (2013). Why online courses [really] need an instructional design strategy. Online learning insights. Retrieved April 29, 2014 from

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Up close and personal – my PLN

As a professional educator over the years I have spent time and energy building a network of people I can reach out to for help, support and knowledge. In recent times I have helped others to discover the importance of communicating with other professionals to broaden their perspective to enhance their teaching and knowledge of current issues within their industry areas.

Personal learning jigsaw cc-BY-NC license Yvette Drager
Personal learning jigsaw
cc-BY-NC license Yvette Drager

For me I have personally used Twitter for a number of years. It started sitting at work one day and I asked my colleague the simple question “Do you use Twitter?” The blank look said it all. As we were the source of professional development I knew that I had to start building wider and stronger networks to keep me informed. So I chose Twitter to start reaching out to the big wide world and have never looked back. I encourage others to reach out and follow other educational and industry professionals.

One of the key reasons to create a personal learning network (PLN) is to stay connected, and I love the opportunities that social media gives me. The vast majority of my tweets are work related, what can I say I like to compartmentalize my social media streams. Upon saying that this past week my work persona on Twitter collided with my personal life when a fellow student tagged me in a FB post crediting my tweet she reposted into a CSU Facebook page.

Coping with writing anxiety, tweet about how to break through writing anxiety. Shared with INF532 via #
Coping with writing anxiety, tweet about how to break through writing anxiety. Shared with INF532 via #
Tweet reposted by my fellow student in Facebook group, a medium that I do not normally use for education but for Theatre jobs.
Tweet reposted by my fellow student in Facebook group, a medium that I do not normally use for education but for Theatre jobs.



ENGAGE and PARTICIPATE are the key, starting slow reaching out to people who are known then slowly building, exploring asking, answering and experimenting has been the key. I have long been a champion within my government agency of social media, including the need for writing a robust policy around how employees can use social media on behalf of the agency. It is nice to finally say that my PLN is robust and helps me to learn and explore different concepts and thoughts daily.

I have to say that as I have had to redefine my work and move to new job roles due to restructuring I have had to learn new skills, my PLN helped save my bacon, oh and my job numerous times over. Without the new ideas, thoughts and encouragement I would not be as effective with my work as an educator that I am. I chose Twitter to start my PLN journey with the wider world and have since branched out into Facebook and Google+. I can say that no matter the medium I know that my PLN is there for me to support my life-long learning and in turn I am there for my PLN.


Rheingold, H., & Weeks, A. (2012). Participation power. In Net smart: How to thrive online (pp. 111-145). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Online full-text available via CSU Library

Nesloney, T. (2013, September 23). My PLN saved my career. Nesloney’s adventures: Thoughts from an elementary teacher . Retrieved from

Curation – the final frontier

Curation – where I failed to go for so long

Many are in the same boat, but won't admit it.
Many are in the same boat, but won’t admit it.

I am at nearing the end of my learning journey in the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) and I have to make a confession, I have only just finally grasped the importance of digital curation and how to do it well. Shocked, well don’t be, I suspect many of us are in the same boat.

Over the years I have stabbed at creating folders, spreadsheets, delicious lists, Evernote, Symbaloo, ScoopIt, Pearltrees, Pinterest and yes Diigo. I never really found my groove and felt it was too hard. It to be honest was very haphazard and peace meal to say the least; the reason is that I simply was trying too many different ways and not settling for one method, I had no method for stemming the flow of information and little idea how to keep track of important things I needed. Yes, no doubt about it curating done badly can be like herding cats, but trying to manage a good curated site is worth the effort.

A rich mosaic of information is at my fingertips thanks to curating.
A rich mosaic of information is at my fingertips thanks to curating.

The real trick is aggregating, using collective curation and tagging. I have limited myself down to two key curation tools and have linked with many different professionals them and have become part of an active community curating. Once I grasped this secret I was able to curate and save to my heart’s content and build a rich mosaic of knowledge that is at my fingertips. But it was not taught as part of our formal course at the beginning, my knowledge was all learnt and explored through informal learning networks. Now I am in my final two units the irony is I now understand and implore others to curate before it is too late, just to push that final point I leave you with a catch phrase :

Curate, it will help you create!

Curate, it will help you create!
Curate, it will help you create!

Editor note: I was asked in a response to this post, well what tools are you using? I have to say that I favor ScoopIt! as I’ve been using this for a very long time and have built up a good group of followers in that space, however I am also back to dabbling and am also enjoying PearlTrees, I bookmark with Delicious but am always aware that obsolescence is always just around the corner and online systems can go just as quick (for example Ning) for more information about obsolescence look at my post ‘You live, you learn, you upgrade‘. My take-away from this is that you will keep evolving, exploring and experiencing new tools to keep yourself current and relevant.


