Is this the end?

Provide a critical synthesis of your reflection on how your views, knowledge and understanding of the work of an education professional in digital environments has changed and/or developed.

I can barely believe my time as a CSU online student is over. Contrary to what I was warned, online study has not been isolating. I have discovered that I am a social learner – the participatory, networked, open, digital environments where MEd. (KNDI) exists are where I thrive. Like Weller’s digital scholar, I am defined by the network and online identity I have established, not by my institution (Weller, 2011). INF537 – Digital Futures Colloquia has been a fitting end to this stage of my journey.

The first two colloquia with Bruce Dixon (Modern Learners) and Mike Hourahine (Think Global School) really set the scene for INF537, challenging our ideas about school, education and learning. It’s so rewarding to be part of a cohort who engage with the speaker and each other during online meetings, breaking down another perceived disadvantage to online learning. Those first few weeks were energising, but also overwhelming.

The case study turned out to be more challenging than expected (and I always expect to be challenged). On reflection, I should have approached it quite differently, used different methods of data collection and asked different questions. 20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing. The time constraints made this task very difficult, my data gathering had to be done while I was at work – when I’m at work I have work to do.

Back to Bruce Dixon. Modern Learners’ promotion of the need for self-directed, self-determined learners resonates with me and I continue to be frustrated by an education system that places so much value on high-stakes testing. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised by the number of teachers who don’t share my enthusiasm for digital, networked and open practices, particularly in the later years of schooling, it’s understandable that they take the path of teaching to the test.

Lower down the school though, I may be making some progress. Stymied by a “we’re too busy/don’t have time” response to an opportunity I shared at the start of term three, I’m excited now that the same year four teacher is keen to explore the idea of a virtual book club collaboration with a teacher I met through the CSURU global collaboration. Even better, I can drive this by incorporating it into my once a week ICT sessions with her class – if it’s successful I should get more buy-in for other projects in the future.

The CSURU collaboration was my first experience of Flipgrid, I’m excited by its potential and it is definitely one of the tools to consider for the book club. The collaborative process for the case study reminded me of the value of Voicethread, another potential book club tool. I know we keep banging on about “it’s not about the tools” but finding good ones that “just work”, that offer flexibility for a variety of circumstances, are easy to use, free, and don’t require students to be over 13 can do a lot for persuading reluctant teachers of the potential of being open and networked.

For some years I’ve said I’d like to work more with teachers. Moving forward I would like to make teacher professional learning the main part of my role, wherever that is. I am the “go-to” person regarding digital technology for a number of teachers at my school and I happily share and support them but it is ad hoc. Through my role in the library I support teachers with resources, I look forward to reading Karen Malbon’s case study on Open Educational Resources and making OER a bigger focus in future.  

I keep thinking that this is the end but it is also another beginning. Embarking on this masters wasn’t the beginning of my journey to being a digital, networked and open scholar but was hugely important in propelling me along. The formal study might be over but the learning never will be. Bring it on!

References

Weller, M. (2011). The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. Retrieved from http://www.SLQ.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=773623

Overwhelmed and under-coherent

I have been feeling rather overwhelmed this week with the number of different study-related things that need my attention (not to mention work and family). Between trying to get to grips with the module 2 reading, keeping up with forum posts for colloquia, thinking about my case study proposal (and the recommendation to dip into module 3 for that), other reading requirements AND blog posts, I’m starting to feel like I’m going in circles spending a lot of time not getting anything done. And I’ve just come down with a cold…that’s what you get for congratulating yourself on how healthy you are!

So, an apology first up, this post will be a bit of a mish-mash of various thoughts I’ve had over the last week and a bit, and probably won’t flow as a coherent whole.

Firstly, while listening to Mike Hourahine on last week’s colloquia it occurred to me that Think Global School’s Learning philosophy had quite a bit of synergy with Modern Learners’ Ten Principles for Schools of Modern Learning

TGS Philosophy

Modern Learners Principles

Think Global School Learning Philosophy

 

Modern Learners Principles of Modern Schools

Students should have more autonomy and choice in their learning Principles 3 and 4
Students should be designers of their own curriculum and experiences Principles 3 and 4
Technology should enable authentic, real and rigorous learning Principles 6, 7 and 8
Learning should not be limited to the classroom and the classroom should not be limited to one teacher and one group of students Principles 5, 9 and 10

Modern Learners’ principle 1 is implicit in a school’s philosophy – “clearly articulated and shared beliefs” while principle 2 could pretty much sum up TGS in a nutshell “Live a mission and a vision deeply informed by new contexts for learning”.

TGS’ Lesson learned #3 really resonated with me: “A focus on high stakes exams and teaching to the test all but eradicates wonder and curiosity.” When will those with the power to dictate curriculum and outcomes to schools wake up to this?

Questions raised by the session:

How might we apply what TGS has learned to our geographically fixed schools?

How could the travelling experience be realised for more students?

Could it be virtual as discussed by Davidson and Goldberg in The future of learning institutions in a digital age (2009). What about programs like the Victorian Education Department’s Alpine, Snowy River and Gnurad-Gundidj campuses of the School for Student Leadership, or other term or year-long experiences for year 9 students? Could it be like the School of the Future where “class schedules and locations change every day (the goal being to break down our culture’s dependency on time and place)” (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009.p. 50).

