People From the Field of Ed Tech – Introducing Dr. Judith Pete

Dr. Judith Pete is a lecturer and project coordinator at Tangaza University College in Kenya, Africa. I chose to highlight Dr. Pete after listening to her speak in the 25 Years of Ed Tech Between the Chapters (2021) podcast on Open Educational Resources (OER), and getting a sense of her deep passion and commitment to improving access to quality education in Africa. Pete grew up in a village in Kenya where she struggled to gain access to education, however, she eventually received a scholarship to pursue post-secondary studies where she began to explore how education could be accessible and affordable for marginalized communities (Pete, 2014).

Reflecting on her educational journey during the podcast with Pasquini (2021), Pete describes herself as a “transformed person who is also out, ready to transform others” (25:19). Her educational experience led her to discover OER and see its great potential for increasing access to education in Africa, while also recognizing the criticality of this access within the global community to prevent further divide from the ‘North’ (Pete, 2014). Pete’s PhD research focused on the role of OER in increasing access to University education among the marginalized communities in Kenya and she has since been involved in several studies looking at the impact of OER and online education within the African context. Pete belongs to the Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN), a global network of PhD candidates whose research focuses on OER, where she led a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (EDI) project looking at how open research communities could be more diverse, equitable and inclusive (Farrow, 2109). More recently, Pete has been advocating for the open use of data to counter the impact of climate change in Africa. Pete is an incredible advocate for OER while also serving as an inspirational role model for young girls in Africa. I believe that this is just the beginning of her story and impact on access to quality education in Africa. 

References

Farrow, R. (2019, March 12). Diversity, equity and inclusion project. Global OER Graduate Network. https://go-gn.net/research/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-project/ 

Global OER Graduate Network. (n.d.). GO-GN. https://go-gn.net/ 

Open Data Day. (2020, April 21). Opening up data to counter climate change in Kenya: Open data day 2020 report. Open Knowledge Foundation. https://blog.okfn.org/2020/04/21/opening-up-data-to-counter-climate-change-in-kenya-open-data-day-2020-report/ 

Pasquini, L. (Host). (2021, January 21). Between the chapters: Sharing about OER & our open practices (No. 11) [Audio podcast episode]. In 25 Years of Ed Tech. Transistor. https://25years.opened.ca/2021/01/27/between-the-chapters-oer/ 

Pete, J. (n.d.). Dr. Judith Pete. Google Scholar [Profile]. https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=kJPx3lsAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao 

Pete, J. (2014, June 23). The role of OER in increasing access to University education among the marginalized communities in Kenya [Video]. Video Lectures. http://videolectures.net/ocwc2014_pete_marginalized_communities/ 

Reflecting on 25 Years of Ed Tech (2002 – 2011)

After reading the second third of 25 Years of Ed Tech, I am again reflecting on the history of many innovations in Ed Tech and my interaction (or lack of) with each. As time has advanced in the book, I see my personal history intertwined with each passing chapter. The chapters I have read this week have been less surprising, however interesting to learn of the origins, success, and failures of innovations in Ed Tech. 

Weller (2020) describes the introduction of social media, in particular Twitter, as being a revolutionary way to make connections globally and engage in meaningful discussions across disciplines. The democratization of the academic space through the use of social media has increased the importance of establishing an online identity. Weller (2020) uses the example of keynote speakers often being those with a solid online identity rather than a lengthy list of publications. I believe this to be the case across many, if not all sectors. In our current time, to amplify your voice, you likely need to have an established online identity with frequent and meaningful contributions to content and dialogue. 


In the chapter on Open Educational Resources (OER), Weller (2020) identifies the value of OER while also indicating the role that privilege can play in open education. In the Between the Chapters podcast, Laura Pasquini (2021) describes open education as being focused on “access and equity” (28:28). Although I wholeheartedly agree with this statement and the concept of open education and OER, I come from 15 years of work in community education in the not-for-profit sector and offer a different perspective. Managing an underfunded organization with limited opportunities to fundraise meant having to charge for much of our resources and education. In my heart, I wanted to be able to offer everything for free, yet the systems in place meant I could not. Many of our partner organizations with more robust funding could provide more resources at no cost and this was frustrating. From a not-for-profit perspective, funding can lead to privilege. When considering OER and open education, equity and access should be considered across the whole system, not just from the user perspective.

