How NGL can inform my role as teacher

Standard

This blog was established as part of the EDU8117 Networked and Global Learning (NLG) course for the University of Queensland Master of Education qualification. The course participants – all teachers or educators – were instructed to establish a blog as a platform to participate in a networked learning community and learn about networked and global learning (Jones, 2014).

Thus far, on my ‘Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning’ blog, I have shown that the principles of, and participation in, networked and global learning (NGL) has been beneficial, in a number of ways, to me both as student and also as a learner (O’Keefe, 2014). This blog will explore my role as a teacher and how my participation and learning in NGL as part of this course, has informed this role.

My role as a teacher, as discussed in my blog post ‘Me as a Teacher’ involves facilitating training in an organisation, to help staff (my students) “to learn and implement new and improved work processes” (O’Keefe, 2014). There have been a number of ways that NGL has helped inform this role, the first of these being that it provides an opportunity to connect with and learn from a community of practitioners (Riel & Polin, 2004).

In my post “Professional Learning Networks – an option for introducing NGL in my organisation” I demonstrate how I have started to establish a professional learning network, by connecting with and sharing with my peers, links to a community of online profiles and websites connected with NGL (O’Keefe, 2014). For example, I discuss the website Mashable which provides new technology news, as well as an article on the blog of Miriam Clifford exploring professional learning networks (Clifford, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014). I linked these sites to the course Diigo, so that other students in the course can access these useful resources (O’Keefe, 2014). I then explore how Clifford’s article, which was drawn from a Harvard study revealing the benefits of professional networks, has helped me understand the value of establishing communities and networks in my own organisation to enhance learning outcomes for my students (Clifford, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014).

In another post on the blog ‘NGL and Life Long Learning’ I also demonstrated how I was able to extend my learning of NGL from the community made up of the NGL course participants. I discuss this in my blog posts ‘NGL and Life Long Learning’ where I learn from one my course peers about life long learning and how this is relevant for my role as a teacher (O’Keefe, 2014).

NGL has also helped to inform some options for assisting my students to participate in, and benefit from, learning communities. In my post ‘Task, Practice and Knowledge Based Communities – Online learning’ I consider an article by Riel and Polin (2004) outlining different types of learning communities – task based, practice based, and knowledge based – which , as a teacher, I can draw on to enhance learning in my organisation. In the blog, I go on to explore how each of these components could be incorporated in my workplace to support my staff to learn (O’Keefe, 2014). For example, I discuss establishing an internal collaborative website for staff, which could include areas for staff to ask each other questions to help their learning (task-based learning), establishing a resource library on the site (knowledge-based learning) as well as an area for staff to share new ideas and information to collaboratively improve practice (practice-based learning) (Riel & Polin, 2004; O’Keefe, 2014).

An exploration of networked and global learning principles and tools has also highlighted some of the challenges and issues that need to be considered by teachers when implementing NGL in their learning contexts. For example, in one of my blog posts, I discuss an article by Keith Brennan which explores the idea of cognitive overload – feelings of confusion and frustration that can occur among new participants in Connectivist learning (Brennan, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014). Similarly, in my post “A confused student: understanding through the threshold concept, I consider five potential barriers students can face in networked learning, as outlined by Giedre Kligyte (2009). These relate to the nature of NGL as being discursive, irreversible, integrated and liminal and in my post, I discuss how these concepts can pose a challenge not only to my students but also to me as a teacher, trying to help others to learn using NGL principles and tools (Kligyte, 2009; O’Keefe). In light of these challenges, I then go on to explore some practical strategies to help adult learners develop skills to better navigate and succeed in this learning environment in my blog post 23Things (Adult, Community & Further Education, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014).

Other challenges for students working in an NGL environment, that I explored in my blog, include the issue of how to credit images online and diversity in learning styles. In ‘Learning about online Image Credits’ I discuss my responsibilities as a teacher to ensure my students have the skills to credit work effectively online without breaching copyright (Creative Commons, 2014; O’Keefe. 2014). In another blog post titled “Diversity in Learning” I consider a quote by Profession Chris Dede (2008) about how students learn in a variety of ways (O’Keefe, 2014). I then discuss how I need to be flexible in my own teaching approach and that through applying appropriate pedagogies, such as inquiry-based learning, I can help ensure my application of NGL in my learning context will effectively meet my students’ learning needs (Drexler, 2010; O’Keefe, 2014).

