Category Archives: INF532 Assessments

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.


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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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