References

Pasquini, L. (Host). (2021, January 21). Between the chapters: Sharing about OER & our open practices (No. 11) [Audio podcast episode]. In 25 Years of Ed Tech. Transistor. https://25years.opened.ca/2021/01/27/between-the-chapters-oer/ 

Weller, M. (2020). 25 years of ed tech. Athabasca University Press. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781771993050.01 

Reflecting on 25 Years of Ed Tech (1994-2001)

After reading the first 8 chapters of 25 Years of Ed Tech, I feel that I have been living under a rock in many ways. The overall history of Ed tech is surprising to me because it dates further back than I had previously thought. In 1998, I was signing up for my first email address and unbeknownst to me, the first fully online undergraduate course would be developed in 1999 (Weller, 2020). I am left feeling fascinated at what was growing in the field of Ed Tech that I was completely unaware of. 

Reading these chapters lead me to reflect on my own experience and beliefs concerning Ed Tech. Weller (2020) discussed the creation and relevance of Wikipedia as one of the biggest successes of wikis. Weller describes Wikipedia as a useful tool in higher education and one with very few errors (2020). This immediately confronted my distrust in Wikipedia and caused me to navigate back to my undergraduate years as the source of this distrust. During this time, I remember being explicitly told not to use Wikipedia as it was not a reliable source of information. I took this instruction as a golden rule and have not looked back until enrolling in the MALAT program and found myself surprised when an instructor offered an idea, linking to further reading from Wikipedia. This was a moment that opened my eyes to the world and possibilities beyond a textbook in a formal education setting. Reading Weller’s (2020) chapter on wikis has, in a sense, granted me permission to trust Wikipedia and has reminded me that I likely have much to unlearn from my instructivist experience in my undergraduate years as I embrace the constructivist learning environment afforded in the MALAT program. 

References

Weller, M. (2020). 25 years of ed tech. Athabasca University Press. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781771993050.01

What Makes a Good Research Question?

‘What makes a good research question?’ is a question posed to us in LRNT 522. After researching the topic, I have chosen to highlight a couple of important considerations below.

A good research question should be: 

  • Ethical. It is essential to minimize harm to the participants while upholding confidentiality and providing the right to withdraw. 
  • Relevant. The question should have a clear purpose within the field of study, be of intellectual or academic interest to others, and address a current issue(s) (Ratan et al., 2019). 

According to Mattick et al. (2018), “a good research question will send the researcher on a quest to identify or collect data that can be analyzed and interpreted, such that it provides new insights” (para. 3). 

References

Mattick, K., Johnston, J., & de la Croix, A. (2018). How to…write a good research question. The Clinical Teacher, 15(2), 104–108. https://doi.org/10.1111/tct.12776

Ratan, S. K., Anand, T., & Ratan, J. (2019). Formulation of research question – Stepwise approach. Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, 24(1), 15–20. https://doi.org/10.4103/jiaps.JIAPS_76_18 

The Environmental Impact of Educational Technology

The world we live in has changed, and there is no denying that global temperatures are on the rise. Educational technology (Ed-Tech) is also evolving rapidly and continuously shapes the way we learn in new ways. The impact of Ed-Tech on the environment, both positive and negative, should be considered as we move forward in time. 