Crowdspoke (2011, June 7). Understand collective curation in under 90 seconds [Video file]. Retrieved from

You live, you learn, you upgrade

In our  throw-away society obsolescence is fast becoming a problem that we will all face. Think about when you were younger (ahh the simpler time in your life) when technology was not the driver of all work places.


Remember fondly a time when looking through a View-Master was the coolest thing you could do in a library,  a golf ball typewriter was a thing to be jealous of in the workplace or at home

Golf-ball typewriter
Golf-ball typewriter


and your portable record player meant you had to carry a box of records with you to entertain?

Record player
Record player


Well these things all have one thing in common, they have suffered obsolescence.

As a digital educator it is paramount that you are aware of the tools and software you are using and the interoperability with other systems in case you are required to move your content  such as has been the case in the past for example Google closing down one system and replacing it with Google+. It is useful to have your eggs not in one basket for this reason and to be familiar with multiple systems.

I have been researching for my INF537 final case study, which has involved me pulling a wealth of data from webinar systems around user interaction times, number of rooms created etc. I needed a set of data from last year, but am unable to access it, why? Simply put last year due to a DNS attack on the server  (we are all now familiar to that term thanks to the Bureau of Statistics and the Census) we had to use the USA server to access our webinar technology. This simply means that the valuable statistics is no longer available to me as we had a window of use and then all data was purged from their system. It beggars belief that this can happen in 2016, in the age of enlightenment when digital preservation of data should be in  the topic of ICT minds. But no they forgot to request this data at the time so it is gone forever.

Onto another point I was in a meeting today and thought about these in relation to a problem that the team were discussing; the need to keep backups of the online courses for compliance. It got me thinking of that old issue of is you keep a backup and the system moves how long is that backup relevant and what destroy provisions are around how long we keep these backups. This is a critical issue for the government agency I work for as we now will be servicing the 5 TAFEs and all their online course and managing backups. There is a finite amount of space so how long is too long?

Another key problem is that many of the TAFEs are moving from one LMS to another, so that then leads to questions around currency and the longevity of courses.

To me it begs the question if we have to keep these course backups for compliance why is there little or no action around this?

I work with many Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) across Western Australia with the implementation of elearning systems to support their teaching and learning cohorts.

Make sure everyone is singing the same tune..
Make sure everyone is singing the same tune..

One key part of a strategic implementation is to ensure that everyone  “is singing from the same hymn book” and understand the reason for the system.



Do not leave people behind and make sure no one is marching to the beat of their own drum, as it can be a huge problem later for organisations.

March to the same beat.
March to the same beat.

Often with the implementation of new systems the baby is thrown out with the bath water with the need to everyone to be working in the same system as soon as practicable.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

Trainers are often the ones who have to do the migration work on an already full workload. But at the outset a set of rules around the course development and final archiving need to be considered at length so that a proper preservation schedule is put into place to ensure that the organisation meets the compliance levels required.

This can happen in a few different ways

Online storage: materials stored on fileservers or other hardware which is immediately accessible to the enquirer via a PC or smart device that is connected to the internet.  Companies offer free storage, sufficient for personal files but you must be mindful that if it is stored on the internet then it could become accessible to anyone.  Commercial and government organizations are also looking closely at the option – but there considerable risks involved for organizations concerned with long term preservation – after all, you are placing your data into the hands of another organization and trusting them to do the right thing. This could outweigh the cost savings for organizations.

Offline and near-line or near-online storage is where materials are stored on devices that are not continuously connected to the computer network or internet. Data can be stored on magnetic tape and might be stored off site in secure storage for long term safety.

Removable media are such things as flash drives (USB sticks) DVD or CDs, removable hard disk drives these are often be removed from the network and stored either locally for easy availability. As these are ‘offline’ devices the content is not available for multiple users.

Consider storage, it is vital in preservation.
Consider storage, it is vital in preservation.

Tips for storage

Conduct regular integrity checks of your digital resources to avoid inadvertent change, deterioration or data loss. Use a checksum for this (will be outlined later).

Refresh you storage devices because of obsolescence.

Store your stage devices in an appropriate location, such as somewhere low in dust and humidity with very little temperature variation.

Points to consider:

  1. It is extremely important to preserve your files in formats that will be robust to survive obsolescence. Consider restricting types of files you are archiving and think about open source, portable and high quality.
  2. File transfer/exchange to others needs to be considered. It is wise to choose file formats that are supported by a wide range of software across a variety of platforms.
  3. Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a meta-language that lets you design your own markup language. XML tags are not predefined unlike in HTML.

A really simple strategy is IDOS

Identify: What do you want to save? Locate the files and identify EVRYTHING that you want to collect.

Decide: what is most important to you as it is not practical to try and save everything.

