INF532 Evaluative Report

a) An evaluative statement using the networked learning experiences documented on your Thinkspace blog as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of this subject

Accessing and using information has provided challenges for humans for as long as it has been recorded. Where once information was a scarce and precious commodity, since the 1990’s the issue has been filtering and selecting from the mass of information available (Bawden & Robinson, 2009). Today a simple web search comes up with so many hits it could take years to view them all, even if only fleetingly (O’Connell, 2015). Filtering, selecting and managing the overwhelming flow is difficult, leading to the identification of various information pathologies such as Information Anxiety, Infobesity and Satisficing (Bawden & Robinson, p.185). This and other challenges were explored in the post Challenges regarding the nature of information (Bailie, 2015 May 28). Strategic use of tools has become an essential habit of anyone working in a knowledge environment. These encompass tools for bookmarking and tagging (Diigo), storing, organising and note taking (Evernote), keeping up with blog posts (Feedly), saving to read later (Pocket) and curating and sharing (Pearltrees), and each have their place and (sometimes overlapping) purpose. Curation is an important strategy of teacher librarians who add context before sharing with students and other teachers (Bailie, 2015 May 7b). The complaint by some teachers that students should locate their own online resources, instead of the teacher librarian curated and catalogued Pearltree collections (McQueen, 2015 May 22) seems extraordinary as curating resources for learners has long been the role of the teacher librarian, except that previously it was done via the careful selection of physical items to include in the collection. Curation should be integrated into information literacy programs in teacher librarian supported student learning experiences (O’Connell, 2011).

“A connected educator is one who uses technology and social media to personalize learning for both personal and professional growth” (Whitby, 2013). They deliberately develop their positive online reputation, take advantage of just in time professional learning opportunities such as webinars and tweetchats, and blog to share and reflect (Gerstein, 2013). Connected educators understand network literacy (Bailie, 2015 March 30) and appreciate the importance of teaching students to cultivate networks for learning (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011) by teaching both about, and through networks (Pegrum, 2010). They know this is vital so as to not merely replace the digital divide (largely overcome through almost ubiquitous online access afforded by mobile devices (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, Meeker 2015)) with a new divide characterised by those who do, and those who do not, connect through learning networks. The power of networks cannot be underestimated and was directly experienced in the development and construction of a digital artefact (Bailie, 2015 May 7a).

“Learning to collaborate with others and connect through technology are essential skills in a knowledge-based economy” (O’Connell, Lindsay & Wall, 2015). Educators must themselves be self-directed, socially connected learners who cultivate a Personal Learning Network (PLN) as part of their Personal Learning Environment (PLE) (Wheeler, 2010). Patnoudes (2012) describes the PLN as itself a system for learning. Today teachers need to be multi-literate, embracing the new literacies of the 21st century (Nussbaum-Beach & Hall, 2012) and willing digital participants in the creation of knowledge (Rheingold, 2012,  p.115). They need to be open to new ideas, cultivate a growth mindset (Dweck, 2010), and collaborate with peers, colleagues and students regardless of whether they are in the same building or on the other side of the world (Nussbaum-Beach & Hall, 2012, Bailie, 2015 March 12). Sharing is perhaps the most important thing as the act of sharing benefits the teacher, her direct connections and the education community as a whole. Sharing is a responsibility, not an optional extra (Gerstein, 2015). When looking for information, connected learners can consciously and deliberately turn to social networks instead of search engines – success depends on the breadth, depth and size of the network (Pegrum, 2010). “The key to becoming a successful ‘connected educator-learner’ involves spending the time needed to learn how to learn and share in an open, connected environment.” (Rheingold et al, 2015, p.14).

“Blended learning is about good teaching and making the most of our online and face to face environments” (Jonson, 2014). It requires deliberate and careful instructional planning. Classroom interactions shift from teacher-student to student-student and technology becomes a space for learning (Jonson, 2014). Maffei (2015) has concerns that online and flipped learning removes the teacher’s ability to make formative assessments through personal observation and fears that these recent trends are leading us down the path of replacing teachers (who enable learning) with instructors (who provide training). The teachers’ direct, face to face involvement with the students in the Skype and Twitter stories (Bailie 2015, May 14) was crucial to their success. Do middle and junior level children have the intrinsic motivation necessary for success in online learning without a teacher in a physical classroom? (Bailie, 2015 May 28).

