Reflecting on the Unit 3 readings, I have found clarity in identifying the types of organizational structures that make up the digital spaces I occupy. Each one providing its own value and benefits.
I look at my networks as a digital land of opportunity. My perspective has shifted surrounding the purpose of the networks I am a part of. The purpose is less about personally connecting with all the individuals within my networks but can instead be used as a launchpad for connecting with individuals and organizations that might lead to a friendship, a job opportunity, group affiliation, or interest group to follow. Before this, I was inadvertently careful about who I was adding to my networks, operating on an assumption that my digital network connections should be those who I ‘know’. I no longer believe this to be true. If I continue with that approach I will miss out on what might be the most beneficial characteristic of networks, opportunity (Dron & Anderson 2014). My new approach is to make connections with those that share similar values, interests and goals and those beyond that; capitalizing on the benefits offered by diversity within networks (Dron & Anderson 2014).
Participating in groups is a way to learn through developing connections with individuals working towards a common goal. Through the MALAT program, I have started to experience a social learning structure within a group. I have a new understanding of my role as a co-designer in this collaborative learning environment (vanOostveen et al., 2016). It has prompted me to consider what is needed to get the most out of this type of learning environment. In the past, my learning groups have been structured with a high level of control. In this program I will need to approach learning with a more collaborative mindset to how I learn and contribute.
My goal is to cultivate a positive and impactful digital presence and identity. I will do this through active participation in my networks, groups, and sets. I will critically reflect on the purpose I have for participating and if it is not serving its purpose; I will let it go. My contributions will be for the betterment of myself and others through pro-social, positive, inclusive, and meaningful participation. This will be an iterative process where I continually evaluate and improve to grow into the digital spaces I occupy and the ones that will come after them.
Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2104). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press. https://www.aupress.ca/books/120235-teaching-crowds/
vanOostveen, R., DiGiuseppe, M., Barber, W., Blayone, T., & Childs, E. (2016). New conceptions for digital technology sandboxes: Developing a Fully Online Learning Communities (FOLC) model. In Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2016 (pp. 665-673). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).