Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Reflecting On Being a Digital Learner

I responded to a forum on the Virtual Learning Network and thought it was worth cross posting here...

What learning are you accessing and how?

I'm one of those folk who has to know what's happening everywhere all the time. Someone else called it FOMO - fear of missing out!  So I have notifications set up on my email for all my VLN groups. If I don't have time to read them all at least I can see what is being discussed.

I've started my Masters in Educational Leadership as I fully believe that we need to be more aware of the research and ideas that are out there and better informed.  I like the idea that Finnish educators are well educated with masters degrees. Academia is not the only necessity as a teacher, but it helps if you do have at least literacy and numeracy above Level 3 of our curriculum and I do worry that that is not so. If we want credibility as a profession we need to be the best we can be. And we have to attract the best to our profession.

I did my whole post grad paper online and didn't use a pen.  I managed with online tools and like the fact that I have everything curated and filed instead of flicking through bits of paper.  I can also restructure or reuse a piece easily without having to start again. Tessa Gray once challenged me about being a digital educatior and using a pad and pen. It made sense to me. Even my shopping list goes on to an app on my iphone.

In 2012 I completed the National Aspiring Principals' programme and loved both the learning and connections, several who I keep up with even now. Much of our learning was online with discussion in a VLN forum or in MyPortfolio - the latter not my chosen platform, I must say; it is clunky.

The people I keep up with are on Twitter and that professional learning platform is HUGE for me.  I love the links, the topics, the chats. I like that I can access learning anywhere and anytime.  Kerri sums it up:

And these people I truly regard as friends. Time and time again when I meet them face to face at educamps or conferences, it strikes me how much we like each other. We have been enabled to get to know the contents of the book rather than judging the book by its cover.

What are your top "go-to" places for online professional learning?

1. Twitter and my PLN – and you pick up who to ask about what and where!
2. Virtual Learning Network
3. Google
4. Waikato – because that’s the university I've started my post grad study with.

Do you capture your learning (and reflections) as evidence towards the Registered Teacher Criteria? How?

I keep a reflective blog - and this is it!  We are frequently reminded that we must leave a positive digital footprint. But it’s not just about not doing things on line that show bad judgement.  It’s about being “google-able.” These days you NEED to be found online. I know school leaders who are not advertising in the Education Gazette and only online because they want connected educators.

I go back and tag my posts with the Registered Teacher Criteria.  That way I am keeping evidence.  I’m not doubling up, and it’s just in time.

How are you sharing your learning with your school, colleagues and the wider education community?

1. Twitter - I’m @mrs_hyde and I connect a lot.
2. My blog
3. Posts like this
4. Staff meetings, educamps, Ulearn, Connected Rotorua (one of the start up crew, collaborative docs
5. The media- lucky enough to be interviewed by our Daily Post, the NZEI mag and Ed Review.

How do you balance your online time with the rest of your life?

Others would say not well, as I am often attached to a device. But if you are passionate about it then really, what does balance mean? I do put family first and I have times when I read “popcorn for the brain” novels, watch TV, garden and walk. And I don’t have my phone plugged into my ears as I prefer birdsong!