Galan (2014) reminds us that face to face interactions are equally important for teachers. Often these face to face meetings are made possible by the prior online connection.

Instructional design supports the process of learning rather than the process of teaching (Morrison, 2013). Merrill (2002) has identified five first principles which underpin instructional design models. Both school-based and online classroom engagement and learning are strengthened through intentional instructional design. 21st-century skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, decision making, communication and collaboration are carefully scaffolded and the digital and physical work together for formal and informal learning activities (Bailie 2015 May 14). A flexible approach opens the way for personalised learning; digital tools facilitate its realisation.

Wheeler (2015) identifies Learner 2.0 – young people who have been immersed in technology their entire lives. Millenials increasingly prefer visual over text media (Meeker 2015). In designing learning experiences we must meet our students where they are. Merrill’s number one first principle is that learning is promoted when learners are engaged in solving real-world problems (2002). This can be extended to include using their real-world online tools and the socially connected medium where they live. Van Eck confirms this saying “Learning that occurs in meaningful and relevant contexts is more effective than learning that occurs outside of those contexts (2006, p.18).

b) A reflective statement on your development as a connected educator as a result of studying INF532, and the implications for your role as a ‘connected leader’ within your school community, and/or at district/state/national level

In March 2014 when I was embarking on INF530, the keystone subject of this course, I wrote:

What do I hope to get from this course? A way of formalising/legitimising the reading, connecting, curating, commenting, learning I already do. Skills in interrogating and articulating my thoughts about the mass of information I come in contact with each day. More and better connection with outstanding educators (Bailie, 2014 March 5).

INF530 was a whirlwind tour and a terrific beginning but INF532 has given me new insight and appreciation for the potential implications of my own habits in knowledge networking for the students and teachers I work with.

I didn’t think I knew much, if anything about instructional design before this subject. Under the guise of Education Informatics I had discovered that Gagne’s nine events correlated well with my previous school’s Instructional Model (Bailie, 2014 April 23). But instructional design? Like other things, curating springs to mind, sometimes it turns out that you are already doing it, even if you didn’t know it had a name. As always, it is fabulous when you get confirmation that not only what you are doing is right, it has a body of academic research behind it too. Unconsciously, workshops that I present for teachers follow the five first principles outlined by Merrill, I will make conscious effort to use good instructional design in the learning experiences I plan in the future.

As described in the post The future – digital learning tools and strategies (Bailie, 2015 May 25) I see Blended Learning as the approach to online learning with the most chance of making a real difference to the students and teachers I work with. Excellent, professional teachers will not be replaced by online instructors anytime soon. While adults, myself included, may thrive in an online environment (particularly if they are well-connected and supported by social networks), the nuanced assessments teachers make through first-hand observation is unimaginable to me in a purely online learning environment, particularly for early and middle-years children. I will endeavour to provide leadership for a blended approach by:

  • continuing to support teachers using Google Classroom as their online classroom presence
  • promote the use of curation tools as a learning strategy – for example a Diigo group can be used for students to collaboratively research using the commenting feature to critique and discuss each others finds
  • discouraging the use of technology as a reward. The games on our iPads should be intrinsically linked to the curriculum, not a bonus for children who complete their real work early
  • creating, and supporting others to create, online resources for learning that have lasting value

Creating the digital artefact forced me to quickly develop new skills with a range of tools. This has given me confidence in my abilities to create resources for teachers and students, perhaps to support teachers who wish to introduce flipped learning or use such resources in a blended approach. Creating the artefact was very time consuming but I now feel confident in using Audacity, Powtoon, Moviemaker, and to demonstrate their use to others. My video was made up of multiple short clips, several made in Powtoon. Each one came together more quickly than the previous one. Going back and re-editing after some initial feedback was relatively painless, certainly in terms of the technological process, although selecting which content stayed and which went was more challenging. As an exercise in knowledge networking I thought it very successful – I was overwhelm by the number and generosity of responses to the survey which I shared through my networks. I was particularly pleased with Deborah Welsh’s critique when she said “Heather has practised what she preaches, in seeking, sensing and sharing ideas from her PLN. The medium becomes the message – together we know so much more.” (Welsh, 2015).

