INF537 Case Study Research Report [Assessment 3]

How has the school library program developed digital and information literacies necessary for students to support their independent research and collaborative inquiry? An exploratory case study within the IB PYP inquiry process.

Digital and information literacies and the school library

Key concepts

Information and digital literacies, multimodal literacies, new literacies, school libraries

Introduction and case study context

You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it. (Seymour Papert)

For school librarians, this is certainly part of a core responsibility, to provide students with digital literacy skills and strategies that will enable them to find and access information at point of need, in order to create knowledge (Farkas, 2011). While students are growing up in this digital age, research reveals they are not necessarily skilled in reading to locate and use online information effectively (Leu, Zawilinski, Forzani, & Timbrell, 2014b; Pickard, Shenton & Johnson, 2014). This is significant when “students overestimate their ability to engage with information in a critical and literate manner” (Kirkwood in Beetham & Oliver, 2010, p.162).  Yet, students are required to be ethical and critical thinkers, and engage as collaborators and creators in participatory digital environments (Coiro, 2003; Mackey & Jacobson, 2011; Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), 2015).

This exploratory case study seeks to investigate Year 5 students’ (ages 10-12) learning experiences within a school library program. It endeavours to explore the pedagogical background, motivation and steps in implementing digital and information literacies. Did these sessions provide students with the emergent skills and strategies to support independent research and collaborative inquiry as they began their International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) Exhibition?

Inquiry is the leading pedagogical approach of the IB. Teaching is conceptually based, and the school within the case study, follows a model of inquiry adapted from the work of Kath Murdoch (See Appendix A). The PYP Exhibition is the culminating inquiry process where groups of students collaboratively take responsibility for their own learning and use critical thinking skills to engage with authentic learning experiences as they “problem solve and construct their own meaning and solutions to various social, cultural and political issues” (Koh, Tan, & Ng, 2012 in Rochester, 2014, p. 1006).

The study involved ten classes within an international school setting in Singapore (213 students: 107 boys and 106 girls) over an academic school year. Students come from multiple cultural backgrounds and nationalities, including students with English as an Additional Language (EAL).

The focus of the information literacy (IL) sessions was to move beyond traditional library skills to focus on the perspective and experience of the user and ‘how to use information’; that is, to identify, navigate and evaluate information in online and digital spaces (Spiranec & Banek Zorica, 2010). Weekly 35 minute lessons were conducted in a classroom setting. This time constraint is familiar to librarians who often have a short period to teach thereby limiting what can be covered (Farkas, 2012; Rush, 2014; Smale, 2012; van Meegen & Limpens, 2010).  Classroom teachers were part of these sessions to enable the ongoing development of these skills and strategies within their own classroom practice. Students accessed 1:1 iPads as well as using other digital technologies.

Theories, concepts and literature

The internet and participatory web 2.0 digital technologies and environments have been a major disruptive force in education and society (Buschman, 2009; Dede, 2009; Farkas, 2012; Mackey & Jacobson, 2011). This has seen the adjustment of pedagogical approaches to reflect the changed educational environment (Farkas, 2012). Simultaneously, students engage in informal learning experiences outside of the classroom and access information at point of need (Farkas, 2012).

In this digital age, students need to be information fluent and consider when information is needed, decide which tools to use, to engage in critical thinking and analysis to evaluate, synthesize and create new information and be ethical users of data and information (ACRL, 2015; Mackey & Jacobson, 2011). Students need to understand that information is not static but a dynamic entity (Mackey & Jacobson, 2011; Rochester, 2014) and online information is now “characterized by pluralism, controversy, autonomy, fluidity, replicability and accessibility” (Spiranec & Banek Zorica, 2010, p.142). It is even more difficult when students are required to access and quickly filter huge amounts of information and data within this interactive environment (Coiro, 2003; Dede, 2009). Yet, these are essential literacy ‘survival’ skills (Literat, 2014; Pickard, Shenton & Johnson, 2014). This is problematic if students accept ‘information on trust’ and lack discrimination when selecting information from the internet (Pickard, Shenton & Johnson, 2014).

New Literacies

Literature acknowledges the development of notions of transliteracy and new literacies (Mackey & Jacobson, 2011; Leu et al., 2014a) with IL reframed as a metaliteracy connected to digital, media, visual, cultural and environmental literacies (Mackey & Jacobson, 2011; O’Connell, 2012; Rochester, 2014).  Furthermore, it is recognized that the nature of literacy has been altered by the internet requiring additional skills and strategies (Leu et al., 2014b) so much so that “literacy is not just new today; it is new every day” (Leu, Forzani, Rhoads, Maykel, Kennedy & Timbrell, 2014a, p.38).

For school librarians, it is worthwhile to consider further the concept of Leu et al’s (2014b) New Literacies theory, which embrace such findings as the centrality of critical literacies, the need for new forms of strategic knowledge, social practices and new literacies to fully access the internet. This has implications for IL sessions when online research and comprehension is pivotal to the “process of problem-based inquiry involving the skills, strategies, dispositions, and social practices that take place as [students] use the internet” (Leu et al., 2014b, p.346).

Leu et al. (2014b, p.346) consider five processing practices that occur during online research:

  1. Reading to identify important questions
  2. Reading to locate information
  3. Reading to evaluate information critically
  4. Reading to synthesize information
  5. Reading and writing to communicate information

Students need to be given explicit instruction and ongoing opportunities to apply these complex reading processes in digital and online environments (Brown, 2014). Indeed, Henry argued “that locating information is perhaps, the most important function of reading on the Internet [as] all other decisions and reading functions…emanate from the decisions that are made during the search process” (2006, p.616).

These new literacies are evident in both the revised SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy model and the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education which were used as curriculum design tools, along with the school library’s “21st Century Skills – An Information Fluency Document” (See Appendix B). Each of these documents move beyond linear skills to include a holistic approach addressing knowledge practices and dispositions i.e. affective, attitudinal or valuing dimensions of learning (Goldstein, 2015; Kutner & Armstrong 2012; ACRL, 2015). These skills are developed systematically, at point of need, over an extended period and at a variety of levels (ACRL, 2015; Mackey & Jacobson, 2011).


Throughout the IL sessions, differentiation included a variety of teaching strategies, use of digital and visual tools, and groupings so students had opportunities for teacher directed focus, exploratory learning and joint construction (Rochester, 2014). Farkas also noted the “very different competencies, technological literacies and expectations” of students within the classroom (2012, p.88). It is certainly a fine balance between providing the structure and scaffolding to teach IL and digital literacies skills and providing students with the time to inquire, explore questions and “wrestle with information issues collaboratively” (Farkas, 2012, p.91). This is where the PYP Exhibition provided a window of independent inquiry for students.

As a concluding activity, as the PYP Exhibition commenced, a mini IL provocation to use search terms and practice the online search process was introduced as part of the Tuning in and Finding out stages to support the PYP Exhibition transdisciplinary theme of ‘How We Express Ourselves’.

