Internship at ODL

I didn’t see this coming; my interest in technology and how it intersects with the many facets of life. I wasn’t the child who ever had a solid idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up. When I was three I wanted to be a teacher, at seven a lawyer, at ten a forensic scientist, at fifteen a chemist and now, who knows? But one thing that never seemed to leave, was my fascination with anything computerized. I have been taking computer classes since I was six years old and continued throughout high school but only because I thought that it would be useful to be ‘technologically-savvy’. With the direction our world is headed, it turns out I was right. Recently, I have become a firm believer that technology is a tool created by humans, to be used to our advantage and the advancement of our species. This is the main reason that I know that no matter what path in life I take, technology will be a part of it and will be used to further my goals.

It is then probably no surprise to you that I applied for this internship position at the Office of Digital Learning. However, it wasn’t until after I applied that I realized that this summer internship was ‘connecting dots’. Dots that I didn’t even realize I had set. In my last couple years of high school, I carried out a research project on nearby primary (elementary & middle) schools and high schools investigating the impact technology had on learning in the classroom. This brought to my attention the limited technological devices available to public schools in my country, Jamaica, and the lack of expertise and ‘forward-thinkers’ in the classroom. It also highlighted the negative impacts, though outweighed by the positive, and the varied responses of students based on their ages and openness to knowledge. Having worked at ODL for the past few weeks, I have realized that I was investigating Digital Learning, whether or not I was aware of it at the time.

This surface level introduction to Digital Learning was not just a ticket to passing that class but it was something I had a growing interest for. For the past few weeks, I have been learning about technology and its role in higher education; more specifically exploring critical questions and opportunities for digital learning here at Middlebury College. When I started this job in May, digital learning was simply using technology in the classroom (a narrow net set due to a limited understanding). This narrow net left no ‘wiggle-room’ for questions as I was seeking a definite answer to my first question – What did I get myself into? But as the days, weeks and months went by that net widened and so did its holes. I never thought I would be so comfortable and confident in an environment that offers more questions than answers. Each time I thought I was safely in the net (having found an answer to a question), that answer bred more questions and I slipped down another hole in the net. Who knew not knowing all the answers and climbing out of ‘rabbit-holes’ would be such fun and insightful?

Of all the projects I have worked on this summer, I would have to say that MiddCreate was my favorite. My very first task on my first day of work was to explore                                         MiddCreate. I will have you know that I am still exploring MiddCreate, the Domain of One’s Own initiative and the theory behind and pedagogical goals of Middlebury’s adoption of DoOO. I knew that when I told Amy I was finished with the task, I really wasn’t; I had just accepted that this would be an ongoing project, an ongoing interest. To have a free space on the web to create anything was exciting for me and still is. The opportunity to begin shaping a digital identity, whatever it may be, is like having blank canvas and some acrylic paint on the side. I don’t know if my fascination with MiddCreate and digital learning is because they appeal to my artistry and creativity or if in the future my line of work will take me down a similar path but I do know that whatever the case maybe I’m enjoying it.





Nadani Dixon

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