“You're participating in a cutting edge course on the fringe of contemporary change with digital technologies in e-learning”. And so I am!
When I decided to venture into another challenge of up-skilling my qualifications and starting (and finishing) a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (specialising in e-Learning and Digital Technologies) and looking at the papers that were on offer, the one that I particularly honed in on was EDEM630. I did note that it was only offered bi-annually and having started my studies last year, was looking forward to 2013 with immense excitement! In the last paper I completed there were several participants who were also contemplating this course and needing a minimum number for the paper to go ahead by UC, we drummed up business between us and encouraged each other to enrol early! So I knew we would be in for some insightful and strategic forum discussions and lots of encouraging feedback as we have had in previous experience in several papers.
But what I didn’t envisage was the actual environment (or ecological system if you like) in which we would be learning. Looking back prior to enrolling, I am now not sure what my expectations actually were of EDEM630, but one thing is for sure, I am glad I am here! One of the comments Wayne Mackintosh had highlighted in a reply to our group on 17 July was “you're participating in a cutting edge course on the fringe of contemporary change with digital technologies in e-learning”. And so I am! Actually since reading that, it has continued to generate excitement in this course for me with a little sprinkling of anxiety or anticipation to throw in the mix (good anxiety if there is such a thing)!
So the first task of blogging – initial thoughts = this is what my Year 9 class are into, these are what I see regularly in Facebook posts, blogging is out there for all public to see – do I want to be that vulnerable? Week 3 thoughts = I love it! For the initial task in week 1 we could choose Blogger or Wordpress and I chose Blogger as it relates to my school environment of using gmail and Blogger is easily accessible if I want to use in class and use it authentically. It didn’t take me long to navigate myself around – trial and error was called on several times and if I got stuck the tutorials on Learn or YouTube were brilliant as navigation tools.
In between the end of the school term (was also week 1 of this course), having two young boys who are on school holidays (for week 2 and 3 of this course), having to set relief for 13 weeks of my programmes of learning for 5 Year levels at school (as I am now on study leave till November), write 70 senior reports which are due first day of term 3 and continue with life in general, it has been challenging. Sometimes I wish I had 25/8 instead of 24/7 but it’s all about choices and “you're participating in a cutting edge course on the fringe of contemporary change with digital technologies in e-learning”. And so I am! I may have been behind the 8-ball slightly but with time to do lots of reading and re-focus my energy into this study, I will get there.
I must admit I had struggled with the choice of topic. I know it is to be in an authentic context and it is extremely valuable to suggest this approach for this essay. It means I can relate what I am researching to an authentic situation for school and how it impacts on what we are doing and what I can do further to enhance the learning for our students in the future. I received valuable feedback on zooming in my focus, choosing one social media in particular. This refinement allows me to explore my topic with more depth of understanding. However, it had taken more time than I had anticipated choosing a topic and felt I couldn’t continue with the week 2 or 3 tasks until I had the topic. Now I am able to relate it to what I was learning in weeks 2 and 3. So this has put me behind in task completion a little but catch-up is continuing at a rapid pace!
I was particularly impressed with the introduction to an ecological perspective on change and the Arena of Change by Professor Niki Davis. I enjoyed the concept and understanding the different layers/stands of the ecosystem. As a teacher being in the centre of the arena in charge of a classroom of students seems to be the hub of where it all happens. But being in the centre you don't consciously realise that the ecosystem of the classroom is basically nested within the ecosystem of a department, of the school, in the region, within the nation of the global ecosystem. Everything that happens within the classroom can influence or be influenced by the other parts or aspects of the arena ecosystem. To me ‘it’s all there’ but to see it as an expression of change in the arena context makes sense. Another tool I had been introduced to in week 2 is the mindmapping software bubbl.us. I have not used it before but have often suggested it to students as an option for them to use in brain storming sessions in class. I can see now the benefit of using this free web tool regularly for myself and my students.
The readings which have highlighted the Theories of Change have been insightful. I really enjoyed reading the Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers and recognising the five qualities that determine the success of an innovation. Interestingly, as I was digesting the 5 qualities, I was putting certain people’s names in the margins of the readings. I could relate friends/colleagues/family who could sit within any of these categories and from a personal perspective, many of those people’s personality traits could be recognised in the definitions of the qualities. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model can be applied to anyone experiencing change – again it is appropriate for my topic of Social Media/Facebook. Identifying and providing ways to assess the seven stages of concern was also interesting and I can see this being a change model I would use in my essay.
With the readings nearly complete for week 3 I have the outline of my essay plan to post on my blog which I will refine today and post it tomorrow.
I am excited at our upcoming weeks 4 and 5 with the Scenario Planning for Educators (SP4Ed) and micro Open Online Course (mOOC). What an exciting time for distance learning and open learning and being able to experience it within this paper. With approximately 30 different countries participating in this mOOC it too will be something new to experience in this ever evolving Digital Technologies age.
For the third and final time “you're participating in a cutting edge course on the fringe of contemporary change with digital technologies in e-learning”. And so I am!