This week has been a rollercoaster. The original Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ‘Leadership and Management’ made me panic as I quickly noticed that there did not seem to be an active online community than I had anticipated. I, therefore, enrolled myself onto another MOOC through Coursera and based the selection of subject on my current interests. The course discussion forum showed a cohort of participants from a professional background with the aim to further their understanding of ‘The Brain and Space.’ During the first couple of days, the forum was full of introductions, but no mention of the course content. I found myself an ardent participant throughout the first couple of days until I began to evaluate the process, content, and assessment. After an intense study period, I began to contemplate ways to challenge the technology behind the multiple choice quiz in the assessment process. At work, collegiality was tested as we discussed the impact of MOOC’s on employability. I put my mark on our MSCEDC online community map and valued the presence of a book after both purchasing and reading a few digital education ebooks. I finished the week appreciating the xMOOC and through self-reflection questioned the need for discussion if aims and objectives are logical and course content and structure transparent. I felt that maybe a cMOOC would have been a better fit and began to compare and understand the importance of both. I also witnessed my daughter transition from an avid youtube viewer to an aspiring vlogger, recording her every move and thought on her iPad.
This week started with a BANG – it was the sound of my laptop hitting the floor! After a few hic-cups and erratic behavioural issues it seems to have healed. I found myself moving slowly for the first couple of days as I caught up with the readings and tried to rationalise my thinking before posting and tagging. After a very social Skype meeting with my peer it appeared that social interaction was necessary for me as a new learner to the topic of Digital Education. I took on advice regarding methods that would help the digestion of reading material. I am still considering the pros and cons of ereading and the physicality of a book. I enjoyed zamzam whilst driving but found the monotonous robotic voice dangerous as I was fearful of falling asleep at the wheel. The lack of expression was also difficult for me to retain. The use of recoding myself made me shudder, so it did NOT appear on my blog!
I looked at the issue of managing challenging behaviour online and how social media sites are trying to filter aggression and abusive behaviour. It made me value the physical presence I have as an educator and the ways in which I can facilitate social interaction and learning through my body language and identity. I began to research the generation of students that are digitally competent and came across the millennial paradox . The online culture of knowledge was raised by Chanel 4 and I was shocked to hear that after a discussion with my daughter and her friend that they were both happy to accept google as 100% correct. I continued to have a very ‘honest’ discussion about how google and wikipedia work. I took part in fascinating Brain-Move workshop which made me wonder how the children that have been exposed to high volumes of technology between 0-6 years old will turn out as a generation.
Overall, I enjoyed Block 1 and continue to engage in discussion around our visual artefacts. I welcome Block 2 and along with the readings I have enrolled myself on to the Leadership and Management MOOC course through Open Education. The enrolment process was quick and easy (a rather concerning amount) and particpation will be my ethnographic study focus over the community cultures block.
Throughout week 3, I made a conscious effort to anchor myself. I felt that the first two weeks were sparse and I found myself moving through the readings and blogs like a ping-pong ball with no clear direction. I decided to focus on what was integral to me as an Educator.
The first post covered a discussion with my students regarding technology in the dance studio. The conversation acknowledged our previous discussion on their connection with smartphones and the technology that we use already to observe and evaluate our performance. As I work in many schools, students are used to communicating in various ways as they understand that my physical presence is limited. Although, information is available to them at great speed through the ubiquitous use of digital technology. They overcome conventional boundaries through the digital exchange of information with myself and their peers. The reference made me refer to Hands (2008) paper, and it signified the importance of social inclusion and empowerment. I hope to introduce Togethertube for future choreographic reviews that will enable progress in both their understanding of choreography and critical thinking.
Through course readings, Noss (2013), Bayne (2014) and Miller (2011) I began to view technology as a tool that can either enhance humans or increase the ways in which educators deliver their teaching material. If used to reconstruct the body through prosthetic or artificial limbs we increase mobility and enhance the learner’s performance. A Twitter post by my peer made me question if the students become their own coach and if so how does it improve education and teaching?
Subject can be delivered through computer software but one thing that I feel technology or classrooms using AI would lack is the pastoral care given through human connection. As teachers, we build a rapport with our students and have empathy that allows us to support individuals in a personalised way. Can we teach technology empathy or is this something that is innate? A video of a teacher giving each pupil a secret handshake every day before class helped highlight the importance of connection and how an educator’s attention to personality can make a pupil feel significant within the class.
My post on fear made me look at the perceptions of both teacher and learner. Technology at times can feel restrictive dependent on the skills of the user. If someone has confidence in the software or device used they can strive in the digital environment and collaborate with peers. Participation can, therefore, depend on the learner’s ability and knowledge of technology.
Technology is available from an early age. In another post, I question the side effects of a generation that would much rather sit at the computer or play on a tablet outside and experience a virtual adventure rather than explore their natural surrounding and experience their physical environment.
I finalised the week with my visual artefact that fell on an anthropocentric stance. Although it signifies humans are at the centre of technology the image can be seen as ambiguous. The positioning of the body in a womb can be interpreted as Artificial Intelligence or the rebirth of humans. We may live in a culture that keeps us charged and plugged on but we are the creator and therefore have some control….
Bayne, S. (2014) What’s the matter with ‘Technology Enhanced Learning’? Learning, Media and technology
Hand, M (2008) Hardware to everywhere: narratives of promise and threat, chapter 1 of Making digital cultures: access, interactivity and authenticity. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp 15-42. (e-reserve, pdf)
Miller, V. (2011) Chapter 9: The Body and Information Technology, in Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage. (e-reserve, pdf)
Noss, Richard. (2013). “Does Technology Enhance Learning? Some Findings from the UK’s Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Research Programme.”
I can honestly say that I began and ended week two with more enthusiasm. I enjoyed conversation between peers both on Twitter, Facebook and tutor led discussion via the Film Festival. I even managed to figure out how to converse with my peers through their blog posts and record my comments onto my own blog! Well, I say figured out but I have to admit that my peers were a huge support this week in regards to setting IFTTT. I found myself frustrated on the second day as hours were wasted trying to crack what seemed like an impossible code. I even logged myself out of my blog and due to a change in password my IFTTT stopped working. I lost a full 24 hours of IFTTT updates. I felt inapt and silence was making it worse. It was not until I voiced my struggle that I realised I wasn’t alone. The online network felt like a community and the connection was comforting. I began to browse through blogs every second day and I felt inspired. I began to read articles on other blogs and I even purchased a few books on Education and Digital Culture. The books purchased were recommended by my peers and I feel in control once more and less overwhelmed. I began to discover Pinterest and Evernote (although I’ve still to master this app) which allowed me to collect a number of articles as I explore the literature on Cyber Culture. I looked at how technology is used by people of today for both positive and negative aspects of life. I began to look at online aggression and if aggression has become an issue. Has technology had an affect on our ethics and morals or has the aggression always been there? Has technology merely exposed human behaviour in a way that it is recorded and posted for public viewing? Does our human needs influence the technology that is created or has the technology influenced our behaviour? So many questions that I hope to reflect on for next week…..Can’t wait!