Using Twitter – an update

Image sourced from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twitter_Social_Icon_Circle_Color.svg

I found connecting with people to form my PLN was a bit like being a detective. You just need one lead to point you in the right direction. Mine started , with this article from Jenny Luca (2012). After reading Luca’s article I chose some educators from her list and looked at their profiles and followed a few. These people included:

I started small by following a few people from the list plus some colleagues from my university course. I saw people they followed on their profile or people they had retweeted from. I started by lurking around, observing how things worked, bookmarking tweets that could be useful later on for teaching or reading further. One day I took the leap and retweeted an interesting tweet to our course hashtag #INF532. Somebody in our course responded! I learnt how add my own tweets, to send a Tweet with links from articles and web sites I came across that I thought would be beneficial to my PLN.

One retweet about the tool Wakelet resulted in the original Tweeter tweeting me to offer assistance if I needed it. It was it amazing to connect with others for the first time who I didn’t directly know.

At first, I found Twitter totally overwhelming, with a constant information source coming in, however a suggestion from Rhiengold (2010) that we need to be focused on what we pay attention by choosing what we look at in Twitter helped decrease my concern. I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the amount of information coming in but now I am being more selective of what I look at (or mostly bookmark to read later). Perez (2012) also gives advice that even if you can’t keep up with the information stream reading for a short amount of time (5-10 minutes) a day is better than avoiding it altogether. I have since discovered Tweetdeck to be a great tool. Read about my experiences with it here (Silver, 2019).

I often use this advice to just have a quick look when I feel overwhelmed and I’m glad I do. I have found so many useful resources to practical application and to expand my learning and thinking. I have even been able to use Twitter to assist another teacher to bring relevant, real time resources to their student’s learning. I was able to send the teacher links to articles about recent scientific discoveries that came up in my Twitter stream. I’ve started following some hashtags such as #ditchbook which provides fabulous ideas from educators around the world.

I now find my Twitterstream one of the most valuable sources of information and ideas, it certainly is a valuable tool for educators.

Are there any people or hashtags you particularly like to follow on Twitter?

 

References:

Luca, J (2012, October 27). Personal Learning networks [web article]. Retrieved from http://education.abc.net.au/newsandarticles/blog?id=40029

Perez, L (2012). Innovative Professional Development: Expanding Your Professional Learning Network. Knowledge Quest, 40(3), 20-22. Retrieved from https://primo.csu.edu.au/discovery/fulldisplay?docid=proquest1010627392&context=PC&vid=61CSU_INST:61CSU&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI&tab=Everything&lang=en

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. Educause Review45(5), 14 -24. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies

Silver, T. (2019, May 25). Tweetdeck [blog post]. Retrieved from https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/learningawaits/2019/05/24/tweetdeck/

 

 

Tweetdeck

I was inspired to give Tweetdeck a go after reading Karen Atkinson’s (2019) blog post about Twitter. It was easy to install, I just googled ‘Tweetdeck’ and a link came up to log in to in Tweetdeck (note: I am already registered for Twitter).

Immediately I can see the benefits of using it. I previously used the Twitter app on my phone but found it difficult to see replies to my posts etc. With Tweetdeck I have a column on notifications and can easily see who has responded to me. I also have a column @mentions where I can see who has mentioned my handle in their Tweets.

Tweetdeck set up with notifications and mentions

Setting up columns for searches makes following hashtags easier and I found the columns easy to move around and rearrange.

Tweetdeck set up to show hashtags being followed

I’m not as advanced as Karen as to do analysis but I can see the benefit it could have in the future, particularly for seeing which curated content you sent out is most popular.

Tweetdeck is a great way to keep Tweets organised and assist you in staying up to date and on top of the information.

References:

Atkinson, K. (2019, May 20). Let the tweeting begin [blog post]. Retrieved from  https://karenatkinson.weebly.com/ed-tech-blog/let-the-tweeting-beginIt

Making my digital artefact

For our 2nd assessment task we had to create a digital artefact on an aspect of networking. I decided to make a Powtoon and Screencastify presentation for my digital artefact on ‘Using Twitter for beginners to establish a PLN’. It is posted on Youtube here.