Organise: The content

Save copies: Save them in different places.

In a nutshell to help preserve the now for later (rule of thumb not just for the online courses I started talking about) it is helpful to think about the following:

  • Build your knowledge about preservation and storage requirements;
  • Talk to others about your preservation needs;
  • Plan your strategy for digital preservation;
  • Identify what you want to save;
  • Decide how you are going to save;
  • Organise what you are saving and build appropriate metadata or information around it; and
  • Save copies in different locations.

No matter what type of file you want to save they all require the same essential preservation strategy. We can preserve our digital possessions to keep them accessible for years to come, but we have to archive and actively manage them and work through upgrades and migrations sensibly to we can ALL survive.


Library of Congress (2016). Digital Preservation. Retrieved 1, October, 2016, from

Stuart, Katherine and Banks, Lauren (2012) Making ducks walk in a line – the road to digital continuity, Retrieved 1 October, 2014 from

Technology  obsolescence. (2014). In: Business glossary, 1st ed. [online] New York: All Business. Available at: [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

successI titled this post with a quote from Winston Churchill as I felt it was fitting with a review of INF532 digital artefacts.

We need feedback to improve, but giving feedback to colleagues and peers can be a challenge. As educators we ask our students to review each other’s work to build their critical thinking skills. In Higher education peer review is an important stand point that can assist in the tenure of professional educators as well as provide useful insight into scholarly work.

Recently in INF532 the assessment task was to create a digital artefact about Knowledge Networking and to provide a self-exegesis with regards to the design and effectiveness of the digital artefact. This process was challenging and enlightening at the same time. There were moments of sheer frustration and then the light-bulb moment when clarity hit. I have worked as a designer and project manager for many online resources to support the VET sector, so I challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone of known technology and do something slightly left field that would meet the brief.

quote-chalk-think-wordsIt was hard. However, I am pleased to say that my user test group really liked my unusual idea of using a fairy-tale to tell my story. The reason it was frustrating was that music I had sourced two days before submission was no longer available to use in multimedia projects under the creative commons licence. This meant that I had to re-cut the whole audio track and reinsert that audio back into the animation; this is a skill that I have been developing since I have started this course and one that is proving to be valuable.

So back to peer feedback, below my thoughts about the fine learning artefacts that one of my peers has created. All of my peers have done an equally wonderful job but time prohibits reviewing everyone’s so I have chosen one that resonated with me and will have a look at it in-depth.

Cameron Innes INF532 Project

Cameron designed this for his Year 9 students in the United Arab Emirates with English as a second language.

His opening screen really set the playful tone of the animation; you love football almost as much as you love your phones.






The use of still photos and animated characters really supported his story.

PowToons is simple to use but sometimes it does do odd things with animations, such as floating a student in mid-air such as at the time code 00:52, but it did not distract from the narrative.






Cameron made a really nice point about how students learn through talking with each other. He soft sold the idea of networking by showing students how they are already doing this by talking to each other outside of school via many mediums including via technology which he then pointed out that this is digital networking, really nice way to add this for students to understand.

The introduction of the concept of Informal Learning was very well done with the analogy between a soccer game and an assignment. It was simply done and a very powerful point especially around its importance about how much they learn from their informal learning.






Using phones for research

Cameron discusses how his students can reach out to people around the world for help and knowledge rather than just relying on the people immediately around you. But I love the slide that introduced this concept, you don’t always have time to research such as during a game but sometimes you have time to really think and research a topic such as why does Messi (football/soccer star) have blonde hair now. The use of humour really gave a lift to key points and linked well to the topic.






Excellent  introduction made by Cameron about Digital Literacy and the key points. It is such a vital and important point but is not pushed so that the students almost do not realize they have learnt something important.






Digital Curation was introduced by them moving towards to goal of going to University. I really liked the reasoning behind why the student would care. I would suggest that perhaps white writing for the Mind boggling amount of information might have been better as when it transitions down to the black block you had difficulty reading the text.





Introducing digital curation tools that can be used on the students phone and using the tag line “You are in charge of your phone and your learning” give a simple a powerful message as this group of students really use their phones in an extended manner.






I loved the message if you can avoid the stupid things and capitalize on the good things really resonated, especially with the accompanying image. It works on multiple levels to encourage the viewer that using networks is a good thing.






The point about traditional school changing and informal learning becoming integral to success is a final powerful thought that provides a solid conclusion to the animation.





I did like the animation without background music, but for the final 15 seconds of dead air, when the attributions were being shown it would have been nice to have employed some background music or maybe even some sound effects from a soccer game to link back to the topic.

Overall the animation was excellent and really engaged the learner through humour and by linking it to two things the prospective audience loves, soccer and their phones. Cameron’s voice over was excellent and he has a great voice for voiceovers and was great to listen to.