Parental permission was sought to allow for the Year 5 cohort to be involved in the case study (See Appendix C). Qualitative methods were used during a ‘snapshot of learning’ which included concept mapping, search history tracking and over 50 screen recordings by students (in pairs or ‘threes’) using QuickTime Player (See Appendix D). The latter allowed students to engage in Talk Alouds (Moline, 2010). A survey which included 194 students’ perceptions of IL strategies was also completed (See Appendix E). These methods provided insight into the learner’s viewpoint and active search strategy process.

Information literacy sessions

Based on the above literacies practices and curriculum frameworks, the following steps to develop threshold conceptual understandings were taught during IL sessions:

Searching as a strategic exploration (ACRL, 2015) requires novice students to search a limited set of resources and to construct a premeditated search strategy, that is, using Leu et al.’s (2014b) criteria, students read to identify important questions and locate information.

While students were not introduced to the intricacies of how different search engines work,  they learnt about the structure of a web address and  ‘blurb’ in order to infer the most useful links among a set of search engine results (Leu et al., 2014b; Henry, 2006) as shown in Figure 1. Students also used their prior knowledge along with these strategies to select useful web sites based on their information needs.

Figure 1 Structure of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL)



Students were expected to reflect on the importance of context and choice as “information sources [may] vary greatly in content and format and have varying relevance and value, depending on the needs and nature of the search” (ACRL, 2015, p.9; Farkas, 2012; Spiranec & Banek Zorica, 2010).  As part of the conceptual understanding of searching as a strategic exploration, students explored multiple resources (including databases such as Newsbank, Ebscohost Student Reference Centre, online encyclopedias and websites) in order to read to locate and critically evaluate information (Leu et al., 2014b; Mackey & Jacobson, 2011; Moline, 2010).

Year 5 students were also introduced to Wikipedia as a resource for initial topic understanding, to access creative common images, as well as helping to narrow their search terms by reading subheadings within an article. Additionally, students may discover further resources, via the citation trail, to support their inquiry. Wikipedia also allows for differentiation of learner needs. Students with English as an additional language (EAL) have access to their mother language and also to the Simple English Wikipedia site. Students further engaged in discussions about online collaborative authorship and reliability to develop their critical evaluation skills.

Alternative search engines to locate information and to engage with the search process was introduced (Henry, 2006). Visual search engines such as Instagrok and Tag Galaxy showed the significance of the relationship of keywords and tags. Advanced search techniques, using Google and Google Images, gave students the experience of narrowing search terms by using filtering and search tools. Other search engines such as Gogooligans and DuckDuckGo were considered for their advertising-free, safe search features, and privacy settings.

Finally, students focused on the Tuning in stage to consider the purpose of their information need and to use keywords to narrow their topic before the start of the search task (Henry, 2006). This concept mapping activity was completed during the mini IL provocation (See Appendix H).

The conceptual understanding that authority is constructed and contextual (ACRL, 2015) introduces students to read to critically evaluate information (Leu et al., 2014b). Students considered how “information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used” (ACRL, 2015, p.4). Pickard, Shenton and Johnson noted how the skill of evaluation is one of the most difficult within the cognitive domain and as a mainstream or gate-keeping skill “should be promoted by teachers in the classroom, as well as by librarians in the context of IL instruction” (2014, p.4, p.7).  Indeed for novice learners, design and presentation features rather than content can influence credibility judgements (Pickard, Shenton & Johnson, 2014). In addition, social and digital technologies have made this even more difficult for students to determine the producer of information and author’s expertise (Mackey & Jacobson, 2011).

Digital games such as Keynote Museum and Kahoot, websites and social media tools such as YouTube provided appropriate learning experiences to explore and revise web evaluation (See Appendix F). Animated discussion was generated as students judged the reliability and authenticity of an island holiday home for dogs (see Figure 2) with particular notice taken of authorship and disclaimers as well as content on the website.

Figure 2 Screenshot from Dog Island website which illustrates why students need to critically evaluate websites


Librarians provide IL scaffolding so students can “judge the value, credibility and soundness of different sources of information or knowledge through comparison and critique, rather than to accept and present all information or knowledge as given” (Koh, Tan, & Ng, 2012 in Rochester, 2014, p. 1009).

As novice learners, students developed understandings of basic indicators such as authority and validity criteria (ACRL, 2015, SCONUL, 2011). This is especially important in the emergent stages until students can independently create their own knowledge and transfer their learnings across disciplines (Moline, 2010; Rochester, 2014). The CARRDS Framework (see Appendix G) provided an evaluation scaffold, although students were reminded that this was only one framework among others available. Students made inferences based on credibility of author or organisation, the URL domain address clues, date/currency, references or citations, the purpose of the website and reliability of information (which incorporated fact checking and utilising prior knowledge) as well as relevance toward their information need.

As a final web evaluation task students had the choice between six websites to expose two websites with erroneous information and to also consider the purpose of each website (See Appendix F). Students were encouraged to think critically and “always question the information they read for reliability and accuracy, always read to infer bias or point of view, and always check the sources they encounter while reading” (Leu, 2014b, p.353; Henry, 2006; Mackey & Jacobson, 2011;).

Information has value and scholarship as conversation (ACRL, 2015) were two other threshold conceptual understandings addressed. Students are very familiar with the concepts of reuse and remix in informal contexts as they create and participate in digital and online environments.  What they do not understand are the legal and ethical nuances (Farkas, 2012). IL sessions introduced academic integrity and intellectual property, focusing on the concepts of plagiarism, copyright, creative commons and referencing. A core element of presenting information to others is giving attribution and communicating the sources used – indeed the key mantra was to ‘Cite everything’ and ‘Cite as you go’. Students used the scaffold of the RefMe online citation tool to explore the proper attribution of multiple formats of information (Henry, 2006).

Critical analysis

According to the online survey, the majority of students (91.2%) considered the IL sessions helpful, agreeing between 3 and 5 on the Likert scale with 1 being (not a lot) to 5 (very helpful). However, the library program needs to also consider the extreme users, the remaining 8.7% who chose the Likert 1- 2 scales. As the survey was anonymous, it did not allow tracking to see who these students ‘on the edges’ were, as to implications for mother language and reading abilities. Students agreed overwhelmingly that digital games are fun, interactive and help them learn (See Figure 3). The survey has ramifications for how to differentiate teaching the IL and digital literacies for this group of students and how digital games can be further incorporated within the school library programme.

Figure 3 Sample student reflections of digital games

Help me learn because they are fun so get me interested and make me want to get better and learn more so I do well in the game.
It makes me want to engage with the topic more.
It helps because if we get it wrong we discuss it and then explain why it is correct and it helps me to remember what we have learnt.
It helps because it will give questions you may not know the answer to and then it will tell you the answer and then it will explain why it was that answer.
Yes because it’s a fun game and because if you get something wrong your brain remembers the awnser.
Digital games help me because it transforms knowledge that was a bit boring to something that’s really fun and helps me remember new information.
The fun games sink in your head;   Because they help me understand more of the Internet.
Yes, because it’s a fun way of learning important things that you’ll need later & now in life.
It was helpful because I learnt how to find trustworthy websites
It helps me by making my head think to the topic so I will understand more.
Because it teaches you about how to search information and get information that is true.
I found it easier to engage during these games as an opposition to a teacher standing at the front of the room telling me something.

