Digital Communities

According to the title of this blog post it will be about digital communities but first of all I have to tell that my ambition was to spice this up with a beautiful picture from the magnificent drama Outlander. The novel series which is written by the splendid author Diana Gabaldon and superior filmed by Starz about the strong and independent nurse Claire and her Scottish warrior Jamie. I´ve been searching the internet with the intention to find an official free photo of the popular TV show without any luck. All images that I found are under restrictions, terms of use and privacy policy. After years, I finally learnt, to only use images free to use, preferably, under a creative common license. There are a numerous sites (or should I say communities?) providing free images under Creative Commons licenses, largest of course are Flickr and Pixabay not fare behind. I´ve also found some smaller sights, Knykkenilluku and Fotoakuten (both in Swedish). Anyway, back to the community business. For all of us who´s in love with the story Outlander (we´re called #Droughtlander – desperately waiting for season 3 to air in September 2017) there are a lot of communities to take part of. Some of them are welcoming while others are the opposite. Henceforth, while describing communities, I’m talking about communities which are opened and friendly. Communities where you break down walls (not like the Inverness Castle´s strong walls, built for defense) and share your knowledge with peers and fellows.

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Northern Constabulary Pipe Band – Drum Majors (Present, Future and Past) by Dave Conner (CC BY 2.0)
In accordance with Vygotski´s belief, learning occurs in human interactions which is embedded in social context. In Vygotski´s sociocultural learning theory he acknowledge the individual learning and development dependent on collaboration with (sometimes more capable) peers and in relationship with others. Bandura, one of the main social learning theorist, claims that individuals learn behavioral patterns from each other through observation and imitation. Those observed response patterns have an inhibitory or dis-inhibitory effect on the learner who decides whether the observed response patterns are worth imitating. Thus, the individual decides whether or not the learning leads to a change in behavior (Jarvis, 2010). Considering this, it is of great importance that the community has a lack of pessimistic culture or toxic atmosphere since observing and imitating such behaviors and beliefs ought to be negative for the participant/learner. A community spirit is a reflection of its mind and soul and I believe that dedicated communities needs a leadership with emphasis on equality, engagement and contribution. Even with strong basic values such as, NOT allow bullying for example.

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Cove harbour by Neil Roger (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The phenomenon, Community of Practice origins from the sociocultural learning theory and is developed and described by Lave and Wenger (1999). The theory is based upon several assumptions, where among other things, knowledge is dependent on collaboration. The knowledge is described to be embedded and integrated into social relationships and communities. A key factor, in a community where the participants have a shared interest and passion for something, is the commitment and the desire to interact regularly. Social media can be used as a facilitator for this communication. By participating in the Open Networked Learning  I´d experienced how it is to be a part of a great community where we collaborated and shared our precious ideas with each other. Still is by the way!

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Cornerstone Peak! by Marc (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sam Heughan is one of the leading star in the filmed version of my favorite story Outlander. He has founded a community named “My peak challenge“, which is a great example of how a supportive and encouraging community can be build. The peak challenge is about making positive changes in life, to simply live healthier, happier and more balanced. The challenge could be either physical or creative – you decide and make a promise to yourself. The physical part comes quite natural for me since I´ve regularly been exercising for years… Guess I´m addicted to the endorphin. If I should make a promise to myself and become a peaker, I think my challenge would be of another kind. It would be to build a friendly and enhancing community with my students and fellow colleagues on the exciting topic Acid-Base Balance.

To summarize, I say – YES to Community of Practice – Je Suis Prest (I am ready)!

References
Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice. (4th ed.) London & New York, Routledge.

Lave J, Wenger E (1999) Learning and pedagogy. I  Leach J, Moon B (red.) Learning and pedagogy. London, Paul Chapman.

Photo: Inverness Castle Scotland by Dave Connor (CC BY 2.0)

Accessible sharing

We´re all familiar with the expression “sharing is caring” but what if what you share is not great? Imagine if not everyone can use and receive what you share. That is not good care! Is that a problem or not? Until now I have thought that good is enough but now I realise that good is not always enough anymore. This week I have undergone an eye opening process where I´ve starting to be aware of that I have a big responsibility to make my sharing accessible to everyone. It´s a pity that I haven´t become conscious of it till now but better late then never, right?

When you sit in a wheelchair it´s kind of obvious that you’re in need of some accessibility to be able to move around at for example pavements. In the digital world your requirements are not always that clear. For those in need, I know that there is a lot of “aid-tools” which enable accessibility but for me, the big question is… – Where do my trustworthiness begin?

