Digital essay ponderings


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 30, 2014

Starting to think I should do something on critical thinking and digital literacy as this seems to be speaking to me most at the moment. I don’t really have any idea of what I really want to investigate exactly in relation to the digital essay. I’m not sure how I want to present the information, given that I need to have 1800 words written down. I was toying with the idea of a prezi but I’m not sure about the word length, given that I’ve not really got a firm idea of a broad theme to consider.

Module 3.2 on information fluency is making me consider critical thinking and digital literacy, particularly the ACARA document.  It’s reminded me of early on when we looked at the 3D version of the thinking skills.  It’s something I could get my teeth into and I can see it making strong connections to my TL interactions with students (and teachers), particularly my Yr 11 & 12s who are on study lines in the library. I also am trying to collaborate with some teachers to bolster the research process in their students and so, helping to foster the critical thinking and digital literacy of students to excel in their learning experiences. 

I know there’s a lot out there about critical thinking and a reasonable amount about digital literacy so this has the potential to be well supported.


Australian Curriculum General Capability for Creative and Critical Thinking

The Importance of Still Teaching the iGeneration


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 29, 2014

The Importance of Still Teaching the iGeneration: New Technologies and the Centrality of Pedagogy

Innovation in schools, however, has focused more on the capabilities of singular devices rather than holistic engagement with cultural shifts inside and outside of classrooms. (p300)

Pretty much agree with this idea and how technologies have been implemented often in schools.

what we find missing in discussions about technology in the classroom is the centrality of pedagogy (p310)

very good point – HOW are we going to use technology to support our classrooms is more important the WHAT device. 

simply re-presenting traditional texts as pixelated displays does little to improve a learning experience (p312)

digitized texts on smartphones might increase accessibility, but, lacking larger displays and powerful markup software, they minimize the opportunities for students to closely analyze these texts (p312)

When incorporating new technologies, educators must move beyond abstract measures of power and possibility and clearly articulate the rationale for how a tool will allow students to meaningfully collect, represent, visualize, analyze, or communicate texts for a particular set of learning goals. (p313)

To surface the centrality of pedagogy in learning, we argue that technology should be considered within an array of educational tools and strategies and judged in light of its potential to introduce or reshape texts, tools, and talk (p316)

These are all things to note


Philip, T. M., & Garcia, A. D. (2013). The Importance of Still Teaching the iGeneration: New Technologies and the Centrality of Pedagogy. Harvard Educational Review, 83(2), 300–319,400–401. Retrieved from

Google generation?


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 29, 2014

 The findings of the report were startling and offer the clearest critique to glib phrases like the Google
Generation, digital natives and digital immigrants.

1. There are very few – too few – controlled studies of information seeking behaviour that is able to isolate age as a variable. 34
2. Speculation and ‘mis-information’ has been perpetrated about how young people behave in online environments. 35
3. All researchers – not only ‘young people’ are skim-reading research, reading abstracts rather than drilling deeper into the paper.
4. Young people are not ‘dumbing down.’ Society is ‘dumbing down.’
5. “The information literacy of young people, has not improved with the widening access to technology: in fact, their apparent facility with computers disguises some worrying problems.”36
6. “Young scholars are using tools that require little skill: they appear satisfied with a very simple or basic form of searching. 37
7. “Digital literacies and information literacies do not go hand in hand.”38

The lack of ethnography, participant observation and teacher-led research over the last
decade has had an impact. Policy and funding decisions have been poorly informed. The
key finding of the Google Generation Report remains that assumptions about computer
literacy are masking educational problems. The conversational phrasing that is deployed
in the Google Search engine is capping information expectations, rather than enabling the
movement to other search engines and directories such as Google Scholar39 or the
Directory of Open Access Journals.40 In other words, our inexperienced students are
satisfied with the low skill base, and perhaps they do not even know that they are
restricting themselves to low-level competencies. Because of the supposition that ‘new
technology’ must be difficult and digital immigrants cannot manage it, we have neglected
building the relationship between information seeking skills and the development of
knowledge.41                                                                                            (page 170-171)

The findings of the Google Generation Report are interesting, although not surprising. We as teachers (and teacher librarians) need to demonstrate and help students use tools to better enhance their understanding in their research.  We need to teach information literacy in all its formats, digital and analogue (print etc). Maybe this could be my digital essay broad topic?

We, as MEd students and educators, need to do more than skim-read when researching as well, so we don’t forget how to effectively research. I can say that I have been skim-reading abstracts to help eliminate articles which probably don’t fit what I’m looking for to support my position. I probably could read a few of the articles I have rejected in more depth to expand my own views and possibly my position but haven’t due to time constraints and possibly being somewhat set in my viewpoint. 