As part of LRNT 521, we have paired up to explore the impact of digital learning in various contexts. My partner for this research, Shazia, will be exploring the positive environmental impact of Ed-Tech on her blog, while I will highlight some of the negative impacts in the list below:

  • Ed-Tech relies on digital devices which are constructed from a variety of metals, contributing to the consumption of non-renewable resources. 
  • Production of digital artifacts and devices uses considerable energy consumption. It is estimated that 70-80% of a lap tops energy use in its lifecycle happens during the production of the product itself. 
  • Data processing and storage at data centres and server farms use significant power and water to function. 
  • “Recycling” and disposing of devices and hardware comes with an environmental cost leading to increased pollution, contamination and toxic waste. 
  • Not only do devices consume energy while in use, but they also drain energy when idle, adding to overall energy consumption. 
  • Technology-induced energy savings results in more widely used technology, increasing energy consumption through a ‘rebound’ effect (Huang, A., 2011; Macgilchrist, F., 2021; Selwyn, N., 2021). 

References

Huang, A. (2011). Applying sustainable systems development approach to educational technology systems. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 40(1), 19–34. https://doi.org/10.2190/ET.40.1.c 

Macgilchrist, F. (2021). Rewilding technology. On Education. Journal for Research and Debate, 4(12). https://doi.org/10.17899/on_ed.2021.12.2 

Selwyn, N. (2021). Ed-tech within limits: Anticipating educational technology in times of environmental crisis. E-Learning and Digital Media, 18(5), 496–510. https://doi.org/10.1177/20427530211022951


Reflection on my Digital Identity and Digital Presence Plan

After completing the Unit 3 readings, we were asked to reflect on the impact structures may have on our digital presence and digital identity plan. Most notable for me is my varying presence within different learning structures. 

The development of my digital presence and identity within my MALAT cohort is my greatest priority and challenge at this time. Our learning environment is structured as a Fully Online Learning Community (FOLC), a social-constructivist model in which our reality and environment are co-created in a digital space (van Oostveen et al., 2016). Here, in this space, we are engaged in deep and meaningful learning experiences that occur at the intersection of social and cognitive presence (Research Shorts, 2017, 1:27).

This framework supports learning from my peers. It requires my contribution and collaborative efforts, which speak to my digital identity and digital presence plan to be an active contributor within the learning community.

I believe that this learning framework will be foundational to learning within different learning structures as I journey through this program. I am less involved in some learning structures, such as sets; however, I believe that by the end of this program, I will cultivate my digital presence and identity across all learning structures while developing strategies to capitalize on the benefits afforded in each.

References

Research Shorts, (2017, May 24). Creating a powerful fully online learning community [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/yk1kVbMfbXE

van Oostveen, R., DiGiuseppe, M., Barber, W., Blayone, T., & Childs, E. (2016). Developing learning communities in fully online spaces: Positioning the fully online learning community model. Higher Education in Transformation.

My Visual Network

My Visual Network

As part of our LRNT 521 course, we have been asked to develop a visual network of where and how we are situated. Through the process of developing this visual, I found that I was having a hard time distinguishing between communities and networks. Upon reflection, I believe that I have a relatively small network that is defined by my desire for community which is evident in this visual representation. Furthermore, there is considerable overlap within and between my community ‘hubs’, which is not surprising given that I tend to keep my connections smaller, purposeful and meaningful. I do have a LinkedIn account, however, I am not very active on that platform so I would say that my network is small in that particular digital environment. On the other hand, my “informal professional network” is much greater in scale (across geographical distance and sectors), yet I would still say that I have some level of individual relationship with each person that I consider within this category.

Dron & Anderson (2014) describe networks as “primary knowledge conduits of the world; throughout our lives we learn from the people that we know” ( p. 131). This statement reflects my view of learning as a lifelong endeavour that takes place in and outside of formal educational boundaries. When I look at my network, even though many of my groups and communities are not places of formal learning, I can say honestly that I have learned (and continue to learn) from each of them. The overlap of my networks can be classified as sub-networks that I can identify based on context and learning needs (Dron & Anderson, 2014, p. 135). These, along with my greater networks and groups are dynamically forming and dissolving and because of that, this visual representation of my networks is a snapshot in time. It would be interesting to revisit and repeat this exercise at some point. 

