Key influential documents that are informing our discussions and practice

There are two influential report  documents have been regularly referred to in numerous university subjects, my assignments, our digital colloquiums and keynote presentations at conferences. They are these two reports:

*Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition ( as well as the Library and previous editions)

*Future Work Skills 2020

Although they are both American publications they have great currency for our Australian schools and school libraries. The organisation  of the Horizon report of outlining the challenges; solvable, difficult and wicked and trends and developments in technology ; short-term, mid-term and long-term impact make the information easy to follow and prioritise. This report affirms the topics we have been studying in each subject and confirms that the time is coming to integrate the new ideas into practice. many of the ideas in recent journal articles and key note presentations like those at EDUTech are represented  in the Horizon Report too. It’s interesting that the word “Wicked” is used about very difficult challenges. “Wicked” is a term used in design thinking referring to interesting problems that really makes us think creatively and in an innovative manner  to solve them.

2015-K-12-Report-Topics-Graphic-1024x794

The Future Work Skills 2020 report is often mentioned by scholars who want the audience to rethink the curriculum we are delivering in order to meet the future work skills of our students. Unlike the Horizon report which is rewritten each year the Future Work Skills 2020 report has not been updated but still remains current. The drivers and the skills are related to those that are regularly mentioned in the Horizon Report. There is effective colour coding in the diagram below to indicate which drivers are relevant to which skills.

IFTF_FutureWorkSkillsSummary_01

Early in this degree, this reports served a need to help me understand the landscape of digital landscapes in schools. When they are referred to conferences and colloquiums I now understand the content and thinking behind them. In the final assignment now I am using them as a measure of good practice  to compare the student and teacher behaviour I have observed.

 

 

Using Current Pedagogy to Create Agile School Libraries in a Digital Age

Throughout this current subject: Digital Future Colloquiums and the preceding subjects in this degree I have been about to pinpoint many strategies and ideas that I can integrate into my practice as a Teacher-Librarian.

Judy O’Connell’s latest presentation  explains how School Libraries can develop agile approaches in a digital age.I am already integrating many of the strategies mentioned and I can foresee how my Library team  can continue to improve. I think it is  important for all educators and support staff to realise the potential that lies ahead. I plan to  share the key ideas with my fellow teachers some time. This presentation explains how school’s library program can support, leverage and inform about  the technological drivers in our world. The presentation summarises the concepts that support knowledge networks and digital innovation in Libraries.   Using current pedagogy to inform School Library programs is the best practice because it is easy to explain and justify our roles in schools.

judy agile approach

I have used some of the  ideas and resources in the presentation to synthesise the research, theory and recommendations for my current case study:

A Description of the Autonomous Behaviours Learners Develop when they Independently Publish Digital Artefacts Online and the Importance for Educators to Encourage this Learning.

Do students become more autonomous as learners when they independently publish digital artefacts online?

Leveraging Technology in a Library Program

In the chapter Innovative Technologies in Library Science (Farmer, 2014)comments are made about technology transforming Library spaces.  Libraries that leverage or take advantage of technology provide the most favourable, current and high quality programs for their clients of learning communities.

As a teacher-librarian and Library program leader, I need to pay attention to the societal trends that are highlighting technology as a key driving force. These include; emerging technologies that impact access to information, online education, data protection and privacy, highly technology-connected societies and technologies that revolutionise the global information economy. Access needs to be provided to all of our clients’ communities: by doing this we demonstrate our value and ability to contribute to the community’s development (Farmer, 2014).Social Media is a technology we need to leverage. It can be used to promote our programs outwards to the community and become more visible.

Digital curation is a tool that many teacher-librarians are practising to present information to their learning communities. Fortunately there are many free digital curation tools. Cataloguing digital collections and presenting through OPAC searches is very important for regular access.

I am currently having a rethink on the design of a contemporary digital library space.  I understand that marketing strategies will be very important, visual communication and community-based webpages. Planning systemically for digital interactions will be important too.

The obvious follow on is the physical space of the Library. Not unlike many Libraries, the library where I work is about to go through a physical transformation: we are currently in the designing phase. As well as combining IT and Library services we are moving towards a social learning commons approach for our physical space.  We want to facilitate: informal and formal interactions between people, cross-curricular interaction and innovation, technology tools for collaboration, spaces for experimenting and making, displays of creative work.

