I have just received an email reminding me that my Digital Pedgagogy Licence will expire next semester. I have some choices now about renewal or working towards the Digital Pedagogy Licence Advanced. The Digital Pedagogy Licence is current for three years from the date of issue. I remember the day I got the Smart Classrooms Digital Pedagogy Licence official certificate in the mail. I was very excited to say the least, closely followed by shock upon reading the small print, which stated that it had an expiry date. After recovering from the initial shock and upon reflection, I wholeheartedly agree that renewal is dependant upon continued demonstration of my willingness to embed digital pedagogies and technologies into my teaching and learning, and reflection on effectiveness of same for learner outcomes.
I find it hard to believe that almost three years have passed since I completed my DPL. I have learned a lot, shared a lot and not slept much in that time. There has simply been too much to do and be involved in. I was thrilled to be nominated for a Smart Classrooms Award in 2008 and … well, there isn’t a word to describe the excitement when I actually received the award.
The best thing about my Smart Classrooms Award was the personal learning network I found myself part of. An ever expanding group of like-minded, passionate educators who are generous of their time, expertise and ideas. I have immersed myself in nings, wikis, blogs and the twitterverse and couldn’t imagine a life now without these tools to keep me connected with my support networks.
I continued to be involved with the oz-Teacher-net Land Yacht Challenge. This technology, design challenge is a fantastic opportunity for students to work collaboratively with other children from other parts of the world, be introduced to the idea of blogging and learn about team work. The captain of the ship is Dr Margaret Lloyd from QUT who has also become an important person in my professional life. Who would have thought building land yachts from empty margarine containers would forge such an important professional link for me. Margaret taught me that people are there for you, just ask. We did many favours for each other and in the second year of being involved in the Land Yacht project, I found myself ‘knowing the ropes’ and giving lots of advice to newcomers to the project. The collaborative aspect of the project was much more than the children working across the country (and in the next year, the world) it was a fantastic opportunity for teachers to support each other, learn new skills and make connections.
I soon found myself involved in many projects. Sometimes, too many! One of my favourite projects emerged from casual staffroom chats, involved mentoring colleagues towards integration of ICTs, use of IWBs and developing online learning spaces. I love supporting staff casually, over a cup of coffee, often a small task that someone thought difficult or beyond their skill level. In a 10 minute, ‘I’ll help you at lunch time’, a problem could be solved, a new skill learned leaving a colleague feeling successful with confidence levels raised. One of my colleagues who had previously had no interest in ICTs, went on to become quite the guru of facilitating student blogging in a virtual classroom and soon became my off-sider in providing advice for others who became interested.
I have completed a couple of semesters of lecturing for CQU in a course, Managing eLearning. One was face to face lecturing for second year pre-service teachers. Apart from the face to face delivery of content, the course involved monitoring and moderating an online learning management system (Moodle) and helping students to develop their ePortfolio in Mahara.
I quickly learned a lot about my own teaching and learning when I reflected on the course materials I was presenting and compared it to my own practise. The next semester was delivered completely online to students who were not all education/preservice teachers as students. That was a fantastic opportunity to reflect on teaching and learning. These students were required to reflect on digital technologies explored in the courseware in a professional blog and then to develop courseware in their chosen field. Principles of good teaching and learning shone through for many of the students, and some of the best of these were not involved in education at all. They embraced the learning frameworks provided in the courseware and their end products were sensational.
In my classroom I have continued to expose my learners to collaborative, online projects such as the oz-Teacher-Net Land Yacht Challenge, online workshops, chats and Book Raps provided by the Learning Place.
In my current classroom I am involved in an exciting project called ‘Early Phase ICT Enthusiast Team’, led by the inspirational Kristine Kopelke from the ICT Learning Innovation Centre here on the Sunshine Coast. There are 17 teachers from 10 schools throughout Queensland involved in this project. Each teacher or teaching team was provided with a resource kit which they use daily as part of learning experiences with students. Successes and challenges are posted in our team’s project room. Over time we will put together resources and ideas for each digital technology and provide PD and/or resources for other interested teachers. Some of this will be provided via EQ’s iConnect web conferencing tool and as has already started in my own school, sharing the resources and ideas with colleagues.
I need to consider how I will continue to strengthen my digital pedagogy practice and here is where I will need to set some goals and commit. A couple of my PLN colleagues are aware of my quandary in relation to Masters of Education -v- Digital Pedagogy Licence Advanced. At the moment I am leaning towards DPLA because it means I can work on the Early Phase Project, develop some resources, sharing sessions and reflect on the work within my classroom. This would enable me to make a useful contribution towards supporting colleagues on their way to engaging with ICT’s. I also recognise that this is the kind of work I enjoy the most. To work towards DPLA would immerse me in another professional learning community which is probably what I would most enjoy at the moment.