Reflection on latest guest colloquium with Cathie Howie from MacICT

Last week’s guest colloquium with Cathie Howie from MacICT was a source of affirmation, inspiration, information and interest. This was because many of the ideas they are exploring and investigating in their work are what we have been studying  in this degree about knowledge networks and digital innovation.

The combined work from Macquarie University and the NSW Department of Education is drawing its direction from reports like the Horizon Report and the Future Work Skills 2020. These documents are referred to often in our scholarly conversations. I am once again referring to them in my recent case study for this final subject.

Design mindsets, design thinking, STEM & STEAM approaches, makerspaces and a vision for learning in a digital age where all mentioned in the presentation and following conversations. These concepts and approaches are now becoming the common themes in PD and education & technology conferences and publications. These concepts are also major conversation topics on Twitter too amongst educators.

I really liked the sound of MacICT’s work in Transmedia storytelling. I think this is a very adaptable method of getting students to produce content rather than just being a consumer. Transmedia storytelling also encourages creativity and digital literacies.

I look forward to following the workings of MacICT in the future and hopefully taking part in their professional development opportunities.

Participatory Learning in a Library Program

If participatory learning is manifested most profoundly in the maker movement, then school libraries are in the box seat. Teacher-librarians can “hack the curriculum” and provide varied opportunities for school community to design, create and share in the Library spaces and the rest of the school.

Opportunities to engage in the design thinking process, including trialling, prototyping and failing are still far and few between in schools. A makerspace can provide a safe place for self directed designing, creating and learning.

I am about to begin this journey of starting a makerspace movement in the school where I work in the role of the teacher-librarian and a thought leader. It’s time to become a “maker-teacher”: I don’t know how to code, program or make electrical circuits, but I do know who to ask to work with me, how to facilitate students to work together and how to connect with others and find out what to do. I am crafty, but need to practice making more technical creations.

The next step on with a school makerspace will be to show students how to share and make their creations public. To develop the students into true contributing digital citizens the teaching community may need to redefine our approach to digital literacy. A lot more conversations need to be had about how to change the environment on the web responsively and creatively. Blogs, wikis and other web 2.0 tools need to be named participatory media not ‘new media’ (they have been around for years now). Proven successes like to YOUmedia and Dream Yard projects look very exciting: they provide great opportunities for student-centred learning.

Digital badges are an interesting concept and remind me a bit of the MOOC concept where it can be open to everyone to engage, learn and succeed. It could be a great way of connecting people to expertise. I think it will take a while to shift attitudes to the type of assessments we provide.

 

A new tool for gathering, organising and making the most of blog posts: Feedly

feedly icon    One of my goals was to start following some blogs properly in a more organised manner. I want to develop my knowledge, make more connections and interact with other connected educators. I decided I should focus my exploration on three main areas; Libraries, Makerspaces and Contemporary Learning. I consulted the collective knowledge of Twitter, got a few re-tweets and an answer from a respected colleague that Feedly  was worth a try to collate my blog feeds.  I found Feedly very easy to use, I do find that once you use a few digital tools one’s digital literacy skills build up and you take to new tools a bit easier each time. Quality over quantity is going to be my motto. I am pleased about how it’s going so far.

feedly screen capture

6 New Tools

I have chosen 6 new tools to try out,  start using and get involved in over the next month ( and beyond).

I don’t follow or comment on many blogs or wikis. I am going to choose ones that are relevant to my work in school libraries.

The first is the TL virtual cafe       http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/

I am keen to learn more about Makerspaces so I am going to follow some blogs on this topic

http://jchild.edublogs.org/

I will seek out more blogs about Makerspaces. I think here might be a good starting point http://renovatedlearning.com/makerspace-resources/

Content curation is a skill I want to develop. I have a login to Scoopit, but don’t use it. I want to use Pinterest more. I would like to share want I curate through my Twitter account.

To help organise my reading I am going to start using a reader program – Google reader or Diigo.

LinkedIn is something I hear other educators praise . I am thinking it may be worth more investigation.

My Design Brief for a new Library

Here is the design brief I created for the our first meeting with the architect. My very creative and visual Library Assistant drew up a plan to accompany it ( will scan and upload with permission later). It was my second ever design brief I had written. I kept it short ( one page) . I found Kurato, Goldsworthy and Hornsby’s(2012) The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking very helpful and I tried to put their theories in use.