Davidson and Goldberg was a good read, I particularly liked this statement: [Banning wikipedia]…” is a catastrophically anti-intellectual reaction to a knowledge-making global phenomenon of epic proportions” (2009. p.28).

Back to Mike Hourahine who posed the question “What is the purpose of required secondary education?”. I answered in the chat “to keep them off the streets” and I was only half joking. In Victoria now the leaving age is 17 unless the students has a job/apprenticeship or recognised training course to go to. In the past kids could leave school at 13, 14 or 15 and go into real career paths with the post office, public service, in trades or even just retail. Those opportunities are long gone, VCE is a minimum for anything. For the kids who don’t want to go onto further education the purpose of their education might just be keeping them busy until they are allowed to leave (and hopefully get a job or access welfare if they can’t). My previous school was in an area with a high percentage of generational poverty – 2 or 3 generations of families where no one had ever had an ongoing job, where the family lived on welfare. Job search allowance isn’t available until you are 17. Staying at school is an end in itself.

Interestingly, I was listening to Bruce Dixon and Will Richardson’s latest podcast where they discussed the notion, put forward by Seth Godin, that going to college is a bigger risk than not in terms of cost vs value. They discussed going straight to college or university versus taking one or more gap years or, for those young people with great computer skills (often learned outside of formal school) going straight to the workforce. It made me reflect on my own children and what the future holds for them.

My eldest daughter has just started this year at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of music. People ask me what she plans to do with her music degree. I don’t know, she’s just started…who knows what will happen in three or more years. In the meantime she’s having some amazing experience, meeting and playing with interesting people. She’s also exploring casual work options on the side, one that has come from her year 10 work experience with Daniel Donahoo – she is now apparently a “creative professional”. I don’t know what will come out of that, potentially amazing stuff or maybe nothing at all, but I’m certainly not worried.

As for my other daughter, she’s in year 10 and right now facing up to selecting her VCE subjects. She’s a polymath, at this stage for year 11 it looks like English, German, Music Performance, Studio Arts, Maths Methods, and Physics (Unit 3 & 4 as she is doing units 1 & 2 this year). Again, who knows where that will take her, but really, does that matter now? She’s choosing subjects that interest her and that she’s reasonably good at, which as far as I’m concerned are the main considerations. I’m fairly certain she won’t go straight to uni, she’s been planning a gap year (visiting Girl Guide World Centres) since she started secondary school. I’m not concerned at the prospect it might turn into two, three or even five years as apparently Bruce’s daughter’s did – she’s now a successful lawyer.

So there’s my rambling collection of thoughts from week 3. Now back to reading…

#INF533 Critical Reflection

In my first blog post (Bailie, 2016, July 25) and my reflection on Digital Literature experiences (Bailie, 2016, August 28) I was struggling with whether or not you are really reading literature if the literature is presented as a video. Back then I decided that reading literature had to incorporate the decoding of at least some text. I have come to see that the broader term “experiencing literature” is more useful and this doesn’t have to mean decoding only words. Digital storytelling to me has a more fluid, less rigid meaning. Stories can be told verbally, through pictures and sounds, by reading words or even through maps as I discovered in creating my Digital Storytelling Project. Are these stories literature? Well, not necessarily (Walsh, 2013), but their value for learners to both experience (Matthews, 2014) and create (Sukovic, 2014; Tolisano, 2015) cannot be denied.

Even though I am a social media enthusiast and can no longer imagine my life without Twitter, I have not previously combined it with my fiction reading. However, I have readily engaged with writers who I read in a professional or academic capacity, including for other subjects in this course. As a connected learner it is second nature for me to share my learning so the reviews for Experiencing digital literature were no exception. I shared my review of Upgrade Soul with its creators via Twitter and their Facebook page and had quick and positive responses.

Facebook post

I thoroughly enjoyed the digital storytelling project, I think mostly because, for the first time in this course, I was able to immerse myself in something which I have a deeply personal connection with, not just a professional one. Much of the research for A stranger in the town (ASITT) was completed when I did a local history project for my HSC in 1981. I believe I have transformed the content into something that could not have been imagined back then. In particular:

  • Technology now allows images to be scanned, enlarged and enhanced making them not only look better than the original but able to be shared. Previously only one original copy was held somewhere (hopefully) safe and poor quality photocopies had to suffice.
  • The use of interactive maps as a storytelling tool. This is explained further in the Context for digital storytelling project.
  • The ability for the story to shared widely. I remember showing my grandparents my original project but that was as far as it went. My father has already emailed the ASITT link to many Yandell and Bailie relatives. I used the facility in Atavist to set up Facebook and Twitter sharing, editing the text for post to both platforms.

Here is the original handwritten project:

I consider myself fairly savvy with digital tools and find most things easy to use and navigate. The simplicity and elegance of the design of Atavist digital magazines appealed to me and I believed using the finished product to be self-explanatory. However, I shared the story with my family to proofread and from their feedback discovered that some of the features of the platform are not necessarily intuitive for the new user. The simple symbol where audio is embedded wasn’t obviously clickable, likewise the slideshow navigation arrows don’t stand out so only the first image was viewed. I’ve since added in specific direction about viewing the slideshows and listening to the audio. This was a lesson in not assuming anything about users’ facility with technology.