Profiling – Not just for the FBI

There are so many good reasons that you need complete a skills audit coupled with a learner analysis with your learners, when training adults due to an organisational change management process it becomes paramount.

Migration of systems and learners
Migration of systems and learners

Recently I had been invited to appear at an “up-skilling of lecturers’” series of sessions that were designed to help a group of displaced lecturers to migrate their content across from one LMS to a new LMS. When I arrived it was nice to see that I knew most of the participants, having worked with them over the years on various projects involving technology and its use in a trades training environment. These trades’ lecturers are switched on forward thinkers who have been using an LMS for a number of years. They’ve become good online operators who have mature skills and well developed course work plus did I mention they are a good group of people to work with.

I was not presenting, but was representing the government agency I work for as we will be working in the training team to support the stragglers into the future.

The presenter started off well with general introductions and then asked around the room for in-depth points about what they were doing in the current system including their skills. He took note of this information, to contextualize the session. This, I have to say, is where it went horribly wrong. The presenter then took the next 90 mins to show from the front the system that he had them log into but not touch. It was a basic click and show session about nothing. The learners disengaged and chatted among themselves.

For me the basic of basic concept about learner profiling was forgotten prior to the session. What would have been useful was to have had the participants fill out a quick learner skills audit to gauge their skills and mastery level of technology prior to the session; this would have then informed a contextualization of the content. At the base level it would have helped the presenter to even remember that the participants had skills and not to just power on as if there was a group of users who could not even turn on a computer in the room.

Skills audit title of sections for Facilitate elearning series of sessions.
Skills audit title of sections for Facilitate elearning series of sessions.

When I am presenting to a group I do take the time to yes, do an ice-breaker of introductions. Like many of you I will then contextualize my session on the fly based on what the responses to my thoughts have been. Never do I like the look of glazing over in a session as you have lost them.

Technology skills sessions can be especially tricky to moderate the content to ensure everyone is happy, but it can be done. I am old school I guess as a teacher I like to:

  • do small group work;
  • brainstorm;
  • scribe on paper hung around the room; and
  • get my students talking and sharing.

Is this necessary in a skills session you are wondering, well yes.

Skills session in technology still need good old fashion teaching strategies and profiling of learners.
Skills session in technology still need good old fashion teaching strategies and profiling of learners.

It helps flesh out the points from a skills audit or learner profile that the participant may have glossed over, it allows contextualized teaching points and also allows important robust group support discussions.

I do know that many presenters feel that learner profiles belong in the domain of a classroom, whereas my belief that all professional learning sessions can benefit from these.

My take-away lesson from this experience is simple: it shouldn’t be about the “e” but should be all about the “learn”.


Boud, D., & Garrick, J. (Eds.). (2012). Understanding Learning at Work (1). Florence, US: Routledge. Retrieved from

Herner-Patnode, L., Lee, H.-J., & Baek, E.-o. (2011). Reflective E-Learning Pedagogy. In Instructional Design: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications (pp. 18-33). [Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global]. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch103. Retrieved from:


INF537 Digital scholarship interpretive discussion paper





It is interesting in a time when we are championing networked education, the ethos of networked educators and the need to grow from traditional teaching methodologies to blended teaching approaches, that we are still in a relative dark age when it comes to academia accepting the scholarship of a digital scholar as authentic work (Cross, 2008; Weller, 2011; Heap, & Minocha, 2012; Pearce, Weller, Scanlon, & Kingsley, 2010). Technology makes connecting and collaborating easier than never before (Nussbaum-Beach, & Hall, 2012). It makes sense to reach out and seek peer review and input from a wider audience as there is a finite amount we can learn by ourselves, especially if academic endeavours are hidden under a bushel open to only the select few (Fullan, & Hargreaves, 1991; Nussbaum-Beach, & Hall, 2012) in the case of ‘possessive individualism’ or the lone scholar (Rosenzweig, 2007; Pearce, 2010).

Before investigating digital scholarship and the role it plays in the modern scholar’s life it is first important to understand the term scholar and for this paper it is best defined by Weller (2011) as a learned or specialist in a given division of knowledge. A scholar may gain tenure through a strict set of parameters that include (but not limited to) past and continued teaching practice and more importantly research undertaken within their field of study that is published in peer reviewed publications (Costa, 2015; Cross, 2008; Wolski, & Richardson, 2014; Weller, 2011; Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012). Unlike the images of dusty academics working by candle light it highlights that society needs to reimagine its collective image of academics, as reality is far from this outdated vision. In the realm of academia there has been an ongoing division as to what is deemed to be a scholarly pursuit. This is not new debate and has been discussed for decades (Wolski, & Richardson, 2014; Weller, 2011; Heap, & Minocha, 2012; Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012; Pearce, Weller, Scanlon, & Kingsley, 2010). Scholars working in academic institutions such as universities, even now are using social media and new technologies not prescribed by the institution on an ad hoc basis to encourage discourse around their work with peers and the general public (Pearce, 2010; Pearce, Weller, Scanlon, & Kingsley, 2010).

