Minute Paper

  1. What is the most significant think you’ve learned from the above?

    For me the most significant thing I have learn’t in the last week has been the new tools that I am now using. While I have had moments where I felt like I was drowning I have come to the surface and even started to see how some of the tools could be useful for my teaching and also even as I continue my formal studies. I am particulary interested in exploring Diigo and Mendeley more.

  2. What question/problem remains uppermost in your mind?

At the moment the biggest question for me is  What are the principles that underpin NGL?

Thoughts on learning

A few things have happened to me over the last few days that has me thinking about learning and learning through experience.

It always amazes people how quickly children learn to use technology, how the 3 yr old can competently use and navigate around an ipad or iphone and the apps. I know technology is becoming more intuitive but when I compare that 3yr olds abilities with that of their 65yr old grandparent it becomes apparent that perhaps the technology is not as intuitive as we might think because if it was then shouldn’t the 3yr old and the 65yr old be equally competent in it’s use. 

The other day I was doing some work on the computer and working with some tools for this course that are still new to me. The 3yr old who can competently navigate an ipad wanted to sit with me and “study” too, because I was still finding my feet and didn’t quite know how to use the tools I din’t let him join me but it got me thinking that maybe he would work it out quicker then he could show me.

This same small person also decided recently to help himself to the spray paint in dad’s garage and paint a bucket (and himself). I was recounting the story to some colleagues at lunch this week and it started a conversation about how young kids learn from watching, mimicking and experience. This conversation got me thinking abut the characteristics of young kids as learners versus adults as learners.

Now these are my observations but from my experience with kids as a nurse, dance teacher, aunt and mother they don’t care if they make mistakes, they like to explore and experience things, they learn about and explore their world through play, they experiment and mimic the behavior around them. As adults we aren’t as free in our learning, we are afraid to make mistakes, we are afraid to experiment because we might break something.

I am thinking that perhaps as adult learners we need to take a lesson from children and explore the world as though we are a child without the fear and worries that are perhaps limiting our learning potential. I wonder if my inquisitive 3yr old would have been able to show me a thing or two or would he have “broken” something and push me to learn so that I could fix it? I guess either way I would have learnt something.

If NGL is based in exploration which is the impression i am getting from my early investigation then perhaps as a learner I need to take a lesson from the little people around me and dive in and explore. I need to let go of my fear that I might break something or make a mistake and just give it a go and see where I end up.

Me as a Teacher

What is your role as a teacher? Who are your students? What is the context?

My current role as a teacher is in coordinating post graduate certificate courses and subjects in nursing at a private college. My students are nurses with varying ages from across Australia working in metropolitan, rural and remote hospitals and healthcare facilities. They have a range of experience and educational levels, some have Bachelor degrees and others finished school at year 10 and are hospital trained nurses. The courses are online distance education courses using moodle as the current learning management system.

What role does NGL currently play in that context?

With my limited understanding about NGL I would say that currently the role of NGL in this context is limited to asynchronous discussions within the moodle platform. It could also be said that networked learning occurs because there is a group of people who otherwise my not engage with each other engaging in learning on the same topic, while the topic is the same for all students the context in which the learning is applied is different and through sharing the context e.g. how the principles of care planning are applied where they work further learning occurs.

How do you think NGL might help?

I would like to hope that NGL would contribute to increased peer learning and collaboration between students not only during the course but post the course as it would  assist in setting up professional networks for the students.

Healthcare, particularly Primary healthcare (one of the courses I coordinate) is dynamic and constantly shifting, at times it is a political hot potato and therefore I think a NGL approach to the course may also assist in keeping it current and relevant to students. It is currently evident that this course which is currently in it’s first year of being run and some subjects have only just commenced the first semester following a 6 month writing process will have resources and information that is out of date within the next 12 months. A NGL approach may have an impact on the ability to keep this course up to date. But I need to know more about NGL before I can make that call.

What difficulties might you face with implementation?

Implementation could be difficult in an institution that is set in it’s ways, requires courses to be approved by a number of committees and appears to have a significant number of staff who lack understanding around teaching in the online environment and the pedagogy of online learning. Contributing to this could also be a lack of knowledge about our students by those developing curriculum.

Integration of new tools into existing systems could also be a stumbling block to implementing NGL.

Current organisational culture could also create difficulties implementing new teaching and learning methods such as NGL. While the organisation says that it is flexible and change able and is going through a phase of change, many of the staff are experiencing change overload and feel that they need a period of consolidation before tackling anything new. Unfortunately when you work in two areas that are very dynamic and going through rapid change phases such as healthcare and education it is difficult to have a consolidation period where there is no change.

Me as a Learner

What would you like to learn? Why?

I am thinking that I might start to learn about something that has been on my to do list for some time and that is how to take photos on my DSLR camera without using the automatic features. I am doing this a because it is something I have wanted to do for a while and have said that I would do once I finished my formal study but the opportunity has arisen that perhaps I can do both. I also love pictures of my kids and landscapes and would love to be able to capture the precious memories.

How suited do you think it will be to learning via NGL? What will be the benefits and the barriers?

Currently I am thinking that photography will be suited to NGL as I know that with the increase in popularity of photograpy there are likely to be many blogs, you tube videos etc. out there. Also sites such as flicker may be useful.

