Coming to grips with a new learning management system, based on Blackboard, particularly after the long summer break, was a little confronting. Just when I thought I knew where to find what I needed, I found I had no idea.
The topics were all there, but the email notifications for responses did not seem to work all the time, and it became a case of checking in at log on and working out which thread had new messages.
Yes, there were fewer students in the cohort, but few participated in this type of networked learning in the manner peers had communicated in INF530 and INF536.
A sub-group of the subject became very active in their own PLN, using Twitter for regular question and answer sessions, and touching base with issues and concerns.
Twitter is a great space for developing and nurturing a PLN.
I have been a member since 2009
I have used Twitter to enhance my personal interests and my professional life with increasing degrees of success. It is quick and easy and seems to work when low Internet connectivity prevents other means of communication.
My Twitter account
Since commencing the Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation), I have increased all aspects of my Twitter membership as shown in the above image.
Tweeting connection April
Connection with past and present study companions makes the learning journey more enjoyable and deepens understanding when links are shared.
Tweeting connections May
Reading over the connections through Twitter this semester is another means of reflecting on the nature and depth of learning it has enabled.
There are too many teachers who believe that their role is to direct learning from the front of the classroom and keep control over everything that occurs. (In my first Hamilton school (1980) there was a real “stage” at the front of each classroom, and you taught from behind a big desk which sat on the stage between you and the blackboard – one of those new roller based ones that gave you almost endless space to deliver your words of wisdom – and well separated from the students, who were way down on the lower deck). I hated it – and quickly created opportunities for students to be on the stage, at the board or for me to join them “down below”. Today, minus the board and the stage, this is what I still see in so many room as I move (occasionally) around the school.
Modern concepts of flipped classrooms focus on the sage role but place it outside the classroom, and leave class time for interaction around the information gained. This still leaves me uneasy.
The main reason I question the sage approach is that there are many things that my students know that I do not, and they are all individuals, not a homogenous body. If I assume the guru position, am I not locking them into the knowledge I have and not extending them beyond it?
The main reason I do assume the sage role at times is because, with 6 years of tertiary education and many, many years of teaching experience there must be things that I know that they can’t know, or fully understand without some intervention on my part. In both my History teaching, and my Teacher-librarian role, I tend to work along the lines of Ross Todd and Carol Kuhlthau’s zone of intervention: Google this to download a Ppt on guided inquiry which covers this topic – tldl.pbworks.com/f/Ross+Todd+Guided+Inquiry+Web+2.0.ppt