It is a connected world: Implications for flexible learning in tertiary education.

I am very much enjoying thinking, learning and reflecting on learning as I progress through the Graduate certificate in tertiary learning and teaching through Otago Polytechnic, Particularly the design for flexible learning practice course. I am investigating so many new ideas, theories and knowledge about how we learn and how the process of learning is being influenced and changed by communication technology.

Yesterday I attended a meeting at Otago Polytechnic hosted by the art and design department. This brought people who have an interest in digital literacy together from around the institution with an aim of a coordinated approach to developing support for digital literacy. The design school have developed a program which they are using with their students to assist students to develop confidence in the use of communication technology to support their learning. We discussed the importance of blogging as an additional learning tool for students. Most seemed to feel that blogging should not replace other aspects of course work but should provide an opportunity for students to reflect and learn from their own and others reflections. A couple of the participants in this meeting commented that students who were reluctant to write and did not demonstrate a high level of written work seemed motivated and produced high levels of work on blogs.

Today I have been watching and listening to a presentation given by George Siemens last year at the 2007 Online connectivism conference in Manitoba. This is an hour long presentation which presents the case for life long learning and the use of blogs and tools to connect, share and grow knowledge. George talks about the new age of communication and explosion of networks and opportunities this presents for learning and developing new knowldege. The slide share is accompanied by and MP3 sound file which needs to be downloaded from the conference page here

Another interesting related post by Steve Hardigan discusses the changes that are occuring in education and the need for us to adapt and change the way we organise teaching and learning. The world is not the same place it was 10 years ago or even two years ago. Change is inevitable and we need to embrace this. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to consider these ideas as we will shortly be starting to look at how we can support students in the new midwifery curriculum. I am convinced Blogs must have a place in this new program to support our students learning and connectedness. I believe that digital literacy is also and issue for midwifery students who would benefit form a program such as the one which has been developed by the design school. To be able to make the most of these technologies students need guidance and support to gain skill in their use.

I also found John Seely Brown’s web site and this video. (Unfortunately there is no wordpress link so you will need to go to youtube to view.) Again this is about an hour long and I have to say I skipped some pieces of this. None the less it is interesting particularly in relation to open source learning.

Leave a comment


  1. Glad you found the Connectivism Conference info helpful. Hope all is well down in New Zealand.

    John Martin

  2. Thanks for the comment John. I have had a look at your blog. Well worth a good look around with lots of great stuff and ideas.


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