A major topic of my PGP, is Student Connected Learning. Although, edtech has been a long term specialty my entire professional life, recent developments provide encouraging opportunities for both teacher professional growth and improved student learning.
Through my participation in the open education, ETMOOC course and my ongoing personal learning network, I’m developing my insights and teaching toolbox for blogging and social media in the classroom. Engaging students with academic online experiences that complement curricula and classroom learning activities is my focus. Connected learning has been monopolized, however well intended, by Distance Learning efforts. Blogging, etc. within the classroom and alongside face to face instruction offers powerful benefits for all students. Blogging and ePortfolios is the student 3ring binder on a nutrition and fitness revolution.
DL has its place, but exploiting online learning ecosystems while teaching and modelling digital citizenship can personalize student learning and develop skills and content knowledge. Students co-creating online, like building ePortfolios, while engaged in classroom activities rather than paper binders provides opportunities for collaboration, discussions and deeper thinking. Initiatives like Project Based Learning(PBL) can be enriched by leverage blogging and other online tasks.
Empowering students in the digital reality requires that teachers and students both learn within digital environments not just use software applications or researching on the web. Students and teachers may find benefits with tools like Moodle or Jupiter Grades, etc but these focus on document delivery and administration. When social media platforms are implemented with sound pedagogy and appropriate instruction scaffolding, learning shifts to student centered. Blogging and ePortfolios has potential to not just strengthen content achievement but provide experiences our students need in high school transition and lifelong learning.
Our students not only need specific instruction in using online environments but they need to develop attitudes and skills global online learning requires. Facebook skills and experience is not enough. Reading, writing and critical thinking are developed uniquely in this digital paradigm. Students can personalize their learning when teachers simultaneously integrate the uniqueness of connected learning platforms with their content expertise. Adult education WILL increasingly include online ecosystems and its time teachers embraced not just the pragmatic but the creative potential social media brings to their practice.
‘An e-portfolio is a purposeful aggregation of digital items – ideas,
evidence, reflections, feedback etc, which “presents” a selected audience
with evidence of a person’s learning and/or ability.’
Sutherland, S. and Powell, A. (2007), Cetis SIG mailing list discussions [www.jiscmail.ac.uk/archives/cetis-portfolio.html] 9 July 2007