In addition to posing some challenges to students, NGL can also bring some unexpected benefits. I explore one of these in my blog post “How to harness the amazing ideas of others!” where I consider a You Tube video by Derek Sivers (2011) and an article by Steven Downes (2011), which suggests that while we sometimes consider our ideas to be unexceptional, they can be very useful to others and that there are benefits in sharing these ideas with others (O’Keefe, 2014). I then explore how, as a teacher, Connectivism could help to bring my students’ knowledge and great ideas to the surface (O’Keefe, 2014).

In conclusion, this post has explored some of the benefits and challenges of implementing Networked and Global learning, which I intend to draw on to develop an effective strategy to incorporate NGL in my organisation. However, as the ongoing blog posts from participants in the EDU8117 course seem to show, my reflections have only just scratched the surface of the many possibilities of Networked and Global learning for teachers and students.

Reference

Adult, Community & Further Education. (2013). 23Things: an introduction to Web2 for people working in Adult Community Education (ACE). Retrieved September 7, 2014 from http://23things.acfe.vic.edu.au/

Brennan, K. (2013). In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: a Guide to Understanding the MOOC Novice. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/in-connectivism-no-one-can-hear-you-scream-a-guide-to-understanding-the-mooc-novice/ .

Clifford, M. (2013). 20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/20-tips-for-creating-a-professional-learning-network/ .

Creative Commons. (2014). About CC. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from http://creativecommons.org/about

Dede, C. (2008). Theoretical perspectives influencing the use of information technology in teaching and learning. In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education (pp. 43–62). New York: Springer.

Downes, S. (2011). “Connectivism” and Connective Knowledge. Retrieved August 05, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html

Drexler, W. (2010). The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(3), 369-385. Retrieved from: http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet26/drexler.html

Jones, D. (2014). An experiment in Networked & Global Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://netgl.wordpress.com/

Kligyte, G. (2009). Threshold Concept: A lens for examining networked learning. In Ascilite 2009 Conference. Retrieved October 16, 2014 from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland09/procs/kligyte-poster.pdf .

O’Keefe, C. (2014). Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://pushingtheboundarieswithnetworkedlearning.wordpress.com/

Riel, M., & Polin, L. (2004). Online learning communities: Common ground and critical differences in designing technical environments. In S. A. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning, 16–50. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sivers, D. (2011). Obvious to you. Amazing to others. Retrieved September 12, 2014 from https://pushingtheboundarieswithnetworkedlearning.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/how-to-harness-the-amazing-ideas-of-others/.

As a learner, participation in NGL was useful for me

Standard

This post follows from my previous work ‘As a student, participation in NGL was useful for me’ (O’Keefe, 2014).

As part of my participation in the University of Southern Queensland EDU8117 Networked and Global Learning (NLG) course, I have been tasked with a challenge to use Networked and Global learning principles and tools to learn something new (Jones, 2014). This is an activity in ‘public click pedagogy’, a theory proposed by Chris Bigum and Leonie Rowan (2013) where individuals are encouraged to share their learning processes. The learning activity I chose was to learn a new Irish Tune on the violin and improve my technique. I documented my learning process on my WordPress blog ‘Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning’ (O’Keefe, 2014). Over the past 8 weeks, I was able to successfully transform my learning using Networked and Global learning, and I have explained some of the reasons NGL was so useful for my particular learning activity below.

The primary benefit of participating in NGL is that it enabled me to learn an Irish tune by ear and improve my technique in a way that would not have been possible without the use of networked technologies. I discussed this in my post ‘Me as a Learner’:

While notation is available for Irish tunes online or in books, it is very basic and does not adequately capture the traditional variations, rhythms and lilts required to play the tunes authentically…without being able to fly to Ireland and book in with a certified Irish fiddle teacher, I am keen to look closer at what I can access and harness in the NGL space to learn tunes and how to play them in an authentic style/manner (O’Keefe 2014).

In this way, the NGL has helped me to effectively ‘redefine’ or ‘transform’ my learning, a concept which I discuss further in my blog post ‘Redefining Learning in my Organisation’ (Puentedura, 2014; O’Keefe, 2014).

The Irish Tune that I chose to learn was ‘In the Tap Room’ and by the end of the first 8 weeks of the course, I was able to successfully learn to play the tune by ear and also incorporate some new ‘authentic’ fiddle techniques. My learning process was documented in my blog posts ‘CLEM & Communities for learning Irish Music & my new YouTube Channel’ and ‘Sharing my learning on You Tube’ (O’Keefe, 2014).