******** Library Design Brief – Introductory and First

Challenge:

To build a Library that provides a central learning and social space, as well as an information and technology services hub for the whole school community. It needs to offer an environment that is different to the classroom.

The people in our community;

Need to want to come to the Library, feel motivated to learn and be creative in the environment and have the flexibility to learn collaboratively and/or independently. The Library and Tech teams want to provide the best service we can to all the school community and have a dynamic and functional working environment.

Pillars of our design brief

Attractive, light filled and modern environment Service and Access Collaborative and creative learning Fun Flexibility Workspace Choice for people

 

Description:

The Library needs to have the capacity to seat up to 400 people in total. There will be a “café vibe” to the environment and a high technology presence.

The main area of the Library will be able to house up to 200 students in a seating area that’s flexibility encourages collaborative behaviours and yet caters for differing learning styles. This main area that will be highly used before and after school and at lunchtime needing to allow for good visibility and be a light filled space. Presentation booths, fish tank spaces (10?)and some quiet “cubby hole spaces” need to included. The fish tank spaces could be used for Makerspaces and gaming on different occasions or student and staff meetings. During class times multiple classes would come in and allow their students to work in a way that encourages their own learning style and choices.  Books will be housed on wall shelving (mostly). A lot of display spaces for front-facing books and promotion will be included. The main level will also include a café near the entrance incorporating a reading/magazine lounge.

Workspaces and the Service centre will also be included on this main level. Along the length of the building there would be a tech team workroom, library team workroom, shared tea/kitchen room and staff toilets. These workrooms will have one way glass overlooking two long service/ circulation desks.

There needs to be a performance, large group seating space (Year level) or piazza/forum space. This could be in the form of an oversized staircase that acts as a transition between the different levels of the Library and would be used as an informal seating area at other times.

On the upper level of the Library there will be a senior hub, more ‘quiet space seating’, production and presentation spaces and additional fish tank spaces with a link to the admin building.

Would love to hear your feedback!

Reference:

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in Innovation acceleration : transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson.https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

 

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.

Blog Task 4

In my first blog entry of this subject (and course) I identified the next step in my career and learning journey was to “ lead a community of learners into the digital world, enjoying opportunities to collaborate, create, find, organise and produce informative texts using new media and particularly (social media)”. I feel that I have begun to do this. I had heard of and done some reading in many of the concepts covered in this subject but the breadth of new technologies, writers, speakers and resources  I have been exposed to through the different modules has really been an eye opener.

There has been a few themes that have I consistently focused on because they really interest me; creativity, innovation, learning futures, collaboration and connectivity. These are obviously major themes in this subject and hence I have enjoyed all the modules.

My workplace is becoming more multi-modal. We are trying to mesh together the digital and physical learning spaces. We will be there I believe in about 5 years like described in Microsoft’s Future Vision – Live, Work Play. Currently we are designing new Year 7 buildings. It is exciting to start with a blank canvas. Our Principal is leading us in the process of including spaces where students can work collaboratively sharing their learning’s publically in the physical and digital environments. I feel that I have been able to make valuable contributions to these conversations because of the new knowledge and ideas I am currently being exposed to through my study.

In a recent book I read Change Your Mind -52 Ways to Unlock Your Creative Self there was a section on controlling technology. Rod Judkins (Chapter 14, 2013) commented that “to live creatively, you have to be at the forefront of new developments, not lagging behind” and to “embrace technology because it brings new ideas”.  I think being creative is fun, beautiful and clever. I am learning more about technology and am using it more; I don’t expect to always be in control of it though. I look forward to continuing this journey with a creative flair.

So, over the next couple of weeks I will compose my digital essay about Makerspaces (a great finale for the subject) and then I look forward to next semester participating in the subject “Designing Spaces for Learning” whilst we construct our year 7 buildings and develop plans for our Library renovations.

Attributions:

Microsoft’s Future Vision -Live, work, play. (2013). Retrieved May 2014, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd_BbzNhkp0

Judkins, R. (2013). Change your mind: 57 ways to unlock your creative self. London: Hardy Grant Books.

Recipe for creativity– explore Southbank with kids!!

My usual Saturday routine this time of year is to leave the house at 7.45am to take my three daughters to Hockey – the four of us play and it keeps us busy whilst my husband works.  Yesterday Hockey was called off at the last moment due to water logged fields.  What to do as we were all ready and keyed up for the day? We could have stayed home and worked on University and school assignments, but I decided that a free day deserved an outing and it would do us good.