I have continued to display the habits of connected educators through this subject – I’ve been active on Twitter using the INF532 hashtag, shared resources to the Diigo group and posted to the forum. Sharing has become automatic. However, I’ve let myself and others down in one area. Like most students or workers I ensure I do everything that is explicitly required. At work I choose to go the extra mile when I can although with study there is always more to read and do than I have time for. Previous subjects, INF530 and INF536, both included compulsory, non-assessed, blog tasks which I dutifully completed. While I have completed most such “recommended” tasks for INF532, except in a couple of instances I have not “gone the extra mile” to comment on others’ blogs (another compulsory, non-assessed task in INF536) and I’m disappointed in myself that I haven’t. Commenting is time-consuming to do well, but balancing work, study and family means that unless required, it doesn’t get prioritised. This is something worth remembering when I despair of the lack of apparent interest of my colleagues in becoming connected. It is time-consuming, it can be scary to begin with, it isn’t easy and we are all busy.

Bibliography

Bailie, H. (2014, March 5). Why am I here? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2014/03/05/why-am-i-here/

Bailie, H. (2014, April 23). Module 2.7 Education Informatics [Blog post]. Retrieved from  http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2014/04/23/module-2-7-education-informatics/

Bailie, H. (2014, May 8). Digital essay proposal [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2014/05/08/digital-essay-proposal/

Bailie, H. (2015, March 12). Defining the connected educator [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/03/12/defining-the-connected-educator/

Bailie, H. (2015, March 30). Network literacy [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/03/30/network-literacy/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 7a).  Get connected with Google+ – a digital artefact [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/07/get-connected/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 7b). Information curation (and new tool no. 2) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/07/information-curation-and-new-tool-no-2/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 14). Supporting connected learners [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/14/supporting-connected-learners/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 25). The future – digital learning tools and strategies [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/25/the-future-digital-learning-tools-and-strategies/

Bailie, H. (2015 May 28). Challenges regarding the nature of information [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/05/28/challenges-regarding-the-nature-of-information/

Bawden, D., & Robinson, L. (2009). The dark side of information: overload, anxiety and other paradoxes and pathologies.Journal of Information Science, 35(2), 180–191.

Dweck, C. (2010). What is Mindset. Retrieved May 29, 2015, from http://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/about/index.html

Galan, C. (2014, October 2). Being a Connected Educator: Face to Face. Retrieved from http://blog.remind.com/being-a-connected-educator-face-to-face/

Gerstein, J. (2013). Educator as a social networked learner. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKY3scPIMd8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Gerstein, J. (2015, March 29). Sharing: A Responsibility of the Modern Educator. Retrieved from https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/sharing-a-responsibility-of-the-modern-educator/

Jonson, Jen. (2014). Blended learning and technology integration. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD8AUfGsCKg

McQueen, M. (2015, May 22).  ‘Beware of Online Filter Bubbles’: an important video to view [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/monique/2015/05/22/beware-of-online-filter-bubbles-an-important-video-to-view/

Maffai, T. (2015, May 21). Mapping the 21st Century Classroom — Bright. Retrieved from https://medium.com/bright/mapping-the-21st-century-classroom-d07b2166d44e

Meeker, M. (2015). 2015 Internet Trends Report. Retrieved from http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends

Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles Of instruction. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50 (3), 43-59.

Morrison, D. (2013). Why online courses [really] need an instructional design strategy. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/why-online-courses-really-need-an-instructional-design-strategy/

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

O’Connell, J. (2011). Teacher librarians are important [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://judyoconnell.com/2011/10/27/teacher-librarians-are-important/

O’Connell, J. (2015) Our connections and the flow of knowledge [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://judyoconnell.com/2015/03/14/our-connections-and-the-flow-of-knowledge/

O’Connell, J., Lindsay, J. and Wall, J. (2015) A new paradigm [INF532 Module 1.3] Retrieved May 30, 2015 from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-289791-dt-content-rid-651266_1/courses/S-INF532_201530_W_D/module1/1_3_new_paradigm.html

Patnoudes, E. (2012). Why (and how) you should create a personal learning network. Edudemic: Connecting education & technology. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/build-personal-learning-network/