One factor that contributed to my success in learning this tune was finding the right tools for my learning task. While there were a number of tools available on the web that I could use, not all of them suited my needs. This idea aligns with the argument made by Goodyear, Carvalho & Dohn (2014) that the success of NGL learning depends on the appropriate tool being used for the particular task:

One cannot assume a direct relationship between (say) a specific digital tool and some desired outcomes. Rather, one needs to understand the kinds of connections that can exist between such tools/devices and participants’ activities.

For example, in response to one of my blog posts discussing possible tools to suit my learning task, the course convenor suggested the use of Sound Cloud (O’Keefe, 2014). This was a tool that he had found useful for trying to learning a musical instrument with a relative. However, after exploring the platform, I realised that the site was not well suited to learning Irish music, as there was limited traditional Irish Music available on the website and I also did not have a peer or relative in mind to share recordings.

This finding led me to explore other possible learning communities that I could connect with to assist me to learn a new Irish tune and improve my technique (Riel & Polin, 2004). One community that I found useful for my learning activity was YouTube and I discussed some of the literature exploring the use of YouTube for learning and its benefits in my post my blog posts ‘CLEM & Communities for learning Irish Music & my new YouTube Channel‘ , ‘CLEM Model Continued – The YouTube Model and an example in the school context’ and ‘CLEM Model – Literature around YouTube in learning’ (O’Keefe, 2014). Some of these benefits of YouTube include that it caters for a range of learning styles, allows for diversity in participating in learning, it allows students and teachers to create and shape knowledge and it enables archiving of learning (Quennerstedt, 2013; Buzzetto-More, 2014).

In another blog post ‘Growing my definition of networked learning’, I also consider the definition of networked learning and how it is about more than just acquiring knowledge (Dron & Anderson, 2012; Dron & Anderson, 2007; Riel & Polin, 2004; O’Keefe, 2014). I discuss how it is also about sharing knowledge with others to help them learn, that is, contributing to learning communities to benefit both current and future learners:

I had initially thought that the process of learning how to play a new tune …could be achieved simply through watching you tube videos and reading articles online. It is now becoming clearer and clearer to me, that I should push myself beyond this, and look at what collaborative opportunities there are available where I can connect with others to learn, and where ….I might be able to share my learnings with others (O’Keefe; 2014).

This idea aligns with the theory of ‘public-click’ pedagogy as already discussed, which suggests that learning outcomes can be improved through individuals making public their learning processes for others (Bigum & Rowan, 2013). In this same blog, I also discussed how the activity of participating in networked learning by creating and sharing information, also enhances learning through achieving the highest levels of cognitive functioning as described in Bloom’s taxonomy (O’Keefe , 2014; Dron & Anderson, 2012).

One way that I participated in a learning community to assist others to learn was through establishing my own YouTube channel which I used to make my process of learning public (O’Keefe, 2014; Bigum & Rowan, 2013). I observed that other members of the course had found this to be helpful for their own learning. An example of this was on a peer’s blog where they commented ‘Clare’s application of CLEM to learning Irish music was really helpful (and enjoyable) and caused me to reflect on my approach to learning…’ (Liriges, 2014).

It is therefore evident that participating in Networked and Global learning was beneficial for me as a learner for a number of reasons – it enabled me to transform my learning, provided access to a range of tools for my learning task and provided an opportunity to share my learning with others to assist them towards their own learning goals.

References

O’Keefe, C. (2014). Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://pushingtheboundarieswithnetworkedlearning.wordpress.com/

Jones, D. (2014). An experiment in Networked & Global Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://netgl.wordpress.com/

Bigum, C, & Rowan, L. (2013). Ladders, Learning and Lessons from Charlie: exploring the potential of public click pedagogy (No. 2). EdExEd Working Paper Series. Retrieved 9 October 2014, from http://chrisbigum.com/downloads/LLL-PCP.pdf

Puentedura, R. (2014). SAMR and Curriculum Redesign. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2014/08/30/SAMRAndCurriculumRedesign.pdf

Goodyear, P., Carvalho, L., & Dohn, N. B. (2014). Design for networked learning: framing relations between participants’ activities and the physical setting. In S. Bayne, M. de Laat, T. Ryberg, & C. Sinclair (Eds.), Ninth International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, 137–144. http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2014/08/30/SAMRAndCurriculumRedesign.pdf

 Riel, M., & Polin, L. (2004). Online learning communities: Common ground and critical differences in designing technical environments. In S. A. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning ,16–50. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Quennerstedt, M. (2013). PE on YouTube – investigating participation in physical education practice. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 18(1), 42-59.

