Figure 1. Aha.
After five weeks of participating in one of my courses (EDFD459) at ACU, there have been many “aha” moments where the penny has dropped and everything has “clicked”. These are the moments that we as educators are waiting for – not only in our own journey as life-long learners, but also in the journeys of our students – the moments of clarity, comprehension, and insight where the learner finally grasps a concept with which they have been wrestling, or they have a triumphant epiphany.
Although it was hard to choose my favourite “aha” moments, here are my top two:
The Incredible Power of Twitter
Some years ago, a close friend (whose blog entices phenomenal traffic every year) began enthusiastically telling me about Twitter and urged me to join. At the time, I quickly dabbled in the app, but failed to see its true value or versatility and consequently gave up.
After reading the article Twitter for Educators, listening to a great webinar with seasoned Twitter user Eleni Kyritsis, and embarking on some hands-on exploration, I soon discovered Twitter’s many merits and have been thoroughly converted!
The following is my summary of its benefits:
Figure 2. Twitter header. Figure 3. Twitter logo.
2. The Power of Carefully Structured and Intentional Learning Activities:
Throughout this week, our cohort was divided into smaller groups and given the task to collectively construct a grading rubric for an upcoming assignment. When I sat back and thought about the task, I was amazed at how many learning opportunities it afforded on many different fronts. Since our theme for this week was group, collaborative, and cooperative learning spaces, it was the perfect scenario for an active learning exercise that simultaneously addressed multiple educational outcomes:
Figure 4. Wikispaces logo.
My “aha moment” was how this strategic exercise cleverly dealt concurrently with so many different educational objectives. The task highlighted the topic at hand while simultaneously attaining tangible gains and learning applicable to our future as classroom teachers and well as our roles as students of EDFD459. The challenge is now to replicate similar learning tasks with my future students!
Of course, the past five weeks have not been without some challenges (as is to be expected with any steep learning curve). In reflection, my two biggest challenges have been:
The Challenge of Effective Curation
Figure 5. Curation
With the advent of the internet, today’s 21st-century learner has the sum of the world’s knowledge and information literally at their fingertips. It has been a challenge for me to apply filters and constraints on all that I want to digest and learn; the possibilities are limitless! I was, however, reminded of a book that was recommended by a friend: The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa TerKeurst. The challenge is to make my “Best Yes” and wisely choose and enforce parameters in my learning and knowledge so that the bombardment of information in this digital world does not become too overwhelming; effective curation is paramount!
Fortunately, with the rise of access to global information, apps have been developed to assist in this process. For example, Twitter itself is an excellent curation device where the user can filter their feeds and follow users who align with their own personal learning interests. Tweetdeck for Twitter further assists the curation process through the use of columns with user-generated filters.
However, effective curation still remains one of my biggest challenges.
2. The Challenge of Self-Efficacy
According to Cherry (2016), self-efficacy is the ability to rise up to a challenge and achieve your objectives. Being in the midst of a steep learning curve also challenges one’s self-efficacy to the core. Not only have I been trying to download new content and learnings, but I also have had to concurrently develop my fledgling digital skills and proficiencies as quickly as possible.
Figure 6. Can.
There is a certain amount of mental and emotional fortitude that needs to be developed when being and creating life-long learners. Whilst it remains a challenge on a personal level, we as educators also need to initiate discussions and design age-appropriate activities (perhaps at the beginning of the school year) that will build, strengthen and fortify the skills and attitudes that will spawn self-efficacy in our students. The development of mental and emotional well-being can sometimes be neglected in the push to learn content and skills, but I am realizing first-hand that they are critical components of the educational process.
My challenge is the continuing development of self-efficacy on a personal level as well as effectively scaffolding its development in my future students.
How about you? Do any of these “aha moments” or challenges resonate with you? If not, what are your own recent epiphanies or challenges for the week?
Images included are for educational use only:
Figure 1. (2016). Aha. Retrieved from https://www.onelogin.com/assets/img/partners/logos/aha-logo.png
Figure 2. (2016). Twitter heading. Retrieved from http://www.logospike.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Twitter_logo-8.png
Figure 3. (2016). Twitter logo. Retrieved from http://icons.iconarchive.com/icons/limav/flat-gradient-social/512/Twitter-icon.png
Figure 4. (2016). Wikispaces logo. Retrieved from https://www.wikispaces.com/_/j8qzvkk5/i/content/wiki-logo.png
Figure 5. (2016). Curation. Retrieved from http://www.smartmediatips.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/content-curation.jpg
Figure 6. (2016). Can. Retrieved from http://career.iresearchnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Self-Efficacy.jpg