Here is a link to my Facilitation Plan which connects to our Group Focus of Designing Personal Learning Environments.
Our group navigated its way through a fair amount of confusion in the activities which we knew were intended to move us towards the Week 8 activity and ultimately the final project. As I reread our thread of communication it is a bit humorous as we all tried to convince each other and ourselves we were on the right track. Thanks to my peers for their patience while I was off the continent. I think what we have ended up doing for the individual plans provides solid possibilities for our upcoming group work. Each of our individual facilitation plans aligns to the overarching framework of a professional development course for educators on Personal Learning Environments and various tools and platforms which support them.
The individual topics we have each chosen are effective for teachers of almost any level, and specifically for post-secondary instructors like myself. I personally chose Facebook for two reasons; one being the ongoing debate over blocking social media sites or integrating them. Second, being the quote from Sheri Nussbaum-Beach from our week 2 course readings which states:
‘If you can be replaced by a computer then you probably should be! The truth is that technology will never replace teachers, however teachers who know how to use technology effectively to help their students connect and collaborate together online will replace those who do not’ (Nussbaum-Beach, 2018).
When I researched more about personal learning environments (hereafter PLE) to support my interest in its connection to the theory of existentialism, I noted a definition on a blog which emphasized the connection to staying relevant and development of a PLE (Morrison, 2013). In my mind, blocking social media is the same kind of thinking that once supported the idea of banning smart phones from our classrooms. Engagement = connection = relevance.
Amongst our group, if our individual plans added up to a complete course, I imagine that Geoff would provide the context of setting up a Personal Learning Environment; Kristy would lead a week that supports creation of a Google Site to host that PLE, Emily would introduce Twitter as a potential tool and I would introduce Facebook in the same way. It is assumed that most people know of or use Facebook, however, it may only be personal use or entertainment and in this learning context it is a way to engage students using a tool which has mass appeal and access.
The connection to my KWL table became less clear as I developed my facilitation plan because at that time I wanted to focus on becoming more comfortable with Web 2.0 applications and I do not consider Facebook as a Web2.0 tool per se, but a platform for disseminating news and views catalogued on a social media site such as Facebook. However, I did not realize the extent of the resources and tools for educators which have been integrated into Facebook and the substantial following Facebook for Education has.
When creating my KLW table, I had considered my approach to online education most aligned to Hootstein’s 4 Shoes, however, my facilitation plan emerged more in tandem with Salmon’s 5 Stage Process and you will see that in the design of the plan itself. I also connected a few shoes to the way the week’s outcomes and activities lead to the creation of a Facebook page and reflection on that.
I think there is a fear of introducing social media into the classroom in face to face situations – how can one possibly compete with the magnetic draw of events and celebrity missives and friend’s posts? I remind myself of a statement I included in my writing about my educational philosophy: ‘ . . . technologies [should be] perceived as neutral tools and are simply devices that extend our capacities’ (Kanuka, 2004, p. 96). If I advise my students of this simple truth, then I too should believe it about my own use of technology and tools, and not see social media as competition in my classroom, but an ally.
When discussing social determinism, Kanuka also stressed ‘[e]ducators holding this view are concerned about the ways that social and technological uses shape the form and content of the learning experiences’(p.97). I see Facebook as a society driven technology. It quenches our thirst for the newsworthy and I want students to have that same thirst for learning.
Hootstein, E., (June 1, 2002). Wearing four pairs of shoes: The roles of e-learning facilitators. Learning Circuits. Retrieved March 9, 2014 from http://www.astd.org/Publications/Newsletters/Learning-Circuits/Learning-Circuits-Archives/2002/Wearing-Four-Pairs-of-Shoes.
Kanuka, Heather (2004). The Theory and Practice of Online Learning, Chapter 4. Athabasca University. Retrieved January 25, 2014 from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/04_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf.
Morrison, D., How to Create a Personal Learning Environment. Retrieved March 9, 2014, from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/how-to-create-a-personal-learning-environment-to-stay-relevant-in-2013/
Nussbaum-Beach, S., Letter to my Colleagues. Retrieved March 10, 2014 from http://www.21stcenturycollaborative.com/2008/06/letter-to-my-colleagues/