Here is the Powtoon component:

and the Screencastify section:

 

The instructional aspects were created in PowToon and Screencastify and access made available on the world wide web via YouTube. PowToon was chosen as the platform for the digital artefact for several reasons. It is attention grabbing with its use of cartoon animations, which are a non-threatening way of communicating and allow viewers to be receptive to information (Spitalnik,as  cited in Martin & Martin, 2015, p. 46). There is the ability to import audio, image and video files to the presentation. It offers flexibility in placement of elements within slides such as when elements are introduced and length of slides. The combination of narration and graphics increases the viewer’s information retention, more than if solely graphics and texts were used (Mayer, as cited in Martin & Martin, 2015, p. 52).However, there were restrictions with using Powtoon for the artefact. A major limitation of the free account was the set time constraints – 20 seconds for voice recordings and a maximum of 3 minutes for the total presentation, which led to some flat spots in the audio and some text crowding.

Screencastify (a Chrome extension) proved relatively easy to use, although time had been taken to learn how to export it . It was used as a visual means of demonstrating how to use Twitter for those learners who are visual learners.

Difficulties were experienced in the creation of the artefact which impacted on its functionality. The initial design included a Screencastify clip demonstrating how to use Twitter on the desktop. However, the artefact was not able to be created as intended as PowToon required video to be in an MP4 format but the exportation of video in this format is not available on the free version of Screencastify. Although not ideal, this was addressed by adding links via YouTube to the Screencastify recording.

Other problems included the audio of the presentation lacking some clarity, which may have been rectified by the use of a plugin microphone rather than using the computer’s built in microphone. ‘Dead’ spots of audio are also visible in the middle of the presentation, I’m not sure why this is as each clip plays OK individually.

Hosting on YouTube enabled the artefact to be viewed by the general public. and contribute to global networking knowledge by demonstrating to educators how to use Twitter and build their PLN in the future.

References:

Martin, N. A. & Martin, R. (2015). Would you watch it? Creating effective and engaging video tutorials. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 9(1-2), 40-56. doi: 10.1080/1533290X.2014.946345

Information literacy models

Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash

There are several information literacy (IL) models that are available to assist with the information search process. The models recommended here are research based models, although many other IL models abound as people blend components of different models to cater for student needs.

An IL models teaches students steps to take to gain understanding of a question (Fitzgerald, 2015, p.18). Some of the more common models according to Herring (2007, p.33) are Kuhlthau’s information Search Process (ISP), the Information Literacy Planning Overview (ILPO ), Big 6 and the PLUS  model. In addition to this list there are also the NSW ISP model by the NSW Department of Education and the Guided Inquiry Design – an updated model of Kuhlthau’s ISP model.

Sometimes elements of models are combined together by TLs to enhance the learning benefits of one particular model, such the Library Learning Path (Barker, Bennett & Gittins, 2016).

All of the IL models have common elements as this table by Lupton shows:

One of the standout IL models for me is the GID, because it integrates the ISP elements of affective, cognitive and physical with the phases of Guided Inquiry and allows for the creation of the third space for students. Using GID also allows for assistance in each stage of the ISP through the zone of intervention – an area where students are unable to proceed alone or only with difficulty and require advice and assistance. (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2012).

The IL model you choose to use depends on several factors – namely time, resources and school cultures. The GID model can be particularly intense on teacher resources, resources and a culture of inquiry and collaboration. The IL model needs to work for your school circumstances but O’Connell (2012) states it is the TL who is able to tie together the knowledge of the resources available – physical, community and online.

 

References:

Barker, L., Bennett, B., & Gittins, K. (2016).  The library. Mrs Barker’s team room [blog post]. Retrieved from https://mrsbarkerstearoom.com/?page_id=303

Fitzgerald, L. (2015). Guided inquiry in practice. Scan, 34 (4). Retrieved from https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/professional-learning/scan/media/documents/vol-34/Research-Guided-inquiry-in-practice.pdf

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga , NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from  https://www-sciencedirect-com.