Buzzetto-More, N. A. (2014). An Examination of Undergraduate Student’s Perceptions and Predilections of the Use of YouTube in the Teaching and Learning Process. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning & Learning Objects, 1017-32.

Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2007). Collectives, networks and groups in social software for e-Learning. In World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (pp. 2460–2467). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved October 14, 2014 from http://www.editlib.org/p/26726.

Dron, J & Anderson, T. (2012). Learning technology through three generations of technology enhanced distance education pedagogy. Retrieved October 13, 2014 from http://www.eurodl.org/?p=archives&year=2012&halfyear=2&article=523

Liriges, D. (2014). Insights: Reflections on learning and clem. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://debliriges.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/reflections-on-learning-and-clem/

As a student, participation in NGL was useful for me

Standard

This post is a summary of my learning ‘as a student’ in the University of Southern Queensland EDU8117 Networked and Global Learning (NLG) course. One of the aims of this course, as outlined by the course convenor, David Jones, is for students to consider transforming our practice using Networked and Global Learning Tools and principles, and reflect on the whether this has been useful (Jones, 2014).

Networked and global learning is based around the theory of Connectivism– the idea that “knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks” (Downes, 2007, para 2; Siemens, 2008). As I discussed in one of my blog posts for the course, in this environment, learning is about forming ‘connections’ rather than just acquiring or transmitting knowledge (Downes, 2007; O’Keefe, 2014). As part of the course, we were encouraged by our convenor to use a range of networked and global learning tools such as – WordPress, Diigo and Feedler – to help guide this process of ‘forming connections’ and to transform our learning (Jones, 2014).

Below are my reflections on how these principles and tools of networked and global learning have been useful for me as a student of the NGL course.

One of the first ways participation in NGL was useful for me, was it has helped to improve the quality of my writing. The students in the course were asked to create a WordPress blog to record and share our leanings each week (Jones, 2014). In one of my posts on WordPress I discuss the work of Associate Professor Jill Walker Rettberg (2009) which looks at why blogging is a useful tool for learning and reflection (O’Keefe, 2014). Some of the reasons she discusses, are that blogging encourages us to communicate our thoughts more clearly, present more thoughtful arguments and carefully edited writing because we are writing to an audience (Walker Rettberg, 2009). This certainly proved to be the case for me. I made sure to carefully consider the content of my posts, and took steps to properly reference material (as I discuss in my post here) and proofread my work, knowing that other members of the class and our course convenor would be reading them (Walker Rettberg, 2009; O’Keefe, 2014). At times, I even used the ‘editing’ feature to update or expand upon my previous posts (O’Keefe, 2014).

The article by Walker Rettberg (2009) also discusses how blogging can encourage reflection and enhance learning through peer review. The comments I received on my post from my peers and the course convenor, improved my learning by helping to reinforce the ideas I have presented and identify gaps in my thinking. Examples of this included comments by David Jones (2014) on my post – ‘A Confused Student: Understanding through the Threshold Concept’ and comments from my peers here and here (O’Keefe, 2014). Reviewing the blogs of my peers, also helped me to think critically about my work and make changes to improve, such as my post on Online Image Credits (Walker Rettberg, 2009; O’Keefe, 2014).

Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) is another strategy the class was introduced to in the NGL course, to assist with staying ‘connected in the network era’ (Jarche, 2011; O’Keefe, 2014). This tool helped to guide my participation in the course in relation to seeking and making sense or information and then sharing my learning. In developing this PKM I considered a number of NGL tools and strategies that I could use to make connections with others to enhance my learning. The ‘share’ component of the Personal Knowledge Management plan involved using networking platforms to help others to establish connections with our work. Steven Downes provides a useful explanation of the value of sharing learning, which I discuss on one of my blog posts “what you’re doing when you share is to create material that other people can learn from. Your sharing creates more content ….People appreciate that, you will probably appreciate the content other people …share with you” (Downes, 2011, para 27).