Good teaching and librarianship are required, yet the credibility of both professions is low. The difficulty is that information – through Google – is seen to be both abundant and cheap. Actually, the abilities required to assess information are complex and costly. Students require time, care, energy and good assessment to improve their digital academic research. Teachers require professional development in library studies, internet studies and literacy theory to create a worthwhile intellectual journey through this new research landscape. Yet while the simplistic categorization of ‘generation’ is used, the more considered sociology of digital education is silenced. A Google Generation cannot speak, but all of us can listen, read, write and think with greater intellectual generosity and a consideration of cultural difference.  (page 181)

This sums up what is happening quite well I think. Good teaching and librarianship – this is my professional aim to be achieving. I need to look at how I can help my staff and students do good research! I need to be able to teach them how to teach students to learn and not just absorb information; to help make students who stand out from the crowd, in a positive way, because of their extended research.


Brabazon, T., Dear, Z., Greene, G., & Purdy, A. (2009). Why the Google Generation Will Not Speak: The Invention of Digital Natives. Nebula, 6. Retrieved from

Content or Thought?


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 29, 2014

Are You Teaching Content Or Teaching Thought?

This blog post by Terry Heick is certainly thought provoking as as teacher. I have to say that I liked one of the comments saying that thought and content are not diametrically opposing concepts but concepts that need to be taught alongside each other. We cannot teach depth of thought without having some reasonable content knowledge to begin with. I think today the key is to get our students onside to start to see why they need to engage with the content that we are required (by State & Federal education curricula and time) to teach in compulsory subject areas to then think critically about what they are learning or being given the opportunity to learn about. We all know some students don’t want to learn some things – the old you can take a horse to water but can’t make him drink thing.

It does ask a lot of questions about our expectations of learning and curricula that we as teachers and schools should be asking.


Are you teaching content or are you teaching thought?

Blog Task 3 – Reflections on others learning in INF530


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 29, 2014

Posts that have inspired me, or at least, made me think for more than an few moments. I’ve left comments behind when reading these posts.

Module 3.1 Reflections on Conole


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 29, 2014

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

Examine Table 4.3 Mapping of Web 2.0 tools to different pedagogical approaches. Comment on this and other aspects of the chapter and how it relates to your reading and research to date.

You will find the rest of the book to be a valuable resource to add to your professional reference collection.

I like what Conole said in this chapter. I found it easy to read and conprehend (although I disliked the footnotes and author/date combination as it interrupted my reading process working with both rather than just one). I have downloaded the whole book to read sometime soon, hopefully.

Table 4.3 – I personally use reflective and dialogic learning, peer learning; communities of practice; and scholarly practce and the sharing of designs and good practice, all thanks to INF530. I had started with the communities of practice before INF530 through facebook mainly. Now I’ve started blogging and tweeting. I think I’ll look at continuing to blog about my professional learning for school on another blogging platform and I’ll definitely continue my explorations via twitter, which I’m enjoying.

I’d like to make use of a RSS feed but I struggle to make it easy for me to follow. I’d like to have it as a gadget on my desktop and as an app on my phone so I can access information both ways. I haven’t been able to find one that works for me as a separate gadget/icon outside of a browser that I don’t need to keep logging into. I’ve heard feedly being mentioned via the INF530 cohort so I’m starting to play with that to see if I can get that to work for me.

I’m struggling a little this year to make connections with how I would use some of the things we are exploring in the classroom, mainly because I don’t have a “class” as such, I mean I have two homegroup lessons (I share with another teacher who has them 3 mornings a week) and one Student Development lesson (same class as homegroup, more of a pastoral care type program). The rest of my time at school is spent working in the library, supervising study students, trying to find time to help them, while running around doing all the admin-y type library stuff, finding resources for teachers etc in only 4 days. I seemed to have more time lat year when I was full-time & teaching one subject class per week, to help students. I’m also trying to start EBP-ing my work in the library.

Book Review reflection


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 23, 2014

I found this quite hard in the end to write up. I have a feeling it mainly was due to the fact that I was dealing with science fiction rather than an explicit technologies impact non-fiction. With 12 short stories, an interview and artwork collection, it was difficult to tie in the technologies that the pieces were trying to illustrate to an educational setting. I don’t think I’m happy with how I ended up with tying these together. When looking at the criteria yesterday before submitting it, I thought that I should receive a pass level on most criteria with the odd one being close to the credit level. I guess I’m not entirely happy with how I ended up theme-ising it. I’m not entirely sure that I properly performed the task. I struggled to find an example to see how someone else did a scholarly review and I think this had a big part of my frustration at the end of what I was doing.  I had trouble thinking of what terms I should be using to get a review to compare. I did look for reviews of Twelve Tomorrows but they were just on the MIT Technology Review (the publisher) and Amazon pages so they weren’t in a hugely scholarly format. I think I will still do another review for Amazon as I enjoyed reading the stories but not so much the technology in education research side of my review.