The data confirms that Year 5 students, as novice learners of online reading, are beginning to apply their knowledge to different contexts. Students’ concept maps as part of the goal setting process, showed students formulating search terms yet also indicated the need for ongoing practice (See Appendix H).  This Tuning in stage is “critical to searching for information on the internet” (Henry, 2006, p.618).

Screen recordings and informal in-class observation showed students engaged in discussion with one another and sharing prior knowledge. Working in small groups repositioned digital technologies as collaborative rather than individual tools. There was a balance of students using both natural language and selected keywords as they searched online. Several groups did not consider combining their search terms which affected both search results and time management. While students indicated using a variety of resources the internet is now the ‘go to’ resource for information across multimodal formats as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Sources of information used by upper elementary students


While students used different search engines, Google is the preferred search tool as shown in Figure 5 (See also Appendix I). Student comments  echoed each other, viewing Google as the ‘most helpful’ search engine based on their perceptions of  familiarity, ease of use, fast, efficient, relevant useful information, variety of formats e.g. images, videos, news, calculator, advanced search tools which allows the user to narrow their search, provides “precise searches” and copyright. Interestingly, Mackey and Jacobson exclaimed that ”the ease and ubiquity of resources such as the generic Google search feature, along with the certainty of results, however, lulls information seekers into a false sense of security that they have found what there is to be found” (2011, p.71). Other students’ preferences acknowledged the ‘kid safe’ and ‘kid friendly’ (easy to use and relevant information) aspects of search engines such as KidRex, DuckDuckGo, and Gogooligan. The other two resources that stood out for students to locate information was YouTube and Wikipedia.

Figure 5  Students’ preferred search engines


The snapshot of the recorded online ‘search process’ both confirmed student perceptions and introduced other concerns (See Appendix I). One third of the student groups were seen to transfer learnings and understandings into practice when discussing issues (“Does this answer our question?”, “Should we look in images?” “Is it trustworthy?” “That could be useful”, “It has a real address and phone number”, “Let’s scroll down here and read”) and using web evaluation criteria such as currency, authorship, reliability, relevance or the issue of online safety. These students also engaged in taking the time to scan and read for information.

Yet, the screen recordings also reinforced earlier research observations that students do not know how to approach reading in online environments (Henry, 2006; Timbrell, 2014). In spite of the initial task outline to consider keywords, questions and search strategy before using the internet, many groups began using the internet without clarifying clear goals. The result was poor navigation skills and lack of focus evident in abandoning either search engines or websites without comprehending the content, random searching by jumping quickly between different search engines and off topic conversation.  Nor, did these groups take the time or show careful online reading of search results, address bar or websites, instead engaging in non-strategic clicking and then finding information that did not meet their information need or was too difficult for their reading comprehension. At this emergent stage, students are novice searchers showing ad hoc search activity, unable to engage with sufficient depth to fully explore the topic scope (Coiro, 2003; Debowski, 2001).

This anecdotal evidence is in direct contrast to students’ perception on the importance of website evaluation criteria (See Table 1). Interestingly, there are still significant (while small) numbers of students (the extreme users, in red) who selected 1-2 on the Likert scale considering the criteria as ‘not at all important’ which has implications for both their own online search practice, online reading and the school library program.

Table 1 Frequency of responses provided for online survey website evaluation criteria
Response Statement 1.     Not at all important 5. Very important
You look for information about the author or organisation 2 (1%) 14 (7.2%) 29 (14.9%) 69 (35/6%) 80 (41.2%)
The information is detailed rather than brief 3 (1.5%) 7 (3.6%) 42 (21.6%) 81 (41.8%) 61 (31.4%)
The web page/site is new or has been recently updated 2 (1%) 8 (4.1%) 29 (14.9%) 73 (37.6%) 82 (42.3%)
The web page refers to the work of other experts or has a reference list 3 (1.5%) 7 (3.6%) 51 (26.3%) 71 (36.6%) 62 (32%)
There are no spelling or grammatical mistakes 6 (3.1%) 7 (3/6%) 26 (13.4%) 51 (26.3%) 104 (53.6%)
It is clear why the website has been created 0 (0%) 9 (4.6%) 33 (17%) 64 (33%) 88 (45.4%)
You read the search page blurb and look at the URL address for clues 6 (3.1%) 13 (6.7%) 41 (21.1%) 78 (40.2%) 56 (28.9%)
You use prior knowledge when using search engines and choosing websites 2 (1%) 4 (2.1%) 23 (11.9%) 78 (40.2%) 87 (44.8%)
It is easy to check the information is correct by looking at other websites 0 (0%) 9 (4.6%) 23 (11.9%) 71 (36.6%) 91 (46.9%)
You think about keywords you will use before searching online 2 (1%) 7 (3.6%) 30 (15.5%) 85 (43.8%) 70 (36.1%)
You choose different search engines depending on how they can help you find information 6 (3.1%) 10 (5.2%) 29 (14.9%) 66 (34%) 83 (42.8%)


The demands of evaluating information would appear to be insufficiently valued in education (Pickard, Shenton & Johnson, 2014). The case study reaffirmed Debrowski’s (2001) findings of the need for further exploration of students’ search strategies. It would certainly be interesting to track these students as they move through the secondary years, as to how their research and online comprehension develop. While there are obvious limitations to the case study especially the time constraint of both the IL sessions and the mini search provocation, it is still evident that the following skillsets and strategies need to be continually reinforced within the school library program and the classroom:

  1. Practicing searching and analysing search engine results, including strategic use of keywords and “determining the extent of information required for a particular search” (Mackey & Jacobson, 2010, p.68; Henry, 2006).
  2. Providing time for students to inquire and explore multiple formats in order to activate prior knowledge to help with searching on the internet (Henry, 2006).
  3. Students evaluate and annotate websites as part of inquiry tasks in addition to content creation, e.g. why they have selected websites to use.
  4. Opportunities for student reflection of tools and strategies used within a search process and whether it was effective (Henry, 2006; Farkas, 2012).
  5. Revising conceptual understandings of academic integrity and practicing bibliographic skills throughout the academic year within the classroom context.


The case study provided interesting insights into students’ emergent digital and information literacies skills. Students are beginning to apply the information learned within the IL sessions to different contexts. Yet, the qualitative data from the snapshot of learning also reaffirmed the literature and the dichotomy that exists between student’s beliefs and perceptions and their actual skills in reading to effectively navigate, locate, evaluate and use online information. While students acknowledged the significance of digital and information skills and strategies within the online survey, they are still very much novice learners ‘finding their way online’ without much thought given to their practice.

Given the impact of digital technologies and participatory environments today, information literacies are now even more significant (Mackey and Jacobson, 2011).  Students in the case study already are familiar with the dynamics of change as they live in cultures outside of their own. As they progress through their schooling, students need to make similar connections and develop the skills and strategies to successfully engage with the new literacies in complex digital and online environments.


