Reflecting on the “Networked” approach

This was an amazing experience! I learned how to create a basic iOS app using Xcode and Swift and deployed it to my phone. I have been wanting to do this for over a year now. There were a few reasons for not doing this sooner but two of the major reasons were time (the lack of) and fear of the unknown. I conquered both! And in the process, I successfully created two apps and they now both reside on my phone. Success! Whew!

There weren’t a shortage of online resources, but it did take some time locating the most relevant, quality resources and those that would best suit my needs based on my experience level (beginner). Before starting the project, I spent approximately 2-3 hours searching the web for the exact type of resources that I wanted to use – bookmarking and documenting each of them as I went along.

I originally had planned on creating a single mobile app (but actually created two). I figured it was an attainable goal that I could accomplish within 2 weeks. I used an Apple tutorial located on the Apple Developer website to create my first app. The online tutorial was very detailed and included step-by-step instructions along with screen shots every step of the way. It was a perfect starting point! As I progressed through the tutorial and gained some confidence, I started to tweak things. Quickly I learned that that was not the best idea and parts of the app were not working correctly. I had to repeat several sections of the tutorial multiple times to fix the “bugs”. The positive side of that was that I learned a lot through repetition and having a resource to always refer back to was invaluable.

For the second app, I used only YouTube videos. Being able to watch a coding demonstration and hearing it explained, created a slightly different learning experience than simply reading instructions and viewing screen shots. The YouTube videos were more dynamic, but I learned equally from using both methods. I didn’t realize how much I had learned from the online Apple tutorial until I started watching the YouTube lessons and realized that I actually had a basic understanding of what was being demonstrated. Cue the aha moment! On the flip side, I also learned new concepts and techniques from the YouTube videos that I didn’t get from reading the online tutorial. The bottom line was that each method complimented the other.

I will continue using the “networked” approach for learning. I think that having resources that you can reference repeatedly during the learning process, is very important and helps to reinforce learning. Not only can this approach be used for acquiring a new skill set, it can also be used to update or refresh previous skills as well as teach, share, and collaborate within an online environment.

I currently encourage my students to incorporate and use this approach for their learning and most definitely will continue to do so. I see it as a necessary supplemental approach to traditional learning both online and in the classroom. In the field of technology in which I teach, it moves very quickly and in order to keep current with what’s needed in this industry and the skills and knowledge that it demands, learning new skills and refreshing old skills, never ceases. A “networked” approach supports the industry’s needs. However, I will continue to stress the importance of time management, motivation, self-learning, and patience that this method requires.

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