“accessing information …merely the first step of the learning process.”

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Great post on the ‘ Learning to learn with NGL‘ Blog discussing using NGL to learn Yoga. One of the key points I got from this post was the idea that ‘accessing information’ is ‘merely the first step of the learning process’ and that active participation and engagement is what is necessary to achieve best results.

This is another good reminder for me as I continue my studies in the USQ NGL course and prepare for my upcoming assignments.

Building on my ideas – the role of the educator in NGL

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Construyendo una torre 2 by rahego, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  rahego 

It is already time to add to my earlier post Knowing Learning and Teaching in NGL – getting started. In this post I had discussed the following:

  • What would be the role of the educator? How would we teach

My role would be to guide my student’s use of NGL tools. Ideally, teach by example (as discussed in my previous post).

To my earlier thoughts I would like to add that any ICT I implement to redefine the learning in my organisation, will need to be underpinned by an effective and relevant pedagogy. Siemen’s article talks about the changing role of the educator under connectivism – where there is a shift from “instructor or institution-controlled teaching to one of greater control by the learner” and also the call for a new pedagogy to match the latest technological advancements that allow for greater social interaction- a pedagogy of participation (2008).

Siemens defines this participator pedagogy as:

“one that does not fully define all curricular needs in advance of interacting with learners. Learners are able to contribute to existing curricula. The organizational work of faculty members does not comprise the entirety of the course content and does not consist of the sole perspective used to filter content. Multiple perspectives, opinions, and active creation on the part of learners all contribute to the final content of the learner experience. This participatory emphasis is reflective of current ongoing trends with online content creation (OECD, 2007b) and with collective approaches to participatory sensemaking (De Jaegher & Di Paolo, 2007). Activities of learning, interpreting the meaning of trends, and creation of new resources can all be achieved through participatory approaches” (2008).

Siemens argues that one of the reasons educators have refrained from moving to this new pedagogy, is the traditional classroom structure. In my organisation, I am lucky to be able to be flexible and undertake learning activities outside of the traditional classroom structure. This is actually encouraged as having to run training classes in our organisation is an expensive activity. There are costs involved in organising a training presenter, booking meeting rooms and supplying training materials and refreshments for the learners in formal training programs. We are encouraged to work learning into daily activities of staff, that is, facilitate ‘on-the-job’ training.

Reference

Siemens, G. (2008). New structures and spaces of learning: The systemic impact of connective knowledge, connectivism, and networked learning. Actas Do Encontro Sobre Web.

Redefining Learning in my organisation

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In the Week 6 readings we are also encouraged to aim towards ‘redefining’ learning in our work contexts. That is, we should try to transform learning through technology. This is a step further than just using technology to ‘substitute’, ‘augment’ or ‘modify’, traditional methods of learning (as outlined in the SAMR model).

In one of my previous posts, I considered using SharePoint as a tool for implementing networked learning in my organisation. One way that this tool can enable learning to be redifined, is through its documents management, wiki and online comments features.

My students are geographically dispersed and we currently do not have a tool established which enables our students to all interact online to review documents easily and share and record their input, in relation to our particular area of work. While a similar activity can be achieved through emails – with staff sending documents to each other with comments in tracked changes – it becomes messy when there are more than a couple of individuals editing the document. The SharePoint enables large groups to share their ideas and provide input into documents in real-time. We have a few hundred students who could be invited to provide feedback on new draft procedures (as discussed in my previous post) to enhance them, and SharePoint is an ICT tool that has the capacity to redefine this learning activity.

Below are some visuals showing ways SharePoint can enable us to redefine out interactions and learning:

 

Diversity in Learning

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Diversity Mask by Spiva Arts, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Spiva Arts 

Professor Chris Dede’s quote about the diversity of learning, as shared in the Week 6 readings, is a good reminder of the need to be flexible in our teaching approaches. As a student I have been grateful that I have not been restricted to certain readings or focus for the course – it has given me an opportunity to focus my learning on an area that is practical and revelant for me. As a teacher, I need to consider this element of choice in the learning for my students. One way would be to ensure the networked learning activity I implement in my learning context is structured to support inquiry-based learning which can enable students to explore problems, ask questions and make discoveries that fulfill their personal curiosities (Drexler, 2010).

Reference

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

How to harness the amazing ideas of others !

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Derek Sivers’ you tube video ‘Obvious to you. Amazing to others’ shared on the NGL Diigo really struck a chord with me. After all,  who hasn’t been surprised when someone else has found their idea useful, even we when thought it wasn’t really new or innovative at all?

I have even experienced this as a student of this NGL course, where I have been pleasantly surprised that peers have found some of my blog posts useful…even when I thought my ideas were just run-of-the-mill.

Anyway, in role as a teacher, one of the key questions I need to explore is how this idea can apply to the students in my organisation?

I can certainly see that one of the principles of NGL – connectivitism –  could help to surface some of the knowledge of my students.

After all, connectivism is about forming connections for learning and not simply trying to ‘acquire’ or ‘transmit’ knowledge (Downes, 2011). It’s about sharing your ideas to benefit the whole. This is because, as Steven Downes so nicely put it, “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).

Even though in my work environment, we need our students to ‘acquire’ some knowledge about the new procedures we want to implement in our organisation, by enabling discussion to occur around these procedures, we could open the doors to new and better ideas. In fact, as some of our procedure documents are still being developed, we could make them available on an online collaborative site, like SharePoint, for our students to comment on and critique prior to finalisation. With the input from our staff members (the students) who are working on the ground, their subject matter expertise would be invaluable, and would help gain their buy in as we transition to new practices.

Now that’s an idea!

References

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

SharePoint as a collaborative tool

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My previous post got me thinking about online collaborative tools for use in my work environment to support networked learning.

SharePoint is a tool used in many organisations and is one that I have seen used effectively to enhance online interactions on key projects or for groups of professions in a ‘professional network’ or community of practice’ environment.  Some brief uses and benefits of this tool are cited here and here.

I hope to delve further into this tool for Assignment 2.

This tool may also be of interest to other course participants in non-traditional education contexts.

Why is Blogging so useful for reflection and learning?

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Associate Professor Jill Walker Rettberg has discussed how Blogging is a useful tool for reflection and learning in her paper available in the E-Pedagogy for Teachers in Higher Education Virtual Book – available here .

Some of these reasons she suggests that blogging is helpful for learning and reflection include:

* It helps us to communicate our thoughts more clearly and our thoughts are more carefully considered because we know that it is for an audience

*Blogging makes it easier to practice writing – it is quick and easy to post our thoughts online and respond to external ideas through blogs. Also, because others will read and respond our posts, we are more inclined to better spelling, grammar and punctuation.

*It increases our confidence in writing and learning because we are actually creating and publishing something (higher order learning)

*It enables Peer Review and Reflection – We produce better work and help others do the same through being able to give and receive feedback quickly and easily through Blogs. We are also able then to reflect on, edit and reshape our ideas online.

Walker Rettberg then went on to discuss how she used blogging in her own classes, leading by example, just as David Jones has done throughout this NGL course.

As a student, this paper has provided me with some further theoretical underpinnings for why I have found blogging so useful in this course and why I have benefitted from following our course convenor’s own blog.

It was also great to read another post on the FutureLearningMusings on the same topic and which explores some other aspects of blogging.


Reference

Walker Rettberg, J. 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 from http://www.virclass.net/eped/ep_tmp/files/17842056574abc85cdf304e.pdf