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INF537 Critical reflection [Assessment 3]

The Digital Futures Colloquium [INF537] journey was a powerful experience, yet perhaps also one of the most difficult and challenging courses to undertake as both a learner and educator. It reaffirmed understandings developed throughout my different subjects of being a connected learner* engaged in participatory environments. I was glad to re-engage in Module 1 with reports coming from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and thought-leaders such as Mimi Ito where links were made between what learning in education should look like and my own learning experience in INF537 in an early blog post July 19, 2016 :

* “Learning that is socially connected, interest-driven…pursuing knowledge and expertise around something you care deeply about and you’re supported by friends and institutions who share and recognize their common passion or purpose” (Mimi Ito in We Came to Play by Cupaiuolo, C., in Participatory learning).

Module 2 was intense with the extent and depth of course and related readings. These included some concepts and practices new to me such as Peeragogy and digital scholarship, with Martin Weller provoking me to think about who is an open scholar. 


The literature of Neil Selwyn particularly resonated with me, as I noted in my blog, as I could relate it to the K-12 education field, especially the rapid change and development of technology, and the:

definite need “to take stock of who we are, what is we do, and how and why we do it” (p.65). What is required, is closer attention to “how digital technologies are being used … in ‘real-world’ educational settings” (p.66).

Another familiar concept within Module 2, of which I still  advocate is Communities of Practice. In one of my earlier subject critical reflections, I noted how “Conversation is where all learning begins” (Douglas Blane, 2006).  CofP was very evident with the collegiality and regular, ongoing communication between course mates throughout the colloquiums, discussion threads, (such as in the Module 1.3 discussion thread which is still fascinating reading to reflect on), blog posts and through online social media.  I certainly deepened my understandings through my own reflective writing but also by reading colleagues’ reflections and sharing resources through the above mediums.


I have not really engaged with colloquium webinars previously, and found them particularly useful on a number of levels for knowledge networking.  The guest industry speakers provided practical insight into different fields in the digital environment which corresponded with Module 2 readings, from learning analytics, computer science, digital technologies and resources (ABC Splash) within the K-12 environment with Julie Lindsay sharing a wider perspective of the global educator. The webinar chat conversations also allowed us to ask questions of the speakers and share our own knowledge, thoughts and reflections with each other, and develop personal connections between the cohort.

I collaborated with two colleagues, Jo and Chantal, to act as student discussion moderators for the colloquium by Pip Cleaves, ‘Design, Learn, Empower’, and then for the first student led peer colloquium 17 August 2016 where we focused on the lens of scholar, scholarship and institution in the lead up to the digital interpretative essay.

Screenshot 2016-08-30 17.35.21

In hindsight, it influenced the direction my Digital scholarship interpretative discussion paper would follow more than I realized.  In the lead up to the colloquium we were very involved in the participatory collaborative environment as I noted in my journal post of 28 August 2016 and blog post

Jo Quinlan on August 30, 2016 at 7:13 pm said:
Hi Yvonne. I am glad that you suggested that Chantal, you and I jump in the deep end and present the first peer colloquium, as working together helped to clarify my thinking in preparation for our assessment task. I have just submitted the mid semester survey, and in response to the question about what I have most enjoyed this semester, I wrote about the supportive network that we have created beyond the confines of the INF537 infrastructure. I was in Singapore in January this year – I wish I had “met” you before then, so I could have met you in person earlier this year!

The case study proposal nearly came crashing down due to the Year 5 class timeline and processes engaged in the lead up to the PYP Exhibition. As I acknowledged on a tweet and in my journal blog (30th August & 2nd September), I was fortunate to have our course coordinator’s immediate support across time/distance. Needless to say the stress levels were significantly high.


The case study has been fascinating to bring my own teaching practice together with my studies.  The 3000 words was not nearly enough for everything, yet the study certainly provides me with direction to move forward with the school library program.  Time was also a limitation both for the longitudinal development of the case study and the course itself. So much to cover within a short period of time, which is one of the challenges for all educators, including giving our students the time to explore, inquire and critically reflect.

The voice thread was introduced too late in the course. While it is a practical way of sharing ideas with our colleagues, for the final essay it was just an added extra, when time was precious and deadlines loomed. However, it is a tool that I will use in my own teaching practice as it allows for the sharing and collaboration across the digital space for our students.
A final comment again must acknowledge the supportive network of my colleagues in INF537 – a major mainstay and strength – which brings me full circle to what a connected learner in a participatory digital environment is all about.


MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative (June 30, 2014). Participatory learning: Spotlight on digital media and learning [Amazon ebook]. Retrieved from:

INF537 Colloquium – the Global educator

One of the final colloquium sessions was led by our course coordinator, Julie Lindsay on global collaboration.

Global Collaboration Projects & Courses

Julie Lindsay posted these essential questions on our discussion forum:

  • Lindsay (2016) talks about being an “Outlier”, a characteristic of creative innovators (p.263), do you agree?
  • Are the new generation better in collaboration?
  • Considering your educational institution, what are the enablers to incorporating global learning in the curriculum?
  • Consider your school/educational context, identify the barriers that may prevent your educational institution from incorporating global learning and how might you overcome these barriers (solutions)?
  • From the colloquium presentation, are there any specific action items you think you could employ in your practice now to facilitate flat connected learning, global education, online global collaboration?

INF537 And it is a lot harder… (postdated reflection)

In the rush of the last week of term and the case study I inadvertently forgot to publish this little reflection:

It is crunch time to see if the students can work out a search strategy. They have been given a worksheet to create a visual concept map first. Which in itself has been difficult for some to narrow their search terms. The concept map from last week’s information lit session is a good scaffold though. From informally observing students, their focus is on jumping in and using Quicktime Player to show their research process, with limited search terms on the concept map. It would be interesting to compare the sheet with a screen recording. In this current class, there is certainly a lot of conversation happening as the students search collaboratively with the one laptop.

Time is a huge issue. These lessons really need to go over two periods. It didn’t help when the fire alarm routine alert interrupted two classes. I will be asking teachers for an extra session this week if possible. Teachers have also extended students search process time once I have had to move on to the next class.

This whole issue of time and providing students with time to explore and reflect on the search process itself is one of my recommendations from my case study. Both my students and myself, as part of our experiential learning, need to apply the new concepts gained ‘in class’ to our “own profession and working environment” i.e., to “combine content with practical events” (Brown, 2014, p.794). I have found this to be the case within my own teaching practice, as I have admitted elsewhere. Yet, often our students are not provided with the ongoing time for critical thinking and reflection, and these skills may be especially difficult for young novice learners without any scaffolding.  As Brown comments, “digital literacy requires new skills, and a rethinking of traditional skills” (2014, p.797).


