ELT532 Critical Reflection

This practical subject is welcoming to participants engaged in technology and learning. Its optimistic presentation of academic theory uplifts long-suffering students. I remember the frustrations expressed on the discussion forums – the struggle to make headway against hardware and software issues, network interference, and uninterested or overwhelmed colleagues. It’s one clear aspect of this subject: the task of building an effective online Digital Learning Environment (DLE) is complicated, and success depends on various criteria. Another important understanding is that there is no one perfect DLE; they are as varied (Wheeler, 2015) as the needs of students. Best practice argues we choose the elements which will work in our specific organisation (Casey & Evans, 2011).

created by poetics (2016)
created by poetics (2016)

If building an effective DLE was easy there would be little need for subjects like this. Completing a subject called Digital Citizenship in Schools, while not working full-time wasn’t my best decision, but we don’t need to be in a school to learn about participating online. We now live part of our lives in virtual communities, and our experiences can be transferred to those we teach. Students benefit from open and honest dialogue about developing safe, positive online identities (Boyd, 2014). Although I didn’t contribute actively to the forums that delved into leadership teams, perceptions of librarians, and the best language to use when articulating IT policy, I do sympathise with everyone’s points of view. It seemed redundant to post, ‘I feel your pain’, or ‘Wow! It’s great when you can see the change you inspire!’ with little else to contribute.

My posts reflect my reality of studying and volunteering. They show I struggle with what to give of myself. While not any less digital, my online life is certainly less pedagogical. I posted much about The Children’s Book Council of Australia because it demonstrates I am engaging in a digital environment, requiring collaborative and technical skills (Karbach, 2015) that can be transferred to education. This organisation trusts me (among others) with its public digital face, and I constantly debate how I present it to the world. My initial post about Will Kostakis was fuelled by anger, and it demonstrates how our online lives are linked into culture and society. Only ten years ago there was no option for such strong, immediate reaction, or the easy platform for Will’s thankful response.

Every deliberate interaction with online spaces makes me a better digital citizen. I benefit because I’m more informed and aware of the subjects in which I participate. Also, my contributions add to other’s views. Most importantly, all who interact positively are role models to younger people (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011), who should see that the best contributions they can make are ones that show them in a good light, and lift others to be better too.

I also enjoyed visiting other people’s blogs, reading their reflections, and finding ways to comment insightfully. Those most likely to blog are those who are confident with social media. I picked social media as the topic of the first assignment and can see that people who speak up without resorting to ridicule or self-promotion, are better equipped to navigate digital waters (whatedsaid, 2015). It makes sense this would be also true for young people (Lindsay & Davis, 2010). I’ve learned it’s far better we teach and guide students by letting them take a few risks than we ban, obstruct, and deflect (Schaffhauser, 2016). That won’t happen if we focus on the negative ramifications.

Teachers in the library, still students themselves, are immersed in the language and theory of education in the digital age. They are leaders, innovators, and worthy role-models. By building my online presence through the opportunities this course offers, I have joined their ranks. I am not currently working full-time, but in my next role I know I will be better prepared and more informed because of the challenges of ETL532.

References

Buckley, P. (2016). Coordinated Social Media Campaign. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/missusb/2016/05/21/coordinated-social-media-campaign/ [Blog Post].

Buckley, P. (2016). Digital learning environments beyond school. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/missusb/2016/04/11/digital-learning-environments-beyond-schools/ [Blog Post].

Buckley, P. (2016). ETL523 What is digital citizenship? Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/missusb/2016/03/03/etl523-what-is-digital-citizenship/ [Blog Post].

Bailie, H. (2016). Digital Irony, retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2016/03/31/digital-irony/ [Blog Post].

Boyd, D. (2014). It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens. Yale University Press.

Casey, G., & Evans, T. (2011). Designing for Learning: Online Social Networks as a Classroom Environment. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(7), 1-26.  Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ963966&site=ehost-live.

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 55(4), 37-47. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0510-z.

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2010). Navigate the Digital Rapids. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37(6), 12-15.  Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ886385&site=ehost-live.

Lucas, A. (2016). Online Trolling, retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/liblog/2016/04/14/online-trolling/ [Blog Post].

Karbach, Med. (2012). 33 digital skills every 21st century teacher should have. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Retrieved 23 May 2016 from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/06/33-digital-skills-every-21st-century.html (now updated to: The 20 Digital Skills every 21st Century Teacher Should Have’ (March 2, 2015).

Morschel, B. (2016). 4.1 Globalisation of information and learning, retrieved from http://bmorschel.edublogs.org/2016/04/02/etl523-digital-citizenship-in-schools-module-4-notes/#comments [Blog Post].

Schaffhauser, D. (2016). Researchers: Forget Internet abstinence; Teens need some online risk.  Retrieved from https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/05/16/researchers-forget-internet-abstinence-teens-need-to-face-some-amount-of-online-risk.aspx.

whatedsaid. (2015). Can you teach digital citizenship if you are not an active digital citizen yourself?  Retrieved from https://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/can-you-teach-digital-citizenship-if-you-are-not-an-active-digital-citizen-yourself/ [Blog Post].

Wheeler, S. (2015). Making learning personal Learning with ‘e’s: Educational theory and practice in the digital age. United Kingdom: Crown House.

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