Education in Abundance: Network Learning and Literacies

Bonnie StewartUniversity of Prince Edward IslandLink to the presentation slidesSo last night’s so opening keynote was all about “personalized learning.” All well and good, but many of the examples were in math. That makes sense, right? Give students a series of problems to work on in order to gauge where they are in terms of their knowledge. But last night’s keynote didn’t have a lot of practical application in other disciplines. Fast forward to this morning…Bonnie provides an example of her home school, UPEI, and how many of her disciplines simply can’t do that type of personalized learning that you can do in math. Especially in the certificate program for adult learning. Okay, @bonstewart, you have my attention… Bonnie states – We don’t let our kids go out on the playground by themselves, but we have no problem on a social network (like Facebook) on their own. Even if they aren’t the minimum age requirement for the network. As Bonnie talks about literacy, she strives to change the perception of it just being about reading. “What it means to be literate in the 21st century.” As she shows, we go from the “control” of knowledge to the “management and synthesis” of knowledge, to knowledge “abundance.” In addition to just literacy in terms of reading, she shows a diagram of the seven elements of digital literacy. Bonnie had us pair off during the session and talk about which elements we are strong at and which we are working on. Audrey and I agree that while we have different strengths, everyone should be working on the digital reputation. Sharing information online and who you share that info with is always a problem and there’s always learning to be done—especially in a world where Facebook privacy settings are always changing. (For more information about digital literacy and managing your digital reputation, check out this Prezi presentation that Kari and I presented on at ITC eLearning 2015.) There are 2 thoughts about the use/need for knowledge these days and how education needs to change to adapt to these thoughts… circle back to networks – Networks should be how one structures the abundance of information (para.). Building these networks (through Twitter, Facebook, face-to-face relationships) should help find, manage, and organize the abundance of data. you foster a network by just adding technology? As her grumpy cat indicated: No. There is an “architecture of participation.” I tried to find an image that she showed, but I couldn’t quickly, so I moved on. Sorry.There are a number of literacies that are necessary, beyond just reading. Here we go:

  • Literacy #1: Identity. Creating an identity is the “face of admission.” 

Bonnie began talking about the importance of having a network and using that network to enhance learning. She provided an example of a class she was teaching which had the students read an article and interact with others on Twitter (whom they didn’t know) about the article and topics that emerged from the article. Prior to the assignment, she asked, on her own network, if there were others teaching a similar class and/or would be interested in having their students also reading and discussing the article with her students. The result was astounding, it turned into an international conversation. And groups/cliques formed around different subtopics related to the article. This example wouldn’t have been possible or successful if she hadn’t utilized and fostered her network over the years.

  • Literacy #2: Contribution. 

An interesting thought – there is no such thing as a “digital native.” There are “visitors” and “residents.”, I have to admit that I started zoning toward the end of the presentation. Not because she wasn’t engaging, but 90 minutes is a long time to sit and listen to anyone, not to mention when she goes over by almost 10 min. Overall, the session was very engaging and very applicable to all forms of teaching & learning. I get a little aggravated with presenters that don’t know how to manage their presentation time, but aside from that, a great presentation!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s