When David Wiley is talking about sharing he says that we have to overcome the inner 2 year old in us. We have to stop thinking… -Mine, mine, it´s mine!!! We have to act against a culture of withholding and instead he argues for giving, generousness and openness in education. So, I guess that I´m an adolescence when it comes to sharing. I love to share, if someone think it´s good enough for them to use I gladly share it with them. No problem at all! It´s almost like a recognition for my ego (as the self-centred youth I am) if someone asks if it´s OK to use some of my teaching material. Feel free!

Now, one of my next goal is to enter the adulthood (after all I´m 46 years old). This is of cause going to be a process but I´m good at focusing when I´m motivated so I believe I can cross the finishing line before the end of 2017. I have to make all my prerecorded content accessible for everyone. The main thing that I have to learn (and then do) is to add subtitles to my lectures. I also have to think of colors in some slides. Are there other things I have to consider?

Reference
Wiley, David (2010) Open education and the future TED-talk.

Photo: Awesome and beautiful Linnea Blomberg by Karen Blomberg.

Increased opportunities

I sense increased opportunities by participating in this iteration of the ONL course. So what´s the secret to sucking me in to engage once again? Opportunities to interact and engage in this amazing community of fabulous, creative and knowledgeable people. Yesterday, when I was casually looking into our Goggle+ community I got inspired by Anita Berlin. She´s made a great post about digital literacies and ended it with a hilarious clip from the Ellen DeGeneres show with title “You posted that on Facebook?“. Ellen is showing pictures from some of the audience Facebook timelines and… oh my goodness – what did they thought of when they published some of the photos? The photos were (I believe) intended for personal amusement but obviously easy to find for those who wanted to. So we really have to think of what we upload to this thing called internet and we need to reflect of how we want to be perceived.

I try to keep my digital identity clean and sober. I do have a weakness for guinea pigs and that has resulted in their own Instagram but apart from that, I don´t think I have any skeleton in the cupboard…

David White (2014) is talking about our motivation to engage and that we have different modes that we use depending of the context we´re in. When we´re in visitor mode, we don’t leave any trace of our-self online, comparing to the residents mode, where we choose to be present with other people.

Last year I started this blog (in residents mode) and I felt then, and still does, that it is scary to write “in public” like this. I see this blog posting, as a challenge and it is a part of a plan for my professional development as a lecturer. I want to reflect, to write down my thoughts and get comments from wise colleagues and by that process and interaction grow and enhance my digital literacies.

References
David White: Visitors and residents (part 1)
David White: Visitors and residents – Credibility (part 2)

Photo: Damn…again by Lisa Brown (CC BY-NC 2.0)

New sensation

First of all I have to clarify that I´m alright, I´m actually fine. And with that statement I also would like to add a new sudden feeling of loneliness. One year ago I participated in the ONL161 together with Nour, Marc, Åsa, Jennifer and Alastair. Some weeks the struggle was real, especially when it came to find time for the studies. When completing the course I felt like I was on top of the world. I had a feeling of achievement, that I had accomplished something. Last term I was a co-facilitator in the ONL162. This term I am… nothing…

I´m the only one at my department that have participated in the ONL course. To be honest, I have a lack of companions and friendlessness at my department. No one to share the experience of ONL with. In order to take away this feeling, I guess I have a need for new strategies to keep in touch with my personal learning network. As a first step I have decided to be an open learner in the ONL171!

Photo: Loneliness by Paul (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

PhD application

For me, the eagerness and excitement for skiing has no boundaries, so instead of writing on my PhD application I went to Val d´Isère in France for a week with two of my best girlfriends. The enthusiasm I feel for this white perfect winter landscape goes beyond the joy I normal experience for things that I like to do or participate in. To slide down a smooth slop and be one with nature is a true blessing.

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Now, I´m back here (in front of the computer) trying to describe my research ambitions, full of energy and longings for next years skiing adventure.

So, what I want to do is learn more about how to prepare nursing students and/or registered nurses before participating in a scenario- or practical skill training. I would like to prepare them for their training in a digital environment using collaborative learning. I believe (or the hypothesis is) that the learning is increased by this approach.

I am aware of the expression “social loafing” and I do understand that this is a dilemma when working together in groups. Sometimes individuals tend to regress in their responsibility and engagement thus they believe that their effort is less important for the group. Nothing could be more wrong. The diversity emerge if everyone contributing with their knowledge, skills and attitude!

