This is a learning journal documenting the "Digital Me" course offered through the Adobe Education Exchange. In this journal I will complete the class reflections and upload or link to the digital content created for this course.
First step for this course was to create an introduction video that included an explanation of what I think "Personal Brand" means. This was interesting, and challenged two of my competing ideologies to come together. First, as a graphic designer with 20 years experience in news and media, I understand that creating and maintaining a personal brand in the 21st century is an important skill for participating in the digital economy. As a teacher of English, I resist the idea of the corporatisation of self and expect that my students develop self-identity over branding. Makes for interesting conversations! Even if those conversations are often just with myself...
Everything old is new again
For Class 1 I had to touch up a "head shot". I found on of my significant other and removed many signs of aging. The differences are subtle, but I can appreciate this activity through the philosophical lens of removing the distractions to highlight the spirit.
Also on Behance, as per assignment instructions
Who are you?
For Class 2 I created an eye-catching one-page resume using InDesign. I have to admit, I didn't find the process of this too hard as I am very familiar with InDesign. I found it a bit more challenging creating a nice resume without including too many identifiable details (which was not part of the brief, but I don't like having an obvious digital presence despite teaching and mentoring same).
Also on Behance, as per assignment instructions
The class 3 assignment was to create a logo for my personal brand (aka digital me).
I found this assignment both easy and hard. Easy, in that I have created logos in the past as part of my job. Hard in nailing down one idea that could represent me digitally, as well as being fairly innocuous, but saying *something*... The horror! In the end I created a logo for my Redbubble profile.
As indicated previously (and paraphrased here) I both accept and reject the idea of personal branding in that it is a necessity int he digital age, and contrary to the ethos of teaching English. Alternatively, I encourage and mentor my students to think of themselves as digital entrepreneurs, and have included many learning activities that explore how they can exploit online spaces to create both active and passive income streams. With that in mind, I like to use an activity like this to get students thinking seriously about themselves and the online presence they would like to pursue after formal schooling.
The new understanding I have at the end of Class 3 is a greater appreciation of the flexibility of a course like this and the usefulness of recreating some of the activities for high school aged students. There are very strict controls and restrictions placed on the kinds of digital spaces that can be used within a school setting, and for very good reason. However, just like every essay they ever write, having a practice run at these kinds of things parallel to the specific aims of this course would help my students develop a sound foundation for the future.
For Class 4 I was required to create a digital portfolio. I mostly uploaded art previously created for my Redbubble store, as well as the work created for this class. I like the idea of an online portfolio, and have attempted to create sites in the past. I feel a site such as Bēhance is a good place to upload a portfolio as it could act as a one-stop-shop for people wishing to peruse these kinds of portfolios. The only drawback for Bēhance I have experienced so far was an error when I was trying to add a project, that didn't give me information about how to fix the issue.
How to build a portfolio
I have previously used videos in classroom activities to support learning. I have created Adobe Spark videos to introduce and enhance learning, as they offer the opportunity to create an illustrated and narrated platform to introduce and/or explain topics. I find them very useful, particularly when you can screencast a specific procedure to extend their abilities and improve responses to assessment tasks.
Class 5 asks me to consider assessment.
The video raises some excellent points. There is a disconnect between expectations of students, teachers, schools, parents, and society when it comes to education. The rapid advance of technology makes reconnecting these expectations difficult. I reject the concept of a "digital native", but students at this time (2017) are bound by digital technologies. I feel it is not so much that they know "more" about digital technology than teachers, parents and other groups in society, but they experience and use it differently. I felt the video also avoided offering answers to the dilemma it raised.
Overall, I have found some useful elements in this course that I can use in a secondary education setting. It is important in this digital age for individuals to be aware of the representations they are creating of themselves in online spaces, and school is a great place to mentor these capabilities. There is a fine line to walk between mentoring the development of individuals and mentoring good future workers and digital citizens, and currently education is concerned with the development of individuals.
This course also does not (and cannot) take into consideration the restrictions placed on access to and use of digital affordances within schools. For instance, I am not able to encourage students to access sites like behance.net because it has not been approved for use within the state public school system. This leaves teachers to try to recreate these experiences in offline ways, which completely removes context for the students.
In regards to the assignment for this week, I have already used in a limited way audio feedback on assignments, and am aware of a culture of teachers who screencast their draft marking. This has proven to be very effective, but can also be time consuming. I don't believe I would use Adobe Spark for this, as it has been my experience that the audio recording is problematic - although this might be due to the extremely poor internet connectivity in Australia (living, as I do, 7km from the CBD of our 3rd largest city...).
Final Reflection for Accreditation
In this course I have been able to consolidate and realign a number of different digital capabilities I have used in different ways as a teacher. This has help me to understand how I can provide my students with more engaging and cohesive digital learning activities and an ongoing record of learning and feedback
I have not found time or space to consider how students might create a digital portfolio of their work in a way that would enhance and document their progress. I felt the Spark page learning journal was an excellent tool for documenting and reflecting my learning in this course and will be recommending it to my students in both ICT and English.
I found in advertising and media that "movement is king" and I feel as though the combination of the Spark Video and Page apps would very much appeal to my students. I feel they would particularly engage with the opportunity to quickly create professional and fluid learning artifacts.
I feel the learning journal will be of particular help to my middle school aged students in their upcoming short narrative unit, as they will be able to compile and reflect on written and visual texts, as well as present and share their creations using Spark Video.