WordPress and Diigo were two tools that I used to review the resources shared by my peers and identity relevant information to inform my work (O’Keefe, 2014). Examples of this include my post ‘How to harness the amazing ideas of others’ and ‘Insightful Post from Global Connection USQ’ (Droney, 2014; O’Keefe, 2014). Mendely, WordPress, Diigo, YouTube, and Twitter were some of the web platforms I used throughout the course to share knowledge and my learning with others to assist them to learn (O’Keefe, 2014). Evidence of this can be seen in the blog posts by Future Learning Musings, Networked, Global and Learning and Insights to improve their own learning (Smythe, 2014; Size, 2014; Liriges, 2014). I discuss my knowledge sharing using Diigo and Mendely in my post ‘Me as a student’ (O’Keefe, 2014).

I also used another online tool Feedly throughout the course to not only keep track of the online activities of other course members, but to operate more effectively in the networked world by enabling filtering of content to manage ‘cognitive overload’ (Brennan, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014). In one of my posts, I refer to an article by Keith Brennan discussing the concept of ‘cognitive overload’ and how this can affect our feelings of self-efficacy, confidence and success with connecting online (Brennan, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014). In another post ‘A confused student: understanding through the threshold concept’ I explore some of the challenges new learners are confronted with when trying to navigate through the networked world, as discussed by Giedre Kligyte (2009), such as the online language and the seemingly messy process of learning and connecting in the networked space (O’Keefe, 2014).

In addition to using Feedly, being able to read how other members of the course have worked through these similar challenges, via their own blogs, also helped to build by confidence and self-efficacy in order to participate effectively in networked and global learning (Brennan, 2013). This is discussed further in this post (O’Keefe, 2014). I was also able to efficiently use NGL to support my learning through actively participating in NGL activities such as creating and using a WordPress Blog, as specified in the course aims and observing the course convenor doing the same (Jones, 2014). Active participation and leading by example, are two effective strategies to support networked learning, which I have discussed in my post ‘Why is Blogging so useful for reflection and learning’ and which is also referred to on the 23 Things website, linked on my blog here (Walker Rettberg, 2009; Adult, Community & Further Education, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014).

From my reflections, it is event that there is value in students participating in Networked and Global Learning activities and that with the right tools and principles, a transformation in learning can be achieved. The next step is to consider how these findings might be useful for teachers intending to transform their student’s learning using NGL principles and tools, and also how individuals could use online social networking tools to enhance their learning. I will attempt to address these matters in my upcoming blog posts.

References
Adult, Community & Further Education. (2013). 23Things: an introduction to Web2 for people working in Adult Community Education (ACE). Retrieved September 7, 2014 from http://23things.acfe.vic.edu.au/

Brennan, K. (2013). In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: a Guide to Understanding the MOOC Novice. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/in-connectivism-no-one-can-hear-you-scream-a-guide-to-understanding-the-mooc-novice/ .

Downes, S. (2007). What Connectivism is. Retrieved October 3, 2014 from http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html

Downes, S. (2011). “Connectivism” and Connective Knowledge. Retrieved September 13, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html

Droney, A. (2014). Global Connection USQ. Retrieved October 27, 2014 from https://globalconnectionusq.wordpress.com/

Jarche, H. (2011). PKM – Personal Knowledge Mastery. Retrieved August 3, 2014 from http://www.jarche.com/pkm/

Jones, D. (2014). An experiment in Networked & Global Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://netgl.wordpress.com/

Kligyte, G. (2009). Threshold Concept: A lens for examining networked learning. In Ascilite 2009 Conference. Retrieved October 16, 2014 from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland09/procs/kligyte-poster.pdf .

Liriges, D. (2014). Insights. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://debliriges.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/reflections-on-learning-and-clem/

O’Keefe, C. (2014). Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://pushingtheboundarieswithnetworkedlearning.wordpress.com/

Siemens, G. (2008). New structures and spaces of learning: The systemic impact of connective knowledge, connectivism, and networked learning. Retrieved September 12, 2014 from http://elearnspace.org/Articles/systemic_impact.htm.

Size, P. Networked, Global and Learning. Retrieved October 4, 2014 from http://siblingsofcysticfibrosis.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/clem-and-community/ .

Smythe, E. (2014). Future Learning Musings. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from http://futurelearningmusings.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/connected-learning-and-generative-themes/

Walker Rettberg, J. (2009) Blogging as a Tool for Reflection and Learning. In A. Karin Lars & G. Oline Hole. (Eds.), E-Pedagogy for Teachers in Higher Education. Bergen, Norway: Bergen University College. Retrieved September 12, 2014 from http://www.virclass.net/eped/ep_tmp/files/17842056574abc85cdf304e.pdf