Late last week I received feedback for my final assignment for the final subject of a Masters in Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation hosted by CSU. The Masters course was practical, challenging and certainly developed my ability to identify, use and evaluate digital technologies for learning, teaching and professional practice. Furthermore, I deepened my understanding of the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use. Most importantly for this day and age, the course greatly enhanced my ability to manage personal and participatory knowledge networks to communicate and work collaboratively and effectively with others.
The final subject was the capstone subject, Digital Futures Colloquium #INF537. INF537 has greatly added to my knowledge and deepened my understanding of the work of an educational professional in digital environments through participatory experiences including, but not limited to:
- blogging, and the ensuing comments,
- forum posts, and ensuing responses,
- Adobe Connect which introduced us to experts, and
- on Twitter through #INF537
As a member of the INF537 cohort, I was a learner who used, “new technologies to participate in virtual communities where they share ideas, comment on one another’s projects, and plan, design, implement, advance, or simply discuss their practices, goals and ideas together” Davidson and Theo (2010:12). As a part of the Adobe Connect session held Thursday 13 August, Tim Kladpor (2015) highlighted the issue of ‘Data Sovereignty’, encouraged us to dream possibilities of the ‘co-operative’ and challenged the notion of data ownership when authentically engaging in true sense of distributed networks though the Network ‘Common’. As part of my post,Data, Algorithms and Enclosure, I referred to Elizabeth Stark who suggests that people engaged in traditional structures are often threatened by newer paradigms around ownership and control.
Further to the matter of data ownership, on 29 August after hearing Jack Andraka speak at the Melbourne Writer’s festival, I blogged about his frustration accessing research articles from “behind the paywall”. Jack advocates for crowd-sourcing information which is freely accessible to academics and researchers in the hope that it will assist people to answer big questions and solve real word problems in a more expedient manner. The implication here is that, as educational professionals in the school digital environment, teachers are obligated to explore how information can be crowd-sourced to increase knowledge and improve learning outcomes for students.
The work of an an educational professional in digital environments requires engagement with co-operative practices. Most particularly, I have been reminded through INF537 discussion forums that participatory learning experiences can assist people to make meaning through collective engagement. Through the exchange of ideas, I learnt from others and acquired clarity for upcoming assessment tasks.
Increased accessibility to mobile devices and cloud based applications means secondary schools are, by nature, digital environments. Teachers, as the educational professionals within those environments, need to acknowledge and respond to this reality. My involvement with INF537 has impacted on my daily work as a senior leader in a school system. As a person who serves in a position of influence, I am aware of the need for me to facilitate opportunities which enable and encourage teachers as educational professionals when working in digital environments.
As such, INF537 has shaped my thinking when working with the Head of Professional Learning to offer INSPIRE; an initiative which invites schools to engage in a disciplined innovation process which aims to encourage educators to co-design new pedagogical practices which are transferable, sustainable and scalable. Participation requires teachers to engage with digital technologies to regularly reflect and comment on the blogs of other educational professionals, within system and across our globally connected world. The use of cloud based applications to access experts will be particularly encouraged and I am hopeful the connections I have made through INF537 will be useful for variety of projects. Such practices will support collaborative behaviours of working towards a common goal within INSPIRE teams, as well as support cooperative behaviours of sharing freely across system Communities of Practice. Collaborative and co-operative behaviours are encouraged, if not expected of educational professionals in the digital environments of a secondary schools.
Participation in INF537 has confirmed my strong belief that education professionals in digital environments need to develop strong networks, act as connected educators and access opportunities that digital environments offer educational professionals. Completion of this Master Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation has been as much satisfying as it has been challenging. It is now time to have a break from formal study, but not a time to stop learning!
Davidson, C, & Theo, D (2010). The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England.
Klapdor, T. (13 August 2015). You Are Not In Control. CSU INF537 Online Adobe Seminar.