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Photo: Juicyrai by The CCA(C) experience (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Isn’t it a common responsibility we all have to each other as human being? To be willing to engage and to participate aiming to do things better?

Isn’t the real challenge for educators and teachers to get the group going? To encourage the groups team-working skills and to facilitate the different learning activities?

According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (2016) one of the most important skill required by employees is the ability to work in teams. The Swedish Society of Nursing and The Swedish Society of Medicine (2013) agrees with this view as they a few years ago made a common cause to highlight the importance of teamwork for health care professionals.

Let´s defiance the challenges of mastering work in teams and look ahead to the future were we´re dependent by one another to reach common goals, just like the highlanders tug-of-war. Individuals are not strong when we stand alone. Let’s work together and collaborate!

References
Svensk sjuksköterskeförening (2013) Teamarbete och förbättringskunskap. In Swedish.
Association of Graduate Recruiters (2016) Skills for Graduates in the 21st Century

Photo on top: Highland Regiments Tug-of-War by Jamie McCaffrey (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Diversity

Earlier today at the course “Academic teaching” (which I participate) we were discussion diversity. The learning outcome for me regarding to this topic is:

“Develop different strategies for equal treatment in the meeting with students / participants in heterogeneous groups.”

So, I´ve been thinking of how to embed this in my teaching to nursing students. The topic I teach is about how to administer and handle central venous catheters. One of the learning outcomes is that the students are expected to reflect over risks and how to avoid them.

The university I work in has a strategic platform (Strategy 2020) and Malmö University wants to base its work on four core values; diversity, creativity, quality and commitment to the community. I came up with the idea of using cases to reflect diversity.

In Sweden (were I live and work) we of course have a law for higher education (SFS 1992:1434). For instance, the students are expected to develop their ability to critical thinking and problem solving.

Lynn (1999) writes about the differences between case teaching and research cases. Lynn argues that when teachers use cases from research as an example or illustration the whole idea of case as a method fails thus the thinking has already been done and the conclusion is already made. The research case is more like a lecture where there is “a true” solution to the problem. Therefor, when using case as a method for develop skills in critical thinking the cases have to contain questions to raise. There should be no right answer and the students should be exposed to different problems, issues and choices. Lynn means that the students are supposed to come up with a solution and proposed action regarding to the present dilemma to succeed and develop their critical thinking.

When writing the cases I have to keep this in mind! I don´t want them to have only one right answer. Back to diversity. I will use name, age and gender as a base and they will all represent a diversity of people. Each case will have a picture of the “patient” and I will choose the pictures carefully so that they shows my intended diversity. I will give you one example of a case.

Muslim woman
Photo: Muslim woman by Peter Dahlgren (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Aisha, a female patient, is treated with total parenteral nutrition (TPN). She has a central venous catheters on her neck (it´s like been given “food” straight in to your blood). Aisha is wearing veil. The veil is “hiding” her central venous catheter so you can´t see the venous access or it´s connections.
-What should you, as a nurse, do?

It is very important to be able to observe the venous access and it´s connections on a daily bases. When having a ongoing infusion (TPN) it´s even more required.

I can think of some different paths to go in the discussion. The students can choose to talk about the ethic part of wearing a veil (the patients religious need vs. patients safety need). I will try to provoke the students a bit if they “chicken out” on the dilemma and I want them to give me an answer of how they think and why. I would also like them to talk about hygiene. The right answer is that the veil has to be change every day… but how will they make this happen? As I see it, they can choose different solutions to the problems.

I’m eager to try this out and I think (and hope) that we can talk to each other and have really constructive discussions of how to solve the different dilemmas. I am aware of that this is an example of how to work with diversity in teaching material. A further challenge would be to describe and have a well founded intention to work with diversity in the group of students, but that´s another blog post.

References
Lynn, L (1999). Teaching and learning with cases. A guidebook. Seven bridges press, New York.

SFS 1992:1434 (2016) Högskolelagen. Utbildningsdepartementet, Stockholm. (In Swedish)

Strategy 2020 (2016) Strategic Platform. Malmö University.

Photo: Diversity by Meena Kadri (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Safe bubbles

Yesterday I experienced an adventure. For the first time ever, I had a 5 minutes long presentation in English, at the international conference EDEN. I was invited by Alastair Creelman, who hosted the workshop Collaborative literacy in staff development, to talk about my experiences of being a participant at the ONL course. This is what I said.