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L. & Caspari, A. (2012). Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Lupton, M. (2013). Inquiry pedagogy and the Australian Curriculum. Primary and Middle Years Educator, 11(2), 23-29. Retrieved from https://eprints.qut.edu.au/65829/2/65829.pdf

O’Connell, J. (2012). So you think they can learn? Scan, 31. Retrieved from https://heyjude.files.wordpress.com/2006/06/joc_scan_may-2012.pdf

What is information literacy?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The Oxford Dictionary online (2019) defines literacy as:

  • The ability to read and write
  • Competence or knowledge in a specific area

Before beginning this course I had a very shallow view of literacy and agreed with the Oxford Dictionary of the definition of literacy as being able to read and write. I can also now see that literacy  also combines a competence or knowledge in a specific area and literacy now includes many areas such as:

Digital literacy

Network literacy

ICT literacy

Multimedia literacy

Metaliteracy

New formats and modes of delivery require users to have different skills but all of the literacy types can work together to create understanding (one of the key concepts in literacy).

To be truly literate a person must be able to understand and make meaning from what they have encountered – whether it be in writing, reading, listening, viewing or speaking (Combes, 2016). They need to be information literate (IL).

Based various definitions given by CILIP (n.d) my own definition of information literacy  is the ability to find and critically evaluate information to use it in an ethical manner to enable the user to effectively participate and positively contribute in a digital/information literate society.

Whilst reading, this quote by Brown and Mathie (1990) jumped out at me ‘Truly literate people are thinkers and learners’. This led me to thinking about the Critical and Creative Thinking skills in the Australian Curriculum and NSW Syllabuses and how important it is to structure these skills into the information search process to allow people to be information literate.

According to Bruce, Edwards & Lupton (2006) people will view information literacy differently depending on their context, for example a student may view IL as finding facts whereas an academic may view it as a set of skills. They propose six frames for viewing IL – Content, competency, learning to learn, personal relevance, social impact and relational. Depending on which frame is being used will impact on what is the focus of learning, content and assessment.

Herring (2007) believes that developing information literacy in schools is one of the main duties of the TL today. But what is the best way to do this? Many believe through an inquiry model and guided Inquiry Design in particular.

Information literacy is a complex issue with many parts, understanding a definition of it is just a start.

Referencing:

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)(n.d). Australian Curriculum: General capabilities. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/

Combes, B. (2016). Information: change and issues. [webinar]. Retrieved from https://connect.csu.edu.au/p46nev0a746/?proto=true

Bruce, C., Edwards, S. & Lupton, M. (2006). Six Frames for Information literacy Education: a conceptual framework for interpreting the relationships between theory and practice. Innovation in teaching and learning in information and computer sciences, 5(1). doi.10.11120/ital.2006.05010002

Brown, H., & Mathie, V. (1990). Inside whole language: a classroom view. Primary English Teaching Association (Australia); Rozelle, N.S.W.

Chartered Institute of Library Information Professionals (CILIP)(n.d.). Definitions and models. Retrieved from https://infolit.org.uk/definitions-models/

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga , NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from  https://www-sciencedirect-com.

NSW Education Standards Authority. (NESA) (2017). K–6 syllabuses and resources. Retrieved from https://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/k-6/

Oxford English Dictionary Online (2019). Literacy. Retrieved from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/literacy

 

Digital Learning Environments

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

When thinking about digital learning environments (DLE) there are many factors to consider. According to Research Shorts (2016) DLE’s have expanded. Traditionally they used learning management systems (LMS) such as Moodle, Blackboard and Canvas, however, they now also include YouTube, FaceBook groups, Twitter and Skype.