Reference

Farmer, L. (2014). Innovative Technologies in Library Science. In V. Wang, Handbook of research on education and technology in a changing society (pp. 178-189). IGI Global.

Digital Space comparisons

A number of posts on this blog have discussed the evolution of the digital spaces at the school I teach at.

This is a picture of the ‘CommonPlace’ LMS and digital space which is our school’s current intranet.

CommonPlace

Figure 1: ‘CommonPlace’ student workspaces

Common place 2

Figure 2: A student workspace in ‘CommonPlace’

The next group of images are of sites developed on ‘Remodel’ to facilitate a flipped classroom, collaborative learning and strong feedback focused teaching and learning pedagogy.

science space  video

Figure 3: A video for students to watch for homework on ‘Remodel’

science space link

Figure 4: A link to online curated content from the school Library in a ‘Remodel’ workspace.

science space

Figure 5: Information about a subject’s content for the term in ‘Remodel’.

science space

Figure 6: The front page of a Science unit with an outline of the activities to be expected in ‘Remodel’.

As can be seen ‘Remodel’ has allowed the teachers to produce much more dynamic digital learning environments.

The Evolution of a Digital Space

The ‘School Portal’ of the Secondary College I work at has been going through a continual evolution for ten years now. The evolution of this space which serves both students and staff has reflected the development of educational technology, our understanding of how technology can be integrated, the needs of the teaching staff , and our pedagogical changes.Most big design decisions are based on what is discussed in meetings between staff, including; Leadership, IT teams, ICLT committee, Academic leaders, informal ‘corridor conversations”. Not many formal conversations happen with the students.

This digital space now consists of the original LMS with a few additional LMS linked on to provide choice and to incorporate those programs that have been stipulated by the overriding educational organisation. The IT department led by the Network Engineer have always made an effort to customise this LMS to serve the needs of the school community. They have been receptive to teacher’s ideas.What eventuated was a reasonably functional space that provided a choice of mediocre LMS that were all similar.Sometimes the users struggle to keep up with the changes and hence don’t use the tools.

Over the last ten months a greater focus has been placed on teaching and learning and decisions are being based more on current teaching and learning pedagogies like Hattie’s principles of Visible Learning (2013), the Flipped classroom strategies (Bull,G., Ferster,B. & Kjellstrom, W., 2012) , collaborative and student-led learning. The IT team along with selected and interested teachers have begun a more measured testing and trial of an alternative LMS.  The IT team and leadership has come to realise how important it is to collaborate with an engage the interested and entrepreneurial teachers to try new things out (and develop new designs or prototypes) These recent activities look a lot more like Design Thinking then previous previous decisions and actions regarding our school’s digital learning space.

References

  • Hattie, J & Yates G. C. R. (2013). Visible learning and the science of how we learn. Routledge.
  • Bull,G., Ferster,B. & Kjellstrom, W. (2012) Inventing the Flipped Classroom. Learning & Leading with Technology, Vol.40(1), p.10(2).

Critical Reflection

Becoming that point of centrality….

The future of digital culture depends on how we use it (Rhiengold, 2014) and the future of my career as a teacher librarian (and educator) depends on my capacity to evolve in this ever changing climate of information, innovation and knowledge creation.

Rheingold’s concept of “centrality” and the potential for myself as a teacher-librarian to be a person of centrality in my school’s learning community and networks of knowledge really makes sense to me. I see it as an achievable goal. The time spent this semester participating in this subject: Concepts and Practises for a Digital Age has resulted in a more expanded and detailed understanding of what we are all currently experiencing in what has been described as a technological revolution or the Fourth Revolution – where we are changing our self-understanding (Floridi, 2012).I thought this view was a little too philosophical). ‘Networked Society’ –is what I prefer because it is a simple label recognising the networks that are being made as well as the social aspects of how people interact in digital spaces. Rheingold’s (2014) concept ‘Networked Awareness’’ works with a ‘Networked Society’ because it recognises the potential in being aware on the connections we are making and the ongoing, wonderful potential for creativity, knowledge sharing and innovation.

