Sunday, December 5, 2010

Support Networks

While developing this, I realised that I have a limited support network. I am very greatful to my two sons who support me in the care of their sister who is disabled. Without their support, I would not have been able to achieve the small amount of formal learning I have achieved recently and I would not be able to undertake the training work I do .

Online communities are a great option for me to form networks and connect with people and I realise I should utilise these options to a much greater extent. I have been introduced to Communities of Practice which will provide current information, innovative ideas, opportunities to share and opportunities to connect and for discussion. I hope to fill gaps in my network through this medium.

Below is a review of a valued element of my support network.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Support Networks: Communities of Practice

The Spruz, E-Leaders Gippsland Region, was developed by Junita as part of her role as E-leader in the Gippsland Region of Victoria. E-travellers can access information here and receive reports of activities related to the project. Over the course of the project, Junita has added many resources to assist e-travellers on their journey.

This site is an invaluable  resource as it is a 'one-stop-shop' for all things "E". At present there are three groups which can be built to reflect people's interests and needs. There is also a Forum to create converstion and to connect with others. There are presently seventeen members; some from outside the Gippsland region.

While this fledgling Community of Practice does not include features of some other Communities of Practice, it is an excellent repository of resources and it has the potential to encourage connection of like minded people as they build their e-learning experiences and as a beginning practioner, it is an excellent starting point.

The things I will look for in a Community of Practice will include a site that is open, welcoming and easy to access. It will encourages exploration and participation. There will be forums for discussion and connection. There will be opportunities to learn and grow knowledge and skills.

My intention is to engage more with this site and encourage others to visit and join. Having explored a number of Communities of Practice throughout this week, I am aware that each serves a different purpose. I have concluded that it necessary to belong to more than one to expand networks and expand knowledge and skills and aim to participate more in the ones of which I am a member. I will select two of these to meet other needs as I believe belonging to more will impact my ability to participate.

The slide show below gives a brief overview of the E-leaders Gippsland Region Spruz.

E Leaders Gippsland Region

e-leaders Gippsland Region

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Art of Reflection

 Challenge Perceptions
Image located here:

This blog has been developed for a course titled Connect and Reflect. The focus is professional development. In the past week, we have been challenging our perceptions, exploring ways in which to provide and receive effective feedback and developing reflective skills. We are also reflecting on ethics in our practice. We have looked at models for reflection and practiced reflective writing.  As part of the reflective process, we have been encouraged to blog. The process of documenting experiences and thoughts leads to deeper reflection and when shared, invites feedback. This feedback is invaluable as it provides alternative perspectives and encourages further reflection. 

This is a list of the attributes of a reflector. This list appears in this Reusable Learning Object. It is titled “Critical Reflection”.
A reflector is...
  • Self aware
  • Open to other’s ideas
  • Able to accept praise or criticism
  • Imaginative
  • Enquiring
  • Able to think laterally
  • Able to challenge their assumptions
  • Able to acknowledge their emotional side
  • Empathetic
  • Able to see things from other perspectives
  • A reflector does not jump to conclusions!
    Skills required by a reflector include:
    • Writing
    • Looking
    • Thinking
    • Doing
    • Dialogue
    • Keeping records

    By engaging in this learning topic, I am working toward improving my skills in providing effective feedback. I realise the value of immediate feedback and how posing appropriate questions can lead to deeper reflection and understanding. Through the learning activities for this topic, I have realised that I do not always see the whole. I need to hone my skills of observation. 

    By using a model for reflective writing and sharing this writing, I received constructive feedback which enabled me to gain a different perspective of an incident which had troubled me. I have identified gaps in my ability to reflect deeply and can work towards more insightful reflection.  I note that many models reflect David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle but recognise that there is no right or wrong model. 

    My professional behaviours are guided by legislation, standards and codes of practice and principles that are interpreted in organisational policy and procedure. I have questioned how my personal values and bias meld with these and believe that I practice within the determined framework.

    I am so glad I embarked on this journey and relish the challenges it brings.

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Mind Mapping  Mind mapping is a very useful tool in facilitating learning. It gives a "visual" to a concept and links and organises information. Mind mapping can be used for planning and organising, evaluating, explaining, brainstorming and reviewing and can be used collaboratively or individually.

    The above link provides a mind map of my experience with Web 2.0 Tools.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Time for Reflection and Connection

    Now I have established a peaceful view, found a distraction and shared some food, it is time to record some goals for my e-journey. 

    I have embarked on this travel in the search of personal development which I have not previously accessed. I have always accessed internet tools in my training practice beginning with on-line games that build literacy, numeracy and basic IT skills. 

    I ventured into the world of wiki, creating a resource for blended delivery. This wiki provided a forum for students to interact with me and with their peers. It provided links to resources and activities and assessment tasks could be accessed via the wiki providing students the opportunity to chose work that reflected their interests.  The main aim was to promote self-learning through offering choice and by offering 'tasters' of what can be achieved on-line. The wiki also offered the opportunity for self-paced learning. Students were encouraged to develop their own wikis as e-portfolios and this process was shared with a colleague with a similar vision.

    Unfortunately, this journey ended and the wiki remains idle, gathering cyber dust and waiting for the second coming. I began facilitating an entirely different course which is challenging in different ways and has afforded me the opportunity for much reflection. Facilitating this course has been an experience which has led me to recognise the need for personal development through developing networks and expanding skills in the area of e-learning. I hope to expand my horizons by 'connecting' with others who have different experiences and perspectives. 

    The overall learning goal is to learn as much as possible thereby growing facilitation and assessment skills. 

    The short term goal is to develop a more specific focus so I can master one skill before heading off onto another. 

    Sooo much temptation... so back to reflection...

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Easy Mocha Slice

    This is a favourite of foraging teens.
    Dry ingredients
    • 8 ozs Marie or Malt Biscuits, crushed
    • 1 heaped dessertspoon of coffee powder
    • 2 heaped dessertspoons of cocoa
    Wet ingredients
    • 4ozs melted butter
    • 1/2 tin condensed milk
    • 1-2 ozs cooking chocolate, melted
    Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Press into tin.
    Melt together 2/3oz of copha and 5 ozs of melted chocolate and spread over the slice. Pipe rows of melted white chocolate over and create pattern by passing a skewer through. Allow to set before cutting into squares.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Small Pond for Frogs

    Small Pond for Frogs

    This is a photo of the pond installed in May 2010. It fills a hole left by a tree stump and improves the view from the lounge room window. We hope some frogs will find it although the spray may deter them. Meanwhile, birds are enjoying the spray. The native violets are spreading and will soon cover the area and the edge of the pond.