When designing a DLE there are four considerations designers need to take into account:

  1. Organisation structure – is it going to consist of groups (such as using an LMS with start and end times and heirarchial structure), networks (entry, exit unrestricted, connections) or communities (similar to networks but with more commitment and continuity)?
  2. Design – needs to be effective, meaningful and have impact.
  3. Guidance – how much instruction and support is going to be available? What scaffold do you provide?
  4. Lack of neutrality in technology – considering how the software design impacts learning (accessibility by students, interaction capabilities etc), how does it impact teaching?

Kunkel (2011, slide 4) proposes that the ADDIE model be used when designing for DLE’s. This model breaks down as such:

A – Analyse – work out the difference between performance and needs

D – Design – decide learning objectives, plan training and develop evaluation

D – Develop – make the course

I – Implement – make course available/teach it

E – Evaluate – for effectiveness of learning and impact

Innovative Learning (2009) places the emphasis in DLE’s on interaction. ‘Dumped’ content is boring and learning occurs best in a social context with others so effective design needs to take this into account. There should be a blend of content, learner to learner and expert to learner categories, with more emphasis on the learner to learner category. When designing the course a deliberate decision has to be made on how to involve more interactions with the learner to learner and learner to expert. This does not only include the tools used to facilitate this (such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, wikis and discussion forums) but also how they will be used.

Applying these three factors to teaching I believe currently that flipped online learning would best suit the learning audience (students) as a detailed analysis of their current knowledge and learning needs has not been undertaken. Based on shallow formative assessment students are lacking in the basic fundamentals of the information search process (ISP). As this is the case flipped learning could provide materials on elements of the ISP (such as plagiarism and referencing etc) then students could use class time for gaining more in-depth study into inquiry questions, spend more time on research etc and allow more learner to learner and learner to expert time.

Innovative Learning’s (2009) comments that there should be learner to learner interaction got me thinking about my teaching style in general. In the past my lessons have been delivered face to face with learning supported by technology tools such as YouTube to help teach context, with the teacher as the expert with little or no learner to learner interaction. More learner to learner interaction could be incorporated by the use of activities such as a Socratic circle and using tools for a backchannel chat and in future could use Google Classrooms for communication between students. Perhaps in the future other tools could be added, for example, Twitter as learning takes place more in a DLE.

What makes learning effective for you in a digital learning environment?

References:

Innovative Learning. (2009, October 13). Designing online learning [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Zv-_GCFdLdo

Kunkle, M. (2011). Instructional design principles: A primer [Slideshow]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/MikeKunkle/basic-instructional-design-principles-a-primer

Research Shorts. (2016, June 18). Digital learning environments [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/-7UI-dTbMr0

Flipped Learning

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Flipped learning (FL) is a teaching technique which is the reverse of traditional teaching methods. Rather than content taught at school and homework given with FL content is learnt in the students own time and more time in class is available for in-depth help and learning. According to Haddam, McKnight, McKnight, & Arfstrom, 2013) benefits of using this mode of teaching include:

  • More class time used to meet student learning needs
  • An increase in interaction with the subject by students and with each other
  • Increase in job satisfaction for teachers
  • Increase in achievement levels
  • Better attitude towards learning

However, as Lo and Hew (2017) point out this model can also have problems such as an increased workload for the teacher making videos and student disengagement from too much out of class learning.

The Flipped Learning Network, Pearson and George Mason University  have developed themes for the concept around the word ‘flip’ (Haddam, et.al., 2013). They are:

F – Flexible environment – for room arrangement (group and independent) and learning timelines.

L – learning culture – student centred and in class explore topic through student centred activities.

I – Intentional content – choosing which materials to teach and which the student can learn unassisted.

P – Professional educator – observe, give feedback and assess, reflective, open to constructive criticism, connect with other teachers.

It struck me how the qualities listed for professional educator are similar requirements to those listed by Nussbaum-Beach and Hall (2011, p.11) for qualities of a connected educator.

Some experience teachers such as Matt Burns (2018) highly recommend the benefits of the flipped classroom method of learning and has devised a matrix to differentiate student learning based on pretesting and which videos and concepts the students need to watch and master to further their learning. To see more of Matt’s work click here.

