Tuesday, July 23, 2013

EDEM630: Reflection :Week 1 & 2

The start of EDEM630 was not as simple as the other courses that I had done through distance learning. It was the layout of the course! It took me time to find my way through! I thought what a change……after all it had to go with the course title: Change with Digital Technologies in Education. I experienced the change in the first instance. After a few attempts, I was successful in accommodating the change…and maybe still accommodating.
Then came the first e-activity: Setting up the blog.
Being working full time and also the last week of the school term, it was hard for me to complete the activities. Being in a temporary accommodation with no internet, I panicked but got a relief when received Wayne’s message that I can do it in the weekend. Took very quick breaks at work to read what was happening in our course..I felt I was missing a lot. At the end of the week, I drove home and from next morning (while still on the breakfast table) started off with my work: Setting up the blog, didn’t take me time as I had done it before but overlooked the part of putting the label to each post and as a result my blog did not get through in the blog feed. Upset!!!! Asked for help on the forum but did not get any replies. My husband came to my rescue and later Timothy came in as well. Thanks to both.J. I worked all day on Saturday to complete all the tasks for the week. Next morning I was delighted to see my blog feed on Learn.
Week 2 was exciting as break from school has started and I thought I will have heaps of time for EDEM630. To my surprise came the demands of my 5 year old boy. Every time I sat on the computer, he came running with some requests…oops decided to work on EDEM630 after he goes to bed at night and this was a successful plan and is working till now.
During this week: the ecological perspective of change was in discussion. It was amazing to see that we worked around this change in education all the time and yet not realized its role. After completing the e-activities for week 1 and 2 and scanning the readings, I am able to make more out of Ecological arena of change.
I feel that in a learning environment, learners work together and support each other as they use a variety of tools and information resources in their pursuit of learning goals and problem-solving activities extends the meaning of the learning environment as the overall setting in which learning communities come into being, evolve, die, regenerate and transform. According to Visser (1999)  in using an ecological metaphor, the learning environment is linked to the biosphere and the learning environment is to learning what the biosphere is to life.

Similarly, learning happens at a rich diversity of levels in the learning environment and can be seen from different perspectives. At the individual level, learning happens at the cognitive level. At the group level when the individual learns with peers, interactions take place at the species level as group, peer or social learning interactions. When different species or populations coexist, there is a thriving community. Different communities form a learning ecosystem in which there is interaction within and between each level giving ecological arena. Examples of learning communities include the school, the work place, the home, the extended environment of family and friends, or a special interest group. The advent of the digital technology as a medium for two–way interaction has brought about a variety of learning communities in which people become members and derive great learning benefit from their interaction.  An ecological perspective of change with digital technologies in education emphasises the relationships and dynamics between the various participants in and outside the classroom or other learning situation.
Knowledge is distributed among different people and mediated by tools and artifacts in the environment. Besides emphasizing the relationships and dynamics between the various participants in a learning situation, it is useful also to examine the interactions the participants have with the changing tools, artifacts and content which are provided by designers or other participants. Different parts of the ecology co-evolve, changing together according to the relationships in the system. As people participate in the ongoing development and change of their ecological arena in education, they also drive the technological and social aspects of this change . The participants of a learning ecology are responsible for deciding how to use the tools and technologies available, and in doing so, establish the identity and place of the technologies. Designers of tools for the Internet are responsible for providing useful and clear functionality. 
Ecological arena of change can be seen in terms of the providers of education (ministry of education, school), the providers of the props (commercial companies), and the consumers of the experiences (teachers and students). The space (parents and community) is a vital part as well. The change in this arena should be such that it soughts out ways to capitalise on the lasting experience of education with technology by helping enrichment opportunities for learners.
Over the last century there have been several waves of massive investment in technology to improve education and the most recent movement to put computers in schools. Despite the generous investment in, and increased presence of, technology in schools, they have been found to be unused or underused in most schools. So the question that I want to ask is: What is the reason for this? And how can this be corrected?
I know that the dispersal of technology uses in schools is a very complex change. To understand this change it requires a comprehensive and systemic approach that takes into consideration the nature of the technology, the environment, other facilitative forces, and the interactions among these components. And this is what I think I have yet to learn. It is still a long way for me to go……

Visser, J. (1999) Overcoming the underdevelopment of learning: A trans-disciplinary view, New Horizons for Learning.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Saleshini, I found your reflection very helpful especially about seeing and viewing learning from different perspectives. I think this is such a good course to get a view on the answers to that major question about underutilization of provided resources. Already we have seen from the models that the answers will be around the actual technology provided (Rogers) and the people who could potentially see it as useful and easy to use. I am with you about the people participating being the ones that drive the change no matter how theoretically good it might be. Thanks for helping me think :-)