This is a long overdue post in more ways than one. We are nearing the end of Topic 2 and I need to start reflecting on what we have learnt, but I haven’t really managed to collect my thoughts on Topic 1. So far I have found the concept of open networked learning slightly disorienting. I think it is an incredible concept and I am excited to exploring its potential, but in some ways I think my disorientation stems from an underlying reluctance to embrace the digital age in my teaching. Which is why this may be a good juncture to reflect on this reluctance and my approach to digital technology more generally.

I am a child of the internet. I can still recall in vivid detail the exact tones of the AOL dial-up internet, having spent more afternoons of my childhood and teenage years logging on to MSN messenger or playing Sim City. I met some of my best university friends on the now mostly defunct MySpace, before we all jumped ship and swam to the sandy shores of Facebook. I joined Instagram as a young mother – a lifeline to connect with other bored parents on parental leave, and I defined my identity as a researcher on Twitter. But walk into my classroom and you would assume I was a complete luddite, who’s technological prowess began and ended with pasting images into her powerpoint presentations.

For all my warm embrace of the internet I have had surprisingly little interest in integrating digital technologies into my teaching. I assume this stems from the relative lack of digital technology tools available for teaching when I was a student. I am used to a very old school approach to teaching, still very prevalent in most law schools across the world, of stuffy lecture halls and old men in tweed delivering mind numbing lectures, stopping only to pose intimidating questions. I certainly don’t emulate this style in my own lectures (and CERTAINLY not the tweed). Instead I have focus on making lectures as social and interactive as possible. I want to dismantle the hierarchies between student and teacher, allowing for an exchange that is prefaced upon mutual learning and open dialogue.

Having said that, however, I simply haven’t made the leap towards the embrace of digital technologies. I simply don’t know whats out there, where to find it, and even if I came across something that seems interesting I simply wouldn’t know how to begin to integrate these tools into my teaching . Perhaps I am also nervous about what new technologies would mean for my own style of teaching. I have worked so hard to create a warm, social environment in my classroom, that perhaps I am worried that digital technologies could somehow disrupt this – placing a wedge between myself and my students.

I know, however, that this shift is inevitable and I will need to begin to open my teaching to new horizons.

Digital Literacy: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Digital Age