I would really like to try the FL approach in a library setting, in particular for skills such as referencing, how to access and use catalogues and demonstrations on how to use digital tools. This would then free up library time to hold indepth discussions and allow for more collaborative or individual work, depending on the learners needs.  It would be good if there was a flipped learning lesson video bank so teachers aren’t all making videos on the same concepts, although videos from YouTube, Ted Talks and Khan Academy could be used.

If you are interested in making your own videos Joe Hirsh (2015) has some good tips here on how they can be used effectively.

Have you tried flipping before? What was your experience of it?

 

References:

Burns, M. (2018, April 28). Maths matrix: differentiated mastery – The Flipped Classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://flippingmyprimaryclassroom.blogspot.com/2018/04/maths-matrix-differentiated-mastery.html

Hamdam, N., McKnight, E., McKnight, K., & Arfstrom, K. (2013). The flipped learning model: executive summary. Retrieved from https://flippedlearning.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/ExecSummary_FlippedLearnig.pdf

Hirsh, J. (2015). 100 videos and counting: Lessons from a flipped classroom [Online article]. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/100-videos-lessons-flipped-classroom-joe-hirsch

Lo, C. K., & Hew, K. F. (2017). A critical review of flipped classroom challenges in K-12 education: possible solutions and recommendations for future research. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 12(1), 4. Doi: 10.1186/s41039-016-0044-2. Retrieved from https://telrp.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41039-016-0044-2

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L.R.  (2011). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 9-24). Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com

 

 

Supporting the connected learner with Skype

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Wow! The case studies by Silvia Tolisano of learning with Skype in the classroom have really ignited my passion for using technology to assist students to connect learning to their lives. This use of technology enables authentic learning to happen.

The articles by Silvia Tolisano may be found by clicking on the links below:

What made using Skype so effective was that Tolisano was able to connect the call/calls with previous and future learning and so the Skype was not just a call but a learning moment that fuelled future learning and tied in with past learning. The tasks were connected to the real world and made the learning task authentic to students. To get maximum effectiveness from the call Tolisano carried out several steps before the actual Skype call. They included:

  • Doing a test call with the guest speaker to check video and audio
  • Brainstorming open ended questions with students that they could ask the speaker
  • Giving each student a role during the call, such as greeter, question asker etc.
  • Having students practise speaking to the camera and recording them so they were confident in their roles

Interestingly, the call was supported by other technologies as well to assist learning in new ways. These included using backchannel collaboration via a Google Doc, Tweeting about the call, making notes on iPads as well as traditional pen and paper, summarising with mind maps on the iPad and blogging about the process.

After the call students tied in their activities during the Skype to their previous learning (in this case on blogging and Twitter usage) and looked at what they had done well and examples of how they could improve.

The students were so involved in these learning tasks that they were not asking about their grades, as one respondent to the article blog commented ‘When kids are focused on the task and take ownership of it to that degree, you know you have ’em – so much better than any grade mark.’. However, this new way of connected, collaborative learning meant that new assessment rubrics had to be developed – they could not just be added to traditional rubrics.

This is an amazing way to link in real life experts and collaboration with student learning to make the learning tasks more authentic. The possibilities for connection with experts is endless (dependent of course on technology). Microsoft offers a Skype site for educators, to view it click here  .  I can see Skype calls being a real benefit to students in library time to connect with experts, such as authors for English studies or scientists in the field for Science and connecting this to their learning needs.

For a list of authors who do Skype visits see this link (publishing houses may also provide lists of their authors who Skype):

An author, Kate Messner has some good tips and instructions about Skype visits for authors here:

To skype with a scientist check out this site.

Although Skype is used in these case studies the experience could work just as well with other tools such as ‘What’s App’, ‘Viber’, or ‘We Chat’ – whichever is the most accessible to all participating parties. The important aspect to remember is to link pre and post activities to the call to allow for maximum benefit for learning.

Have you ever used Skype or another app in your work? How did you find the experience? Did it link in to your previous or future work?