Pegrum, M. (2010). ‘I Link, Therefore I Am’: Network literacy as a core digital literacy. In E-Learning and Digital Media, 7(4), 346-354

Rheingold, H. (2012). Net smart: how to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rheingold, H., Brett, G., Corneli, J., Danoff, C.J., Larson, K., Pierce, C., Ricaurte, P., and Terzi, F. (2015). The Peeragogy Handbook. 3rd Ed. Chicago, IL./Somerville, MA.: PubDomEd/Pierce Press. Retrieved 19 March, 2015 from http://peeragogy.org.

Richardson, W. and Mancabelli, R. (2011). Introduction: The power of networked learning. In Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE review, 41(2), 16-30.

Welsh, D. (2015, May 20). KN artefact critique [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/galloised/2015/05/20/kn-artefact-critique/

Wheeler, S. (2010). Anatomy of a PLE [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/anatomy-of-ple.html?

Wheeler, S. (2015). Meet Learner 2.0 [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.cz/2015/05/meet-learner-20.html?

Whitby, T. (2013, August 2). Okay, I’m connected. Now what? [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/okay-im-connected-now-what/

 

 

Challenges regarding the nature of information

The following is an edited version of a discussion forum post for Module 1.2

Based on your reading of Floridi, and Brown & Duguid, identify three (3) challenges regarding the nature of information that are of particular concern to you as a member of our information society. How do you propose to address these?

1.  The information explosion

Human knowledge is expanding at an exponential rate. From doubling approximately every century a hundred years ago, to doubling every twelve months now (and predicted to double every twelve hours with the expansion of the Internet of Things), individuals can only hope to be “experts” in narrower and narrower areas – there can be no “font of all knowledge” – so how do we know what or who to trust and how can we possibly keep up? We need to be creative and thoughtful about what actually is “the problem” and not always treat symptomatically. At a personal level I do my best to manage the flow of information coming at me by using a variety of digital tools: Diigo to tag and save links; Evernote to store, take notes and organise; Feedly to keep up with blogs I wish to read; Pocket to save for later articles of possible interest that I come across via Twitter but don’t have time to do anything with immediately.

2.  Environmental effects

“Paperless” might seem environmentally friendly but data centres don’t run on air – they consumed 1% of worlds electricity at the time Floridi wrote (p. 155), perhaps more now. (estimates suggest that the carbon footprint of data will outstrip that of aviation by 2020). Can the use of ICT provide benefits to other industries so as to balance out this environmental impact? I hope my largely paperless approach to work and study isn’t stymied by the energy required to power my personal devices and the cloud that supports them.

3.  The rise of the mega-university and online learning

This is already happening at tertiary level but will it filter down to secondary or even primary education? Mega universities can teach numbers of students unthinkable on a physical campus – is it possible that in the future we will have similar mega-schools? In my experience Distance/online learning requires a high level of intrinsic motivation while a physical school/teacher in the room provides for more extrinsic motivation – would children be sufficiently motivated – I don’t think so if the form of the online learning is merely replicating what happens in physical classrooms. I want to know how, as an information professional (ie teacher librarian) I can best support and remain relevant in any move to online learning.

References

Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (2002). Limits to information. In The social life of information (pp. 11-34). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Floridi, L. (2009). The Information Society and its philosophy: Introduction to the special issue on “The philosophy of information, its nature, and future developments”. Information Society, 25(3), 153-158. DOI: 10.1080/01972240902848583

The future – digital learning tools and strategies

End arrow

INF532 is almost at an end. The final forum thread asks us to share six strategies and tools I will take with me in the future. I thought them worth sharing here as well as on the forum.

