This course has been a learning experience on so many levels! While frustrating at times and completely unlike any course I have taken before I really enjoyed this course over all! Check out my learning portfolio that highlights some of the learning that was inspired and created over the last eight weeks.
Me as a learner in this course.
The way in which we learned in this course was one of my favorite aspects of the class. Instead of being given very strict guidelines or specific ways in which to learn, we were given flexibility. I know this does not sound that life changing but we were not given flexibility as in pick option A or option B. Instead our learning was really catered to our interests and driven by us as learners. While there were guidelines as to what was required to pass the course and what needed to be done, we were able to pick our own focus of learning. I know for me as a learner having this choice and being able to pick my learning made a huge difference in my interest and dedication. Much like I state in my review of Voice in Digital Storytelling Through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality students have to want to do something and see meaning before they want to create. Being flexible and allowing differentiation through choice and self guided learning is a fantastic way to build student buy-in and participation.
One of my favorite parts of this course was the peer interaction and meaning making. While the course facilitators were definitely present to help guide and offer a helping hand, the hands off approach to this class was refreshing. It really allowed for groups to work together to find answers and explore concepts. While at times with the technology piece it was frustrating to not have explicit instructions, I can honestly say that I learned more and will retain information that I had to problem solve and find for myself. I think as a teacher I strive for this in my own classroom but can be too quick to jump in and help when my kids are struggling. This course has been a good reminder that frustration is not always a bad thing!
This course will impact my future learning through increasing my ability to problem solve and prosper. I really found my bearings in being an independent learner and I think in future endeavors I will strive for that independent experience. When I say independent I do not mean lack of collaboration. I mean working to solve problems on my own and working to find answers on my own. I think growing up and going through so much traditional schooling I sometimes look for confirmation or answers from teachers. I found the lack of that in this course refreshing and in turn will strive for that in future learning opportunities.
I feel like I am very much a connected learner. As a teacher I understand the value of having a strong team for support and working toward goals together. I think this is very applicable to social learning and learning communities. There are a lot of online resources and communities in my district. I plan on getting more in touch with those resources over this school year and looking for other online supports that can help me as a teacher. I really love the idea of finding online communities and utilizing them to find support and answers. As such I see this kind of connected learning being a big part in my professional and personal life.
My co-design in this course
This course was different than previous graduate courses in many ways. Here are the biggest ways that I thought had an impact on learning. Flexibility in content area. As I said earlier being able to choose my focus and manipulate assignments to cater to my interests made a huge difference. Another big difference was emphasis on technology and technological ability to problem solve/interact with classmates in a meaningful manner. Yes we have all done the group work thing countless times over our academic career. Group work does get people talking and there are a lot of positives. The interaction online in this class was more meaningful to me than traditional group work. Online communication allowed me to function within my learning community and grow while still being able to fulfill my own needs as a learner. Finally the last component that was vastly different was the technological aspect. While many classes in my learning have involved technology this course had technology at its core. While this was not a course in which we were learning how to use technology, the necessity of it made learning it necessary. The technological knowhow (or figure it out) for this course was rigorous but in a good way. Realistically these are things I need to know and be able to utilize in order to keep up with my class. Incorporating technology in a NON-superficial way was a fascinating experience, and I really enjoyed the learning that went along with it.
I contribute to the development of this course and its associated learning community by bringing my voice into it. The crux of this course is that we are creating a community in which we are sharing ideas and learning together. Without everyone voices, ideas, connections, interpretations, and input the course could not be successful. The dynamic nature of blogging including hyperlinks, gifs, images, sound, animation, tweets, videos etc… gives everyone’s voices and ideas so much more impact and meaning.
I was responsible for directing my own learning by picking my focus area and what materials associated with it I was going to pull into my blog. I fould after picking my focal theme that there are thousands of resources and directions that I could take my ideas. I loved being able to pick the parts that interested me the most and taking my learning (and by association my classmates learning) in whatever direction I was passionate about. I also directed learning through comments that I posted on other’s work and weekly reading. Being able to share my ideas as well as interact and discuss other people’s ideas was a powerful tool within this course.
The only change that I would make to this course would be one reading more geared to what this can look like in a classroom setting. I would have loved to annotate with my group and explore more explicitly what application could look like in a classroom. Getting ideas and hearing what others do would be great. I also do realize that not everyone taking this class is a teacher so I could see how this may be challenging.
My understanding of pedagogy
My understanding of pedagogy. Remi and Lisa designed this course to be very fluid and individualized to each student. They were there to act as facilitators of learning but not creators of learning. I believe the decisions around the course were based off of desired learning outcomes and goals but other than that seemed to be fluid and based off of student learning. As an education I know that I make in the moment decisions all the time based on what my students are saying and doing. I would imagine that Remi and Lisa do much the same thing with our learning.
This course changed my understanding of pedagogy by making me really think about what my role is as an educator. While in traditional education an educator’s job is to impart knowledge on students and then assess for learning the role of the teachers in this course was much different. I now see the importance of taking less of a hands on approach and allowing for students to struggle a little and make their own discoveries. While lessons need focus and a end goal it is important for students to make their own learning and discoveries in order for them to be meaningful to them. There are so many parts and pieces that go into pedagogy but I can truly see from this course that student interest and voice needs to be the driving force behind learning. Students need to be able to learn and explore through social learning and culture. I also see now that technology can help accomplish many of my pedagogy needs and wishes as a teacher.
The only feedback I have as of now is that I really enjoyed the exploration I got to do in this course. I think the materials pulled into the course, the assignments given, and the online resource exposure were extremely effective. This course and the places it took me really opened my mind up to so many ideas and possibilities. I am excited to continue to grow the skills I developed as well as continue to research and push myself. Such an interesting experience and I really enjoyed my learning!
Check out other reflections on learning #ds106 and #ILT5340.