Boyer (1990) in his work “Scholarship reconsidered” suggested that society needs a more inclusive view of scholars that includes an understanding of how their knowledge is acquired through discovery, integration, application and teaching. Boyer’s work (1990), though a solid place to start (Weller, 2011) is now over two decades old (Heap, & Minocha, 2012) and primarily focuses on the individual, there are other conceptual quality frameworks that could also be used in the argument to support the growing need for digital scholarship to be recognised. Borgman (2007) considered three categories to reflect on the process of digital scholarly communication: legitimization, dissemination and access, preservation and curation, which focuses on the scholarship outputs of teams (Hank, 2013) and when applied to Kjellberg’s analytical framework for scholarly blogging (Kjellber, 2009) it is possible to see that there are synergies to be drawn across all these frameworks that can support the recognition of digital scholarly research outputs of both individual and teams.

The research for authentic online learning model outlined by Herrington and Parker (2013) Herrington, Reeves and Oliver (2007) and Cua (2014) is aimed at authentic online learning experiences for students, however, this could be used to form a basis of a capability quality framework, in conjunction with the frameworks of Boyer (1990), Borgman (2007), Kjellberg (2009) and Heap and Minocha (2012), for how institutions can authenticate digital scholarly outputs by scholars, especially regarding research. This can be easily explored through the concept of participatory Web 2.0 tools such as blogging by scholars. A new language must be developed about how scholars’ multi-modal and participatory outputs are considered in terms of publication and tenure (DePalma, & Alexander, 2015).

Salmon (2005) in her work regarding strategic frameworks for e-learning encapsulated the role of digital scholarship being one of flapping and not flying and suggests more needs to be done to support scholars in the development of skills to ensure that digital scholarship can be recognised by institutions as valid. Digital scholarship can leverage the affordances offered by mobile technology (Cochrane, & Bateman, 2010; Laurillard, 2009) while not creating a digital divide for scholars (Costa, 2015) by revisiting the terms of what is scholarship and relate it to digital born outputs. Weller (2011) put forward that outputs for digital scholarship need to be (1) digital, (2) networked and (3) open. The term digital scholar, and indeed for a scholar to become one, implies the need for a cultural change as the engagement with new technologies means that scholars who are using participatory Web 2.0 tools are causing a wicked problem for recognition of scholarly activity in a digital format (Costa, 2015).

The term digital scholarship is more and more being used to refer to the use of social media and participatory Web 2.0 software in academia and research (Heap, & Minocha, 2012), blogging is a useful output to frame the discussion about scholarship in the digital format. In the past formally published items such as peer reviewed journals and manuscripts formed the backbone for what was considered academic writing (Hank, 2013). This view is being challenged by the participatory Web 2.0 tools and the affordances they provide scholars (Luckin et al, 2011; Bower, 2008; Laurillard, 2009; Martindale, & Wiley, 2007; Sappey, & Relf, 2010; Sheffield, 2015; Cochrane, & Bateman, 2010). The affordances that blogging offers academic scholars are varied, but can encompass collaboration, interactivity, connectivity and social rapport, content creation and curation (Kirkup, 2010).

Blogging can be argued to be the conversational scholarship and have made scholarly work accessible to those outside the hallowed halls of academia (Gregg, 2006; Kirkup, 2010). Walker (2006) identifies three types of academic blogs (1) public intellectuals (2) research blogs and (3) pseudonymous blogs about academic life, but it’s only the first two types of blogs that hold a place in the discussion of digital scholarship (Gregg, 2009). It is critical that the distinction be drawn between scholars writing an academic blog and a blog written by a scholar (Mewburn, & Thomson, 2013).

The key problem with traditional academic writing and scholarship, though it develops the reputation of the scholar and likewise associated institutions, is that it is writing that never leaves the institution (Brett, 1991; Gregg, 2006). However, academic blogging on the other hand makes the scholarly work accessible and accountable to a wide readership and opens the content up for deep scrutiny from others outside of the learning area and supports the emergent practice of networked participatory scholarship (Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012). Blogging enables scholars to share early research results and gives them the ability to debate and discuss results with peers prior to formal publication and they are also able to seek input with experimental issues (Powell, Jacob, & Chapman, 2012). By leveraging the affordances of blogs researchers can disclose details of method design, data collection and initial results and the affordances also offer the researcher the ability to provide links and embed media to support their research (Bower, 2008; Costa, 2014; Heap, & Minocha, 2012). Blogs can be tools that support scholars in facilitating their research, collaboration with a wider audience and sharing their knowledge which supports the openness of being a digital scholar (Park, Heo, & Lee, 2011).

