Reflection 10: To Sum It All Up

In one of my earlier postings, I mentioned about the benefits of Microsoft Teams in learning. It is interesting how the chat functionality in the application can evoke self-reflection. During the course we were required to interact through the Teams, by posting questions. By doing this we, or at least I, inadvertently become aware of different perspectives and as such building on further what we have already understood (despite the initial confusion). On hindsight and as I progress towards the end of this course, I find that all the nuances and quirks within this course were in fact deliberately and wilfully structured towards developing the instructional technologist in each one of us. As we reach the end of the course, it is evident to me how the various learning theories were embedded in the delivery of this course. I have covered my views on this course in my earlier posts in relation to I mentioned about activity theory, cognitive constructivism, situated learning, connectivism and group cognition.

Another learning theory I feel adequately embedded in this course is the knowledge building theory. The theory, developed by Scardamalia and Bereiter, hinges on 12 main principles. The first principle, real genuine problems, is evident in the multiple examples we were shown to and the emphasis on practicality of the theories we learned. We were given the liberty to choose and given the liberty to put forth ideas – this is the second principle “variety of ideas”. We built confidence by being open to make mistakes and improve on it. As a group, we had different perspectives and ideas stemming from our different backgrounds.

The third and fourth principles, improvable ideas and rising higher, dictates that students’ ideas are improvable ideas and with adequate level of understanding they’d be able rise higher. Often in class, we were offered different perspectives on our ideas as improvements and that enabled to rise higher by being able to be express myself and to create the personality of my own.

Agency epistemic, the fifth principle, defines how we as students are able to find our way to advance the knowledge learned. None of us were conversant with Teams or Yammer at the outset of this course nor the blogging spheres but each one of us took the time to learn and become proficient with the tools. We literally learn to walk on Mozilla Hub and overcome obstacles as we get familiar with it. That we took responsibility to learn the tools, too, is an indication of symmetric advancement of knowledge, the sixth principle, as each one of us took different path on completing our learning tasks. Some chose Teams some Yammers but in the end each one of us became conversant with the tools. The collective knowledge were building up like wild fires, raging due to enthusiasm created in the process (and of course also because of the deadlines :)). This pervasive knowledge-building is identified by Scardamalia and Bereiter as the seventh principle.

Our learning process manifested the eighth principle, democratisation of knowledge, with us being given freedom to contribute in class and often, we took personal initiatives to share additional information critical to our learning but not directly within the scope of learning. Some of us went to great length to help structure Teams to make it easier for everybody to use. We were driven to be collectively responsible towards each others learning through collaborative learning as a community – this is the ninth principle. We had multiple platform for conversations, through the WhatsApp, the University’s Spectrum platform, Yammers, Teams and the blogosphere where we shared knowledge, information and asked (and answer) questions.The conversation towards building knowledge is the tenth principle.

Through the eleventh principle, constructive use of authoritative source, we were driven in the process to be able to defend our views and proposals backed up by authoritative sources. It made us more academically ready to discuss our stands on matters discussed. The last principle, embedded and transformative assessment, is manifested in the course in the ongoing formative process which we can discuss and negotiate. All our assignments and exercises were gearing us up to be ready as professionals not merely getting ready for examinations.

I honestly believe I have gained substantial knowledge from this course. Admittedly, I have never had such an exciting learning experience before and I can attest that the flexibility and fluidity of the learning process have made me more receptive to the knowledge covered in this course. I am conscious that this piece is subject to evaluation – it is not my intent to sugarcoat my own experience. It is nothing less than an honest reflection of a student. Thank you for making our journey a fulfilling one!

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