Doorways into an understanding of concepts and practices in a digital age have been opened with the beginning of my readings. I feel that I HAVE to delve deeper, but at this point in time the major concepts that have impacted with me are:
- Participatory environments
- New culture of learning
- Knowledge ecologies and digital information ecologies & ecosystems
As our module readings noted cloud computing and social media have become core elements in our lives to manage information, store data, access, communicate, create, connect and collaborate. It seems that we are living in a world of ‘Cs’ – which may sound trite, but actually is at the core of this digital age. These are the skills that our students need to engage with and to critically reflect upon.
Thomas Seely Brown sees us experiencing ‘a new culture of learning’. Technology has become a participatory medium. It is no longer a window but a doorway! As he comments, we have to rethink the work space as a learning space. There is a need in our institutional structures and social practice to meld together and work together.
Stephen Heppell, too, remarks “it’s not the information age, it’s the learning age”.
The concept of PLAY and LEARNING where we are given permission to FAIL and try again is significant. This needs to be encouraged in all aspects of our lives. Reality is that we keep trying until we ‘get it right’ and yet often we do not allow the same courtesy to our students . As Seely Brown (Module 1.4 video ) remarked we need that “space of permission” and safety and we need to be playful.
Nathaniel Bott (21st century learning TEDxLaunceston ),also commented on this same idea. That we all go through this process as children, but somewhere along the way, what was once okay is not! Throughout the readings, what resonated with me, was acknowledging that there are different ´spaces’ for learning for both informal and formal purposes, and that these spaces have to provide a space of ‘safety’. His declaration that ‘young people are stuck in a dated model’ is significant. Our educational institutions still largely conform to a 19th & 20th century model and it is interesting to observe how they are moving forward (or not) to embrace 21st century learning.
Ideas and technology are pivotal in our lives, enabling us to connect both socially, intellectually and globally. We have access to open communication, that we have never had before. The internet has changed the ‘face’ of all aspects of our lives in business, socially, personally and educationally. As Dyson (Module 1.4 2012, p.308-309) noted: “Digital forms of information and communication are transforming what it means to work, study, research and express oneself”.
In my lifetime, the expectation has been that we follow certain pathways until we achieved the ‘piece of paper’ when we graduated or completed our apprenticeship and moved into our chosen ‘careers’. For my grandfather, he was employed for his lifetime in one job. For my father, he was employed in several jobs during his working life, and for myself…even more! For my sons, it will be not only multiple jobs, but multiple careers, and having multiple skills. The focus today is all about continued, ongoing learning, being flexible and able to take risks with our learning and cope with ambiguity. We need to be ADAPTABLE! (Helen Haste, Module 1.4 Technology & Competencies )
Issues and concerns are huge considerations in our digital age.
The issue of PRIVACY already rearing its head and the aspect of safety re data. George Orwell’s 1984 has come to pass with ‘Big Brother’ and our general acceptance of it in our lives. We do not think too closely how Google (and other online organizations, governments etc) has such immediate and comprehensive coverage of our live’s details. We join up and log in! At a network librarian’s meeting today, I was reminded about how ‘nothing is free’. That we are all consumers or commodities. That when we sign up for free, we are actually giving away a lot more than we realise (@Kim Beeman & @KarenBlumberg – Blog & article)
There are movements to protect our privacy with the development of search engines as Duck Duck Go and the online presence of such websites as TOR. But is it too late? Have we become too Googlised? There is also the recent issues of the “right to be forgotten” and the perspective of ‘right to privacy’ versus ‘right to freedom of information’, along with issues of censorship. Another area to delve into.
Freeman (Module 1.4, 2009, p.136) remarked upon how we have 24/7 virtually worldwide access…’there is nowhere that people do not pause to check it…’. When do we switch off! While the web is changing opportunities in learning and communication, I am concerned that students need to be aware of the importance of a life balance, and that there are times that they do need to ‘power off’. I notice that across the upper elementary classrooms, teachers will ask the students to ‘flip and close’ to gain their attention and that importantly students see the ipad (or mobile device) as a tool not a lifeline (hmm, though perhaps they are lifelines at that – keeping us CONNECTED).
what is the context of my learning
My own learning is situated in an upper elementary environment (Years 3 -5) Australian/international context, and within a specialist teacher librarian position. My main focus is introducing skills and strategies that will support my students in this digital age, and also to learn from them.
what are my personal aims in this subject
My personal aims in this subject is to be able to ‘look at the big picture’ but particularly to achieve a deep understanding of the major concepts and practices that especially will impact the learning and teaching environment within which I work.
what challenges do i want to meet for myself
To transfer my deep understandings of this subject into practice. To make the links between the macro and the micro. To see the links that connect the concepts into practice.
Module 1 readings:
Bott, Nathaniel Retrieved from 21st century learning: Nathaniel Bott at TEDxLaunceston. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI9TiuVHc0A
Thomas Seely Brown, Freeman, Dyson, Helen Haste http://youtu.be/pqt3ZmtBTOE
Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis. M. (2011). Future work skills 2020. Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute: California
Dyson, G. (2012). Turing’s cathedral: The origins of the digital universe. Random House Digital, Inc.
Gee, J. P. (2010). New digital media and learning as an emerging area and” worked examples” as one way forward. The MIT Press.
Haste, H. (2009). What is ‘competence’ and how should education incorporate new technology’s tools to generate ‘competent civic agents’.. www.isites.harvard.edu. Retrieved 8 March 2015, fromhttp://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic603902.files/Haste_Tech_Civic.pdf
Hearn, A. (n.d.). Anonymous search tool DuckDuckGo answered 1bn queries in 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/09/anonymous-search-tool-duckduckgo-1bn-queries-2013-google