If scholars are using Web 2.0 tools to support their pedagogy and to model lifelong learning principles then it is imperative that exemplars are created of high quality scholarly work to support the context of concepts and to provide points of reference for students (DePalma, & Alexander, 2015; Goodfellow, 2013; Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009; Heap, & Minocha, 2012; Kirkup, 2010), currently this is not the case for many teaching areas. The ability to demonstrate effective use of the multi-modal design of a blog is important for scholars to come to terms with, but also forms an integral part of providing authentic learning experiences for students (Herrington, & Parker, 2013; Herrington, Reeves, & Oliver, 2007; Cua, 2014). For outputs to be considered as exemplars the scholar needs to blog under their real name rather than a pseudonymous, as this will lend authenticity to their work, and enable them to use this digital scholarship as part of their discussions around tenure where academic outputs are to be demonstrated (Walker, 2006; Weller, 2011; Kirkup, 2010; Heap, & Minocha, 2012).

The need to develop the necessary skills around digital technologies could conceivably be started in the K-12 education space, the VET environment, as well as post-secondary. Skills for writing for an online audience can be developed through blogging and academic blogging (Walker, 2006; Gregg, 2009; Kirkup, 2010) with the thought the more you blog the better you become at it being paramount. Reflective writing in a blog can form an important part of authentic online learning and to ensure its authenticity students must have a specific purpose for their writing (Herrington, & Parker 2013; Herrington, Reeves, & Oliver, 2007), equally reflective blog writing could form another dimension to research projects that have been funded as it adds a level of openness and dynamisms to the project as it has a key purpose of reflecting about the research process (Heap, & Minocha, 2012).

The practice of peer review in academia is well-known to form a critical part of scholarship, but many feel that this is absent from academic blogging (Cross, 2008; Gregg, 2006; Powell, Jacob, & Chapman, 2011). Though there is the ability to add comments to blogs, the key point is that this is not true peer review (Sheffield, 2015; Cross, 2008; Weller, 2011). Hank (2013) challenged this point by observing that the peer review process does form a gatekeeping function and that the use of comments on blogs could free an academic from this locked-step approach of formal peer review and thus open a scholars work up to scrutiny from a wide audience, though admittedly less expert. This could then reasonably be used as part of the discourse around scholarship of academics.

The discussion around how to quantify the scholarly output of a scholar in light of digital scholarship is always problematic. Metrics are used regarding publications and citations that are then linked directly to performance and funding, however, currently there is little acknowledgement of the digital scholarship that many scholars create. In a world of big data and user analytics it should become standard that digital scholarship is accounted for. Frameworks that can incorporate both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate digital scholarship could be created to capture information about digital scholarship using, for instance, in blogs monitor link analysis, usage statistics such as page views or comment analysis and blog posts citing articles (Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012; Wolski, & Richardson, 2014; Kjellberg, 2010). This could help scholars and institutions to understand the impact that digital scholarship and subsequently the outreach it is having (Veletsianos, & Kimmons, 2012).

Though the affordances of blogs are varied there is a concern about the longevity of them in terms of accessibility, duration and digital preservation (Walker, 2006; Pearce, 2010). Unlike traditional journal articles that can be housed in curated collections within a library or publishing house there is simply not the same robust set of preservation strategies around digital outputs, especially if they are created ad hoc and not within an institutions supported ICT (Pearce, 2010). Gregg (2009) identifies blogs as short term, which lends support to the need for institutions to capture important academic information from scholar’s academic blogs (Cross, 2008). With-out prudent, timely intervention of preservation strategies traditional forms of scholarly output will continued to be favoured (DePalma, & Alexander, 2015; Walker, 2006).

Scholars work in the genres of their time (Walker, 2006) and with the advancements in technology and the fast pace of adoption institutions are moving at a glacial pace to recognise and accept the scholarship outputs in a digital space such as an academic blog. It is unmistakable that technology is creating new situations for learning with digital scholarship opening up scholars to new and different ways of working that needs to be valued by academia. There are those who will embrace new technologies and new ways of working and understand its benefits to both society and academia (Weller, 2011) and will lead at the forefront. Whilst these scholars have embraced the new, they have become hamstrung by the lack of acknowledgement for scholarship contained in these tools, such as blogs (Sheffield, 2015; Cross, 2008; Weller, 2011). With usage analytics it is possible for universities and institutions to track the activity of the academic blog and can be tied to the carefully constructed metrics that are currently employed against publications rates that result in funding. Powell, Jacob and Chapman (2012) eludes to blogs not replacing traditional forms of scholarship, but blogs and Web 2.0 participatory scholarship should become part of the body of evidence to demonstrate scholarly activity and discussion as blogs can and do complement as well as contribute to traditional forms of scholarly publication.