Flipping teacher professional learning: with my newly acquired and/or enhanced skills in creating videos using tools such as Powtoon, Screencastify and Audacity I will provide further support and resources for the teacher professional learning workshops I regularly present at my school. Taking advice from Flip your PD for Extra Flexibility and Support I will create videos which give explanations and step by step instructions which teachers will be able to view beforehand thus minimizing the time needed for direct instruction in the workshop, freeing up time for hands-on activities and personalised support for individuals. Indiana Jen (author of the post) suggests that teachers often don’t find time to flip (ie view) before the lesson/workshop so the videos could also be provided in addition to direct instruction, allowing those slower to learn to revisit the instruction without holding back those who are ready to move forward and apply their new skills. The best “Flipping in advance” for teachers, suggests Jen is to have them ensure they can access and login to any tool you are using, prior to the session, by providing written or video instruction to assist – this can be a great time-saver, I’m sure we’ve all met teachers who need their hand held at every stage and who can dominate proceedings when things don’t work perfectly for them first time. The videos will also allow “flipping after the fact” enabling teachers to revisit the instruction as and when needed, or for a catch-up for those who missed out.

Blended Learning is a strategy that I would like to support our staff in exploring with their students. My school is working toward a BYO device model for years 6-12, with sets of iPads and Chromebooks for years P-5. Currently in the senior school (9-12) BYOD is on an ad hoc basis. There is a computer lab, 12 desktop PCs in the library, and several trolleys of aging laptops available. In the middle school (3-8) there is a set of iPads exclusively used by years 3-5, enough desktop PCs for one class in the library and three sets of Chromebooks. There is a strong focus on extension for capable students alongside significant learning support for those with difficulties. Most (if not all) students have adequate access to internet-connected devices at home.

Blended learning will best suit this audience, and their teachers, particularly as the availability of technology in the classroom increases. Using online environments such as Google Classroom already enable some teachers to provide opportunities for socially constructed learning through discussions and collaborative projects. Teachers are keen to provide enrichment for the capable and more support for those who need it; well-constructed online environments, in conjunction with face to face teaching, can support both.

Pearltrees has been a revelation in terms of new tools explored in this session. Curating is a big part of what I do both for my personal learning needs and for students and teachers through the library. Pearltrees is very flexible and easy to use, I’m absolutely loving the way any link I tweet is waiting in my “in tray” ready to be organised into a collection the next time I visit. I also appreciate the ability to organise material into sections within collections and being able to customise the background image and editorial header text for each collection. Starting new collections and saving links couldn’t be easier either, as is creating embeddable widgets to display collections on other sites which I will use extensively as our LibGuides site develops. I’m even on the verge of upgrading to a paid subscription so that I can add annotations to individual items. Love, love, love it! Check out my growing collection of Pearls:

Hbailie

Arrow image: Free for commercial use / No attribution required from Pixabay http://pixabay.com/en/arrow-button-end-final-finish-157495/ 

New tool no. 4: Quora

According to Quora their mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge. It is an online community (a peer to peer learning platform) where members ask questions generally or specifically of other members, and answer questions asked by others. They can also up or down vote others’ responses. It is used to find answers to obscure “non-googleable” needs like “How does it feel to be CEO of a startup company” or to canvas personal opinions “should I take the job offer from Google or Microsoft”. Members can follow other members and topics – their home feed and update emails are customised accordingly.

I’ve been a member for some years (serial joiner that I am I joined up at a PD where it was mentioned) and follow a range of topics related to library, education, technology, and where I live but pretty much ignored till this task came around. What I’ve seen hasn’t inspired me. It’s not that there’s no content, just that nothing I have seen has fulfilled a compelling need. It’s a venue for people to express their opinion and if you are interested or just like to be diverted I guess you would enjoy it. I’ve been unable to excite others either: to research this post I asked “Is Quora worthwhile?” with some further detail explaining the purpose of this review. That was on April 3 but other than Quora staff changing the title to “How and why is Quora worthwhile” (perhaps they thought my version had negative connotations) I’ve had no response.

Flexible learning

Todhunter’s article uses the context of the university sector. How does his summary of the definitions and criteria relate to your sector of education? What will be your definition of flexible learning?

Todhunter (2013) quotes the Australian National Training Authority’s definition of flexible learning: “anticipating and responding to [students’] ever-changing needs and expectations, thus expanding their choice in what, when, where, and how they learn” (Backroad Connections Pty Ltd, 2005, p. 3).

It is described as a philosophy, not a technology, although online/e-learning technologies are important in flexible learning.

He finds that in reality it mostly refers to how students interact with staff, resources, and other students and found little flexibility in terms of when and how they study; their choice of courses; length of study, or modes of assessment.

