Reflecting on the points from OpenLearn on academic writing, the importance of a mapping tool is essential in the success of an academic paper/essay/project. I didn’t know what a problem of practice was before the class, but now I understand that outlining a PoP,  evaluating learning theories and evaluation tools is key. I found I had to be more in control of time management throughout this project as it was very self directed and open to interpretation. I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew at times, but following the deadlines and absorbing feedback helped me apply new knowledge to an interesting idea.

OpenLearn states that that reflective thinking “expands and evolves based on new experiences” (n.d) and one thing that’s for sure, is we are always learning and growing. I feel as though I have grown a great deal from this class and I genuinely believe it is due to the constant level of feedback and communication from the start to end of my project. Reflection creates a pathway between real life and educational practices (Stanchfield, 2013) and brings self-awareness to understanding, developing and creating. My fellow classmates were instrumental in how my assignment would turn out. From appointing new positions like “Equity and Diversity” officers (thank you Carolyn), to ensuring a moderators presence will prevent bullying within the App (thank you Kathy) and of course, the use of relevant and meaningful visuals (thank you Jenni). I didn’t realize I was in the habit of reflective learning until I read about it, but self-evaluation is the best tool for pushing through and conceptualizing the standards we have to follow for this level of academia. Speaking of tools, reflective learning allows us to choose an array of tools which are tailored to our learning needs (visuals, audio, documentation).

I remember reading “25 years of ed tech”  in a previous class and thinking how far technology leaped in 25 years and wondering what another 25 could do? To be honest, when I was a teenager, I would never have thought I would be taking an online course learning about technology and methods of using technology – very cool indeed. I had been teaching for 5 years, before I heard the term MOOC which is sad that not everyone gets to delve into the expansion of how we got to where we are in terms of educational tech. I feel that with every step, I am understanding and appreciating information and knowledge which I can apply later on. Of course, we all run into frustrating moments but if we stop and piece together what we have learned so far, the frustrating moments seem irrelevant compared with the academic growth and understanding.

True reflection is introspection. We need to look inwards to break down and understand our learning methods and what speaks more to our growth. I always find it funny that I don’t realize I am using existing methods prior to reading what they are. Reviewing “Reflective Writing” (n.d) showed me that I can have use different approaches to reflection depending on the situation and scenario. For example, I used “The Compass” method when reflecting on my final project but for my own self evaluation regarding progress and knowledge, “What? So What? Now What?” was the best tool for planning the next step. The “six wise men” best served for evaluating how I carried out my research and how I interviewed colleagues and friends, which helped build a deeper level of understanding.

The Wilfred Laurier University raised some great concerns and ways to overcome them, achieving reflective capacity. I don’t keep a journal, but I make notes (on top of my notes) along the way. That way when I complete a project (at school or work), I can pool everything together to evaluate what I did right and what can be improved upon. I listen to music when reflecting as I feel it helps me remember where I was during a certain time frame, but I can appreciate the article recommending a quiet place to reflect. One thing that I fully agree with is finding non-interruption. This could be people calling, emails coming through, people calling on you – all of these distractions pull me away from my train of thought. When I come back to a specific moment of reflection, it can take me time to pick up where I left off.

The value of reflection brings about relevancy and meaning – connecting the dots and preparing us for the next steps. I understand the process allows us to explore and examine ourselves objectively, which leads to a more thorough understanding of our accomplishments and experiences. I now stop and reflect after every project and moments in time through life, trying to appreciate and take in all I can.  Reflection helps digs a path to growth and future learning, which inevitably leads to stronger, meaningful understanding of ourselves.

 

References

OpenLearn. (n.d.). Succeeding in post-graduate study: Session 2 – reflective thinking, reflective learning and academic writing.

Stanchfield, J. (2013, December 16). The Value of Reflection. Retrieved from, https://blog.experientialtools.com/2013/12/16/the-importance-of-reflection/

Weller, M. (2020. Feb). 25 years of ed tech. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781771993050.01

Wilfrid Laurier University. (n.d.). Reflective writing. Write online.