I have to agree that reflective digital writing, in its various formats, has allowed for deeper understanding and connecting course content with my own professional development and teaching practices. While I have been a member of Twitter and other social media platforms for a number of years now, MEd (KNDI) has driven a re-engagement with these tools and with participatory learning. The result has been closer collaborative sharing and personal connections with colleagues, course coordinators and extending out into the global community.
Curation, tagging and aggregation is definitely a feature of my own learning, teaching practice and my students’ learning (as I develop Libguides and use it explicitly with my students). However, I have only touched on the concept of tagging with my students (mainly due to time constraints) yet as my colleague, Nadine commented, “learning is a two way conversation, it is not just tapping into a tag-cloud. It is only when we start expressing our questions and receiving feedback and reformulating those questions because actually the initial questions we asked were not the ‘right’ questions after all, that real learning occurs”. I have seen changes in my social bookmarking practice over time from Delicious to Diigo to Flipboard to Evernote to ? This is perhaps one of the issues, where we have seen such change and development of web tools, and it is a matter of which ‘fits best’ the purpose ‘at the time’ – and what do you keep or leave behind.
Reading Participatory learning, one of the Digital Media & Learning Ebook series (produced by the Macarthur foundation), showed the variety of ‘participatory learning’ that was being showcased between 2009 and 2013, looking at how “young people learn, play, and participate in the world around them, applying new tools, values and ideas”. However, even 3 years along, it is not as mainstream as it needs to be. Many of the above activities are still marginalised and not evident globally across educational institutions (“the ‘new’ acts to marginalize what should be mainstream” Cupaiuolo, C). Inquiry and participatory learning still has to contend with timetables and bells.
Perhaps my greatest take-away is to be flexible, to be open, to jump in and try something new. While I consider myself a ‘connected learner’* we still have a way to go in moving beyond the curriculum and data driven focus.
*”Learning that is socially connected, interest-driven…pursuing knowledge and expertise around something you care deeply about and you’re supported by friends and institutions who share and recognize their common passion or purpose” (Mimi Ito in We Came to Play by Cupaiuolo, C., in Participatory learning).
MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative (June 30, 2014). Participatory learning: Spotlight on digital media and learning [Amazon ebook]