Without thinking or realizing, I have been cultivating my online presence over the past several years and even more so in 2019. I in no way would consider myself an expert, there are times I wouldn’t even consider myself comfortable with IT, but the amazing thing with technology is we all have the ability to learn. Some of the readings in activity 2 brought up some of the same roadblocks I have been encountering with teaching and integrating technology into the classroom. At some points, it was like a light bulb was going off and it was refreshing to see that there are so many instructors and educational facilities experience the same type of lull when integrating technology. Knowing that sometimes “progress is linear” and “the real IT revolution in teaching and learning won’t happen until each student builds a personal cyberinfrastructure” (Campbell, G. 2009) was almost cathartic to read.

Web infrastructure has changed drastically from our first personal computers with the dial up internet connectivity in the home/at school to now. I remember being in a room with 25 students learning how to send an email, and now we assume everyone knows this “basic skill”. There are times in the classroom where my students will be telling me about presentation tools that are “way cooler” to watch or software that helps cultivate the learning experience more than what we are currently using; this in turn makes me do a little extra homework outside the classroom to keep up with their comments.  Keeping the students interested and engaged has always been my goal and there is no better way to do this other than leading by example. I realized early on in my teaching career that I need to continue to be an online presence (even if it is to post a job on LinkedIn), it shows that I am still maintaining contacts, staying relevant and following up with the online world. Taking the MALAT program is the first step to help me achieve my goal of obtaining higher education within the technology realm. This will allow me to integrate the knowledge and technology back into my classroom and continue to invigorate and motivate the students.

As I was going through some of the readings, it was a confidence boost at times and showed where my deficits were at others. My confidence came when I saw that I am quite well versed in more technologies than I thought. I was very comfortable with the vernacular and I was able to distinguish some of the software’s discussed, especially when identifying digitization mapping: “the difference between bits and atoms as architectural building blocks” (Boyd, D. 2011). Last year, I would not have understood a word of this, but after teaching some new technology courses this year and joining a VRARA group which has clearly boosted my knowledge. With that being said, I noticed how much I was searching/looking up meanings of other things, like “digital citizenship” and “distributed cognition”. It was interesting to fall down this rabbit hole and I was left wanting to understand more and apply this new information to “expand mental capacities” (Jenkins, K 2009.). Seeing these knowledge gaps did not deter me, it only left me with the hunger to learn more and discover where more deficits are within the technology sector and how we can integrate this within a classroom environment.

I think the only way to close these gaps is to become more active and engaged within the technology community. I feel that we all need to start talking more and instead of shying away from new ideas within technology, open the floor for these conversations and embrace the inevitable future. I always measured my success from my student’s feedback and I realize now that this was the wrong approach. I should measure my success from watching their growth and what they have taken away, not what they think of me as an instructor. “Intelligence is accomplished rather than possessed” (Jenkins, K 2009.) – How empowering.

 

References:

Boyd, D. (2011). Social network sites as networked publics: Affordances, dynamics, and implications. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self (pp. 39–58). New York, NY: Rutledge.

Campbell, G. (2009). A personal cyberinfrastructureEducause Review44(5), 58-59.

Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. MIT Press.

Watters, A. (2015, July 15). The Web we need to give studentsBright.