Like a previous student of INF533 I hope my story might inspire others to digitise their family photographs and record their memories so they can be shared more widely (Clark, 2015). For my original HSC project I spoke with my grandparents and Aunty Margaret but I didn’t record anything (even if I had it’s unlikely the media would have survived, cassette player, anyone?) and they have all since passed away. How wonderful it would be to hear their voices in this project too. My dad is nearly 80, I’m so happy to have had this opportunity to record some of his memories and I hope these will survive.

Completing the project, which was very broad, made me see value in smaller stories. If I was starting again I might instead turn the story of my grandfather setting out to be a travelling salesperson at the age of 4 into an interactive book like The Artifacts or use the story of Robert and Lilly’s first meeting and wedding as the basis for creating a story told through Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

INF533 has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of digital storytelling and I hope to be an active creator both personally and professionally. Likewise, there is enormous potential for students to use narrative technology (Hall, T. 2012) to be active creators of content, instead of passive consumers (Morra, S., 2013) and I will help my school move forward by become a digital storytelling evangelist among my colleagues.

References

Bailie, H. (2016, July 25). #INF533 Blog task [Web log post]. Retrieved http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2016/07/25/blog-task/ 

Bailie, H. (2016, August 28). Critical Reflection of Digital Literature Experiences [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2016/08/28/digital-literature-experiences/

Clark, G. (2015). The Backstory To My Backstory On The Late Antonio Giordano (1907-1984). Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/cloudingaround/2015/10/12/my-social-history-backstory-on-the-late-antonio-giordano-1907-1984/

Hall, T. (2012). Digital Renaissance: The Creative Potential of Narrative Technology in Education. Creative Education, 3, 96-100. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.31016.

Matthews, J. (2014). Voices from the heart: The use of digital storytelling in education. Community Practitioner, 87(1), 28-30. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1474889132?accountid=10344

Morra, S. (2013) Eight steps to great storytelling. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/8-steps-to-great-digital-storytelling/

Sukovic, S. (2014). iTell: Transliteracy and digital storytelling. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 45(3), 205–229. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1080/00048623.2014.951114

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/walsh-m3.pdf

Critical Reflection of Digital Literature Experiences

One of the questions I have struggled with in this unit so far is what actually counts as literature in the digital environment. Do we read a digital text or can we merely watch it? Web series such as The Green Gables Fables and The Lizzie Bennet diaries have been presented as literature in a digital environment but to me simply watching some videos and reading Facebook posts is no more reading literature than watching a movie is. I have reached the conclusion that a digital text must require the user to actually decode and comprehend text, that is, the written word, in order to be literature. Enhancements such as having a narrator read the same text as is visible on the screen are fine, especially when they support the learning process (Lamb, 2011; James & De Kock,2013; Yokota & Teale, 2014). But at the heart of the text must be the words.

In essence, a good digital text is no different to a good non-digital text – the features of good literature must be present (Walsh, 2013) – but multimedia features must also stand up to scrutiny, serving to enhance the text, and not distract or detract from it (Lamb, 2011; James & De Kock,2013). Navigating and using the multimodal features should be intuitive or simply explained and easily achieved. The very best digitally originated texts are unimaginable in the print environment. The enhancements afforded by the environment to The Artifacts (see review) put it in this category as, while the pages could be printed, the levels of meaning to be gathered from the interactive features, sound effects and the way additional text appears, could not.

In good digital literature both the narrative experience and the multimedia experience are designed (Meyers, Zaminpaima & Frederico, 2014).

Meyers et al discuss the challenge of sourcing quality storybook apps for young readers. Using published reviews can be problematic they say, as different review publications have different purposes and perspectives. A reviewer seeking quality literature using traditional criteria of characterisation, themes, style, vocabulary (Walsh, 2013) might see some multimodal features as superfluous whereas others will prize these same features more highly than the quality of the text and its appropriateness to its intended audience. For educators, the bottom-line should be: do the features both align with and maintain the integrity of the story (Yokota & Teale, 2014).

A good digital text might actually do a better job of engaging reluctant readers or supporting learning through enhancements such as narration of the text or multimodal elements which provide additional access points for comprehension (Yokota & Teale, 2014).

Almost everything I read these days, be it for work, pleasure or study, is digital, falling into the categories of reconstructed literary text or digitally originated text (Unsworth, 2008). I rarely read print these days, except for flipping through the newspaper when on a break, usually while eating. Somehow it is ok to use sticky fingers on a newspaper but not on a device. I love my digital texts on my Kindle and iPad, mostly for the convenience factor (Jabr, 2013). In a device no heavier than a small novel I have access to more than I could possibly read in my lifetime (Sadokierski, 2013). I can carry it without any inconvenience while walking and read while travelling by train to work. I can take it on holiday and have no concern with luggage limits. I can highlight points of interest, make notes, and easily search the the text to locate a relevant section. In short, I’m a total convert.

