Technology is easy, the relationships more challenging.

The mind is curious, in more ways than one. A curious beast, in that the patterns developed over time can limit breadth of thinking, but yet creative, in the ability to form different views with a little lateral thinking. We do our best to create context along the journey, and taking the opportunity to reflect and share in an open environment has afforded a considerable change in context for me. Some of the most profound influences in my small corner have come from proponents of ambiguity and its value, not its challenge. Helen Haste’s new competencies of managing ambiguity, agency, responsibility, community and technological change converge with the global and connected societies – both virtual and physical –  in which we reside ( Haste 2009 ). Equally, John Seely Brown’s One Room School House ( Seely Brown 2012 ) promulgates the new features of our interconnection – working in a flattened pattern of relationships, of online communities of us all as learners, teaching each other. The linear and sequential is replaced by networked, connected and ambiguous. The information space we live in has changed, and our task is to help students take advantage of the new knowledge networks in order to know how to be truly literate.

In my workplace I have become more aware of how some of the most experienced teachers are not altogether confident in the virtual networked world and may perceive that it is hostile to learning. Is this a function of their own insecurity or a clinging, unflinching adherence to a industrial (medieval?) model of teaching? A theme running through my blog posts has been the relationship of my new perspectives to the context of my school. There is a distinct neurosis about the potential of my colleagues to just get it.  Perhaps I sell them a bit short. There are opportunities to be a voice for the benefits of digital and connected learning, and it’s baby steps…

Initially too I was overwhelmed by the sheer number and range of tools, platforms and online spaces now available. I have developed the view that not everything needs to be explored.  We are living in a very complex information environment, but we are built to adapt.  Choice has to be made and infowhelm mediated. I’ve learned to be ok with that. Sorry Facebook.

Technology changes everything! And yet not. Online learning and the new social and participatory cultures are innovative and new. And yet not. Making sense of a broader virtual world in which literacy is both personal and social is a paradigm shift for many and a foregone conclusion for others.  Digital literacy is a ongoing process that requires understanding of the informalisation and personalisation of learning; not just replacing old ways of operating but adopting innovative ways to look past the shiny stuff to the potential to create and share.

“Learning to manage knowledge acquisition in a world without edges is challenging” ( ) and requires an open mind. Canole ( 2012 ) suggests the new technologies require skills of peer critiquing, community formation and managing digital identity in virtual spaces. That has certainly been a hallmark of writing on blogs, forums, sharing on Twitter, adding to Diigo and connecting through other platforms. Collective aggregation has enhanced my capacity to share with online communities but more importantly my recognition of the value of the blog in enriching the lives of all in social communities. The richer picture of remixed, shared ideas by geographically dispersed personae connecting within a series of collaborative networks is a vision of an evolving information ecology.

Conole, G. (2012). Open, social and participatory media, Chapter 4. In G. Conole, Designing for learning in an open world. New York, NY: Springer.

Haste, H. (2009) Technology and youth. Retrieved from

Seely Brown, J. (2012) The Global one-room schoolhouse. Retrieved from



Content curation – the crux of collaborative learning

Content curation in 21st century education through the lens of digital literacy.

The digital essay will most likely be in Tumblr, as it is there is arguably more scope for varying features. Weebly is the alternative format. That’s still a little experimental. I will be seeking to

  • define aspects of content curation and its basis in research, particularly in the context of collaborative learning
  • consider the impact of curation on teachers and learners to create value in the classroom
  • relate content curation to the wider goal of improving digital literacy, moving towards fluency

Empowering learners and teachers to curate their own content is central to moving towards a 21st century digital fluency.  The new technological landscape demands a change in culture in schools, a paradigm shift in mindset.  Literacy is inextricably linked to connection and collaboration, and this becomes a catalyst for innovation in learning. The story of connection is a story of relationships. The value of the new technologies is that anyone can easily share content. It is not limited to teachers (or even teacher librarians) media organisations or those traditionally who exercise control and influence.

According to danah boyd, the power is now in the hands of those who control our limited attention. (boyd, 2010) The challenge for educators is to nurture a pedagogy that focuses on learners in this new context of knowledge networks, harnessing the power of new media and curated content and encouraging learners to create their own. I plan to look at how this plays out in the context of the classroom, the shifting relationships of teachers and students as learners and the effect this has on the progress from digital literacy to fluency.


Belanca, J.A. & Brandt, R.S. (2010) 21st century skills: Rethinking how students learn. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

boyd, d. (2010) Streams of content: limited attention, the flow of information through social media

Conole, G. (2012) Designing for learning in an open world. New York, NY: Springer.

Mihailidis, P., & Cohen, J. N. (2013). Exploring curation as a core competency in digital and media literacy education. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. Retrieved 12 May 2014 from

Philip, T. M., & Garcia, A. D. (2013). The Importance of still teaching the iGeneration: New technologies and the centrality of pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review, 83(2), 300–319,400–401. Retrieved from

Price, D. (2013) Open: How we’ll work, live and learn in the future. England: Crux

Waters, S. (2013) The flip-a-holic’s ultimate guide to subscribing, curating and sharing using Flipboard

White, N. (2014). Student curators, powerful learning. Tech and Learning.