Task 1 – Connecting

This is my response to the first #BYOD4L task on Connecting.
The student in scenario 1 sounds frustrated. She realises we live in a ‘connected world’ but wonders why she is still directed to paper. Even journals are not current enough for her. She wants her learning experience to connect her with the real world because she knows it can. Her learning experience is devalued by not connecting and making good use of connectivity. So, is there something she could do, or should do? Though it sounds like she expects something to be done for her.
OK, so what if she taps into a twitter feed on her assignment topic. Perhaps she has searched for the relevant topic and found a hashtag being used in her topic area. She has identified several interested people involved in that discussion and she has followed up links within the discussion to information or blog posts or video clips. If she has got this far it is clearly giving her some of what she wants. But should she lurk or become active herself in the discussion? And who are all these other people? How representative are they? How critical or reliable are they? And how can our student make use of this exciting slice of real life in her assignment? Would her tutor be pleased or shocked to hear about her new network? Is it appropriate for her to be getting so involved?
So many questions from one take on just one scenario!
More positively, there’s another way of thinking about this scenario for me. Let’s say out student has been asked by her tutor to connect with someone in ‘the profession’ in the real world. She is required to interview them about the ‘assignment topic’. With that scenario in place I can see various strategies for this student. By browsing the web she has found details of an organisation which she decides can help. There’s a contact email on the website. Having established contact, our smart tech enabled student can arrange an interview with a representative. Her contact is in a different time zone but our student will have her technology with her throughout the day, even when she’s doing her part-time job this evening. She arranges to use Google Hangouts to meet, though they will use Skype if that doesn’t work and agree a time to do the interview later. Both are available on her smart devices. In the meantime our student takes a coffee with a friend on her course and together they work out some good questions for the interview using Pages to write the questions down, and they share the document with each other via Drop Box. They agree that if they work to the same question script they can compare responses from each of their interviews.
Connecting for me, in this example, is about being able to connect to useful people who might not have been accessible to us and our students so easily until now. Our student needs to use her initiative, but this raises issues for her and her tutors. Is this a dimension of digital literacy we don’t hear discussed?
There are many apps she can use to to connect and stay in touch. The Safari or Chrome browsers, the email client, Twitter, Google Hangouts, Skype apps are all possibly useful here.


About amiddlet50

Educational developer working in academic innovation in higher education in the UK
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