For the digital literature review I read Upgrade Soul (see review) which is completely outside my usual field of interest, both in form and content. I have never been a fan of graphic novels, either in print or online, although as a teacher-librarian I recognise their attraction to adolescents (Moorefield-Lang & Gavigan, 2012) and I fully support their inclusion in our collection. When I’ve looked at graphic novels in the past I’ve been irritated or underwhelmed. I tend to read quickly, skipping over illustrations and find having to decide whether to read across then down or vice versa annoying. I haven’t taken in the full experience that the artwork gives. Upgrade Soul, however, might have created a convert. The atmospheric soundtrack and the fact that each frame appears in the order it should be read slowed me down and made me appreciate what I was reading. It became an engaging experience and I now eagerly await the publication of the next chapter.

Upgrade Soul was probably the digital text I enjoyed the most but it didn’t scream with classroom possibilities, particularly for the upper primary students with whom I work.

The Artifacts, however, would make an ideal text study for English for year four or five students. At my school these classes share a set of iPads so a copy for each iPad could be purchased through Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program for $56. (Managed distribution is an option for student-owned devices). Each page has possibilities for discussion questions or different types of writing activities. For example, page 6, where a caterpillar and Asaf are alternately shown collected in a jar, students could discuss the ethics of collecting living creatures or write a creative piece imagining that they have been collected – what would they do, how would they feel, how could they escape? There are also many opportunities for vocabulary activities: finding out the meaning of, and using in a sentence, the additional atmospheric words that appear on several of the pages.

References

Jabr, F. (2013) The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American, April 11. Retrieved from: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

James, R. & De Kock, L. (2013). The digital David and the Gutenberg Goliath: the rise of the ‘enhanced’e-book. English Academy Review, 30(1), pp. 107-123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10131752.2013.783394

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live

Meyers, E.M., Zaminpaima, E., & Frederico, A. (2014). The Future of Children’s Texts: Evaluating Book Apps as Multimodal Reading Experiences. In iConference 2014 Proceedings (pp. 916-920) doi:10.9776/14312 Retrieved fromhttps://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/47386/312_ready.pdf?sequence=2

Moorefield-Lang, H., & Gavigan, K. (2012). These aren’t your father’s funny papers: the new world of digital graphic novels. Knowledge Quest, 40(3), 30-35. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/knowledgequest/docs/ FREEArticle_TheseAren%27t_30-35.pdf

Sadokierski, Z. (2013, November 12). What is a book in the digital age? [Web log post]. Retrived from http://theconversation.com/what-is-a-book-in-the-digital-age-19071 What is a book in the digital age?

Unsworth, L. (2008). Multiliteracies, E-literature and English Teaching. Language & Education: An International Journal, 22(1), 62-75. doi:10.2167/le726.0

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA). https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/walsh-m3.pdf

Yokota, J. & Teale, W. H. (2014). Picture books and the digital world: educators making informed choices. The Reading Teacher, 34(6). Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/3886534/Picture_Books_and_the_Digital_World_Educators_Making_Informed_Choices

 

#ETL523 final critical reflection

"The Web and the technologies that drive it are fundamentally changing the way we think about how we can learn and become educated in a globally networked and connected world. It has absolutely exploded our ability to learn on our own in ways that schools weren't built for." Will Richardson

Richardson (2016)

This statement absolutely resonates with me when I think about how and what I learn as part of this course. I sit at my desk at home or on the train on my daily commute or at the dining table with my iPad or even at the gym with my phone and I am connected to a network of learners. It’s exciting, it’s invigorating, it’s challenging, it’s fun. So why aren’t all educators connecting and learning in this way?

Digital Citizenship in Schools covered much expected ground but it also forced me to think about my digital learning environment (DLE), my school’s digital learning environment, information leadership, teacherpreneurship, and the globalisation of learning. I still find myself an outlier amongst my work colleagues. Although I have connected with three fellow staff members on Twitter their posts are so infrequent it seems they do not value this form of connecting (of course they could be gaining much from lurking, but not as much as they could be through active involvement. Their loss). That said, this post is about me critically reflecting on the experience of ETL523 over the past three months. Here goes.

My DLE:

I’m writing this using Workflowy, an outlining tool, as I find it a useful way to work through disparate thoughts and be able to jump from one idea to another. Eventually I will export this and paste it into a Google doc for refinement into a whole, cohesive post before moving to Thinkspace for hyperlinking and final tweaks.

I often start in Evernote and then move to Google docs as above. For forum posts I usually go direct from Evernote.

I’m using a desktop computer but I have my iPad in front of me as well so I can refer to other texts on one screen while writing on the other. As I write I periodically hop over to Tweetdeck to see if anything interesting has popped up, check the ETL523 discussion forums for any new information or questions, and jump in and out of Evernote where I have notes and resources stored.

While my blog posting has been a bit patchy, I have made a concerted effort to participate fully in the subject forums. It is surprising to note that for most topics fewer than half the class members participated. I wonder why people don’t. I do get that it can be scary putting yourself out there but I have to say that, in my experience in this closed environment, comments from peers are nothing but supportive. Am I being harsh in asking: if you won’t even give connecting online a go in a supportive environment, exactly what are you doing in a subject like this?

Assignment 1 for me was a great example of what online learning and collaboration is all about – I’ve already written a reflection but having recently read Doug Belshaw’s The essential elements of digital literacies (2014) I couldn’t resist the temptation to frame another reflection with his eight elements. Read it here. (I highly recommend reading his book too, it is available here).

