Week 1: Your identity online (Minute paper)

What is the most significant thing your learnt from the above?

This exercise reinforces my belief that your online identity requires careful thought and tending to. Like a garden – if you don’t look after it and care for it – you may end up with something that is out of your control or doesn’t quite appear as you would like…..


Narcissus (Carravaggio)

What question/problem remains uppermost in your mind?

  • Is there an element of narcissism in “believing your press” in relation to your online identity or how many followers or friends you have? I like the philosophy of openness and sharing around NGL but this aspect around narcissism bothers me I have to say.
  • I am struggling with bearing myself to the world – and I am feeling a little exposed. I don’t flatter myself by thinking that many people are interested – or is that my way of protecting myself from rejection?
  • In light of this I am trying to keep my posts to the point and avoiding “manifesto’s” – no one has time for this. I say what needs to be said but QUICKLY!
  • I also have issues around my online identity being hijacked for purposes that I never intended to be involved with….




Week 1: Me as teacher

My role as a teacher is about supporting and advancing learning and teaching in a university setting. My “students” are academic and professional staff at the university. In a nutshell, I am there to support staff to:

  1. explore new ideas
  2. solve problems
  3. plan, implement and review learning and teaching practices.

Within this broader context, NGL is something we are actively introducing to our client groups and we do this in various ways. One way is hosting guest speakers that specialise in this area (such as George Siemens – see an earlier post) and another is modelling practices that showcase NGL. We have both department level and individual network tools (such as twitter and facebook) we use to achieve this and work together to coordinate their use. Another example is a sOOC (small open online course) titled Blended Learning Demystified, developed by our department. One of the six modules is titled “The Networked Learner”. Although written for our audience at the University of the Sunshine Coast – the sOOC is open to all if anyone is interested in taking a look. This is the first iteration of the sOOC and we are already planning to make improvements and offer it as a facilitated sOOC in the future.

NGL might help in my role as a teacher for the reasons that I refer to in an earlier post around flexibility and being able to learn when it suits me. One of the biggest issues for university staff is that they are pressed for time and setting aside time to try new approaches and tools can be challenging for them. This is also exacerbated by the “learning curve” associated with new approaches and tools. So a difficulty is usually around getting past the “how to” of a new approach. In many cases the investment of time required before they see any result means that many staff are unable or unwilling to consider new approaches. To counteract these difficulties, my approach will be to focus on the ability they have to flexibly utilise and learn from NGL and scaffolding the process by encouraging development of  a scaffolded plan.

Below is a mindmap that sets out a general overview of my personal teaching philosophy – which informs much of the work that I do.

Week 1: Me as learner

Well first of all, there are so many things I would like to learn! Lifelong learner – that’s me! I love it. So to have the opportunity to give myself the time to learn something new from my bucket list? Great! To do it with an NGL approach? Not sure…but I will give it a go. I have “dipped my toe in” to learning with an NGL approach – I just hadn’t dived in completely. So here goes.

I am sharing a TED talk by Sugata Mitra where he talks about Building a School in the Cloud (sometimes referred to as the Granny Cloud). If you haven’t seen this it is well worth your time and is a fine example of networked and global learning. The Granny Cloud Website is also worth a look.

What would I like to learn? I have deliberately decided to make it something that isn’t about education or ed tech – something for which I don’t have any established networks. I plan to learn about making cheese in warm climates. I am interested in taking an artisan approach to life and understanding the hows and whys of making things we all use daily: bread, soap, cheese, growing vegetables etc. Living in SE QLD – I would love to know if there is a way to do this… I recently watched a program on cheese makers in Brazil who make cheese in a humid subtropical climate without refrigeration or even any obvious climate control interventions. I have to say that I was fascinated. Also I don’t know much about what networks are out there for cheese makers so it will be interesting to see how developed they are. The benefits will be that I will (hopefully) find and become part of a wider global network of cheese makers and learn from their knowledge and expertise. The end result might be that I am able to make cheese successfully without climate control. I don’t really see any barriers.

What is learning? I touch on this in an earlier post, I like to think of learning as a journey that begins with Knowing, extends to Doing and ends with Being. Wherever possible learning is best when it is transformative – and for me that means Being what you learn.

Week 1: Me as student

This is my second course in the program and it is my first time at university as a student in about 10 years. However,  I do work full time at a University and have done so for many years – so I don’t feel like a complete alien!

So lets come to what I like or value:

  • I feel privileged to have the support and resources to be able to commit to a program of study that I am passionate about.
  • I value the access I am getting to people with the same interests as myself (course coordinators and fellow students and other connections I am introduced to as a result) with a wealth of knowledge and expertise that helps me to think and learn.
  • Flexibility and being able to study when it works for me

What doesn’t work: I personally call it “the things that get in the way of learning”. A good example of this is the time it takes to get set up, to get your head around “how things work here” – many a time I have contemplated whether or not this phase actually contributes to learning or is just time you lose to get to learning. Saying that, I also think I have learned to be as efficient and patient with myself as I possibly can be during this phase. Goodyear & Carvalho cover this when they talk about the three design considerations/constructs that can connect things and people.

What I haven’t seen yet that I would like to see is a deliberate and explicitly expressed approach that tries to address this problem around “things and people”. I am very interested in the Goodyear & Carvalho article and the newly published book and look forward to delving further into this. Something else I would like to see is more around self directed learning – which we are doing in this course in relation to learning a topic of personal interest – a great start.

We have been lucky enough to host George Siemens at our University and having direct contact with someone so pivotal in this field was both highly informative and inspiring. As a result I have developed a deeper understanding of the tenets of NGL than I perhaps might have. I will share here a video from his visit that really helped me to delve deeper into the field:

I feel that practicing NGL as a student doesn’t mean abandoning traditional methods of learning. If anything it augments the more traditional. I come from a generation that straddles the old and new worlds of technology – so perhaps that’s why I see it that way.The way I see it I now have greater opportunity to readily access the knowledge and expertise of people from all over the world and this is fundamental to how I behave as a student today. Tools come and go in my opinion but I have to say that for making initial connections, I still find conferences and Twitter invaluable.

I hope that this course will help me to move from knowing and doing NGL to being NGL and understanding more about how to support others to explore and embrace NGL.

A networked learning demo

My blue sky looks like this

My blue sky looks like this

I liked this variation on an “icebreaker”. I liked how it connected me with people and places that I wasn’t thinking about or even aware of! I like how I am now thinking of these people and the connection we have to each other via this course. I am looking forward to getting to know you all and embarking on this slightly “uncomfortable” learning journey together.

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