Pathway to lifelong learning
For EC & I 831, my digital learning project’s goal was creating Spoken Word poetry. My desire to learn to write poetry was enmeshed with my desire to communicate ideas with the potential to transform or make people stop, think, and feel. My poetry writing project focused on Spoken Word poems intended for performance and typically about community, issues, and social justice.
Coming from a place where I really had very little knowledge about poetry’s construction, I chose to enroll in Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop. I felt that the structure and schedule of the Coursera program would keep me focused on poetry in a concrete, linear fashion. I could complete this structured course while cruising the wide variety of more informal online sources of information about poetry. Sharpened Visions is a beginner level class which I believed that I could use as a springboard to the more complex task of writing profound, meaningful poetry.
What did I learn about poetry?
Through Sharpened Visions, I learned about poetry. I now can better appreciate poetry and how rhyme, imagery, and rhythm support mood and meaning. I know that assonance, alliteration, and consonance create patterns of sound to provide aural pleasure.
Rhythm results in combining stressed and unstressed syllables. Iamb meter is a line where an unstressed syllable follows and stressed syllable in a rising rhythm. Trochee meter is a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable creating a falling rhythm as in a chant: ” Double, double, toil and trouble.”
Although I did not achieve my goal of writing and performing Spoken Word poetry. I wrote 10 poems over the six-week course, genuinely applying the literary devices. Even after this course, I will continue to read and listen to poetry, appreciate the poet’s clever use of language to paint a beautiful word picture. I will keep writing poetry and experimenting with imagery, rhyme, and meter.
What did I learn about MOOCs?
Participating in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was a first for me. There were 68,000 students enrolled in the course from around the world. The peer-review portion allowed me to interact with 12 of those students, albeit very briefly – a novel experience. Coursera was the OER that I reviewed for the blog and shared what I learned about the Coursera and how it might be applied to others. I was able to take a closer look at the wide range of courses offered. Before taking EC & I 831 – I knew very little about MOOCs and how they worked; now, I would confidently recommend Coursera and will be revisiting this OER as a lifelong learner.
What did I learn about learning online?
Strong technical skills are necessary for a seamless digital demonstration of learning and knowledge translation. The learning activities of EC & I 831 let me practice my technical skills and become more comfortable interacting through social media. My virtual communication skills also got a great workout through the major learning project. I learned the power and pleasure of learning through blogs, videos, audible podcasts, and YouTube. I accessed poetry apps and sorted through a plethora of online resource materials. Although I have completed 80% of Masters-level courses by distance, each class challenged me differently. This last year, and in EC & I 831 in particular, I have had an opportunity to blog, compose through Padlet, record with Loom, and voice over a PowerPoint. I participated in a professional learning network using Discord, Twitter, and WordPress blogs. I discovered poetry through YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram and used an editing program to create a YouTube presentation. Indeed, I have expanded my repertoire of technical skills.
What did I learn that I may apply to education?
Because of my experience completing the major learning project, I now would strongly encourage learners to try the OER Coursera. Asking students to demonstrate understanding through the application of digital media such as Flipgrid, Padlet seems to be logical in the era of Web 2.0.In addition, educators should consider the power of a self-directed online learning project to enhance digital communication, bolster critical and creative thinking, and practice habits of life-long learning.
A teacher cannot assume all learners have the same access to the internet or the same technical skill. I have worked in adult education for the last four years. Not all adult students have mastered the digital literacy technical skills. Teachers must provide challenging opportunities for students at various levels and in a safe, non-judgmental environment with student growth as the objective, building on their strengths and developing transferable technical skills.
Teachers must also continue to build personal technical skills and seek sharing opportunities through professional learning networks. School divisions needed to support ongoing professional development targeted to enhance the application of digital media to curriculum.
A unique learning experience
I am thankful for the challenging opportunity EC & I 831 Social Media and Open Education presented. This immersive experience was both theoretical and practical. The major learning project was a chance for me to reflect on my learning style, step out of my comfort zone, and explore the world of digital media. I plan to apply the skills and knowledge to my personal learning journey. For my students, I vow to intentionally integrate social media and open educational resources to enhance their learning experience.
Thanks Alec. Thanks to the students of EC & I 831 Fall 2021. Best wishes.