 

The workshop focused on virtual mobility and how staff can be prepared for this. Questions like -What barriers are there and how can we overcome them? and -How can we develop collaborative literacy in our staff? were discussed. We used a Padlet as a common pin board. Me and Francisca from Holland, who also participated in the ONL course, attended the workshop via Adobe connect. We had some difficulties to hear what the other participants were saying but it was a fun and challenging experience.

EDEN

One thing that we did hear was a participant who talked about how to prepare colleagues for virtual collaboration by creating safe bubbles. For most of us it is scary to go public, to be judged by others and to dare to take the step out of our comfort zones. Which could be a necessity to experience new things. If the gate to that experience can be opened in a safe and friendly community as the ONL course is I think that is great. I do believe that participation in the ONL course can open up new horizons for lecturers professional world. I hope that some of the participants at the workshop got inspired to try out the next ONL course. It is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Photo: Bubbles by Brandy Hollins (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Ripples in the water

I am impatient for change!

I know that I possess a greater digital literacy then most of my colleagues and I do want to share, collaborate and explore our digital world with them. In a strange way it is difficult for me to know how to reach out for them. There´s absolutely nothing extraordinary or innovative in what I´m doing. I´m not trying to build any greatness and I´m not an expert, obviously… So, how do I get their attention?

When reading about the adult learner (=myself or a colleges of mine) and the andragogical model I think of the six different assumptions of learners. 1) At first we need to know why we have to learn. What benefits do we gain if we learn? 2) As adults we also have a self-concept of being in charge of our own lives and decisions. We learn when we want to. 3) Learning is build upon our previous experiences and 4) we adults are ready to learn when the timing for learning is right. When we learn 5) we do it best in a problem-based real-life context and when 6) we are motivated. Considering this I realize that I cannot teach another person directly, I can only facilitate the learning.

Usually, I´m always in a hurry, a restlessly person, don´t know why I can´t let things take its time. I want to proceed and get on with it. My strategy for now is based of what I learned in life so far: Sometimes things has to mature and meanwhile I can be a good example. Hopefully a curiosity about digital literacy will ripple through to one or two of my colleagues.

Reference
Knowles, Holton & Swanson (2015) The adult learning. 8th edition. New York, Routledge.

Photo: Vibes for life by Iyad Tibi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

 

Us vs. Them

It seems like I have a mission to complete. I promised to return with feedback from a meeting – and here it is. Earlier, in April, I wrote a blog post where I used the analogue of the three musketeers. I  contacted a colleges at another institution who is teaching the same topic as I am. My colleague agreed to meet me and to talk about collaboration.

The meeting started out with me explaining why I have made contact, what my purpose of the meeting was. I found myself arguing for not having any hidden agenda, just wanting to collaborate without any demands and expectations. A very strange way of making a case. I really do, have to improve myself in these situations in the future!

Anyway, my colleague is a clever guy, and he was able to filter my bad description of the intention to collaborate. We decided to 1) establish our initiative with our leaders, to 2) invite other colleagues to a physical meeting in some weeks and to 3) set up a group on Yammer, for digital everyday connection if needed, where we can share and collaborate.

Even though we are located on different floors, Us on 4th floor and Them on 5th floor, we do think, oddly enough, that we can collaborate and be the best colleagues ever. Although, we have an entire canal (1 floor/roof) dividing us in two, I prefer to see it as we share a whole canal (1 floor/roof) and that the “scaffolding” ought to make us stronger. May the force be with us!

Photo: http://www.pixabay.com

 

In love…!

I don´t know if it is the excitement of spring or something else but the feeling I have is pure, present and real. It is official now – I am in love!

In love with Coggle! Its usability goes beyond my wildest dreams of what a free mind map tool could be like. It is:

  • User-friendly
  • Aesthetic
  • Collaborative
  • Accessible
  • Did I say easy-to-use?

I have to restrain from using it too much. Or at least not bombarding my students with it. I could not help myself for telling them about my obsession. I told them they could easy collaborate with each other when studying for the exams (eh… lifetime). I will be seeing them in a couple of weeks from now and it will be exciting to hear about their experiences of mind mapping together. To wrap this up – Coggle has really lived up to my expectations. To be honest, I´m craving for the Awesome version!

Photo: Love by LongitudeLatitude (CC BY 2.0)