In my first blog post for this subject I wrote about recent developments at my school with the introduction of a BYOD program and new building with improved technological access and tools. I wrote: “It will be interesting to see if our teachers are ready to allow the available technology to transform their pedagogy. Will our students be given the right scaffolding to develop into good digital citizens?” (Bailie, 2016). Assignment 2 allowed me to explore those thoughts in depth and I found that the teaching of digital citizenship was ad hoc at best with patchy understanding of the complexity of the area and no clarity around who is responsible. Although a little nervous about seeming critical I will pass the report onto leadership and I’m reasonably confident it will be well-received. I hope shortly to find myself immersed in enacting some of my recommendations – establishing a shared understanding of what digital citizenship is; developing a digital citizenship policy that privileges student learning over behaviour consequences; examining the curriculum for opportunities to embed digital citizenship learning, and supporting professional learning for teachers.

Another opportunity that has emerged recently is a proposal for a special year 7 project for the final weeks of the school year. The plan is for a selected group of teachers to work with the entire cohort, off-timetable, in inquiry/project based learning activities. I’m excited to be involved (flattered to be told that, had I not put my hand up, I was going to get a tap on the shoulder) and looking forward to the opportunity to foster cultural awareness and potentially engage students in global collaborative activities. At the very least I hope to be able to influence information habits and in particular promote ethical participation – explicitly modelling and sharing the use of creative commons licences, referencing and attribution, and paying heed to copyright.

Overall, this session has been fun. Thanks Julie for another terrific learning experience. For those of you still deciding what to do next session, I highly recommend INF532 Knowledge Networking for Educators, also facilitated by the fabulous Julie Lindsay. My experience from last year greatly enhanced my efforts in creating a digital artefact, and understanding instructional design for assignment one. I’m confident reversing the experiences would be just as valuable.

References

Bailie, H. (2016, March 3) Digital Citizenship. #ETL523 starts here. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2016/03/03/digital-citizenship-etl523-starts-here/

Belshaw, D. (2014) The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. Retrieved from http://digitalliteraci.es

Richardson, W. (2016, May 14). 16 Modern Realities Schools (and Parents) Need to Accept. Now. Retrieved from https://medium.com/modern-learning/16-modern-realities-schools-and-parents-need-to-accept-now-64b98710e4e9#.bw6k10nv

A hall of mirrors, or, another reflection on #ETL523 assignment 1

As part of my researching and preparing for ETL523 assignment two I read Doug Belshaw’s The essential elements of digital literacies (2014). I was inspired to construct another reflection on assignment one using the eight essential elements as a framework. Here goes:

The cultural element refers to our ability to move from one digital environment to another, understanding the issues, norms and habits of mind each requires. The collaborative wiki saw the team use Google hangouts, Google docs, Wikispaces, Pearltrees, Canva, ProProfs, Tackk, Powtoon, Twitter, email, Skype (when Hangouts wouldn’t play nicely one evening we switched, barely drawing breath in the process), and we even had a very fruitful meeting IRL. I’d say we’ve got that one covered!

The cognitive element refers the value of being able to use multiple tools “If you only have a (conceptual) hammer then all you see are (metaphorical) nails.”(p.46-7). The one who dies with the most toys wins perhaps! My list in the cultural element is applicable here too – we did good!

The constructive element is all about how constructing something in a digital environment is substantially different to that in an analogue one. Understanding how you can ethically reuse another’s work to construct something new is a vital part of this element. Given our learning module was about Ethical participation in the digital environment with sections on Creative Commons and Remix I’d say we nailed this one. Additionally, it allowed four disparate individuals to work together to create a valuable resource that I hope to share with staff at my school and further afield. We could never have achieved what we did in an analogue environment.

Communicative – understanding the norms and protocols of communication using multiple different digital technologies. Again, that list of tools and social networks we used shows we nailed this.

Confident – being able to solve problems and manage your own learning in digital environments. Sometimes solving problems is all about knowing who to ask; sometimes simply articulating the question leads you to find your own answer. The discussion feature on Wikispaces was almost overwhelming at times as each of us asked questions, expressed concerns, sought advice, answered, consoled and supported each other. We all showed ourselves to be confident learners.

Creative. Perhaps surprisingly, this element does not require originality. Instead, it can be about expressing something that already exists in a way that adds value, and feeling empowered to take risks. My digital artefact for the wiki used the affordances of digital technology to present an introduction in a visually appealing manner. Every frame included something created by someone else but I added value to it and made it part of my narrative.

Critical. We had to consider our audience (teachers) and we had to carefully evaluate the material we wished to share with them. Including Pearltrees collections for each section evidenced our curations skills.

Civic. Amongst other things, the civic element is about using digital environments to self-organise. A collaborative wiki project? – got it in spades!

Belshaw’s Ted talk will give you more background to his thinking and work. I highly recommend reading the book as well.

References

Belshaw, D. (2014) The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. Retrieved from http://digitalliteraci.es

Assignment one reflection

When I told my daughters (aged 14 and 17) that my first assignment for ETL523 was a group project they both rolled their eyes and groaned. It seems they’ve both had bad experiences of group projects, feeling (rightly or wrongly) that they end up doing most of the work while others slack off. Then the 17-year-old said “Oh, it’ll probably be ok mum, ‘cause you’re old”!

Well, I don’t know how much age or experience had to do with it but I have to say that I found this assignment to be a great experience, probably the most enjoyable one so far in this degree (this is my fifth subject).

It was clear from the assessment rubric and online class meeting that this assignment was as much about learning about and through collaboration as it was about the particular aspect of digital citizenship we had elected to focus on. I could see how easy the temptation to delegate rather than collaborate could be – “ok, there are four of us, let’s divide our topic into four distinct sections and take one each” but this approach would not result in an integrated, consistent learning module.

I feel very fortunate in finding myself in Team 5.2 with Karen, Glenda and Amanda. We were able to find lots of common ground and quickly bonded. It helped us greatly that we were able to meet face to face early on. This meeting allowed us to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short space of time in a way that would be difficult to replicate online. We were lucky to not have challenges of time zones for scheduling online meetings, just the usual work and family commitments. As Karen has said, each member of our group brought their own particular skills and knowledge and we were able to take advantage of strengths and learn from each other. Every page in our wiki has input from each of us.

Team 5.2 hard at work

Team 5.2 hard at work

There were a couple of frustrations, more technical than anything else. The Wikispaces platform has some quirks – adding extra blank lines after embedded objects each time anything else on that page is edited; embedded objects appearing, disappearing, and reappearing seemingly at random (and without intervention); and applied styles reverting for no apparent reason.

Also, keeping up with the various discussion threads was tricky. In an update email it was not always clear which discussion or page the new comment came from. This is ok if you are on a computer but not so good when you are out and about and on your phone – it might be a question you could answer quickly but if you’re not sure of the context…

Completing INF532 (Knowledge Networking for Educators) last year was a great preparation for ETL523. I was able to share what I had learnt about instructional design and we were able apply it in the design of each page and the module overall. Even more helpful was the experience of creating an artefact. Last year I learnt a lot, mostly the hard way, about designing and editing a video, particularly the importance of writing and recording the script first. This time my artefact, an introduction to the whole learning module, came together relatively painlessly. It’s still a time-consuming process but, unlike last year, I didn’t feel I was wasting time re-doing things. And the audio and video matched beautifully. Here it is:

I’m very proud of the learning module we created and I’m looking forward to sharing it with teachers at my school.

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/

 

 

INF506 Evaluative Report

Part A

An evaluative statement using three (3) experiences documented in your OLJ as evidence of meeting the learning objectives of the subject

 


creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by hbailie

For as long as there has been recorded information libraries, librarians and educators have been “sharing content, collaborating with others and creating community” (De Rosa, Cantrell, Havens, Hawk, & Jenkins, 2007, p.2-1). In the information age the explosion of tools available for connecting, creating, conversing, and collaborating, and the changing habits and expectations of the community means that social networking is increasingly part of the role of librarians. As Qualman tells us: “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it” (The Social Media Revolution 2015, 2011).

Library 2.0 marks a transformation in the way libraries provide services to their community and in particular, participatory library services enabled by Web 2.0 technologies. A library without a website is now almost unimaginable. The ubiquity of social networking means that a library without a social media presence is fast becoming just as unimaginable. More and more internet access happens via mobile technologies, a “fast” trend according to the latest Horizon report (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada,& Freeman, 2014), and participation in social media is increasing. Libraries attempting to meet the information needs of their users must also be involved. “In order to remain relevant in the current landscape of information discovery libraries must have multiple presences on the web to engage users wherever they prefer, including social media…” (Horizon report p.26). The three libraries examined in Why should libraries be on social media? (Bailie, 2015, January 29) use a range of social networking tools to connect and share with their users, Facebook pages and Twitter being common to all three. Two of the libraries share longer items on blogs.

Blogs are an ideal format for publishing articles about library services, resources, events and news (Wallis, O’Connell & Liu, 2014a). Users can connect to these articles through an RSS feed (Wallis, O’Connell & Liu, 2014b) provided on the library website or via links provided on Twitter and Facebook. They then have the option to engage further by responding or asking a question on Twitter or Facebook or by commenting directly on the blog.

Schrier (2011) urges libraries to use their social media presence to listen to their users, to provide value by engaging in discussion, and develop trust by responding to questions and being transparent in response to criticism or complaints.

Arizona State University Library’s use of social media, in particular their Library Minute videos, were examined in Community, collaboration, conversation and content creation (Bailie, 2014, December 11). They clearly follow Schrier’s advice about listening, as this response posted to the author on Twitter, demonstrates:

Just as in good website design, where multiple access points for contact are essential (Bartlett, 2014), social media gives library users additional ways to access and interact with library staff. For many people the option to ask a question whenever and wherever they are, using their phone to tweet or post to a Facebook page is more appealing, accessible and likely to happen.

King (2015) suggests that social media allows librarians to take a more conversational tone to enhance connection. Where a website will use formal language and style, social media posts typed “like you talk” (p.18) resonate with users and lead to increased engagement, as does asking questions instead of just posting links. As Seth Godin says “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but about the stories you tell” (quoted in Souza, 2014).