I also wasn’t happy with Endnote X6 that I had downloaded from CSU as it wouldn’t put some of my references in the correct format. I ended up using the Word referencing tool and making some slight adjustments after converting some references to static text. CSU library/student support helped with a work around but by the time I had a response, I’d put almost all of my references into Word Referencing and when I exported to Endnote from Word, I discovered that I was going to have just as much “fun” editing the new records as some data didn’t transfer (eg URLs) that it was pointless to do with the time I had remaining before submission, so I just ended up using the Word Referencing. For my next major assignment, I’m either going to have to get organised a lot earlier with my references to use Endnote (in case things don’t go right again) or use something like Word, or type them out individually like I would have if I was handwriting my assignment. I think I might go track down my APA referencing guide I bought last M Ed that I did as it should have most formats correct. The CSU APA reference document  was really helpful with my YouTube clips so I knew what to put in the miscellaneous reference option to make it format correctly.

If I was going to do this assignment again, I would probably choose a different book, mainly to make it easier to draw out the educational technology connections.


Cass, S. (Ed.). (2013b). Twelve Tomorrows (Kindle ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from


Book Review Notes 12


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 18, 2014

Q+A – Neal Stephenson

Interviewer – Jason Pontin (2012); overview written by Stephen Cass

discusses the value of science fiction, impact on technological culture among other things

if every depiction of the future is grim and shows a world that’s been destroyed by environmental calamity and war and other terrible events, then it doesn’t create much of an incentive to work towards building the future. (para 15)

Q: … Maybe we’ve been focusing on innovations that are more abstract and virtual. (para 22)

A: We’ve been focusing on the Internet, and that’s something that needed to happen. But what I’m hoping is that when we look back on this era 100 years from now, we’ll say “It was a very actively inventing and creating society. And then the Internet happened and everything got put on hold for a generation while we absorbed and figured out what to do with it. Then we got going again and got caught up on some of the things we failed to do while we were Facebooking.” (para 23)

science fiction can provide a coherent picture of an alternate reality in which some innovation happened. Not just the technical innovation itself, but the social context and the economic context that causes that innovation to make sense. (para 26)



Cass, S. (Ed.). (2013). Twelve Tomorrows: Visionary stories of the near future inspires by today’s new technologies (Kindle ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from

Book Review Notes 11


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 18, 2014

Pwnage – Justina Robson

people are linked in network they switch ON and OFF, struggle to  remember when a phone was something that was held and carried

twitter (format of @ and #) is big

narrator – spy, looking for corruption

I interpret, I do not create. (para 14)

Reality is what we make it. Or what is made for us by the companies we keep. (para 15)

There’s an entire department down the hall devoted to creating hypermaps and psychological profiles of individuals based solely on their Cloud activity. (para 22)

connections to digitial citizenship, google algorithms stuff (Module 1.3) Cloud computing

Now that our eyes are cameras this happens way more often than you’d think as people don’t always remember to turn off the functionality and criminals aren’t the brightest stars. #AutoPreosecute is trending everyday, since it’s legal for the government to take a recording directing from your videocapture anytime it likes. Then they live-stream the automated court. (para 33)

big brother idea; ethics?


Firebrand – Peter Watts

human combustion


wearable smart specs

genetic engineering

ethics – business & government


Cass, S. (Ed.). (2013). Twelve Tomorrows: Visionary stories of the near future inspires by today’s new technologies (Kindle ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from

Book Review Notes 10


Posted by Liz Eckert | Posted in INF530 | Posted on April 18, 2014

The Art of Richard Powers 

General comments – images are in colour but can’t actually be seen on kindle device (black and white only), have to use kindle reader on computer or iPhone. Defeats the purpose a bit for me having to view on a different device to see full effect

a lot of curves present; artworks created between 1951 and 1990; seems to have kept pace with sci-fi developments and expectations of the future in his time.

In intro section, with the write-up of contributors, it mentions that Powers died in 1995 so it seems a little odd that his artworks were included, given that it was looking forward from current technology (2013). this struggles to connect with the stories presented a bit because of this. It’s hard to draw connected/related themes out of the selection, probably has a reasonable number looking at flight either on world or between worlds.


Cass, S. (Ed.). (2013). Twelve Tomorrows: Visionary stories of the near future inspires by today’s new technologies (Kindle ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from

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