Updated May 9, 2022 for clarity

Reference
Dron, J. & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching crowds. AU Press. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01

My Digital Identity and Digital Presence Plan

As part of the first course in the MALAT program, we have been given an assignment to develop a Digital Identity and Digital Presence (DIDP) plan to support the cultivation of our digital identity and presence over the course of the program. Although I have not considered my identity in this way before starting this course, through our required readings and preceding assignment, I have been spending considerable time reflecting on this and working towards a realization of my digital identity and presence and how I can cultivate that over the next 2 years or so. In a New York Times blog post, Kelly Schryver (2013) poses a question about being ‘googled’, “How much do you think about the fact that much of what you post will last forever, and can be seen by anyone?”. This question has caused me to think more critically about how I present myself in the digital world now and how I would like to cultivate that as I move forward in this program. 

My main goal for developing my digital identity and presence relates to my contribution and collaboration within the learning community. From a social-constructivism perspective, my digital presence and collaboration with my cohort will support the construction of knowledge and subsequent learning when engagement and dialogue are present (Dron & Anderson, 2014, p. 43). Over the last few years, I have come to appreciate the construction of knowledge within a collaborative setting and truly value what I have learned from my peers in addition to readings and any formal instruction. My approach will be to show up authentically within this digital space and lean into vulnerability as I express my thoughts and ideas which may or may not be supported or correct but will contribute to dialogue and result in a greater depth to my learning.

As I embark on blogging in a public space, I would like to be cognizant of my digital footprint while also considering my audience, both the immediate as well as the potential audience from varying contexts (Boyd, 2010, p. 8). With this in mind, and as I have started with this post, I will include a small introduction to my writing to provide context to potential audiences outside of my MALAT cohort. I believe context is important for understanding and my hope is that if anyone stumbles upon my blog from outside of this program, they will be able to better understand what I have written. 

I have much to learn. Although I have been working in community education for quite some time, the intersection of education and technology is fairly new to me. I certainly have more gaps than knowledge but I am confident that through the affordances of this program, that I will fill those gaps over time. As those gaps fill, success will be defined by growth in my digital competence, expansion of my networks and the cultivation of a digital identity and presence that is grounded in authenticity, openness, and continuous learning, reflected through my blog and engagement with my cohort. 

References

Boyd, D. (2010). Social network sites as networked publics: affordances, dynamics, and implications. In Papacharissi, Z. (Ed.), Networked self: identity, community and culture on social network sites (pp. 39 – 58).  https://www.danah.org/papers/2010/SNSasNetworkedPublics.pdf

Dron, J. & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching crowds. AU Press. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01 

Schryver, K. (2013, February 5). Who are you online? Considering issues of web identity. The Learning Network. https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/guest-post-who-are-you-online-considering-issues-of-web-identity/ 

Mapping My Technology Use

Figure 1. Map of My Technology Use

This exercise of mapping my use of technology was insightful, as I have never really considered my residence (or lack thereof) in this context, nor have I considered how I interact with the web in such a way. In relation to the visitor and residence grouping, David White (2014) describes the visitor mode as using the internet like a tool box, taking out the tools you need and when you are done with them, you put them back and close the lid, leaving no social trace (jiscnetskills, 2014). I found this analogy helpful to keep in mind as I mapped (and remapped) my technology use. 

Of particular interest to me is how much Google is central to my technology presence. From searching to Google Drive, Photos, Docs, etc. It is something that I use daily that crosses all 4 quadrants of my map. I mention this as being of interest because it was only in the last few years that this became central to how I manage much of my personal and professional activities after being quite resistant to moving from MS Office to the Google Workspace system.

Social Media is very much personal to me and although I post occasionally, my use of social media is very much purposeful. Facebook, in particular, has become a place of informal learning for me where I am able to join virtual communities to learn about things that I am curious about (i.e. storm chasing, aurora hunting, bird watching, etc.) or groups that drive connection to my neighbourhood and community or unique life circumstances (i.e. support groups). 