Through the professional reading that was provided in the modules and in my extended reading, mainly for the assessment tasks; I have increased my knowledge about the ideas and theories shared by  leaders in creativity, technological development, innovators in digital culture, educators ( including some ‘celebrity ‘ like TED talking educators –Sir Robinson) and  an international range of professionals that  have so eloquently explained how networks of knowledge are being developed in this Web 3.0 phase of the World Wide Web.

I have been able to synthesise in my Digital essay about Makerspaces – environments that facilitate innovation in Secondary schools, my knowledge about how; Robinsons (2011) theories about facilitating creativity will engage students in learning, collaboration, connecting and dialogue are powerful in learning in a digital age (Siemens, 2005), and learning through tinkering, making and engineering in Makerspaces could be our big  change to reignite curiosity in young people (Libow Martinez & Stager, 2013).

It is with this new knowledge on board that I have started to change my reaction to the digital culture surrounding me. My perspective is evolving. I have increased my Personal Learning Network significantly using more social media and digital curation tools. My use of Twitter has increased the most. I have found Twitter most beneficial in making connections with other like-minded and some far superior educational professionals. I am then continuing on by sharing new ideas with my learning community in my workplace. Through sharing I am connecting and through connecting I hope to become an innovator.

References

Floridi, L. (2012). The fourth revolution. The Philosopher’s Magazine, 96-101.

Libow Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Rheingold, H. (2014, Februrary). Network Awareness . Retrieved April 2014, from Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/86182564

Robinson, S. K. (2011). Out of Our Minds Learning to be Creative. United Kingdom: Capstone Publishing Ltd.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism:A learning theory for a digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 3-10.

“The revolution in asking and answering questions” – Wow!

After seeing Judy’s note ‘don’t miss watching this video’ I thought ok this is going to be interesting. I was not disappointed by the TED talk “The revolution in asking and answering questions”. I was amazed how obvious some of the Daniel Russell’s observations and tips were but I hadn’t thought of approaching Google and its tools like that.  One needs to take into account that it is Russell’s job to investigate and analyze Google users’ habits and practices in an effort to improve the search experience, but it’s all so applicable to classroom use too.

I have accessed Project Gutenberg before for reading books but not to search its text. I have also discussed different genres of websites with students, looked at locations through Google Earth and through our discussions about digital media touched on the use of emoticons.

I hadn’t heard of the Control F technique, or used data sets like Russell illustrates Neither had I tried inserting a picture into the Google search bar.

A few key messages that I took away from this video are

•Teachers and students need to frame questions differently and we need to query reality.

•The importance of basic skills  like

“Learning how to ask the right question &

Know what tools exist to help answer questions.”

•Stay curious – all of us.

This is definitely being shared with my school’s teaching community.

Russell, D. (2014, April 29). The revolution in asking and answering questions. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaRYiu1HNck&feature=youtu.be

Mobile Matters

PC to Mobile Age

 

This image in Module 3.1 is a comprehensive but simple representation of the shift in technology from PC use only to what has happened to the digital culture since mobile technologies have been introduced.

It was no mistake that the five trends identified in the 2013 Horizon Report (Johnston,2013); education paradigms shifting towards online collaborative learning models, the effect of social media on our communication behaviors, openness of content and information sharing, mobile devices and the abundance of resources and relationships match up with what is described in the mobile age

Every facet of the mobile age is exciting and rich for learning.  Currently some teachers in my workplace are asking “Why are we limiting students’ use of their phones in school hours.?” – as they are one of the most powerful mobile technologies they own. Our students do have their own school laptop, but many of them do have a smart phone that can run numerous apps, take photos readily, read QR codes and bar codes etc. Mobile, rapid, embedded, high convenience –  all are adjectives that describe smart phones.  As a staff now we need to work out how to allow the integration of the mobile phone – will mean teachers relinquishing control of students access to information – maybe?