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Knowledge Networking digital artefact and exegesis INF532

Assignment 2 for INF532

Part A – Digital artefact

How a PLN saved the three little pigs

Part B-Exegesis

Educators need to become more connected with the world around to ensure effectiveness and currency. A connected educator is a role model for students and embodies the ability to leverage the affordances of technology to collaborate, which helps their professional and personal growth while making them lifelong learners (Whitby, 2013). An educator can easily become a connected learner; they simply need the will to commit and the ability to reach out to others for support (Lindsay, 2016).

The digital artefact ‘The three little pigs: How personalized learning networks can make a difference (A personal learning network fairy tale)’ (Drager, 2016) is a short animation that explains the importance of a personal learning network (PLN) via the fairy tale ‘The three little pigs’, with a twist to the story to contextualize the content for the purpose of the learning outcomes. The use of stories assists learners in the understanding of abstract concepts quickly and efficiently (Ellington, 2014; Drager, 2016). By linking to a traditional fairy tale that provides a personal emotional link to a touchstone story of their childhood (Ellington, 2014) the designer wanted to provide a novel approach for adult learners around the concept of building a personal learning network (Sukovic, 2014).

Employing a blend of both the ADDIE and Rapid Prototyping design models as a rapid interactive design cycle (Forest, 2014; Kearsley, & Culatta, 2016; Melles, 2010) the initial analysis process started with an environmental scan to review digital content already available in the topic area – PLN and employing a braintrust of colleagues (Catmull, 2014) to brainstorm initial design ideas for the digital artefact as they will be using the digital artefact for training.

The initial design ideas were driven by the need of putting the user first and the necessity for them to remember the content after viewing (Brown, & Katz, 2011) and doing more with less (Brown, 2009) due to technology, skills, budget and time constraints. By looking around the edges to see what could be possible (TED, 2007) it was decided the idea of storytelling could add an unusual depth and novelty for the digital artefact that would support learners remembering the key concepts (Ellington, 2014). Though storytelling is definitely not a new concept, in fact it is as old as mankind (Thornburg, 2007) it is an unusual technique to use for adult learners. Schrange (2013) points out that designers will parody items that have worked well previously, in 2013 the Library of Congress published ‘Snow Byte and the Seven Formats’ a digital preservation fairy tale (LibraryOfCongress, 2013), which provided an instance of how the retelling of a traditional fairy tale coupled with animation has been successfully employed for adult learners and was the impetus for choosing a well-known fairy tale to base the digital artefact on. The storytelling idea was driven by the theory that the glow of the campfire is fast being replaced by the glow of a computer screen (Thornburg, 2007) and fitted well with the Concept Space where the crazy out there ideas can be the basis for interesting innovative solutions (Hatchuel, Le Masson, & Weil, 2004) and resulted in the animated PLN fairy tale becoming a practicable option.

The choice of the animation platform was driven by the need to use a site that had a free option, could also upload external images and audio and could produce a rendered video output that could be shared via different mediums. Platforms were reviewed with PowToon being chosen due to its ease of use, availability of support videos, ability to render final output to YouTube and the functionality in the free option. Included in the functionality were the hand scribe function and the hand placement options which helped build the viewer anticipation and added movement. When scribing hands are coupled with the multiple still photos and use of speech bubbles it becomes the perfect online medium for storytelling, which is extremely important in maintaining audience engagement (Air, Oakland, & Walters, 2014).

The design phase commenced with the creation of a rough outline of the animation in a wireframe storyboard and a rough cut audio track of the story. This was presented to the braintrust, in an open meeting and members were asked to be as candid as possible with feedback (Catmull, 2014). The feedback included the need to expand on key learning points, simplifying the images being suggested, extending the narrative to build an emotional tie with the characters and finally cutting the length as it was felt that at nearly 10 mins it was too long. The design process needs the honest feedback from a user group, but not only can feedback be sought by a designer, but it must be used otherwise it will impact on the product (Brown, 2009; Brown, & Katz, 2011; Schrage, 2013).This feedback loop is a divergence from the strict ADDIE process and demonstrates the need for a Rapid Prototyping methodology to be employed as a companion design process simply put drawing, prototyping and storytelling helps inspire innovation (Brown, 2009) and improve the output.