One tool that I had a hard time mapping was Zoom. When using David White’s analogy (as described above), I see Zoom as a tool that I use to connect with people but I don’t think it really leaves a social trace (unless it is recorded and posted somewhere public, I suppose). Prior to Covid, I only ever used it for work, however I have since used it to connect with friends and family in a more social and informal way. In the end, I decided to map it centrally with some overlap in all 4 quadrants to reflect how I have used it and the fact that there is likely some social trace left behind. 

This exercise really caused me to really reflect on my digital identity – something I haven’t really considered before and I am looking forward to exploring this concept in greater depth as this course evolves. 

Reference 

Jiscnetskills. (2014, March 10). Visitors and Residents. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPOG3iThmRI&t=324s 



			

3 Things I learned during the 2022 MALAT Virtual Symposium

With a wealth of information and ideas presented during the 2022 Virtual Symposium, I am left with feelings of excitement, opportunity and gratitude for the journey through the MALAT program that I am embarking on. This post will focus on three major areas of learning from the symposium that I want to lean into and be mindful of during the course of this program. 

Open Education 

Dave Cormier’s (2017) presentation on open education really opened my eyes to the value and importance of open learning. I came into this session with the mindset that the “best” knowledge is paid for, coveted, and closed, although I didn’t necessarily agree that this was right. Cormier (2017) explains that the exploratory journey of open learning resulting from the access to open content builds community and contributes to the greater good through the education of more people. During a different session in the symposium, Elizabeth Childs (2022) is quoted saying “none of us is as smart as all of us” and to me, this speaks to the importance of open access to quality education and the value of community and collective learning.

Indigenous Knowledge Systems 

Earl Einarson’s (2022) session on designing from a place of Indigenous knowledge systems was insightful. His conviction and bluntness about the need for authentic (Indigenous) voices present and engaged in the design and learning process was powerful. We cannot take Indigenous knowledge systems and simply insert them into a eurocentric or western framework as this act is still rooted in colonial ways – even if the intention is good, Einarson (2022) explains, it is still wrong. 

Earl’s session left me wondering what the future of education will look like with the successful and meaningful inclusion of Indigenous knowledge systems and pedagogies. Land-based education is of particular importance and I am left feeling curious about the intersection of land-based learning and technology – is there a place for technology in land-based education? I suspect that there is and I look forward to exploring that possibility further. 

Quality Online Education 

In the session, “What is Online Learning Post-Pandemic?” (Royal Roads University, 2022) there was great discussion on the future of online learning and how that might look in both the K-12 and higher education settings. Designing for online learning was brought up and discussed as an important element to improve the quality of online learning, which is often seen as “second tier” to traditional face to face learning as indicated by Liddy (Royal Roads University, 2022). I believe that online learning can be a first class learning experience if approached with purposeful and thoughtful design practices paired with the extension of learning into the community where social emotional learning and development can take place as proposed by Bates (Royal Roads University, 2022). This is why I am in this program and where I really want to grow in knowledge and practice. 

Final Thoughts 

This symposium gave me much to think about and consider as I begin the MALAT Program. I can say that I have experienced a shift in mindset towards a place of endless possibilities and I am ready to begin this learning journey with an open mind. 

References 

Cromier, D. (2017, April 18). Intentional messiness of online communities. [Video]. Royal Roads University. https://malat-coursesite.royalroads.ca/lrnt521/recordings/dave-cormier-virtual-symposium-presentation/ 

Einarson, E. (2022, April 12). Designing from a place of Indigenous knowledge systems. [Video]. Zoom. https://royalroads.zoom.us/rec/play/PLhxBQOims_TV2LtkEio-B5hTTav0MCQ5XcIHqI3hzMs-VNyCzKQxisySHwF3JMm9SbpEQbojKZxSag.dSzK190hfrsMLuo8?continueMode=true 

Royal Roads University. (2022, February 3). What is online learning post-pandemic? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxazQ6a-WwQ