I guess the benefits could be that there will be lots of information however that could also be a barrier and there may be much time spent looking at information that is not relevant or useful.

Another barrier may be time to practice the skills researched.

What is learning?

For me learning is gaining new skills and information, however learning needs to be relevant to a situation otherwise I don’t retain it so it needs a context and the opportunity to utilise it.

Me as a Student

Describe your prior experiences as a learner in this program. What did you like? What didn’t work? What haven’t you seen that you would like?

My experiences so far as a learner have in many respects been quite traditional in that the learning has been about readings, activities and assessments. For me this has been both good and bad. I am the type of person that enjoys organisation and predictability. I like to plan and be clear about what I need to do to meet the expectations that have been set for me as this is a formal course. Having said that I also enjoy a challenge and therefore like to be pushed out of my comfort zone a little, I like the thrill of knowing I have achieved something that previously was outside the possible.

Through this program I have had subjects that I have enjoyed and others that have been a burden and I just couldn’t wait to finish. On reflection it wasn’t the topics of the course that had me wanting to get to the end it was the instruction. The particular subject that comes to mind seemed to lack clarity and purpose, the assessment questions were multiple pages long and it felt like the “teacher” was unsure of what they wanted from me as a student.

I found that in the subjects I didn’t enjoy there was a lack of engagement from the teacher and therefore I felt myself withdraw.

Another difficulty I have had in the program is that many of the subjects have had a primary and secondary school focus where as I teach in the tertiary and vocational education sector and that is where my interest lies. So while the subjects have been relevant many of the readings and course materials have had a slant that is not so appropriate for my learning resulting in me spending significant time contextualising the information.

In the subjects around ICT and teaching and learning I would have loved more of an opportunity to play with different technologies and learn about how they work and can be used

 

What is NGL? What do you currently know about it?

I know very little about NGL, I have heard the term and deduced that it is about learning in a global environment using a networking approach to learn from and with others. I am interested in it as from my other learnings it appears that in the not to distant future it won’t be about the knowledge but how to gain the knowledge and I think NGL may be a way that we can teach the skills required to gain knowledge.

 

What have you previously learned that is related to NGL?

Because of my lack of knowledge about NGL I dont know if what I have learned is related. Having looked at the week 1 readings my foray into connectivism may be useful.

 

How have you previously performed your student role? What practices and tools do you use? How do these fit with the idea of NGL and what you know so far of this course?

Previously in my student role I have in many respects kept to what I know. Printing (now downloading to the ipad) the study timetable and assessment information then any course work. I print articles and when reading them sit there with a highlighter and post it flags to mark information that is relevant to course work or assessments. My use of ICT has been limited to downloading to the Ipad and using the moodle site for forums etc.

These don’t fit with the idea of NGL except maybe for the use of forums but from what i have already learnt perhaps these practices can be transferred to tools that do fit with the idea of NGL.

 

What do you want out of this course? What aren’t you seeing from the course that you’d like to see?

What I was hoping for from this course was some insight into what NGL is and how it could be relevant in the tertiary and adult vocational education spaces. Also some ideas as to how I could utilise NGL as a component to my teaching to strengthen the learning that is possible in the courses I co-ordinate.

the ups and downs

Well after the high of getting this blog set up last week I think I am starting to hit the low that is part of any journey. I have spent countless hours of the last few days setting up all the technology and trying to get my head around the requirements for the course (as well as the technology) of which this blog is a part of. But after reading what some of my peers are up to I am feeling really lost and behind. As a student I am feeling bewildered, confused, lost, unprepared and totally out of my comfort zone. These feelings don’t sit well with me as a person, I usually like to have a knowledge and understanding of what i am doing, feel prepared and in control and while I don’t mind a challenge I usually don’t challenge myself so much that I don’t know what I need to do to meet the challenge.

As a teacher and from my previous learning I know that all these feelings can contribute to significant and transformative learning, which I am hoping will occur in this course. As a student this knowledge is currently not giving me much comfort, my thoughts can’t progress to what I can learn because I am so caught up in what do I need to do to get through this subject.

It is quite a coincidence that I feel like this today. It is day one of semester for the students that I teach. I am hoping they don’t feel the way I am currently feeling but I am not so sure that they know what they need to do to complete the course, how to navigate the course page and be able to then focus on the actual learning. Perhaps this is part of the learning? As a teacher this has provided me with some insight to how my students may feel and therefore perhaps this is valuable learning for me, perhaps I need to be aware of  these feelings and be mindful of them when designing the courses I run so that my students are provided with enough to challenge them without taking the focus away from the learning that should occur.

Does it matter what learning occurs as long as some learning occurs? In my case probably as the courses lead to a formal qualification but in other areas who knows.

In the beginning……

Well I have managed to do it. I have managed to set up my first blog.

Setting up this blog is a requirement of the current subject of my Masters of Education course and while I teach and coordinate online courses I still feel like I am a novice when it comes to all the technology available for use, how to set it up and then how to use it myself let alone how to use it to enhance the learning of my students. Therefore setting up this blog and writing my first post is an achievement.

I am hoping that through this particular subject about networked and global learning my knowledge and comfort level with tools such as blogs will increase.

This is only a quick post to get me started, it’s now time for me to go and play with some other new tools that I am going to need to use and see if I can work out how to use it all together.

Wish me luck.