Flexible learning most closely resembles individualised or personalised learning in primary and secondary education although this is more about the teacher tailoring the curriculum to her specific students than choice. This sector continues to group students by age, and the curriculum, although offering some flexibility in delivery, is increasingly standardised across the country. At the culminating point, VCE here in Victoria, it is highly regulated by VCAA, particularly in regard to assessment. An interesting exception to the general rule is Templestowe College in Melbourne which has introduced radical changes to create flexibility for students. There are no year levels and no compulsory subjects instead personalised programs are tailored to each student. Enrolments have doubled in five years and student satisfaction and engagement are very high.

Approaches such as project-based learning, challenged-based learning and inquiry-based learning all offer students flexibility in what and how they learn and are most successful when well supported and scaffolded by teachers. I believe all curriculum requirements could be met in a well-supported inquiry/challenge/project program but most schools, my own included, continue to separate English and mathematics in the primary levels and teach all subjects as separate entities in the secondary sector.

Reference

Todhunter, B (2013) LOL — limitations of online learning — are we selling the open and distance education message short? Distance Education, 34(2), p.232-252

 

New tool no. 3 – eduCanon

The latest tool I have evaluated links closely with module 5.3, Flipped Classrooms, as it is a tool that could be used to create lessons in a flipped classroom environment.

eduCanon is an online tool for creating and sharing interactive video lessons. Start with a clip from a video platform (YouTube, TeacherTube, Vimeo, Khan Academy, TedEd and more), crop to just the selection you wish to show, add questions at the time you wish them answered, save and share. You can register your students so that you know who has viewed and whether their answers were correct or share anonymously. The completed video lessons (known as bulbs) can also be embedded in any website or LMS.

Like similar websites and tools, this is a commercial enterprise so the free version has limitations. With it you can:

  • have up to 8 classes
  • monitor an unlimited number of students
  • create unlimited lessons
  • share with colleagues

but your question types are limited to multiple choice, check all that apply and reflective pause.

Upgrading to premium (US$89 per year) gives you

  • fill in the blank and free response question types
  • ability to skip to a time point in the video
  • autograding
  • copying and editing public lessons
  • ability for your students to create lessons
  • worksheet printing
  • downloadable grades

There is also a “Blended school” version with even more functions starting at US$990 per year.

Free accounts offer three ways to share:

  1. With students – ie those you have registered. This will record their responses
  2. Share unique list code – students don’t have to be registered. Responses will be recorded but not linked to an individual
  3. Share with colleagues – for teachers to copy. No login needed to view but no tracking.

Each version includes a different link and embed code.

I have used the embed code from Unique list code to share a bulb I created for a lesson I created about one of my pet hates. You might not show this one to students but it’s a bit of fun:

This the Unique List code link – if you use it you are asked to enter your name and email address before being taken to the video.

I haven’t yet used this with students so it’s difficult to comment on how well eduCanon is works from their perspective but even the simple facility to easily crop a video to just the section you wish to show and share the link or embed is appealing. I can see applications for this not just in the Flipped Learning environment but also in situations where you want students to be able to view and answer questions at their own pace.

Word of warning: when this was demonstrated to me by our media studies teacher he was using a clip from a movie that his students were studying. There were some inappropriate ads showing at the bottom of the screen. Today I turned off my Adblock Plus and Adblock for YouTube extensions but didn’t see any ads appear at all. I’m not sure when or why advertising will appear, whether it is related to the video being shown or something from eduCanon itself (I certainly hope not!) but it’s something to be aware of.

Knowledge networking artefact critique

Part of assignment 2 for INF532 is to critique an artefact created by a fellow student for assignment 1, using the assessment rubric criteria as a guide:

  • Demonstrates effective use of digital tool/s for creative knowledge construction
  • Demonstrates an understanding of instructional design and the application of KN theory to the creation of a knowledge networking artefact

My critique is of Simon Kaddissi’s Connected Learning:

Simon has used an iMovie trailer template, where sections of content are punctuated with animated links, to construct his artefact. This tool has been used competently although sometimes the background music either disappeared or competed with the narration. The video grabbed attention at the beginning with exciting music and a range of interesting still images. Further in there was potential for engagement to wane with long sections of narration over single text-based slides. The topic – what is connected learning, and target audience – year 10-12 students, were clearly articulated however I feel the language may be too academic for this level. There was some recall of prior knowledge elicited.

