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)

Holding breath

You think you have the right answer and suddenly it´s like you don´t. How could you be so wrong? Did you miss a vital piece of information? Maybe, just maybe the movement that you thought you knew is changing direction and your not sure if everyone will follow or not.

In response to the U.S Justice Department, Berkley, The University of California will make their content (tens of thousands of podcasts and video lectures) unavailable for public access. Causes that are named in the article from Inside Higher Ed are protection from pirates and economical issues with limited resources.

I have the felling of going backwards, but I could be wrong. I just thought… after all, maybe the path wasn´t as established as I thought it was. It´s like holding my breath. Waiting and see what the future will bring.

Photo: Holding Breath by Johanes Randy Prakoso (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)

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).

 

Digital me

Who am I? I´m not sure if I have the answer to that question. For me it is something ambiguous over the possibilities to be whoever I want to be. And who do I want to be? Am I going for the real thing or the fake one? Am I a trickster if I chose not to be perfectly honest of who I am? The AIM of different accounts in social media determines. This account is professional and today I have learned about “the Grandma rule” in Charlotta Hillis blog post, so I think I stick and aim for the real thing.

Usually, right now I am more often then not, a visitor on the web. I would like to engage more and I wish that I was able to contribute in a greater extent. White & Le Cornu (2011) argues that establishment affects online presence and behavior. I agree! Most of my collegues don’t blog, they’re not on Twitter in a professional purpose and then I don’t. Is it a cultural context thing?  Does it depend on which expectations your surroundings have on you? At the same time, someone have to take the lead and start, right?

When reading about digital literacy I understand that this is a question of a development process. At the first stages in the process you are learning functional skills about access and digital tools. Further on you achieve higher skills and capabilities to use in the digital context. Beetham & Sharpe (2010) has presented a framework of the process where I think that I´ve nearly made it to the top… I stumbled at the finish line. I have access and awareness, I have the skills and I do practice it… but who am I? What is my identity?

I hope that this course will help me to find out a little more about the “digital me”.

References
Developing digital literacies (2014) JISC guide.
White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

Photo: Fairy flower queen by June Yarham (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)