It was a split decision that resulted in a fantastic day of

-new creative experiences

– a flip of perspectives

– time to absorb new information and ideas

– conversations with familiar and new people

– observations of new resources and environments

-interactions with technology

-and FUN!!

What did we do-

– firstly discovered a new way of getting into town, parking at a different train station (in preparation for my trip to EDUtech in a couple of weeks). Daughter (12y) used a new app on my phone to navigate.

– checked out the newly renovated Museum. It is always great to have conversations about the school work the girls have been doing, or our recent camping trips and how they relate to exhibitions in the Museum

-visited GOMA but didn’t get past the kid’s activities on the bottom level – “Jemima Wyman Pattern Bandits” . A Makerspace with a difference.  This space is a combination of an interactive exhibition and activity centre. Children and parents can sit and produce artworks together, take them home or display them.

I experienced a couple of light bulb moments in GOMA

• I struck up a conversation with another mother about why this sort of space is important. I mentioned that it reminded me of the “Makerspace” concept. I explained that I am a teacher-librarian who was considering including a space like this in the Library I manage. She said that her daughter’s friends visit their school library all the time because they like to read, her daughter doesn’t have great literacy skills, but loves art and creative activities. If a library had a space like this her daughter would visit the library more often and hopefully pick up a book more often – Wow! Isn’t this what we want??

•My eldest daughter (14y) whilst having a go at an art making activity says “It’s so enjoyable to do something creative and it’s not an assessment.” She uses lots of creative ideas in her school work, but I question does she have time to enjoy being creative. We need to provide more time and experiences for this creative work in schools. It may be some kids’ only opportunity.

-explored and observed the wonderful GOMA and State Library shops. These shops have different objects and publications that you don’t see in other retail places. They are a treasure trove of ideas, colours, designs, literacy resources and entertainment.

-took some pictures to share our experiences at GOMA and found some more online when we came home ( hope you enjoy them).

2014-05-17 13.19.352014-05-17 12.24.05pattern spacepattern wall

We have been to Southbank many times, but I think that my recent study in digital cultures, knowledge networks and creativity gave me a different perspective on the whole experience. It was an unexpected, spontaneous day that we all so enjoyed. We all came home feeling fresh and all inspired to recommence our learning projects. All my girls said how much they loved it and that it was fun – I feel really good about that.

Digital Essay Proposal

Digital Essay Topic Proposal

Topic: Makerspaces – environments that facilitate creativity in Secondary schools

Digital Tools and Spaces to be used:

I will create an additional page in my Thinkspace Blog. I am optimistic in my expectation that familiarity will lead to creativity and innovation with the construction of an interactive digital essay.

I plan to use a variety of tools including, YouTube, Flickr, podcasts, Vimeo, TED talks and constructed images.

Rationale:

A Makerspace (or hackerspace) “… is an environment where creative, legal, technical and other interested people join together to work on, think about and talk over a wide variety of subjects. “Some of these projects are really practical, others are more “because we can”. What is always the same is our goal to gather knowledge, work together and share our knowledge”, thus, founder of Hackerspace Frack, Jildou Gerritsma (as cited by Hackerspaces/ Flux, 2014)

A common problem in Secondary schools is disengaged students. Another challenge is being able to allow students to truly be creative and let their innovative thoughts shine- they often share these thoughts in out of school learning communities but not in the school space where teachers can observe. Makerspaces are designed to engage students’ curiosity, make them the centre of learning and provide time and space for collaborative creation and innovation.

This digital essay will allow myself as an educational professional and teacher-librarian, the opportunity to share knowledge and considered judgements about an innovative movement that encourages participatory and creative learning and can be integrated into my workspace.

In this digital essay I intend to describe:

1.       What is a Makerspace?

2.       The concepts and theories behind this movement of Makerspaces (And Hackerspaces -mentioning the influence)

3.       Examples of Hackerspaces and Makerspaces around the world and evaluate how well they are facilitating creativity.

4.       How Makerspaces can be incorporated into the Secondary Library environment and digital learning culture.

5.       The anticipated benefits/learning outcomes of Makerspaces.

Reference:

Hackerspace/Open. (2014, March). Retrieved May 2014, from Hackerspce/Flux: http://blog.hackerspaces.org/