As part of my DLDG (Designing Learning for a Digital Generation) subject, I am required to create an online personal learning space, where assessment tasks and reflections can be posted. After carefully considering the advice about establishing (yet) another online blogspace for just one subject I have decided that this blog was the most appropriate forum for such posts, after all as a portfolio site it reflects where I'm at, and right now that means full time study. I'm already familiar with Google blogger and have already established a free wordpress blog for group work in this subject.
Ultimately I'm at the beginning of a journey in becoming an effective and relevant secondary teacher capable of providing quality visual arts education in a digital age. Prior to furthering my studies I worked in the field of Graphic/Web Design, and fancied myself as a bit of a traditional Painter, but you'll find more about all of that on my about page and by looking through some samples of my work on the portfolio page.
Being interested in digital technology, I have witnessed in recent years as it has become ubiquitous across many aspects of daily and business life. Ultimately through the nature of my work I have taken a participatory approach to understanding the new landscape and as a result become familiar with many of the most commonly used social and other applications available such as: Twitter, Facebook, Google Apps, YouTube, WordPress, SoundCloud, Delicious, LinkedIn, Hotmail and the list goes on. Right now you're viewing this post on an independently hosted WordPress.org website which I created in order to promote my services as a Designer. It takes advantage of current web 2.0 functionality (so feel free to share and post a comment down the bottom) and has operated as online portfolio for several years.
Despite feeling reasonably prepared to tackle this subject, (#DLDG2013) I am still exploring how best to apply these tools in the classroom effectively and incorporate them into my own pedagogical practice.
Through working on our team project, my partner and I, both from a Visual Arts KLA have been exploring ways in which students can grasp a good understanding of Art History using the context of time. Considering that Visual Arts students are primarily visual learners, we felt that it was important for us to work towards creating (or sourcing) digital technology that would best support this perspective. Art History is an important part of the NSW Visual Arts curriculum, but implementing it into lesson plans is tricky given that students generally explore artists from different time periods as part of one unit of work. Artists and movements are often selected and grouped together under themes like ‘Landscape’, ‘Portraiture’ or because they share other commonalities. We currently believe that less commonly addressed is the development of an Artist's practice over time, and how one Artist or movement has influenced another through the lateral course of time.
Through exploration of the topic we have created a Padlet wall to be used as a mindtool for brainstorming ideas and links related to the subject of Digital learning. We have also created a class specific WordPress blog, The Digital Artroom along with a joint corresponding Twitter account which has a feed linked into the site’s structure.
According to the NMC Horizon report, education paradigms are shifting to include more online learning. Within the year there is predicted shift towards both mobile devices and tablet computing in classes. Students are growing up with digital technology, and if we as teachers can’t engage them at this junction point and develop our own teaching pedagogies inclusive of current communication technologies then we run the risk of becoming obsolete.
I believe that Teaching within a secondary education setting is about preparing the individual student for what lies in the world outside of school. My experience this year has also taught me that those students considering further education at University require a good foundation in digital literacy in order to succeed, and with the potential to thrive.
The internet offers todays society direct and instantaneous access to multiple sources of information, whilst connecting it’s citizens on a global scale. As a microcosm of that society the classroom should strive to incorporate those tools and technologies whenever possible. Whilst not only facilitating authentic learning experiences and engaging with the ‘real’ world, but also ensuring our future citizens have developed appropriate behaviour and conduct for engagement in an ever increasingly digital paradigm. I believe deep learning is best achieved when a student's environment inspires a questioning and curious attitude, the teacher's role becomes facilitator and enabler of knowledge and content.
At the beginning of this year a fellow student established a private Facebook page named smART teaching this group has become an invaluable resource and an active learning tool. As communal pinboard and online closed community, we as students have been able to share our resources and interact in both realtime and outside of uni-time in many meaningful ways. It has enabled us to deeply appreciate the concept of connectivism and provided us the watering hole we so desperately need to make sense of all the information we are bombarded with this year. Through the connectivity of this online group we provide each other with relevant information, encouragement and as students "we participate therefore we are"!
There has been a major paradigm shift in the way we understand education, and what it is used for. Not long ago knowledge was more defined in nature, schools were designed in order to encourage the acquiring of stated truths in a linear fashion which would ultimately ensure the student a place within a structured society. Today however, with the advent of the digital age we learn through different nodes, connecting information across a broad array of networks, knowledge is continuously changing day to day and our capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known. We must needs define a pedagogy of abundance, and determine how best a student makes use of the limitless content available.