Compelling reasons for engaging in connected learning were articulated, but specific and relatable examples to give students clear steps for moving forward were lacking. The “tips for getting started” consisted of reading the text on the screen with no further elaboration – what does “be a beacon of light” mean in this context? In the “Frequently Asked Questions” section, the narration seemed to shift focus from addressing students to addressing teachers.

Simon has produced a competent knowledge networking video demonstrating some use of instructional design theory. It could be improved with more visual variety and a less formal, more conversational script.

 

Supporting connected learners

Module 5.2 Skype and Twitter

I like Silvia Tolisano’s early assertion that there is a difference between a Skype call and a Learning call. As we are so often reminded, it is not the technology that is important but the learning that is enhanced by it. And of course, Skype isn’t the only video conferencing tool that the learning activities described could have utilised. Everything Tolisano describes has soundly constructed learning design as its foundation. From the activation of prior learning – the subject of the calls, the tools to be used, to what is to be done with the tools (tweeting, photographing, videoing), to feedback and reflection. Assigning the various roles made for a truly collaborative activity, not just a group project. The activities were scaffolded for the students – for example rehearsing asking questions by recording them was a great way to build confidence.

The post about upgrading assessment forms raises important points. As Tolisano says

If working (and communicating beyond face to face interaction) on a global team is/will be a crucial skill for our students to posses, how can we assess the skills, support, coach and guide students?

Read more at: http://langwitches.org/blog/2013/02/05/assessment-in-the-modern-classroom-part-two/

One of the biggest barriers to connected learning (for some teachers) is the “stickiness” of traditional assessment forms. Tolisano is bang on the money saying that new assessment forms cannot be additional, they must be upgrades or preferably replacements.

This has lead to the creation of the Taxonomy of a Skype Conversation, a valuable tool for reflection and perhaps aspiration – What sort of conversation do you want to have? What sort of conversation is the best to listen to? etc.

It is difficult for me to imagine how the teacher-learner interactions needed to guide the learners in these examples could take place digitally for such young learners. Yes, they learn a great deal from the person they Skype, but they are learning much more from the scaffolded activities taking place within the physical classroom (and online) with a teacher able to guide, instruct, coach and cajole. Could this happen with a distributed online classroom of third-graders? I don’t think so. Miller’s reflections included examples of online conversations leading to hands-on art and craft activities. The digital and physical work together for formal and informal learning activities.

Tolisano and Miller both use their online connections to support and inspire what goes on in their physical classroom and library. A fourth-grade teacher was persuaded to post her student’s book-trailer on a blog which led to it being viewed by the author herself and the subsequent Skype activity. Knowledge networking made it happen.

References

McClintock Miller, Shannon (2013/2014). Van Meter Library Voice. [blog]

Rosenthal Tolisano, S. (2011-2014). Langwitches Blog

 

Get connected with Google+ – a digital artefact

Get connected with Google+ is a short video for teachers promoting the value of using social media for connecting and developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN), showcasing Google+ as one option for a starting point. It can be viewed as a standalone resource but I envisage it being used as an engagement strategy for a face-to-face or online workshop for teachers.

98 teachers responded to my request for input into a survey, either to tweets like this one

or similar requests in Google+ communities, on LinkedIn, Facebook groups and a couple of email lists.

If you were one of those people, thank you very much for your contribution, it was almost overwhelming!

The information shared helped me plan and construct the video and I’ve directly quoted more than twenty people.

The video was created using several freely available tools: Powtoon; Screencastify; Audacity; i-Rig audio recorder; free music from Youtube Creator Studio audio library; royalty-free, no attribution required images from Pixabay, and edited with Windows Moviemaker.

The first version of the video was edited after feedback was sought and received from a number of the original survey respondents – again, if that was you thank you for your time and honesty.

The construction, purpose and effectiveness of the video has been further examined in an exegesis. This document includes a full reference list, links to the summary of survey results and the tools used.

