“I’ve just spent the morning creating a prezi for the unit I am coordinating next year. I used Jing Pro to turn it into a screencast and uploaded it to Youtube. I used the basic editing tools Youtube now offers to trim the start and finish and then emailed the link to my colleagues”.
Now, there’s a sentence that I could not have written at the start of this unit. Well, I guess I could have written it, but I wouldn’t have known what it meant and I would have been lying. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of those things.
On hearing that I was enrolled in Information Programs my QUT mentor told me she thought I’d really enjoy this subject. I don’t know about you but whenever anyone tells me I’m going to really enjoy something I become a little bit skeptical. Still, she didn’t elaborate, so I kept my mind prised open and jumped right in. Technology and I don’t really get along. In spite of the fact that I had been blogging for some time, as well as obsessively using Twitter, I was not confident with anything technical. Sure, I could format a Word document in a basic way, enter data into spreadsheets, and databases and make a powerpoint to go with a lecture, but that was about it really. The skills I have gained (while still in their early stages of growth) have astonished me. Equally astonishing was my enthusiasm to “play” with the new ideas and concepts of gathering and communication information that were available in the world of Web 2.0. The people I work with are probably heartily sick of me by now. Every week I’ve been regaling them with tales of bundlr, or storify, or screencasting. I’ve spent the last 13 weeks or so storing up little ideas of how I’m going to use all these things not just in future LIS activities, but in my teaching as well.
As an online, part time student the learning environment of this unit spared me much of the usual isolation experienced with distance education. The key concept of the Personal Learning Network made me feel part of a community. It wasn’t just any old community either. It was a supportive, encouraging and tolerant community and I feel privileged to have encountered and engaged with my fellow classmates on Twitter, on the unit site and through our blogs. Thanks for being so wonderful 🙂
Did I have a key takeaway or lightbulb moment? Have I learned anything about myself through engaging with the content of the unit. How can I possibly narrow those questions down to just one thing.
Participating in this unit reminded me that you get out of life what you put into it.
I’ve been reminded that there are many good and wise people in the world and I will always have something to learn from everyone I meet.
I’ve been reminded that collaboration can be a rewarding experience.
I’ve been reminded that there are still people out there who are passionate about their work and their life and the world around them.
I’ve been reminded that I have perfectionist “tendencies” that I need to continually work to curb or I will drive myself round the twist.
I’ve been reminded that flexibility and compromise are not signs of weakness and that they can help you reach your goals.
I’ve been reminded that it’s okay to ask “stupid” questions because you will probably get the answer you need and learn something in the process.
I’ve been reminded that inspiration could be waiting just around the corner so follow your instinct and your heart and go for it.
What I’m really trying to say here, is that for me Information Programs has not just been about gaining some new skills. If that’s all teaching does – teach some new skills – then it hasn’t fully succeeded. In my opinion the most effective learning occurs when I am prepared to consider new ideas, when I am prepared to change my mind, when my mind is opened to new ways of thinking about the world and my place in it. As a learning experience Information Programs has made me think carefully about my place in the world of Web 2.0. It has emphasised the need for me to shape my identity in the online world and it has highlighted that the way I engage with digital information, the way we all engage with information has changed and will continual to do so. As someone who is pursuing a place in the LIS profession, it is my responsibility to explore, consider, reflect, evaluate and ride the waves of that change and the changes to come. Technology and programs are tools. How we wield them is up to us. If we are to do our job effectively we must place the communication process as central to our use of technology, and remember that in the end, everything we do is about people. The connection between knowledge and power is seen daily, in events the world over. As professionals who will disseminate information that can become knowledge, it is vital to realise the potential ramifications of our future roles in terms of the power struggles in our culture, from the local to the global.