The digital artefact is a combination of still images, screen grabs and animation with a soundtrack that combines narrating voice and musical score. The animation was developed to be eye-catching to engage both audio and visual learners (Bennett, & Rolheiser, 2001; Roblyer, 2013). The animation was created in PowToon separately to the audio track, which was imported at the commencement of the animation process. The narration was recorded in Camtasia due to the facility to finely edit the audio track. Music was sourced from Jamendo, and was creative commons and available for non-commercial use. Only instrumental tracks were chosen, so not to muddy the narration, with the music being both energetic and appropriate. The music score was cut into the narration using Camtasia with the final audio track exported into PowToon. For ease of user accessibility and use of the video it was streamed via YouTube, rather than just shared via PowToon, as YouTube streams on all connected devices and will compress the streaming experience to cater for devices connectivity. YouTube also offers excellent closed captioning functionality, which is very important to make it useable by a wide audience.

It was critical to avoid making a how-to portion in this digital artefact as it did not fit into the story format, but to include all key points into the narrative and supported learning points with relevant images. To cover all the key points it was important to stay true to the story narrative and avoid information overload of interesting, but unnecessary information (Bawden, & Robinson, 2009).It was also paramount that the story remained playful to elicit an emotional connection to the characters for a memorable and favourable impact on the end user (Barrett, 2013).

This video could be used as a standalone item for various aged learners, however, the primary design intention is for this video to be utilized as part of a flipped classroom approach (Bergmann & Sams, 2012) to introduce one session with the focus on PLN development that would form part of a series of sessions about being a 21st Century educator for VET lecturers who have to complete their Certificate IV in TAE in 2017. The idea is that it will be used to arouse an interest in these new trainers to develop a PLN; reach out online to different professionals and industry to be a source of inspiration for developing new approaches for their training.

The animation supports knowledge networking by providing a solid memorable example of how a PLN could support personal learning and the importance of seeking input and feedback from the PLN (Richardson, & Mancabelli, 2011). It was extremely important to demonstrate and reiterate the point that a PLN supports life-long learning and gives the user limitless support (Patnoudes, 2012; Siemans, 2006; Rajagopal, Joosten-ten Brinke, Van Bruggen, & Sloep, 2011). Informal learning via a PLN can go hand in hand with formal training and indeed can augment information provided in a formal training context (Siemans, 2006; Richardson, & Mancabelli, 2011; Lindsay, 2016), this was outlined and demonstrated in the animation by one of the characters. Personal learning networks reflect the individuals context and relate to interests of the person (Tour, 2016; Ballard; 2012; Rajagopal, Joosten-ten Brinke, Van Bruggen, & Sloep, 2011) in the setting of the animation this was dealt with via the third little pigs interest – sustainable housing. Personal learning networks are agile learning without formal structure, but are heavily connected to social media. With-in the animation Rheingold’s social media literacies (2010) and Neilsen’s 5 C’s of PLN (Neilsen, 2011) supported the primary concept dealt in the narrative and reinforced the just-in-time nature that a PLN can offer a user (Richardson, & Mancabelli, 2011) along with the philosophy of the PLN being tied heavily to the user – my needs not yours (Ballard, 2012).

Once the final animation was complete the braintrust were asked once again in an open meeting to review for candid input (Catmull, 2014). By reaching out to this braintrust the designer was not only deploying an important design phase feedback session but was also seeking feedback from the designers own PLN. Many of the users felt that the PLN message was memorable because of the fairy tale link and felt they could reinforce this message within a set of training sessions; one related comment was “I didn’t realize I had learnt anything until I was quizzed afterwards and retained knowledge about PLNs”. It was mentioned that is this was to be used as a standalone item then it might need further scaffolding around it to ensure that users would gain the learning required, but as it was developed to introduce a series of sessions around the PLN concept then this is an easy way to unpack the concept for them. Tools and how-to-build a PLN were noted as missing from the animation, but the user conceded that these were not really needed in the context of a wide session use. Users did feel that the story did not get in the way of the learning, which was the key point for the story approach and validated the designers’ choice for the unique and novel approach for the animation. These feedback points are critical and will be implemented in the future. This exegesis forms part of the evaluation along with the previously discussed user feedback. The evaluation of course will kick start the ADDIE process again, as the production methodology of any resource is cyclic and must contain a review and refresh phase for any digital artefact to ensure currency and usefulness.

The content, design and deployment of the artefact have initially been a success. However, the educational benefits of the artefact is yet untried, apart from with the braintrust group. The next phase will be a further redevelopment phase then rolling the artefact out to a test pilot group for assessment. In the ever changing learning landscape digital artefacts are only as good as the content and the learning that users take from them (Kolko, 2010). By employing sound instructional design methodology such as the nine events of instruction (Gagné, Briggs, & Wager, 1992) and VAK principles (Bennett, & Rolheiser, 2001) the current format this animation does deliver the content, but it can be further refined. That being said it does deliver on providing information regarding the importance of a PLN and will support learners understanding of this concept.


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