“So, I guess that’s why I’m here. I want to be able to reflect on my own practice. I want to work with others to discuss what educational technology and digital education mean. I also want to reflect on what is seemingly mundane – a picture being shared on Facebook – and see that, once again, for the complex and vital interchange which it really is.”
My stated aims and objectives, outlined at the start of our IDEL studies seem, on reflection, modest in comparison with what we’ve experienced in the last 12 weeks or so. We have achieved so much more than reflection and discussion. I have…
- …rediscovered my love of writing (I was worried about that);
…and much more. I have found the IDEL course challenging, exhilarating and enlightening. I have recognised how stale and static my own thinking and practice had become and, through our readings, our discussions, the tasks and, importantly, my blogging, I have reset my own professional mindset.
My journey as a learner has led me to reflect on the journeys the students and teachers I work with are on when it comes to understanding, seeing the value in, and using educational technologies. The ‘loop input’ design of the course has enabled us to experience what it is to study online, to use different media and to learn, communicate and create using new technologies and tools.
My thinking about technology and its role within education has changed over the course of this term. I used to, somewhat unthinkingly, refer to technology as a tool which was there to support teaching and learning; the pedagogy had primacy and the technology was a medium for delivery. However, the experience I have had of studying educational technology through educational technologies is – of course – very different to that which I would have had had technology been absent from the process. As Cousin asserts, ‘technologies work dynamically with pedagogies, not for them’ (Cousin, 2005, p.118); this renewed awareness has impacted on my professional approaches to thinking about technology adoption and training. I have changed the way that I talk with teachers about technology and its role within schools, highlighting that the digital medium is vital, it has impact on how we teach and how we learn and it is not ‘in service’ (Cousin, 2005, p.117) to our practice. I have also developed more coherent responses to educators who retreat into the safety of the digital native/immigrant binary which is, I believe, a damaging dichotomy. Helsper and Eynon’s separation of ‘being’ and ‘doing’ has proven to be a useful distinction to make when discussing these issues with staff.
I have learned about and experienced the co-creation of learning spaces, of learning experiences and of effective communities of inquiry. I have been part of the ‘social brain’ of the IDEL course, and, as I noted in Week 3:
“…this social brain is one of the real benefits of online learning. In a classroom, exchanges can be transient and lost; online, we have a record of contributions, references, links and ideas. We are developing a learning text, a multi-modal, multi-authored sociotechnological educational space across a multitude of online places.“
This blog has captured some of the essence of the broader learning text which we have co-authored on the IDEL course through Moodle discussions, Skype conversations, Twitter exchanges, Second Life experiences and more. It has also allowed me to reflect in a quieter, slower way on the ideas, readings, tools and practices we have been introduced to and worked with. It is a space which has offered me a place to test new technologies, work out my ideas and play with my thoughts.
Although my writing has improved in recent months, I’m still no good at endings. I am, however, good at quoting other people who are much cleverer than me. I started with Douglas Adams all those weeks ago, so I’ll end with him here.
Cousin, G. (2005). Learning from cyberspace in Land, R. and Bayne, S. (eds) Education in cyberspace. London, Routledge-Falmer. pp.117-129.