Growing my skills – one Photoshop edit at a time

This week marks my evolution over the last few weeks with my Networked Learning Project. When I began this project, I had a hard time deciding what skill I was going to track my progress and growth in while only relying on the internet for resources and help. I finally decided to work on expanding my skillset with a hobby I have only made limited time for – editing my photos using Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop for me was the perfect Christmas present that I vowed to spend time with, but it isn’t a program that’s ready to go at the touch of a button.

When I began to consult my learning networks for help with Adobe Photoshop, I first went to my connections on Pinterest and made a board of all the resources I found. Then I turned to the resources I collected and detailed in my previous post. However, I still felt like there were other resources I needed.

This video clip highlights some of my goals with the Networked Learning Project as well as a new skill I am working on mastering with Photoshop – light! I started with one of my simple Photoshop resources, but added a free Adobe Elements action calledBoost It! from The Coffee Shop Blog.

I believe that for networked learning to provide the richest interactions, the learning needs to involve the use of communication technologies, online material and communities, along with the key role of human interaction.  The Popplet I created in my entry a couple weeks ago provides examples of how my own networks support this idea. I have and thrive with online-based networks, but my largest network consist of the education professionals I ask for advice and collaborate with mainly in-personal (although of course there are asynchronous communication exchanges) Although I almost exclusively consult the internet for resources for many of my problems, I still use my human networks to dream up those questions, verify the response I am seeing online and share that information face-to-face with dialogue and in-person collaboration.

I will continue to embrace the networked learning philosophy and continue to strive for the balance of online communications with face-to-face encounters. Almost every problem I have, I turn to my learning networks for answers whether it’s a question about a recipe (Pinterest), a philosophical education question (Twitter and Voxer), or a birthday gift idea (Facebook) along with talking to my husband, mom, or twin sister. The way that the digital universe has expanded it is no longer valid to rely on one singular source as the only reference point when literally hundreds of thousands of references exist on a multitude of topics.

With regards to my students, I definitely support building students’ capacity for networked learning. Giving the students the tools to find and be supported by legitimate and appropriate learning networks also should be coupled with a shift in the teaching role from the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side”. The more I guide students towards developing essential networks for their own learning and how to facilitate their communication, the more I feel that they can develop into independent learners. In this age of interconnected knowledge, it is more important than ever that students are taught how to engage with legitimate networks for their learning and how to sift through the information they glean from these.

Even after I turn in this project, I look forward to continuing to chronicle my work mastering Photoshop, so stay tuned!

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