Brown, C.A. (2014). Pedagogy and the new literacies in higher education, In V. Wang (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Education and Technology in a Changing Society, 792-805.  Hershey, PA: doi: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch059

Bosman, L. & Zagencyk, T. (2011) Revitalize your teaching: Creative approaches to applying social media in the classroom. In White, B., King, I., & Tsang, P. (Eds.). (2011). Social Media Tools and Platforms in Learning Environments. Berlin, Heidelberg, DE: Springer. Retrieved from

INF537 case study reflections

Time constraints are certainly an issue – first, to undertake this case study and especially within the time constraints of the 35 minute information literacy sessions, and to tie in with the beginning of the PYP Exhibition. Teachers came to the rescue so I booked up an extra session last week with the year 5 classes. This allowed students to do a screen recording of their search process and also the online survey (using Google forms). It has been interesting seeing the dichotomy between practice and perception.  However, these students are novice learners as they begin to inquire independently. The activity with the search process was conducted in either pairs or groups of 3 students. Often students use their 1:1 iPads in information literacy sessions. However, by using Mac laptops as a collaborative tool (1  per group) what emerged was greater discussion and (hopefully) deeper understanding of the search process.

I am at the stage of nearly finishing the case study by bringing together the data and considering the implications for recommendations and where to next for the school library program. It has been fascinating to bring my own teaching practice together with my studies, and the case study has allowed me to improve my own teaching.  The 3000 words is not nearly enough for everything I want to include about information and digital literacies within the school library program. As a colleague and I commented, it gives you a ‘taste’ to take your research forward to the next PhD level.

INF537 and so it begins… case study reflections

I wrote this on my journal page, yet, felt the need to expand upon it here, where it is more visible.

I have turned the page! The weekend seemed to flow with multiple readings and bringing ideas together for the case study. I feel somewhat like on the ISP (Kuhlthau) affective continuum, moving beyond the frustration and disappointment of last week to greater focus and sense of direction. I have also stared the mini provocation and hopefully sparking student student interest. I may have to continue this as a blog post…lots to think about and reflect already…


The mini provocation uses Article #19 Freedom of Expression from The Declaration of Human Rights. Our students are inquiring into How we Express Ourselves, which is one of the transdisciplinary themes of the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) as their focus for their Exhibition. The PYP Exhibition is the culminating learning experience of the PYP. It encourages students to take ownership of their learning, it is authentic and students choose real-life/world issues that they are passionate about or that concern them.  It is also the time to allow teachers to step back and reflect themselves, on whether students are able to synthesise and transfer their knowledge as they inquire and research in collaborative groups.

The short video was an excellent resource to have students thinking about concepts of  freedom, expression, choice, culture, traditions, generations, music, art, dance, literature/writing, and who can interfere with how people express themselves. We also watched a touching video clip of an elderly man (with dementia) singing with his son. We then pondered how these forms of expression can help people; the impact of being able to express ourselves to show who we are, where we belong, what choices we make and beliefs that we follow.

Next week, students will take these ideas and jump into exploring more using digital technologies and the internet. That is when I am going to be watching closely to see how they use the skills and strategies taught over the course of the year in information literacy (IL) sessions.


Freedom of Expression, Youth For Human Rights (2016), Retrieved from

INF537 case study proposal

Screenshot 2016-09-06 18.51.01My case study proposal nearly came crashing around my knees last week; and as I acknowledged on a tweet, I was fortunate to have our course coordinator’s immediate support across the time/distance lines.

It was a matter of re-tweaking and refocusing and resubmitting my final assessment case study proposal. I am reminded of the addage that sometimes doors close and open when they should, as my new direction, I think will provide greater insight into my teaching practice as a teacher librarian.  Here is the new case study proposal:

  1. Case Study Proposal –  Question

How has the school library program developed digital and information literacies necessary for students to support their independent research and collaborative inquiry? An exploratory case study within the IB PYP  inquiry process.

  1. Brief description of  project

“Deep learners integrate new learning into their knowledge” thereby utilising critical thinking which is promoted by active learner participation (van Staalduinen, 2011, p.100).  However, “the internet is also altering the nature of literacy, generating ‘New Literacies’ that require additional skills and strategies” (Leu et. al., 2014, 344). As the 2015 ACRL framework acknowledges:

“ Students have a greater role and responsibility in creating new knowledge, in understanding the contours and the changing dynamics of the world of information, and in using information, data, and scholarship ethically.” (2015, 2).

The current exploratory case study seeks to reflect on digital and information literacies taught over a school year, as part of the library program, and have students engage in a brief inquiry process to provide a snapshot of their learning.  

This project will focus on year 5 upper elementary school students, within an international school setting. Throughout the school year the teacher librarian introduced new literacies skills and strategies, including academic integrity, to support student learning.  An earlier case study using game based learning to reinforce threshold concepts of website evaluation was also undertaken with this same group.

Now the question is, can students show evidence of having synthesised these skills and strategies as they undertake independent in-depth inquiry into authentic, real life issues or problems that provoke them as they start the  PYP Exhibition process.

  1. Expected outcomes of the project

The expected outcome of this project is to:

  • consider whether students have internalised knowledge and  “transformed practice where they are able to apply information learned to different contexts in different situations and social environments” (Cazden et al., 1996 in Rochester, 2014, Wang chapter 75).
  • Students will be critiqued using the following criteria:
    • Use validity criteria to evaluate information sources
    • Are able to construct a premeditated search strategy
    • Use multiple resources, including different search engines depending on purpose
    • Synthesize or manage multiple sources using digital  technologies
    • Create bibliographic records using an online citation tool
  1. Case Study Plan

Week Beginning Plan/Actions Resources
Week 5:

15 August 2016

Confirm topic and continue background reading into the concepts of “new literacies”, multimodal literacies, digital literacies, information literacy, participatory technologies
Define major concepts
Contact teachers to gather interest in class/group involvement; Explain case study to PYP Curriculum Coordinator
Information literacy session:

Revise bibliographic referencing skills & introduce online citation tool REFME

Readings into “new literacies”

Exhibition staff meeting to discuss upcoming PYP Exhibition  (general overview)

Week 6:

22 August 2016

Create qualitative survey for students
*Create checklist for observation ( framework based on Nicole Timbrell: Reciprocal Reading Strategies in Offline & online reading environments (see References) and web evaluation CARRDS criteria.
Google Sheets
PYP Exhibition Provocation workshop sessions (arranged by PYP Coordinator) Attend.

Blogging workshop, Critical thinking using the PYP Concepts to develop questions

Week 7:

29 August 2016

Information literacy session: Creative commons, public domain, images Meeting with HOY 5 to discuss Exhibition following collaborative meeting
Week 8:

5 September 2016

Information literacy session:  Introduce mini research process activity; show students how to use Quicktime player to make screen recordings; students practice.
Provocation video – watch, students bookmark

Discuss major PYP and related concepts


Checklist ?

Quicktime player – screen recording – to track mouse clicks

Stored search history

Youth for Human Rights
PYP transdisciplinary theme: How we express ourselves –

An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.

PYP Concepts:

Form: What is it like?

Function: How does it work?

Causation: Why is it like it is?

Change: How is it changing?

Connection: How is it connected to other things?

Perspective: What are the points of view?

Responsibility: What is our responsibility?

Reflection: How do we know?

Week 9:

12 September 2016

Information literacy session:

Students have keyword cheat sheet, and also refer to earlier sketchnote work on Where do I find? How do I know?