Johnson, L. A. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 K-12 Edition. Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Reflective Blog Task 2: Connected Learning and Digital Literacy

As an educator my goal is to actively engage students (and teachers) in valuable learning at school and out in the wider world. There has been a consistent theme across the readings and information shared across module 1 and 2 of a focus on learning; not teaching, being able to critically interact with knowledge and communities.  Learning communities are at their best when connections and relationships are being created. We all need effective digital literacy skills to be effective participators in these communities.

Each of the five trends identified in the 2013 Horizon Report; education paradigms shifting towards online collaborative learning models, the effect of social media on our communication behaviours, openness of content and information sharing, mobile devices and the abundance of resources and relationships as challenges for us teachers support and emphasise the importance of connected learning and digital literacy.

The future work skills (2020) identified by The Institute for the Future also supports these trends. They saw global connectivity and new (social) media are drivers that are changing the skills we need to be productive contributors. The institute named skills for the future work force like social intelligence; new-media literacy, transdisciplinarity, cognitive load management and virtual collaboration, all closely align with the skills needed for connected learning and digital literacy.

The important point for educators like me to identify and describe for others is ‘what does an education and learning model look like that allows for the development of a connected network of life-long learners who are digitally literate?’

Downes (2012) describes a successful network of learners as one that can learn, adapt, and avoid stagnation or network ‘death’.  He explains that the network must contain four elements: autonomy, diversity, openness and connectivity (or interactivity).Downes based his work on Siemens (2004) theory of Connectivism which was an integration of the principles of (non- linear) chaos, networks, and the complexity of relationships between learners and knowledge. Although this Siemen’s theory of Connectivism is now ten years old it still rings true in this age of global connectedness.
Siemens (2013) has gone on to describe in a more recent interview, “Changing Schools, Changing Knowledge” that learners’ ability to understand relationships between aspects of knowledge not recalling facts is more important. Interacting and discourse are what help learning and connections happen. That our students’ need to practise being critical and creative to survive in today and tomorrow’s digital world.
The digital literacy concept links into this important aspect of critical literacy. Critical Literacy is part of digital literacy as the “ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyse and synthesise digital resources, construct new knowledge , create media expressions, and communicate with others…in order to enable constructive social action and to reflect on the process.” (Martin 2006b as cited by Bawden, 2008)
As an educator I then need to break down the skills of digital literacy and plan for learning experiences and environments where students can develop the skills.
Downes (2012) stated that “The most important function of a person in a community is no longer conformity, but rather, creativity and expression.” Let us not forget though the importance of developed digital literacy skills for this person and the community they can participate and thrive in. I look forward to exploring this concept of creativity even further as I begin my scholarly review of Ken Robinson’s (2011) “Out of Our Minds – Learning to be creative”.

 

Attiributions:

Bawden, D. (2008). CHAPTER ONE: Origins and Concepts Of Digital Literacy. In Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies & Practices (pp. 17–32). Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Retrieved fromhttp://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lih&AN=39774960&site=ehost-live

Davies, A. F. (2011). Future Work Skills 2020. Phoenix: University of Phoenix Research Institute.

Downes, S. (2012). Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. Creative Commons License.

Johnson, L. A. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 K-12 Edition. Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Robinson, K. (2011). Out of Our Minds – Learning to be creative. 2nd ed. Capstone. UK.

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved March 31st, 2014, from elearnspace: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Siemens, G. (2013, September 26th). George Siemens: Changing Schools, Changing Knowledge. Retrieved March 31st, 2014, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR_ziHA_8LY&feature=youtu.be

I like the sound of a “Global One Room School House”

John Seely Brown’s video titled “The Global One Room School House” really made a lot of sense to me. I taught in the country for over twelve years and met a lot of teachers who had worked in a one-teacher school with student populations varying from five to about fifteen.  Both the teachers, students and families always spoke so fondly of the learning that went on and how the younger and older students worked together and independently.The students also have great access to resources. There is so much potential  just sitting out there to form a global classroom.

The statement about the importance of tinkering with technology and new learning tools to avoid anxiety is so true. I often say to staff – just give it a go, see what the students do.  Time to tinker though is sometimes limited.  The trap of teaching to the assessment sometimes robs us of time to tinker too. I have found though as a Teacher-Librarian that I have less restraints on how I organise the environment and teach, so I can tinker a bit more.