Reflection on changes to my understanding

This has been my favorite reflection to do as it’s allowed me to look back on 6 months of study.

I read the prior knowledge questionnaire and felt pretty confident in my technical ability with hardware and software and the fact that I could “work it out”. I thought digital education was learning online and using learning management systems to remote learn at your own pace. I also thought digital education was just blended learning adding on the online learning as self-directed learning outside of the classroom.

But the past 6 months has highlighted a few areas for me, I didn’t think about the offline element such as using computers within the classroom as part of assessments and activities.

For activity 3 I reviewed the article by Tara Brabazon (2006) “white bread for the mind”. The article’s title reflected my prior attitude that students are lazy because information is too quick and easy to find, and as a result we are dumbing down students. Following reading this article and ongoing discussions with my peers and Maggie, I realised that as digital educators it is important that we work with this fast paced world and encourage students to question the sources of information and the tutor should work with the students to help them interpret the information.

I had no knowledge of educational games and thought they were just for primary school children, I certainly didn’t think they would have an effect on my teaching at tertiary level (click here to read my Gamification reflection). I ended up making a game for my Level 7 website design students who found it great fun and the whole class actually did their self-directed study that week!

I had preconceived ideas about using a learning management system I thought it would be clunky, I wouldn’t be very good at managing my own time and that I would leave things till the last minute and only do what was “required”. But by having the activities, access to reading and weekly updates from Maggie, I realised that this really matches with my learning style. It is important that the tutor keeps up the input of a regular routine and works to a clear timetable. So much so I know a lot of my level 7 students would prefer this style, But I do understand that does not work for all students as it requires a lot of self-discipline. I have been trying to encourage my institution to bring some elements of this learning style in. I have been using Google Classroom for a while but I now make sure to keep my updates regular at the same time each week and to organise my activities and files better.

I absolutely loved assessment 1 making the infographic using Visme, a creative way to demonstrate a detailed and theoretical subject. I have now incorporated this into my teaching getting students to make infographics about some of the NZ laws around marketing and encourage my staff to do so with their students, it has been well received by my level 7 students.

For the module 1 theories and concepts I revisited theories which I first learnt about a few years ago in my initial teacher training, connectivism was a new theory for me. I remember writing in activity 5 that I thought I’d got the short straw having to research connectivism because there wasn’t enough research as there was only 2 very recent theorists, how wrong I was after only a few hours of reading I found plenty to anlayse and sparked a real interest in the topic. I really got into ready Downes and Siemens’ theories even watching a few of Downes’ recent talks.

One real highlight was that this link to one of the statements I made in the prior knowledge questionnaire; “I want to be at the forefront of digital education”. From my initial teaching training I remember reading about Geoff Petty (2009) and thinking that his theories were a bit out of date and not relevant to my teaching. I also felt behaviorism was an out of date theory which did not relate to my level 7 students but the activity 5 and the conversations with my group members and Maggie made me look at it differently and realise that we all have behaviours and whilst they might not be traditional reward based “star charts” of primary schools there is still the equivalent. I realised I have been using the behaviorism theory for years as students are driven by wider goals such a good grades and jobs and the industry links I provide in my classes feed that goal and encourage them towards the reward of programme completion.

My goal is still to develop and manage an online version of my Level 7 Digital marketing course but just from the first 6 months of can now see the variety of activities and different affordances which are involved in engaging students and tailoring to the different learning styles, now I have some great ideas already and can see where to start. I would like to do more with social networking and have started to read a few papers on this topic which is relevant to my teaching.

What’s great about doing this study is that each week I learn something new, it might only be small but it’s enough to keep my interest and apply it to my teaching that week.

Reference List

Brabazon, T. (2006). The Google effect: Googling, blogging, wikis and the flattening of expertise. Libri, 56(3), 157-167.

Petty, G. (2009). Evidence-based teaching. Nelson Thornes.

Featured image and video: Authors Own.