In pairs, students discuss and choose one of the major PYP concepts

Observe groups as they continue inquiry process  


Quicktime player – screen recording – to track mouse clicks –

Stored search history

Week 10:

19 September 2016

Information literacy session:

Observe groups as they continue inquiry process  
Information literacy sessions: Student survey
Start writing Case Study Report

Student survey – Google forms
Term break:

26 September 2016

Collate student survey, interview and observations data

Continue writing of Case Study Report

Term break:

3 October 2016

Complete writing of Case Study Report

Write Critical Reflection

10 October 2016 Case study and Critical Reflection uploaded to Easts. (Due date)
Share Case Study Report with class teachers and school leadership via Thinkspace blog link: Reflections for a Digital Age.


Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). (2015). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from

Coiro, J. (2003). Reading comprehension on the Internet: Expanding our understanding of reading comprehension to encompass new literacies. Reading Teacher, 56(5), 458.

Leu, D.J., Forzani, E., Rhoads, C., Maykel, C., Kennedy, C., & Timbrell, N. (2015). The new literacies of online research and comprehension: Rethinking the reading achievement gap. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(1). 1-23. Newark, DE: International Reading Association. doi: 10.1002/rrq.85. Retrieved from

Leu, D.J., Zawilinski, L., Forzani, E. & Timbrell, N. (2014). Best practices in teaching the New Literacies of Online Research and Comprehension [in press]. 343-364. Retrieved from

Mackey, T.P. & Jacobson, T.E. (2011). Reframing literacy as a metaliteracy. College & Research Libraries, 72(1), 62-78. doi:10.5860/crl-76r1

Timbrell, N. (9 May 2014). Using reciprocal reading strategies to boost online reading comprehension. Document from author.

Timbrell, N. (9 May 2014). Reciprocal reading strategies in offline and online reading environments. Retrieved from

Rochester, R. R. (2014).Multiliteracies pedagogy. In V. Wang (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Education and Technology in a Changing Society, 1005-1013. Hershey, PA:. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-6046-5.ch008

Van Staalduinen, J. (2011). A First Step towards Integrating Educational Theory and Game Design. In P. Felicia (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Improving Learning and Motivation through Educational Games: Multidisciplinary Approaches, 98-117.  Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-495-0.ch005

INF537 Digital scholarship assessment #2


Katz declares that digital technologies “are liberating scholars and scholarships from many traditional bounds of culture, community and practice” (2010, p.47) and creating as a result the new paradigm of digital scholarship. It almost sounds like a revolution is happening. But is it?  Instead perhaps, what we are seeing is a slow evolution? (Muller, 2014) where change has been happening around the edges (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009). Educational institutions still bear a structural resemblance to their historical counterparts, while the impact of digital technologies with its ‘untapped potential’ (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012) has not been as widespread or as transformative as anticipated (Pearce, Weller, Scanlon & Ashleigh, 2010). Research reveals the dichotomy between the optimistic view of the ‘promise’ of technology use in education and the ‘messy realities’ of actual practice (Selwyn, 2011; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012).

This interpretive discussion paper endeavours to explore the literature and concepts surrounding, what Goodfellow (2013) sees as the ‘impossible triangle’ of scholarship (and scholars), digitality and openness. This paper briefly examines the historical context of knowledge and scholarship. Then moves to consider the varying concepts of first briefly, scholarship in general, then secondly, who is a scholar and by extension, who is a ‘digital scholar’ (Weller, 2011), and thirdly, the concept of ‘openness’  entangled as it is with digital technologies and scholar/ship.

impossible triangle digital scholarship goodfellow

Source: Goodfellow (2013)

Historical context

To return to Katz’s call of ‘liberation’, requires one to also consider the historical context – what are the traditional bounds of culture, community and practice which still exist and impact scholarship and digital scholarship?  Goodfellow (2013) discusses the hierarchies and elitism of traditional academia. Literature recounts tenure considerations and the conservative value and reward systems which prioritises ‘traditional outputs’ within higher institutions (Borgman, 2007; Pearce et al., 2010; Stewart, 2015; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012). Katz reflects on the ‘gatekeeping’ aspect of traditional institutions whereby artificial barriers are designed “to keep outsiders out of the ivory tower” (2010, p.50). Scholars’ perceptions of social media and publishing their work openly promotes (Veletsianos & Kimmons, October, 2012; Goodfellow, 2013) a culture of “possessive individualism” (Rosenzweig, 2007 in Pearce et. al, 2010, p.36). Bailey (20 August 2016) plays devil’s advocate, reminding us for scholarship “to be transformative it also need to be heretical” and similarly alongside Veletsianos & Kimmons (October 2012) questions who profits and who is excluded. Veletsianos & Kimmons recognise institutional obstacles and the matter of corporate interests which impact in positive and negative ways (October 2012).  Indeed universities are creating their own international footprint and making a mark as multinational corporations through investment in online education and the purchase of colleges in multiple countries (Lane & Kinser, 2015).

The ‘dominant culture’ lies within traditional academia. However,  Veletsianos & Kimmons believe that technological innovation and the way digital technologies are used, such as in the emergence of social networking practices, “might very well reflect aspects of the dominant culture, which then gains power, via the tool, to influence scholarly cultures” (2012, p. 770). Veletsianos & Kimmons also noted that “as with every emerging technology used in education, it takes time for these tools to be evaluated, adopted and appropriated into wide practice” (2012, p.174). It does raise the question of how long social networking or digital scholarship are considered as emergent phenomena rather than mainstream practice in education. These questions are particularly pertinent, when scholarly work (and digital technologies) do not exist in a vacuum, but rather are bound by social, political, economic, cultural and historical contexts (Selwyn, 2010; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012). The internet has changed the world, and how we live in the world. As Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton, & Robinson (2009) state we live in a participatory culture or society where active creation of information has become the norm.

It is this participatory culture and the use of digital technologies that have seen scholars questioning “what knowledge is, how it is gained, how it is verified, how it is shared and how it should be valued” (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p. 770). Katz (referencing Clifford Lynch), declares that digital technologies and evolving social norms have seen  the “building of a body of knowledge that is constantly being reinterpreted, reintegrated, reorganized, and re-expressed in ways that extend the original ideas” (in 2010, p.49). One can recognise the significance of digital technologies for ‘opening up’ knowledge and scholarship, however, “remixing has always been a part of human culture”.

Knowledge, scholarship and digitality

Veletsianos & Kimmons acknowledge that “the relationship between technology and scholarship has not attracted much empirical attention” (2012, p.767).  Yet digital technologies have been a significant part in the cultural shifts of learning paradigms in education.

Boyer’s 1990 model of scholarship, focusing on both teaching and research activities, is one theoretical approach often referenced “to re-envision the multi-faceted scholarship practices impacted by new technologies” (Greenhow & Gleason, 2015; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012; Stewart, 2015; Pearce,2010) with its emphasis on discovery of new knowledge, integrating knowledge across disciplines in order to bring new insights, application of knowledge within authentic environments and teaching practice (Boyer, 1990, chpt.2) .