It is vital that whoever is operates an account representing an organisation is very clear about what is acceptable content and that this is explicit in the organisation’s social media policy. Articles examining such issues were curated in the post Social media policy (Bailie, 2015, January 15). Initiating conversations and developing guidelines about the use of social media are important for all who work in education and libraries (Nielsen, 2014). Schools operate under different restrictions to public or academic libraries but simply banning or blocking social media is not in the best interests of the development of good digital citizens (Lupton, 2013). Policies can be developed to allow participation while protecting the vulnerable (Anderson, 2013; Nielsen). Used well, social media is an empowering educational tool (Harris & Cusick, 2014; Nielsen), and not just for students. Holmes, Preston, Shaw and Buchanan (2013) found social media, specifically Twitter, to be valuable for professional learning by educators through access to new resources and the support of like-minded others.

Connecting with users wherever they are is key to maintaining the relevance of the library’s services. It is no longer enough to wait for users to walk through the library door before offering a service. Social media allows individuals to form communities, collaborate, converse and create content. A library cannot afford to be merely a physical space with analog resources available for individual use. By leveraging social networking technologies the library becomes a 24/7 anywhere, any time operation.

Part B

A reflective statement on your development as a social networker as a result of studying INF506, and the implications for your development as an information professional

I have approached this subject from multiple perspectives. As a librarian, as a teacher and as a teacher-librarian. I am interested in social networking’s place in libraries in general and in school libraries in particular – there are important differences in what that means due to the age of students and the obligations of “duty of care”. I recognise that public and academic libraries must also have policy and guidelines around social media use but these are less restrictive than for those of us working with young people. Nevertheless I am very interested in the place and use of social networking in the education of primary and secondary students and where the school library fits in.

Unlike some others in this cohort I came into this subject with a long and broad experience of using social media as a personal learning network where I connect, converse and collaborate with others around issues in education, technology and libraries. Other than Second Life which I had heard of but not used, none of the social networking tools were new to me and I was already an extensive user of several. The biggest change in my social networking habits over the course of INF506 has been in my use of Facebook. Previously my Facebook use was almost exclusively for personal reasons  – Facebook is where I connect with friends and relatives, people I knew before Facebook. With the subject’s main home being Facebook I found myself checking it several times a day instead my usual few times weekly. I started to explore a bit more and for the first time I have deliberately sought out pages to “like” that relate to my professional rather than personal interests and I am enjoying a more diverse newsfeed because of it.

Exploring Second Life was interesting and I’m glad I’ve done it but I don’t think I will pursue it further. I understand why a university might like to give distance students the opportunity to “sit” in a classroom and participate in a virtual class but it seems a shame to just recreate an on-campus experience when there is technology available for new and varied online learning experiences that aren’t feasible in a traditional, physical classroom. Second Life is a bandwidth hog and managing your avatar is a challenge – to me it is easier to have a discussion using Google Hangouts; explore actual museum and gallery collections from sites like The Metropolitan Museum of Art or Europeana, or go on a virtual field trip. Why recreate real places in a virtual world when you can explore the real thing using technology like Google Street View?

Prior to this subject if I’d thought about public and academic libraries’ use of social media I would have said that they use it to broadcast information rather than converse and connect with their users, even though my personal use is all about connections and conversations. Through reading for this subject and subsequent activities evaluating library websites and library use of social media I’ve started considering the impact and implications that a conversational, participatory approach has for organisations. It was a little disappointing to find that, for the libraries I’ve observed, the communication is in fact mostly one way. King’s (2015) reasons for libraries using social media include listening, connecting and responding. As I move forward with social media in my workplace I will be very aware of the importance of cultivating a collaborative two-way communicative approach rather than simply developing a broadcast medium, although that is more of a challenge in a school.

My workplace, a K-12 independent school, is only at the very beginning of social media adoption – for example the setting up of a blog for year 6 students last year was a very big deal. For most of our students having their own social media profile is not an option as they are aged under 13 so we would not consider having a library Facebook page unless it was exclusively promoted to senior students. However I think there would be support for class and library Twitter accounts, managed by a teacher or me, that could be used to interact with an author or expert, or to crowd-source information or similar (Harris & Cusick, 2014). Our Twitter feed could also be featured on our library website which we are just starting to develop using LibGuides so we could use it to broadcast and connect outside the school but not directly with our students. An unexpected bonus of this subject was what I learned from exploring effective library website design which will be applied to our LibGuides development.

References

Anderson, S. (2013). How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/edutopia-anderson-social-media-guidelines.pdf

Bailie, H. (2014, December 11). Community, collaboration, conversation and content creation. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2014/12/11/community-collaboration-conversation-and-content-creation/

Bailie, H. (2015, January 15). Social media policy. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/01/15/social-media-policy/

Bailie, H. (2015, January 29). Why should libraries be on social media?. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2015/01/29/why-should-libraries-be-on-social-media/

Bartlett, H. (2014, February 27). Best Practices for Library Website Design. Retrieved from http://www.bartlettinteractive.com/blog/best-practices-library-website-design

De Rosa, C., Cantrell, J., Havens, A., Hawk, J., & Jenkins, L. (2007). Sharing privacy and trust in our networked world: A report to the OCLC membership. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC. Retrieved from http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/sharing.pdf

Harris, F. J., & Cusick, M. M. (2014). What’s Not to “Like”? School Library Journal, 60(3), 46. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/

Holmes, K., Preston, G., Shaw, K., & Buchanan, R. (2013). ‘Follow’ Me: Networked Professional Learning for Teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(12). Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/ajte/vol38/iss12/4

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://redarchive.nmc.org/

King, D. L. (2015). Managing your library’s social media channels. Library Technology Reports, 51(1), 5. doi:10.5860/ltr.51n1

Lupton, M. (2013). Social media and Web 2.0: Teacher-librarians, risk and inequity. Synergy, 11(1). Retrieved from http://www.slav.vic.edu.au/synergy/volume-11-number-1-2013/research/289-social-media-and-web-20-teacher-librarians-risk-and-inequity.html

Nielsen, L. (2014, November 12). Conversation topics for educators in the age of social media. Retrieved from http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/conversation-topics-for-educators-in.html

Schrier, R. A. (2011). Digital librarianship & social media: the digital library as conversation facilitator. D-Lib Magazine, 17(7/8). doi:10.1045/july2011-schrier

Souza, J. (2014). 10 Best Quotes from Seth Godin on PR and Marketing. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from http://socialmediaimpact.com/top-10-best-quotes-seth-godin-pr-marketing/

The Social Media Revolution 2015. (2011). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eUeL3n7fDs&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Wallis, J., O’Connell, J., & Liu, Y. (2014a). Social media tools: Blogs and micro-blogs [INF506 Module 3]. Charles Sturt University. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201490_W_D/page/2d80ff67-8bcd-4aa5-007a-d987f88fcd97

Wallis, J., O’Connell, J., & Liu, Y. (2014b). Social media tools: RSS [INF506 Module 3]. Charles Sturt University. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/INF506_201490_W_D/page/2d80ff67-8bcd-4aa5-007a-d987f88fcd97

 

 

 

#INF536 Critical Reflection

I have found this subject very challenging. Whilst comfortable working as an educator in both digital and physical environments my knowledge and understanding of how those spaces are constructed and the impact of design (good or bad) upon them was minimal. Sure, I could recognise when something didn’t work, possibly due to bad design, but I would have been hard-pressed to articulate why or even come up with an alternative. I hadn’t really considered how the design of space actually impacted on learning.

Through the activities, readings and tasks I have developed new capacities in observation, ideation, constructing and deconstructing knowledge, and new confidence in my own opinions. The task to make a small change to a learning space has inspired me to keep seeking and acting upon opportunities for other small changes. I had been content to wait till we move to our new spaces over the next 1-2 years but these are learning spaces now! If they can be improved now then they should be. The idea of library as Fab Lab (Belbin & Newcombe, 2013) or Makerspace is something I will be exploring further.

One of the most challenging readings was Hatchuel, Le Masson and Weil (2004). It literally made me cry as I started doubting my capacity to make sense of the written word. Strangely it was the anti-depressive toothbrush  that helped me turn the corner on this one and I was quite pleased I was able to reference C-K theory in my case report.

Being taken through a design thinking process observing, empathising and developing a design brief for my local station was a revelation to me and excellent preparation for the Google Teacher Academy I was fortunate enough to attend recently (facilitated by Ewan’s NoTosh colleagues Tom Barrett and Hamish Curry). From this experience I now add “It’s not right that…” as an excellent prompt when struggling with framing “How might we…?” questions.How might we?

I learned that a design brief is not a list of demands and now wish I could persuade the powers that be at my school that developing a document like Dear Architect (Engine Service Design & Walker Technology College, n.d.) for our major consolidation and rebuilding project could have enormous benefits for the school in the long term. Unfortunately it is too late for that. The architects have visited for “consultation” bringing with them their already drawn-up plans. At least I now have some solid research behind me when I start ranting to whoever will listen about what a disaster having the year 8 lockers in the middle of the library will be.

I have discovered the value of a war room and sticky notes. Last semester I prided myself on not printing anything; this semester not only have I printed, I’ve cut up, re-arranged, stuck back together and (cue drum roll) hand written.

Sticky notes

Scissors and sticky-tape

Attending Simon and Graham’s creative coffee morning revealed the value of semi-structured conversation between people of different backgrounds but common interests.

Participants at the TeachMeet Bec and I hijacked as a pseudo creative coffee morning appreciated the opportunity for focused discussion as an alternative to the usual presentations.

Once again the support of this network (the class) has been phenomenal – I can’t imagine what it’d be like without the forums, tweets and hangouts. Thanks everyone, it’s been one helluva ride!

 

References

Belbin, N., & Newcombe, P. (2013). Fab Labs at the Library. Education Digest78(7), 65-68.

Engine Service Design & Walker Technology College. (n.d.). Dear Architect: A Vision Of Our Future School: Walker Technology College.

Hatchuel, A., Le Masson, P., & Weil, B. (2004). CK theory in practice: lessons from industrial applications. In DS 32: Proceedings of DESIGN 2004, the 8th International Design Conference, Dubrovnik, Croatia. http://www.designsociety.org/download-publication/19760/c-k_theory_in_practice_lessons_from_industrial_applications