The ability to read, write, interact and share across a range of platforms, tools and media (O’Connell, 2012; Stripling, 2010) represent the essential skills necessary to succeed into the future. Teaching and learning in the digital age involves a change in emphasis towards participation, creating and sharing; more active learning rather than passive consumption of content delivered in a static manner (Wheeler, 2015). Assignment two forced me to look at my school’s current situation in regards to the digital learning environment. It became clear to me that my school is not currently harnessing technology for 21st century learning or preparing our students with future skills. Staff professional development, in particular, is needed to rectify low digital literacy standards amongst staff to work towards rectifying this.
The most important I have learned during this unit is that integrating technology into our pedagogy and learning should be viewed and taught in a positive way with the emphasis on the unlimited opportunities that are presented when we connect outside of our classroom. This shift in attitude requires a re-think about how we deliver the curriculum, new modes of teaching learning, creation of a personalized PLNs and a re-focus on how we preparing students for the future where digital fluency is a necessary skill to succeed.
Previous to this unit my understanding of what digital citizenship was mainly consisted of what students should not do and punitive policies that discipline those who plagiarise or aren’t using Creative Commons correctly. What I have learned is digital citizenship consists of a broad range of skills, habits and attitudes, and effectively utilising the digital learning environment in an ethical and productive way should be part of our everyday practice. We should be teaching by doing (Lindsay, 2016b), being models of digital citizenship in our everyday digital lives by integrating technology into our practice and habits, and connecting globally to expand our learning networks.
In an earlier blog post I reflected on the challenge of working collaboratively to achieve a group wiki. This was an excellent reminder of how our students feel when set such tasks and the difficulties they face using new digital tools and applications. Assignment one required me to learn new ways to communicate and to learn a range of new Web 2.0 applications. These skills have been immediately relevant to my practice in that I have shared with students through my library blog and when assisting students with organising their own work, new ways to connect and showcase their learning. Students have responded well and are now recognising that I, and the library staff as a whole, are valuable resources in their learning, a small shift but nevertheless important for ongoing change. I am also evaluating how I can leverage my PLN to curate more effectively for my school community (Valenza, 2012) and for this to be one way I can demonstrate good digital citizenships skills by doing.
As in other units I have completed, the theme of leadership and the integral role of the TL to influence and lead change is apparent in this unit. I resonated with Lindsay (2016a) with the term ‘teacherpreneur’, a teacher who leads and achieves change by being relentless in their quest for the best student outcomes, perhaps in ways that may be considered disruptive.
Reflecting on my own practice, I realise that I need to be more focused on elevating my educational practice in terms of my ICT skills, understanding of the curriculum and ways to innovate its delivery, nurturing my PLN to forge connections with likeminded educators, and being able to lead others to share my vision. I am still a ‘work in progress’ for confidently leading by example, but this unit, and the course in general, is helping me to become the ‘outlier’ I would like to be.
Lindsay, J. (2016a). The global education leader. In The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, Oregon: International Society for Technology in Education.
Lindsay, J. (2016b, July 19). How to encourage and model global citizenship in the classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/global_learning/2016/07/how_to_encourage_and_model_global_citizenship_in_the_classroom.html
O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, 26(1), 4–7.
Stripling, B. (2010). Teaching students to think in the digital environment: Digital literacy and digital inquiry. School Library Monthly, 26(8), 16–19.
Valenza, J. K. (2012). Curation. School Library Monthly, 29(1), 20.
Wheeler, S. (2015). Learning with “e”s: Educational theory and practice in the digital age. United Kingdom: Crown House Pub Ltd.