Digital technologies  have been drivers for change enhancing the collaborative construction of knowledge and shared meanings within groups  (social constructivism) and have promoted the distribution of knowledge across a network of connections to people and information (connectivism) (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009; Millwood, 2013). The paradigms of  participatory and connected  learning continue to gain momentum, incorporating the use of digital technologies to participate in virtual communities, where scholars can network, collaborate and co-create with myriad people (who can remain anonymous – which can change the concept of authorship) (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009, p.12-18).  However, Veletsianos & Kimmons caution that “though such embodied practice is present in some aspects of academe, it [still] does not represent the dominant academic culture” (2012, p.770).

Scholarship, scholars and digitality

Goodfellow acknowledges there is consensus that “all scholarship values critical reflection, the systematic and cumulative aggregation of knowledge and understanding over time, distinct modes of operation relating to the gathering of evidence and the warranting of its reliability, and the ethic of enquiry as a primary motivation” (2013, pp. 3-4). However conversely, it appears too that there are varying interpretations dependent upon the “different disciplinary fields and subject communities [which] …give rise to distinctly different forms of scholarly practice” (Goodfellow, 2013, p. 4) including digital scholarship where knowledge is positioned around social connections rather than content (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p. 771).

From scholarship to scholars… so who is a scholar? Esposito (2013) includes six fields which epitomize a scholar – involvement in research, authoring, teaching, administration, networking and celebrity (the latter being management of personal branding). However, that seems to imply that one has to be a member of a higher institution to qualify?   Yet, scholars may also work outside of ‘institutionally ordained authority’ to collaborate and seek ongoing feedback with others whose institutional status and credentials may be unknown (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009, p.16-17), which implies an informal network of scholars.  The notion of the amateur scholar in history, is therefore seeing a resurgence due to the influence of digital technologies (Katz, 2010). Wikipedia is one of the obvious projects where amateur scholars are involved in open knowledge construction (Goodfellow, 2013, p.8) and scholarship such as the Wikipedia Visiting Scholars program.  Bailey (20 August 2016) questions the conundrum of who is a scholar, within her research blog:

“And when you leave formal education, when you graduate and lose access to all that body of formal knowledge, lose your writing on fora and institutional blogs, when the gates to the ivory towers slam shut? Are you no longer a scholar? Are you an ex-scholar? A practitioner?”

So there are varying connotations of who is a scholar, including the advent of the digital (open or social) scholar.  It is recognised that not all scholars are digital or open scholars even if there is a growing expectation by institutions for scholars to use digital technologies to research, teach and collaborate (Tusting, MuCulloch & Hamilton, 2016, p. 423-424). Rather, the digital scholar embraces open values and the democratization of knowledge creation and dissemination by opening up their intellectual projects and processes in digitally visible ways (Burton, 2009 in Weller 2011a, p.51; Veletsianos & Kimmons, Oct 2012). Thus the digital scholar is engaged with social media and digital spaces as part of a networked participatory scholarship (Greenhow & Gleason, 2015; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p. 767). This scholarship is furthered through formal and informal knowledge practices, the development of relationships, building of community and cultivation of online identity as scholars through the processes of sharing, reflection and critique (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012; October 2012).

Openness, scholarship and digitality

Openness, the third point of Goodfellow’s triangle, is evident everywhere in education and daily life, and has consequently undergone many interpretations and adaptations (Weller, 2014). Weller notes “one needs only consider the variety of ways in which the term ‘open’ has been used…open courses, open pedagogy, open educational resources, open access, open data, open scholarship –  it seems every aspect of educational practice is subject to being ‘open’ now” (2014, p. 27).  Openness has become an accepted part of the educational paradigm. Yet, even as little as three years ago, Price was considering ‘openness’ as a disruptive force (2013, chpt. 2, n.p.). Goodfellow views ‘openness’ within the lens of accessibility and ‘amenability to participation and appropriation’ and as both a philosophy and a set of practices (2013, p.3). Greenhow & Gleason (2015, p. 279) include openness within both formal and informal means of knowledge distribution and like Veletsianos & Kimmons (2012, p.168) take a broader, inclusive approach where ‘openness’ for scholarship exemplifies the elements of access, open publishing, open education (resources and teaching), networked participation, and public engagement.

These paradigm shifts above are elements of the open access movement (OAM) or open source education which seeks to address the issue of the ‘digital divide’. It may not, as Davidson and Goldberg admit, erase the gap but it does “provides a more collective model of capital to promote interchange” (2009, p.31). The OAM has as its foundation, concepts of human rights, justice, transparency and accountability, of which “openness and sharing in scholarship are seen as fundamentally ethical behaviours” (Veletsianos & Kimmons, October 2012, p.172).

Digital technologies have contributed towards a democratisation of knowledge and a de-centred pedagogy (Davidson & Goldberg, 2009, p. 28) in order to enhance  knowledge and scholarship for the wider benefit of the global society  (Pearce et al, 2010) . This is exemplified in the development of projects like  the Khan Academy and the opening of massively open online courses (MOOCS); open universities, and other open, collective and collaborative projects such as the Wikimedia Foundation, Project Gutenberg and Creative Commons (Veletsianos & Kimmons. October 2012). Other open authentic informal learning environments are self-organised (SOLE) projects such as peeragogy and the development of  communities of practice to improve scholarly practice through utilizing connections via social network sites (Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012).

While ‘openness’ has become part of the mainstream vernacular, there are also concerns about future directions.  Veletsianos & Kimmons (October 2012) caution about possibilities of abuse and exploitation while Weller remarks on how ‘openness’ is being used as a marketing tool for commercial interests (2014).  Goodfellow concedes that it is unclear to what extent “new practices of open publishing and data sharing are actually being taken up across academic disciplines and scholarly communities” (2013, p.7).  It is problematic when, the OAM challenges the gate-keeping and dissemination of knowledge by traditional institutions and journal publications through such controls as digital rights management technologies (Goodfellow, 2013; Veletsianos & Kimmons, October 2012).  The direction of massively open online courses (MOOCS) from their origins as flexible alternatives to traditional higher education to a more commodified, business-oriented model has been another emerging trend which has seen cause for concern. As Bailey (20 August 2016) adhorts always follow the money. Bates (2015, 5.6.4) also cautions:

“We do need to be careful that the open education movement in general, and MOOCs in particular, are not used as a stick by those …who are deliberately trying to undermine public education for ideological and commercial reasons. Open content, OERs and MOOCs do not automatically lead to open access to high quality credentials for everyone.”

Selwyn acknowledges too that technology is developing so rapidly, that we barely have time to keep up and therefore need to pay closer attention to the ‘messy realities’ of “how digital technologies are being used … in ‘real-world’ educational settings” (2010, p.65-66).

He advises us to “recognize – and work within – the current and historical limitations of educational technology rather than its imagined limitless potential” (Selwyn, 2011, p. 715, 717). Davidson & Goldberg similarly state that it is a matter of piecemeal transformation where “remixed learning institutions may well be the model of the future” (2009, p.40). We need to continue to work around the edges, remain critical of the systems we are creating (Veletsianos & Kimmons, October 2012) and keep asking questions. As Wiley and Green state, “only time will tell whether practices of open scholarship will transform education or whether the movement will go down in the history books as just another fad that couldn’t live up to its press” (in Veletsianos & Kimmons, October 2012, p. 167).

