This is the third week from the Open Networked Learning course and my first blog post with learning reflections. So I would like to start addressing my reflections on the ONL and my experiences from it so far.
Experiences from ONL
As part of the connecting week I was assigned to the PBL Group 9, which has experienced some changes in terms of members but now, after some group meetings, it seems to be settled down and we are enjoying a pleasant group work experience. We have been working together collaboratively in a presentation related to the topic 1, and each one has contributed with his/her knowledge and perceptions to the different aspects. As a former master student in two different online programs, I had a deja-vu when collaborating in the ONL course. Nevertheless, it is less common that I/we do it in our professional context as teachers, where many times each of us works individually / alone, or in the best cases, shares and exchange materials and information, but does not collaborate to create something together that could serve for all of us -although this has also been different from institution to institution in my case.
I consider that being specialised in the field of educational technology and having already experience in online teaching and learning is a strength with which I contribute to my PBL Group 9 and that makes me feel comfortable using any kind of technology. Apart from the experiences in my PBL Group 9, I had my first experience as an active participant of a tweetchat. I understood pretty well the feeling of being overwhelmed when having the will to follow the whole conversation, but at the same time I kept in mind that I do not need to go through all the follow-up conversations and I contributed how and when I considered. I think that is a good point (and recommendation) when participating in this kind of online conversations. From the interesting conversations that took place, I would like to highlight the following ideas that we discussed:
Reflections on topic 1: online participation & digital literacies
Regarding the contents of the topic 1, I have to say that I am a “privileged student”, since I have been already using for some years the digital visitors and residents framework (White & Le Cornu, 2011) as a more suitable way of understanding being digital than the theory of digital natives (Prensky, 2001) in my educational technology courses with students. They have been drawing their V&R maps and confirming what we already discussed in our group presentation and the webinar about students’ digital literacy: the fact that they are “digital natives” does not equivalent to having extensively developed digital literacies, especially in a more institutional context.
Some years ago, we asked students to diagram or create maps to represent their Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) (Anđelković Labrović, Bijelić & Milosavljević, 2014), which reminds me of the same approach when we refer to tools and their uses, and it also integrates the idea of informal and formal spaces (especially with the concept of institutional PLEs, which I explored in my master and doctoral theses ).
Although I have been doing the activity of the V&R maps often with my students, the OLN201 course made me realised that I have not done my V&R map, neither my PLE, for a while now – I used to represent my PLE in the form of a Symbaloo Webmix, allocating tools in the different corners according to uses. So this blog post as learning reflection is the perfect timing to do it!
My V&R map and reflection on the journey related to my digital identity
I consider myself as a digital networked individual with potential for further development of digital literacies (I actually do not think there is an end for that ). Looking at my V&R map and considering my journey, I would say that the most notable change is that I moved gradually from personal to institutional context as my academic life as researcher and teacher started (in 2010), and that working in the area of educational technology made me resident and visitor when using many technologies, basically for professional purposes. For example, I used to use Facebook only for personal purposes when I was an undergraduate student (more than 10 years ago now!), but when other work colleagues started to request FB friendship I gradually moved to a visitor resident when using FB. Nowadays I mostly use it for sharing professional information, but I still use it occasionally for private communication with friends. However, my use of other tools has not changed, e.g. since I created my Twitter account in 2010 I have used it for professional purposes, as my other work colleagues did in my previous institution.
Before starting my professional career, my use of technology was rather concentrated in the “personal resident” corner: I had a nickname for my digital identity and I used to participate online in forums, to write and publish stories, to create and maintain webpages (including guestbook), to maintain my Fotolog and a daily updated blog, all devoted to my hobbies; although I do not continue doing this nowadays.
I can also observe from my V&R map that I am rather visitor in personal and institutional contexts, since I do not maintain a digital identity in many services, mostly just in the ones that are connected to my academic life as a researcher and, partially, as a teacher. I am also careful with the digital traces I leave using those services, trying to balance openness and transparency as academic and (data and social) privacy as individual. These tensions in digital scholarship practices are well reflected in the literature (e.g. Costa, 2014; Jordan & Weller, 2018).
In my case I clearly (try to) separate my personal and professional life in the digital context, the way that worked the best for me so far is using different tools for personal and professional purposes, although I have to admit that it is not always easy. For example, I used to keep instant messaging tools for personal purposes (Whatsapp), but it is progressively common that work-related people contacts me through Whatsapp or include me in new groups for specific work-purposes. Social influence is an important driver in the specific uses of technologies.
Balance in the digital world between personal and professional, and between openness and privacy, are embedded aspects within digital literacies in which I feel I should work further. Let´s see what the ONL201 brings next about those issues! Happy blogging and commenting
White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). doi:10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171
Credits for the pictures (except the V&R map)