Information curation (and new tool no. 2)


flickr photo shared by verbeeldingskr8 under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) licence

Even though I wrote my digital essay for INF530 on curation I don’t see myself as an expert. The material in module 4 has covered some familiar ground, but there was still plenty that was new for me. The official title of the essay was “Curation as a tool for teaching and learning” so I do have some fairly well-formed ideas about where curation can be effective in education.

  • For teacher librarians curation is something that we’ve always done it’s just that previously we called it “selection” and “collection management”. The resources that we make available in our libraries are carefully curated content for our users. That today we should be curating digital resources using platforms like Pinterest, Scoop.it, Diigo and many others; adding context; providing access, and promoting them to our teachers and students is a no-brainer.
  • Creating curated textbooks: rather than rely on a single textbook (whether print or e-book) clever teachers are taking advantage of the wealth of information sources that are high quality and free (Khan academy, Google Cultural Institute, OER Commons, TEDEd to mention just a few) to curate quality, uniquely tailored and personalised resources for their students.
  • Using a curation platform like Storify to link multimedia content interspersed with original text is an excellent way for students to demonstrate their media literacy skills in analysis, evaluation and creation.
  • Students can collaborate to construct shared meaning by curating resources for a wiki or blog or through social bookmarking such as a Diigo group.

Knowingly or not I have been curating online for nearly ten years, starting with a school Delicious account for curriculum-based web links “bundled” into learning areas. This has evolved into a Diigo account where all new saved links are tweeted and collated on a weekly blog post (and also links with a specific tag to a school resource blog), to Scoop.it topics and Pinterest boards where new items are also shared on Twitter.

New tool no. 2 – Pearltrees (and a bit about an old one)

If memory serves me correctly I first came across Pearltrees at the same time as I discovered Scoop.it at a workshop run by Steve Hargadon at the State Library Victoria in 2011. Scoop.it grabbed my attention for its visual, magazine-style display while Pearltrees seemed trickier to make sense of so the former “won” at the time. Over the years, Scoop.it has become less appealing, most particularly for the greater and greater restrictions imposed on free/edu accounts. I quickly set up 6 or 7 topics while experimenting with the sorts of content that could be added. One was for the novel Of Mice and Men, being studied by our year 10 students; another charted the highs and lows of Victoria’s ill-fated learning management system the Ultranet (documented in my case report for INF536), while others were set up as resources for workshops I held at my school (Apps for productivity in education, Web 2.0 in the classroom). I had a couple more but deleted them when the maximum of five boards rule came in (and I realised that devoting a topic to a single novel wasn’t a great idea). When I worked at Red Cross in 2013 I set up another one for Disaster Resilience Education but transferred ownership of it when the project ended, thinking I’d get another board…but no, the rule now is just two topics on a free account. So I guess the point of this paragraph is that I’m less enthralled with Scoop.it than I once was and what a pleasant surprise Pearltrees is. So what is it?…

Pearltrees is a collaborative curation tool where you can save “pearls” – weblinks, your own photos, files and notes – and drag and drop them to organise into collections. An individual collection can have editorial text added at the top, its own background image, and the pearls can be organised into categories within the collection. Collections are public by default (private collections are only available to premium subscribers) and are automatically linked to the collections of others when they have common elements. It is visually appealing, more similar to Pinterest than Scoop.it.

Knowledge Networks, by hbailie

Like other curation platforms, new items can be shared on various social media platforms but what I really like is that you can set up a link between Twitter and Pearltrees so that anything you tweet with a link is automatically added to Pearltrees – that is a winning feature for me. (I haven’t set up to automatically tweet new pearls yet though, because I’m worried about starting some sort of “hall of mirrors” effect where the tweet of a new pearl gets automatically added back to Pearltrees, then tweeted and added to Pearltrees ad infinitum…it wouldn’t, would it?

Other things I like:

As seen above, you can embed a collection into other platforms. This is very appealing for me as I embark on setting up Libguides for my school. Embedding Pearltrees collections looks like an easy way of adding visually appealing content to guides, certainly much more attractive than what you get from Diigo.

There doesn’t appear to be any limit to the number of collections you can have in a free account – take that, Scoop.it! And so far I haven’t seen any advertising, but that just might Adblock Pro at work.

Pearltrees is definitely a tool I am going to keep using, thank you INF532 for making me give it another look.