This paper has attempted to weave and weft between some of the various factors that are part of the ‘impossible triangles and tensions’ of scholarship, digital technologies and ‘openness’. To conclude, Ivan Illich predicted in 1971 that learners of the future would find each other and use information technologies to form decentralized “learning webs” and “networks”. Illich was certainly prescient with the emergence and continuing development of participatory networked scholarship. However, it is still also a timely reminder of how much further to go.

“A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.” (Illich in Redesign Education blog, 26 March 2015)


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Price, D. (2013). Open: How we’ll work, live and learn in the future. Crux Publishing. [Kindle edition]

Remix culture. (2016, August 17). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:34, August 24, 2016, from

Rheingold, H. (2012). Toward peeragogy. DML Central, 23 [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(1), 65–73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00338.x

Selwyn, N. (2011). Editorial: In praise of pessimism—the need for negativity in educational technology. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42, 713–718. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01215.x Retrieved from

Tusting, K., McCulloch, S., Hamilton, M. (2016). Academics’ experiences of networked professional learning. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning 2016. Edited by: Cranmer S, Dohn NB, de Laat M, Ryberg T & Sime JA. 422 – 431

Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked participatory scholarship: emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers & Education, 58(2), 766-774.

Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (October 2012). Assumptions and challenges of open scholarship. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 166-189. Retrieved from

Wales DTC (2015, April 21).  Martin Weller: The digital scholar – how technology is transforming scholarly practice [Video file].  Retrieved from

Weller, M. (2011a). The nature of scholarship. The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. A&C Black. Chapter 4, pp.41-51.

Weller, M. (2011b). A pedagogy of abundance. The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. A&C Black.  Chapter 8, pp.85-95.

Weller, M. (2012). The virtues of blogging as scholarly activity. Chronicle of Higher Education, 58(35), B27-B28.

Weller, M. (2014). The Battle for open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI:



INF537 Peer Colloquium leaders for Digital Scholarship

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Digital Scholarship Jo, Chantal, Yvonne Colloquium slides

I am writing this belatedly, as the last couple of weeks have seen me ‘gasping for air’ as I worked on the assessment 2 interpretive essay on digital scholarship. I am not sure how I will go (was due yesterday), it was fascinating, but such a huge area to consider within the word count. However, in the lead up, I collaborated with two other colleagues, Jo and Chantal, to lead the first student led peer colloquium 17 August 2016. It was my first experience with online collaboration to develop a group product/presentation, albeit an informal one. The topic was digital scholarship, and we chose to look through the lens of scholar, scholarship and institution. In hindsight, it influenced my interpretive essay more than I realized. The lead up to the online discussion with the rest of our cohort was busy, with constant communication either through messenger phone chats, messages and google drive. This period of working together meant many conversations about the topic, resources, ideas and reflections.  It also proved to follow a similar process as blogging does (see Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p. 771) where the three of us ‘expressed opinions, sought feedback, involved ‘think by writing’ and enabled the release of emotional tension. And that was only the beginning! The colloquium was nerve wracking, having to then share our thoughts and ideas with the rest of the cohort (I still have not been ‘game enough’ to go back and listen to my recorded speaking session).  The event also gave me a greater appreciation for our guest colloquium speakers and our coordinator who are able to talk and track our cohorts written conversations simultaneously. It was a huge learning curve, and one that I am glad to have experienced. Need I say, I cannot thank Jo and Chantal enough!


Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked participatory scholarship: emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers & Education, 58(2), 766-774.


INF537 Colloquium #3 – Computer Science (CS) + Education (reflection)

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This afternoon I listened to the recording of our third colloquium speaker, Rebecca Vivian, from Adelaide University, since I had missed the event due to a year 5 school camp. The conversation focused on computer science. It was interesting and an eye-opening account on different levels.  Rebecca first asked my colleagues for their thoughts on ‘what is computer science?’. It really is amazing, that it is an area where we are still challenged with such stereotypical images. Rebecca connected the dots. CS does not stand alone, but rather is a transdisciplinary field that extends across all careers, combining with art, fashion, business, medicine, conservation, healthcare, security, music, gaming, education et al. Yet, surprisingly only 16% of college/university students are choosing ITC or engineering pathways, when CS has already been mooted as one of the career sectors that will be one of the necessary sectors which will experience a shortfall.

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Rebecca posed both the questions and challenges that CS + Education need to address. They are many, extending from how to engage young females, other …..students, parents, teachers and community to promote and connect with CS?  How to change the culture and broaden the curriculum so students are interested, engaged and motivated to follow computer science? What are the solutions to train teachers and provide classroom support within a scaleable way?


Professional development continues to be a contentious issue. In order to attend to this area, the research team adopted Lloyd and Cochrane’s model. Teachers have advocated for sustained learning (over time), and not just ‘once off’ PD. They need both the practice and theory, and to apply and reflect on what they have learned, which is clearly demonstrated in the Lloyd & Cochrane model.

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The research team have created a MOOC, partnered with Google, which provides free online learning based on a community model. To date over 3000 resources linked to the Australian curriculum have been shared by educators, with over 5500 teachers enrolled in the course. The project continues to expand to incorporate face to face learning opportunities in order to boost engagement and provide ‘hands on learning’ opportunities. A project officer is to be appointed in each Australian state to provide these opportunities. The project has also initiated a national lending library so schools who may not have access to equipment and digital technologies can trial them (as well as access other print resources).

I will be looking further into other resources that Rebecca mentioned during the colloquium, such as the which is a tool to help students learn using the power of community.  Pedagogy was also discussed – we need to move away from traditional practice and lecture format to incorporate pedagogical practice as pair programming, active learning, design thinking and computational thinking skills, collaborative learning and teamwork and self-regulated learning. As well as following up on resources that were recommended by my colleagues who participated in the colloquium – as always, part of my communities of practice, where my own ideas and thought processes are extended by their conversations and questions!

I am especially interested in the Teamwork Analytics that has been developed as part of the ongoing research. The analytics allows researchers to track a collaborative group, as well as the progression of their feelings and emotions, as they move through their inquiries. I would love to be able to use this for my case study!



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Perhaps one of the most significant points Rebecca made was the necessity to enable teachers to look at their role, as no longer the knowledge producer and ‘sage on the stage’, but to become the facilitator. Stepping back, and empowering students to be creative and solve their own problems.

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RIP Seymour Papert


Australian Curriculum Digital Technologies Curriculum

The Water Cooler

CSER Digital Technologies Education


Further reading (recommended by Rebecca Vivian):

Frieze, C & Quesenberry, J. (2016). Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University, Dog Ear Publishing: Indianapolis.

Vivian, R. (2015). A Look at IT and Engineering Enrollments in Australia, Available at:

Australian Government (2013). ICT workforce study: Meeting Australia’s future ICT skills needs, Available at:

Papert, S. (1993). Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas. The Perseus Book Group: New York.

Liben, L. & Coyle, E. (2014). Developmental Interventions to Address the STEM Gender Gap: Exploring Intended and Unintended Consequences, Advances in Child Development and Behavior, vol. 47,

WiPSCE 2016 – Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education,

Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), Available at:

Journal of Computer Science Education, Available at: