So after all this research and discussion of new technologies, the question as to how technology has affected my professional practice is an important one. At work my day-to-day tasks do not really require the use of the innovative online tools out there. However on a professional development level my progression with technology continues to make me feel more linked in to the information management profession than I thought possible. I find that I now learn more effectively not through text books (still falling asleep trying to get through a Legal Research text) but through podcasts, librarian blogs, websites and wonderful programs like this VicPLN that uses Edmodo, videoclips and reflective blogs to engage and inspire the use of online tools. The more I learn the more my professional practice will be improved, sometimes directly but more often than not indirectly, by keeping me interested and engaged in my profession.
I think that technology has a huge impact on us as citizens, the Internet is a whole new world and wireless technology is just the start to accessing it. Money, houses and food are all affected. I don’t remember the last time I used a bank cashier; automatic payroll, scheduled debits, online statements. They are all governed by technology. Whether it searching for a house to buy or rent we go straight to the internet, renovations ideas are posted on Pinterest, design blogs saved to delicious. Not sure what to cook? Check an Epicurious app while in the supermarket. Even better, check it while ordering the weekly groceries online. I think that this side of technology is brilliant but yes, like a lot of really fun, easy and enjoyable things, it comes with risk that we need to be aware of. I had no idea about the HTTP vs HTTPS thing. Absolutely none. And I shop online all the time. How did I not know about this? I just checked Etsy, it’s not HTTPS and I love Etsy. And then there’s my passwords, my devices, they should all be updated more often. I need to be more vigilant. And this explains why I have such mixed feelings about technology, I love it, it can have a wonderful, engaging, ever expanding effect on citizens, but it also requires each citizen to be careful with it, maintain their little part in it, and I know that I am not really maintaining my digital world very well.
I like the idea of the digital citizen, fostering respect and understanding in the online world and I hope kids today all become wonderful digital citizens, thanks to their parents, teachers and peers. I am no educator but after completing this unit I really do think that this is the most important aspect of the digital realm that should be taught in schools. Online tools will come and go but our behaviour when using them will always be important.
Based on my own experiences I have chosen the following five characteristics as integral to an effective learner:
To be truly effective I think you have to be all five, there is not point being open to new ideas if you don’t also question them. Likewise there is no point in engaging in a class if you are not determined to do the work and finish the coursework. While an unorganised person may absorb information and finish the course (eventually) it will be much more stressful than it could have been if they were more organised (I’ve learnt that on many occasion). And finally, to really engage in learning, complex elements must be tackled and this requires a degree of problem solving.
Finally, the future. It can only be exciting. Much is already almost here, televisions just won’t exist, screens without cables, streaming all required information, music, radio, film, Internet sites etc. These can already be accessed with the wave of a hand and will probably be utilised in schools instead of the interactive whiteboards. Today, so much learning is done online, my online university subjects felt a bit clunky but I imagine that will become less so in the future. This VicPLVN course, with its mix of media to engage and communicate with participants, is a good indicator of online learning’s potential into the future.
And I suppose out will go laptops and in will come ever smaller tablets, not much bigger than the old fashioned slate and more powerful than imaginable. All the screen reading is still an issue for me, reading content and writing notes on the same device, have students really stopped printing? I’m excited about the Internet and it seems difficult to think that anything will ever replace it. Maybe teachers and students will stop using devices such as computers and tablets and just head straight for their glasses instead…